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Problems with 2005 PT cruiser

I have had ongoing problems with this car for a couple of years now. After changing the timing belt a month and a half later I started getting engine code P0016. I have since changed the camshaft sensor and wiring harness is to both camshaft and crankshaft sensor. The car continues to attempt to go into limp mode at various times when taking off but will eventually Quit and operate correctly. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I forgot to mention that after originally by in the car I had a problem with the camshaft sensor repeatedly going out

The cam and crank sensor are supposed to be synchronized in a defined way by the timing chain or timing belt, and that code is flagged when the computer notices they aren’t. So you are looking at

  • timing chain/belt loose or mis-aligned, check tension and alignment
  • bad crank and/or cam sensors, or the tone ring they sense, test or if that’s not possible, replace
  • bad crank and/or cam sensor wiring somewhere between ecm and sensors, ohm out the connections
  • If your engine sports variable valve timing, the camshaft solenoid may be faulty

I would start by removing all the connections between those sensors and the computer looking for corroded or bent connections and spraying them with electrical contact cleaner and see if it acts differently.

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I have replaced and checked all the connections on crank and cam and put a new timing belt on a month before this started happening. I have replace cam sensor twice with two different brands but not crank sensor. I redid some wires the other day and the car ran great. Battery went bad and now it’s acting up again. I would almost swear to a bad ground or short somewhere if not a bad computer

I took the car by a Firestone shop to have tires put on it and they mentioned those cars were notorious for electrical problems

After Firestone put on the tires their automotive knowledge was used up.


It’s possible the crank and cam sensors are working, but that the timing belt replacement job didn’t get the timing marks aligned quite right. It must be pretty close if it runs at all, but might be off a sprocket or two. Suggest to double check the timing belt is installed so the camshaft and crankshaft are aligned correctly. If the timing belt goes around two camshaft sprockets (rather than just one as on my Corolla, the other camshaft is gear driven), that two cam sprocket arrangement is particularly prone to getting misaligned during the timing belt installation process.

If that’s not the problem, you may need to get a shop tech to help you, someone with the factory scan tool for your vehicle. It sounds like you’re pretty certain both the cam and crank sensors are working and they are wired to the ecm, properly, so at that point you’ll have to punt and call in an expert. They’ll be able to verify the cam and crank sensors are producing the correct signal levels for the ecm.

One idea, unlikely, but sometimes a faulty alternator will produce electrical power that’s really noisy. Not noise you can hear, but it has a lot of electrical spikes on it. That can confuse the ecm, especially for sensitive signals like the crank and cam sensors. A shop having an o’scope can easily check for that. All the grounds have to be in place and making good contact, but it can be difficult for a diy’er to know where all the grounds are located, another reason to consult a pro when the easy stuff doesn’t do the job. Best of luck.

True! That said, PT Cruisers are pretty notoriously unreliable hunks of mechanical crap. If OP finds breakdowns annoying, they might be best served finding a different car.

Also, @redneckred , just because you had the timing belt replaced does not mean the job was done properly. Don’t completely eliminate the possibility that there is a timing problem.

I can’t see how a timing belt problem would come and go. As far as the reliability of a PT Cruiser, outside of tires and brakes, I had 2 problems in 7 years. A bad oil pressure sensor and a bad left front wheel bearing. An idioi turning left and looking right T- Boned me and totaled it. I had bought it with a $5000 rebate and the insurance company paid me 1/2 of what I had paid for it.