Chysler PT Cruiser P0016 Engine Code

I just wanted to post this due to the problem I was having with this code. I recently replaced a broken timing belt on my 2005 pt cruiser (non-turbo). Everything went back together, minus the hours trying to get the timing marks lined up by myself. After getting the engine buttoned up, the car would crank and idle, but only after 2000 rpm and the engine code P0016 would show up. I went back into the engine, reset the timing belt, and cranked it before putting everything back together. Worked fine, so buttoned it back up and took it for a test drive. Bam, same engine code pops up again, only this time the car acted like it wanted to go into limp mode for half a second after driving for a few miles when I was turning around to come back to the house. It straightened up and drove fine. I could drive the car fine even after that, made a few test drives into town. The car would kind of fight limp mode after first cranking the car and accelerating, but then straighten up. After a couple of months of research and talking to a friend who is a pretty good mechanic, I decided this was an electrical problem. I checked, and sure enough, after looking at the wiring at the cam shaft sensor connector, it was frayed. I spliced it and still had some issues with the code. I had just put a new sensor on it when the belt broke thinking it might be the sensor, so I put the old sensor back on it and now it runs fine, no more light. So, after months of thinking the timing or tone rings might be off, it was just a wiring/sensor issue. I hope this helps someone else who is having similar problems.

Was the sensor you installed OEM? I only use OEM sensors after being burned a couple of times.

It was the Lifetime warrantied one from Autozone. I put the old 90 day warranty one I got from Autozone back on it and it worked fine. I have installed 3 of them on the car since I have had the car now in about 5-6 years.

If you were able to determine that you had a fault code P0016 that related to a camshaft sensor why were you not able to determine that the cause was a faulty sensor or wiring rather than having to go back into the timing cover? I think the lesson here is to test parts before replacing.

Because if you read the diagnosis for a P0016, it tends to be very vague and general. Everything I looked at pointed to the timing marks being off, or bad toner rings as the more feasible causes of the problem. After changing the cam shaft sensor, that was the last thing I thought of as being bad. I didn’t expect my problem to be a bad new sensor. My point in posting this was to help anyone else with a P0016 code in that it isn’t necessarily the timing belt being off or bad toner rings. Here is the possible causes I found for the P0016 code:

  • Timing chain stretched, or timing belt skipped a tooth due to wear
  • Misalignment of timing belt/chain
  • Tone ring on crankshaft slipped/broken
  • Tone ring on camshaft slipped/broken
  • Bad crank sensor
  • Bad cam sensor
  • Damaged wiring to crank/cam sensor
  • Timing belt/chain tensioner damaged

The code itself did not point specifically to the cam sensor. I just happened to think to put the old sensor back on to see what would happen.

Yes, I see. Fault code definitions are always vague and general because there are always several things that can cause a single fault code.

What were you using to diagnose the fault codes? I have never used a code reader, always a scan tool, in which case it would have been clear from the driver’s seat that there was no signal coming from the cam sensor. Even without a scan tool didn’t your mechanic friend check the sensor with a simple volt/ohm meter and find it to be good or bad?

5 minutes of testing would have saved you driving around for months with a broken car.

I used both a code scanner and the trick of turning the key on and off 3 times to pull the code out of the odometer reading. I gave him the code and his machine didn’t recommend much. We talked about it and decided it was an electrical issue and I solved it from there.

My friend lives over an hour away, so I didn’t want to chance driving it that far until I was sure about the cars soundness.