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Is it time to give up? Constant P0344 issue

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Old 19 Jul 2016, 04:45 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2016
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Angry Is it time to give up? Constant P0344 issue

I am just about at my wit's end with my poor PT, and I'm not sure where to turn. I have a 2005 Touring edition with just over 100k miles. I have been experiencing an issue with the camshaft sensor (error code P0344) for the past four years. It usually starts about a week or two into summer, when the temperature most days are in the high 80ļs and above. The onset has a few different forms:
  • The moment the car goes above 2500rpm (usually while merging onto the freeway), the check engine light comes on and the car starts to chug.
  • In the middle of driving on the freeway, the gas pedal no longer has any affect, the check engine light comes on, and the car starts to chug as soon as the rpm reduces to 2500.
  • The moment the car is turned on, the check engine light is already lit and the car will chug once it gets up to 2500rpm.

Once the problem has started, the car continues to run Ė albeit not well Ė but I cannot bring the car up to 2500rpm without violent chugging. After four years of this issue happening at the beginning of summer, Iíve gotten used to it happening and was able to experiment with it a bit this time around. There are some days (sometimes a few in a row) where the issue doesnít happen at all, and these are usually days where the temperature stays in the low 80ļs. I donít often have an issue with it when driving to work in the morning when itís still cool out, but it still occasionally happens regardless. If the air conditioning is on the second notch or below AND if I am able to get it up above 2500rpm within a couple minutes of starting the car, I can often avoid the problem despite the heat. If the car idles for any longer than 30 seconds, itíll chug regardless of temperate and air conditioning.

The first time this happened in 2012, my mechanic told me I needed to replace both the camshaft and crankshaft sensors Ė so I did. The start of the next summer of 2013, same error code and chugging issue Ė took it to a new mechanic who replaced only the camshaft sensor. By the end of the same summer, the same issue happened again during a heat wave. In 2014, it was accompanied with an oil leak and was attributed to being caused by oil smothering the sensor. Summer of 2015, the issue didnít happen until close to the end of the summer. Replaced the sensor. Beginning of summer 2016, just a few weeks ago, it happened again. Sensor is under warranty this time, itís replaced, but my mechanic thinks itís caused by a new source.

I know next to nothing about cars, so bear with me as I relay what Iíve been told by my mechanic. I havenít met a mechanic I trust more than this guy, so Iím inclined to believe whatever he tells me and want another opinion. He told me the wiring harness is extremely brittle. In its thin, fragile state, it gets heated up very easily and is causing a short in the camshaft sensor whenever itís warm out. He said if the sensor itself was altogether bad, the car wouldnít even start, so he was already fairly positive it was a wiring issue. Seeing the sorry state of the wiring harness all but confirmed it to him. With my car being 11 years old now, he sadly advised me it may be time to start looking for a new car since a new wiring harness costs more than the value of my car.

The sentimental (and stubborn) part of me wants to stick it out. Itís my first car, and perhaps the fix would be cheaper than getting a new car and having to take on monthly payments. I donít have the cash to buy a car outright, and KBB value gets me at $1600 at best. On the other hand, if Iím going to put several grand into the car to fix this wiring problem, only to have to continue to put more money into costly fixes, it may be best to just get a new (used) car.

In googling this problem, I know Iím not alone. Has anyone else had experience with this problem and found a lasting solution? Iím getting tired of this crap every year! How long does my car have to live without replacing the wiring harness?
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Old 19 Jul 2016, 04:56 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 27,744
Default Re: Is it time to give up? Constant P0344 issue

Has the camshaft target magnet ever been replaced? Also, the wiring harness from the connection of the sensor around back of the engine shouldn't be too expensive but check the connection to the sensor itself to make sure it's making good contact.

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Old 19 Jul 2016, 05:43 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Texas
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Default Re: Is it time to give up? Constant P0344 issue

Welcome to the forum

Where are you getting your sensors from, local parts store or genuine MOPAR parts? If aftermarket parts, you may want to try MOPAR parts, they may cost a little bit more, but your PT may be happier for them. This is likely to cause great debate, but some PT's, particularly the Gen2's, can be finicky about aftermarket electrical parts.
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Old 19 Jul 2016, 05:57 pm
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 4,387
Default Re: Is it time to give up? Constant P0344 issue

Check the Camshaft Sensor plug itself. Pull it off & look inside, spray it with "CRC Lectra-Motive Electric Parts Cleaner"...check all the pins also.
If it still acts up after that, I would replace the plug.

2006 Touring Edition in Cool Vanilla...aka/Ghost
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Old 19 Jul 2016, 09:55 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,450
Default Re: Is it time to give up? Constant P0344 issue

Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
Has the camshaft target magnet ever been replaced? Also, the wiring harness from the connection of the sensor around back of the engine shouldn't be too expensive but check the connection to the sensor itself to make sure it's making good contact.
One member on this board has a problem similar to yours and found the previous owner had over torqued the target magnet so when it got hot it would do similar situation like yours. I would suggest that if you are going to look at the target magnet check to see if it was over torqued. If it was over torqued it puts cracks in the magnet. This very rarely happens but it does happen.
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