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Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

 
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Old 08 Dec 2013, 03:25 pm
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Default Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER 18TH

I am getting the Check Engine Light and going into limp mode about twice a day. However, the radio hasn't shut off since I wrote this post back on December 8th (about 11 days ago)

To see more details you can skip to my latest update by going directly to post #25 in this thread or clicking the following link:

Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

~~~~~

Original Post Below (with some updates included inline)

Can you tell me if I have a bad cam shaft sensor or is it a bad wiring harness???

This morning (December 8th, 2013) I was driving out of town and about 25 minutes into the drive the radio "popped" and turned off. It was if all the power was cut to the radio, since the LED light went dark, too.

I tried turning it on immediately, and nothing happened.

Then about ten seconds later, it came on by itself.

About three minutes later, it "popped" again and turned off again. then came back on. Then another three minutes or so, popped and went off, then came back on.

I finally shut off the radio.

The cabin and dashboar lights worked ok, and the LED on the clock / radio seemed to be working. So I just drove with the radio off.

UPDATE DECEMBER 18TH: Since December 8th, the radio has NOT shut off on it's own again, and I have been driving this car every day since then - about 15 to 20 miles a day in town.

~~~~~~

I stopped to do a few errands, and as I headed home. I was stopped at a red light for about 20 seconds. When the ligh turned green, I started to accelerate and when I hit around 2,300 RPM the car started to stall, and the check engine light came on.

Long story short, I drove home (keeping it under 2,300 the whole way), and when i got home, I got the CEL codes by doing the on-off--on-off-on key in the ignition trick.

It gave me (in this order):

P0344
P0340
done

~~~~~~

After i read the codes, I had to do a few more errands near the house. At some point, the CEL went off.

I noticed that while I was driving, sometimes the light to the clock on the front of the radio would get dim, or go dark for a few seconds, and then come back on. (I kept the radio off so as not to tempt fate.)

UPDATE DECMBER 18TH: The check engine light and limp mode happen about twice a day, primarily accelerating away from traffic lights or in other situations where I have been idling for 30 seconds or longer

~~~~~

So my question is whether the radio losing power / going off and the CEL / Limp Mode are related? Does this mean that the radio and the cam shaft sensor are getting intermittent electricity (and thus, a wiring problem)???

Or are they unrelated, and I need a new camshaft sensor AND need to track down whatever caused the radio to pop and shut off.

(And by "pop" I don't mean a REALLY loud pop, but it is definitely a little bit of a pop coming through the speakers immediately before the radio turns off.)

Thanks in advance.

2005 PT Cruiser Touring Edition (no turbo, no Mods)
About 85K Miles (mostly in town and some highway)

Last edited by myjeephatesme; 18 Dec 2013 at 05:59 pm.
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Old 08 Dec 2013, 04:26 pm
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

I would start by cleaning the battery cables and getting the charging system checked. These other systems should not be acting up together.
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Old 08 Dec 2013, 04:51 pm
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

Thanks for the suggestion:

Quote:
I would start by cleaning the battery cables...
Will do.
Quote:
...and getting the charging system checked.

Umm... how do I do that? do you mean take it to a garage / mechanic???

or is it something I can try to do myself???

thanks in advance.
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Old 08 Dec 2013, 05:04 pm
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

Any decent auto parts store should be able to check the battery and charging system for free. Auto Zone, Pep Boys, Discount Auto or O'Riley's.

Sounds to me like you have two separate problems. When the radio is working, try adjusting the steering wheel up and down to see if the problem with that is in the wiring harness that goes down the steering column.

The codes definitely indicate a problem with the cam shaft sensor but try clearing all the codes (disconnect the negative battery for 5 minutes) and then see if any of the codes come back.
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Old 08 Dec 2013, 05:21 pm
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

Thanks for the reply, Crewzin.

Unfortunately I am in California, and for some reason the autoparts stores here won't check anything. I think it is because we are a pretty "sue-happy" state, and they want to avoid the liability.

I will try your suggestions about the wiring and steering wheel, as well as disconnecting the battery and seeing if the CEL goes off.


BTW: One of my battery cables / terminals ALWAYS seems to have a ton of corrosion around it (looks like a corral reef). Don't remember if it is the negative or positive. I will try to remember to clean it when I go out to the car.

