2003 Dodge Neon



November, 9, 2010 AT 8:48 PM

Computer problem
2003 Dodge Neon 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Manual 78000 miles

The car is a 2003 Dodge Neon, it's my best friend's car. The check engine light has been on (like 90% of the time) for over a year. She's taken it in 3 times and told it was the camshaft sensor causing it to come on. And each time they replaced it, it came back on within weeks. She ended up having the transmission replaced about 3 months ago, and they also told her the check engine light was due to the camshaft sensor, so they replaced it. She drove out of the parking lot, it came back on, so she took it back, and they told her the sensor was brand new and that's the only thing it could be. They then tried to reset the check engine light and that didn't work either. So she gave up. She's got to renew her tags, and her car won't pass emissions with the check engine light on. Last week, the car starts backfiring and making a knocking noise. Her cruise control does not work, either. So she takes it to a different place, and they fix those issues, tell her the camshaft sensor is causing the check engine light to come on, she explains that it's already been replaced 5 times, but they do it again anyway. She leaves, it's off, takes it to the emissions place fails, but they tell her she has to drive for a certain number of miles after sensors are reset before it'll pass emissions. So we drive around for about 25 miles, and the light's back on. Any idea what it could be BESIDES a camshaft sensor? Neither of us knows anything about cars, but since that stupid sensor has been replaced 5 times and the light is always on, it seems logical that just maybe something else could be solving the problem. And how do you get a mechanic to trust something besides the diagnostic tool which is telling him something is broken that doesn't actually seem broken?


7 Answers


Service Writer

November, 9, 2010 AT 9:09 PM

When was the timing belt last replaced, may be stretched.

The wiring harness to the sensor may be bad.



November, 10, 2010 AT 1:16 AM

I can't believe how spot-on knighk18 friend's problems are to mine; they are exactly alike! This must be a common problem, no way is it that coincidental.

I too have the " Check Engine" light on in my car that was diagnosed as a camshaft sensor problem. I have had that thing replaced 3 times now including the wiring harness -- today in fact -- and not even 5 minutes after getting the car back, the stupid light came on. Again! My cruise control kicked off and I could not use it unless I turned off the engine and restarted the car.

After turning off the engine and doing a self code diagnostic test, sure enough, it was the same code as before (P0344 Camshaft Position Sensor Circuit Intermittent) indicating that it's a camshaft sensor problem. I have noticed, however, that if I drive around under 60mph for awhile, the light eventually goes out.

In addition, my engine doesn't backfire but it does knock. I was told that it was a bearing in the oil pan and to " just keep an eye on it and change the oil on a regular basis".

I was planning on taking my car to another repair shop for a second opinion, but after reading that knighk18's friend is having the same problems as me, I may just try to replace the car with something better.


Service Writer

November, 10, 2010 AT 5:08 AM

This is one of those situations that you do need someone that is up to snuff on diagnostics. I can try to direct you to a shop if you give me your zip code.

If the cam sensor is not giving a correct signal because of a bad harness, then a wiggle test can be performed while the scanner is connected and data stream is monitored. IF wiggling the harness to the cam sensor gives an irradic reading on the scanner or the signal drops out, then You have a harness problem.

IF the car was built before 9/25/2002 and has the 2.4 motor, there is a computer reflash Technical service bullitin for this.

I have read that a stretched timing belt can cause this code to come up although I have not experienced this myself.



November, 11, 2010 AT 12:12 AM

Thanks Service Writer. My zip code is 76310 and I know there is a Dodge dealer in my area with the diagnostic equipment, but I also know they will charge me $125 just to do the diagnosis so I probably want to go with a reputable non-dealer repair shop -- if possible. The shop I took my car to was highly recommended but after having to go back 3 times, I'm just not sure.

I'm not really sure about this. Is there anyway to find out that information?

I have had the car for about 5 years now and have never had the timing belt changed, but I've never been told there was a problem with it during my routine tune-ups; I guess it wouldn't hurt to have that checked again anyway.


Service Writer

November, 11, 2010 AT 5:25 AM

Call Todd's service center.
WICHITA FALLS, TX. 76308-2520

Doesn't look like there is an abundance of shops out that way. This one belongs to a network I belong to.

The timing belt is recommend to be replaced at 100,000 miles, but I have started seeing them fail from age not mileage. Yours is in that area that they have been failing at. I strongly recommend you do this as well as the waterpump regardless of the code.

Should the teeth shear or the belt break, there is a fair chance the engine will have internal damage.

This is an interference engine, meaning when it goes out of time, the valve and piston will likely collide.



November, 12, 2010 AT 4:11 AM

For some reason I had a feeling that would be the recommended shop. That is the same place that replaced my camshaft sensor 3 times. The mechanic was at a loss after having to replace it again this last time. He told me there was a possiblility that my computer system may be failing. Perhaps I could call and inquire about the timing belt and waterpump and see what he tells me; I appreciate the advice.



October, 25, 2014 AT 8:13 AM

I guess all 03 be one do this mine same thing. Light came on came back as cam sensor l. Replaced it. Came back on came up sake code changed the valve cover gasket light went out for a day my car stalled and light came back on. Cam sensor

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