Sorry it's been three weeks since you posted this, but I'm here now.
I doubt your engine computer is bad, after all, it did what it was supposed to do. It set a code indicating the area of the fault. Many engines only use the camshaft position sensor to figure out which cylinder to fire first when you crank the engine. After that, it is not needed. Not sure if this applies to your engine. If the sensor fails while the engine is running, the computer runs the engine off the crankshaft position sensor, but it memorizes the code for the cam sensor when it sees that it's not sending signals. It will continue to run fine until you turn the engine off and try to restart it. It won't restart. Some GM engines will pick a random cylinder to start firing, then go in order after that. On a V-6 engine, you have a 33 percent chance it will pick the right pair of cylinders and run.
I hate people who run down their competitors, but it sounds like either your mechanic doesn't understand how this circuit works, or he gave you a poor or dumbed-down description of what he found. The cam sensor needs a ground and voltage supply wire, commonly 8 volts. The third wire is the pulsing signal wire. You can not measure the output voltage with a digital voltmeter. If the signal is missing, the "Check Engine" light will be on and the fault code will be memorized. You might be able to retrieve the code yourself by cycling the ignition switch from "Off" to "Run" three times within five seconds without cranking the engine. On older vehicles, you counted the flashes of the Check Engine light. On yours, you should see the Chrysler code number in the odometer display. It will not be a "P" code; it will be a two-digit number that you can look up in the service manual.
Also, when they said that "the PCM had power in, but no power out", it suggested they don't know how it works. The fact that it started after they fiddled with it a while goes along with your earlier symptom of the cam sensor being intermittent. It probably cooled down in the shop and started working.
When you turn on the ignition switch, the engine computer turns on the Automatic Shutdown (ASD) relay for two seconds, then it turns back off until pulses arrive from the crankshaft or camshaft position sensor. These pulses only occur when the engine is rotating, (cranking or running). It looks to novices like the computer isn't turning on the ASD relay if you're troubleshooting the system while just leaving the ignition switch turned on, but that's what's supposed to happen. That two-seconds that the relay turns on is enough to run the fuel pump to insure fuel pressure is up and ready to start.
When crankshaft sensor pulses arrive during cranking, the engine computer turns on the ASD relay constantly. Voltage from the relay feeds 12 volts to the ignition coil(s), fuel injector(s), alternator field winding, oxygen sensor heater, and the fuel pump or fuel pump relay. Ever hear of Ford's silly inertia switch? It will kill the engine if you hit a big enough pothole. Chrysler accomplishes the same thing much more effectively with the ASD relay.
If you are in a crash that ruptures the fuel line with roughly 50 psi, the in-tank electric pump will pour raw fuel on the ground creating a severe fire hazard. With a ruptured line, you won't have fuel pressure. Without pressure, the injectors won't spray fuel and the engine will die. When there is no rotation, there's no crankshaft sensor pulses so the engine computer turns off the ASD relay and removes the voltage supply to the fuel pump.
To troubleshoot this system, you have to bypass the ASD relay with a paper clip or you have to work on it while cranking the engine, (not very practical).
It sounds to me like your sensor just failed, and that's not too uncommon. By now you've probably noticed your truck is running fine without having to replace the engine computer.
Thursday, March 19th, 2009 AT 8:08 PM