Thanks agin

Last edited by myjeephatesme; 08 Dec 2013 at 05:27 pm.
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Old 08 Dec 2013, 07:08 pm
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Lightbulb Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

Quote:
Originally Posted by myjeephatesme View Post
Unfortunately I am in California, and for some reason the autoparts stores here won't check anything.
If there is an Autozone near you,they should at least have the 'Loan-A-Tool' program(Although this is Cali. we're talking about!);You'll only need to leave a refundable deposit for the tool you borrow.......You'll need to borrow an Alternator and Battery Tester...(If they sell it,they normally 'loan' it).
Associated/125/60 Amp 6/12 Volt battery tester (ASC6028DL) | Alternator and Battery Tester | AutoZone.com


And this Youtube video should show you how to use it:


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Old 08 Dec 2013, 08:21 pm
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

Thank you, randyincctx, for both the suggestion and for the link to the video.

I will try to look into it on Monday.
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Old 09 Dec 2013, 12:00 am
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

I recommend many to go to SEARS, Firestone, O-Reilly Auto parts, Winchester Auto, Auto Zone, Pep boys to get many things checked for free like your Battery.

BTW where did you ever get the idea that CA is a sue happy state any more then any other state in the union?


I do recommend that if anybody does get your battery check to watch the process. MAKE SURE that they correctly enter your CCA into the load tester. The incorrect entry can show an inaccurate result. i.e. a good battery bad or a bad battery good. This is a common mistake frequently made by none service shops.
Your CCA is listed on the battery. You might also look for a small circle or oval sticker that has a letter and number. That sticker will give you the actual age of the battery. The sales date or punch sticker is not the proper way to accurately see the age of a battery.
This should also be done when purchasing a new battery. I highly recommend DO NOT purchase a battery that is self dated over 90 days!


If your cables are corroding unusually fast then you have a ground issue. Check all your ground leads at the battery and at the frame. You may need to add a couple extra ground straps. Although you did fill out your information as a new member I am going to assume that you live on or near the coast? The salt in the air will attack badly maintenance charging system specifically ones in poor operating condition and bad cable connections. A battery that is not in good condition will also cause corrosion in coastal areas faster then inland cities and area's.
When you get things cleaned up and corrected I recommend purchasing the battery "condoms". Those are those red and black battery terminal anti corrosion pads. Also you may want to get electrical rubber spray and coat all your cable connections to seal them up from the elements.
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Old 09 Dec 2013, 12:08 am
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

Randy your y-tube....OMG really?

That should be how not to check your battery? I am glad that he mention the need to do the math to determine the required load test applied time for each specific battery to properly determine the true condition of the battery.

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Old 09 Dec 2013, 11:39 am
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Default Re: Confused... Bad Cam Chaft Sensor Or Wiring Harness

Thank you for the detailed response, NitroPT

Quote:
"I recommend many to go to SEARS, Firestone, O-Reilly Auto parts, Winchester Auto, Auto Zone, Pep boys to get many things checked for free like your Battery"
I will double check with them all, but I am fairly certain that they don't offer a free service anywhere around here But thank you for the suggestion.

Quote:
"BTW where did you ever get the idea that CA is a sue happy state any more then any other state in the union?"
Actually, that is what a manager at the nearest autozone to me said; that they stopped checking CEL codes because the insurance was getting too expensive since the insurance companies thought they were leaving themselves open to a big lawsuit...

Quote:
"Check all your ground leads at the battery and at the frame."
I am not sure exactly how to do that. Does that mean just look for straps that look like they are supposed to be screwed onto the frame but are instead just dangling in the air?

A I supposed to just be looking for simple wires that aren't connected to anything? Or is it more involved than that?

And are the ground straps usually one similar color? Or do ground straps come in all sorts of colors?

(I apologize for my ignorance about this!)

Quote:
"You may need to add a couple extra ground straps."
I am much better with computers than with cars

How would I add those extra ground straps? What components would I attach them to? (I am assuming one end goes to the frame, but for the other end???)

Thanks also for the tip about the battery... um... accessories.

~~~~

One final question: would it not be better for me to check my own battery and shell out whatever it costs for the battery tester instead of going to a free test site (assuming I can find one around here)???

I mean, if I wet to a free service place, might they skew the testing and results so that they could better try to sell me a replacement battery / replacement service?

Thanks again for all your help so far, and thanks in advance for any additional suggestions you can throw my way.
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