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the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

 
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Old 18 Aug 2008, 04:53 pm
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Default the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Looking for some ideas from the PT Guru's, as both I and the very competent guys at the local garage are stumped.

Last Thursday as I was driving on the freeway I got the Check Engine Light, and it revealed the P0551 Power "Steering Pressure Sensor Circuit Range/Performance" code. I pulled over, and noticed I was losing power steering fluid from a leak somewhere. Took it in to a local shop I trust and have used for years, and they figured out I had a loose return hose on the power steering pump. They reconnected it, re-filled my power steering fluid, and I was off and running.

For a few hours. Then the Check Engine Light came on again, along with the same code. This time, however, I have no power steering fluid leaks, and my power steering is working fine.

Garage and I both suspect bad sensor switch. Suspected bad sensor switch replaced. No joy. Check Engine Light still on, same code. Garage is now officially stumped.

Gurus - any ideas? Replaced switch, no leaks, and power steering is working - but still got a Check Engine Light and the p0551 code.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Dave
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Old 18 Aug 2008, 04:55 pm
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Oops, forgot to add that the PT is a 2003 GT, auto, 76K miles.
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Old 18 Aug 2008, 05:29 pm
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Question Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Gurus!
If he did this at "other than Chrysler" dealer, should the PCM be reset?
i.e.....disconnect, then reconnect the battery?
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Old 18 Aug 2008, 05:52 pm
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Unless they did that, I agree that he should disconnect the negative cable for about 10 minutes, that should reset the PCM.
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Old 20 Aug 2008, 03:05 pm
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Thanks for the responses; when I get home from work in a few hours, I will disconnect the negative battery cable as recommended and see if that resets the PCM. Hopefully it will be that simple.

Thanks again,
Dave
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Old 21 Aug 2008, 04:41 pm
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Followup - reset the PCM via disconnecting battery....check engine light went away but returned the next day, same code.

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 21 Aug 2008, 05:12 pm
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Dave,

This is an answer to a code P0551 on a 2002 cruiser from a Chrysler Tech:

Answer
There is a switch that senses the pressure of the hydraulic fluid which reflects how hard it is working (e.g. like when turning at low speed or when stopped). It then opens the switch (which is normally grounded) and a wire to the powertrain controller senses that and increase the idle speed accordingly so the engine doesn' falter. Here is an exchange I had earlier with another owner about it.
"The switch is located on the back side of the power steering gear. It is supposed to raise the idle speed when you are turning the wheels at low speeds when the system will require more pressure and thus otherwise drag down the idle. The wire to the switch is dark blue/light green (signal) and a black ground; and the signal wire goes to pin 45 of the powertrain control module. So you might check the connector at the switch and the connection to pin 45 of the controller, from pin 2 of the plug...
All I can add is that if you locate the two high pressure lines that run to the steering gear from the power steering pump you will find the switch right next to where those two lines connect to the gear. It no doubt just screws out and then install the new one. The manual says that you remove the electrical plug, lifting the locking tab carefully. Then it says to use a crowfoot wrench and extension to remove the old one. The steering fluid will run out so be prepared to clean catch it, and be ready to screw in the new one to minimize loss. If you catch the fluid in a clean pan you car reuse it. The torque spec with a crowfoot wrench is 12 foot pounds and you have to be careful not to exceed the limit or you may ruin the fine hydraulic threads on the steering gear and then you have a potentially expensive problem. So if you can't get a crowfoot that fits the sensor (when you buy the replacement you can see what the size it) and don't have an extension and a torque wrench you may want to let the shop do it. Make sure the electrical plug is in place with the locking tab engaging the tab on the switch. Refill the power steering reservoir. Start the engine and then turn the steering wheel from lock to lock several times to bleed the air from the system. Use only Chrysler power steering fluid if you loose some of it."
I doubt it has anything to do with the fluid, unless the code started right after that. If the wire seems OK, then the question is the switch stuck open (measure that) or is the pressure really too high when you are driving at normal speed or not even turning the wheel. That would have to measured with a gauge. Let me know what you learn, please, or have further questions.
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Old 02 Sep 2009, 09:08 am
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

In case anyone read my post, I wanted to post a followup about what finally fixed this problem...I ended up having to replace the power steering pump. I guess the power steering pump was slowly going bad, which triggered the engine code...but the pump was working enough that it never bothered to occur to me it might be bad - until one morning I discovered all my power steering fluid on my driveway. The reservoir was leaking, and of course, you can't simply replace the reservoir - you have to replace the whole pump.

A side note to any poor soul who ends up having to replace the power steering pump...the labor alone to replace it on a GT is going to run your over 400 bucks. I ended up bending over to the tune of about $700 to have the ps pump replaced. Both the dealership and my trusted mechanic quoted me about the same price, so I can only assume that this pump is one royal pain to remove and replace.

Anyway, the new pump caused the p0551 code to go away.
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Old 02 Sep 2009, 10:38 am
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 27 Jun 2011, 03:31 pm
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Default Re: the dreaded p0551 code - stumper

Thanks for the info

Last edited by xtreme; 28 Jun 2011 at 06:52 am.
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