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P0323 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition/Distributor Engine Speed Input Circuit Intermittent

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P0323 code definition

When the powertrain control module (PCM) detects an interrupted or erratic signal from the crankshaft position sensor or the distributor, a P0323 code will be stored.

What the P0323 code means

The PCM regularly gets signals from the crankshaft position sensor or the distributor, telling the PCM the position of each relative to the other. When one of these signals is interrupted, erratic, or comes back abnormal in any other way, the PCM will take this to mean that the distributor and crankshaft are misaligned.

What causes the P0323 code?

There are a few different potential causes for a P0323 code to be stored, including:

  • The sensor harness for the ignition and/or distributor is shorted or open.
  • There is a poor connection in the ignition or distributor’s engine speed sensor circuit.
  • The battery has a low charge.
  • The PCM is faulty.
  • The crankshaft position sensor is faulty.

What are the symptoms of the P0323 code?

When a P0323 code is stored, the driver may notice one or more of the following symptoms, in addition to the illumination of the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) or Check Engine light:

  • Lack or loss of power
  • Engine runs rough or stalls
  • Difficulty starting the engine

How does a mechanic diagnose the P0323 code?

After detecting that a P0323 code has been stored with an OBD-II scanner, a mechanic will begin by inspecting the wiring and connections to determine if there is a shorted or open circuit causing the signal interruption. If no damage is detected in the wiring, the mechanic will then inspect the crankshaft position sensor, gear, and sensor connector to determine if any of these are damaged. After repairs are made, they will then clear the code and run the vehicle to ensure that the code is not stored again. If no other damage is found, the battery is at full charge, and/or all repairs are made and the code is still stored, the PCM may be faulty.

Common mistakes when diagnosing the P0323 code

Failing to diagnose the causes of any other related codes or the cause of engine misfires, and assuming that the problem is a faulty sensor, can result in a misdiagnosis. Replacing a sensor when the problem is actually a battery with a low charge, damaged wiring, or a faulty crankshaft gear will not fix the problem, and the code will be stored again.

How serious is the P0323 code?

The P0323 code may be serious, or it may be a minor problem that can be fixed relatively quickly, but it should be repaired immediately in either case. If no other symptoms are evident besides the illumination of the MIL or Check Engine light, you may not think that it needs to be addressed right away, but if left alone, it could result in more serious engine damage, stalling at a dangerous time or place, and/or other problems.

What repairs can fix the P0323 code?

Depending on the cause of the problem, potential fixes include:

Additional comments for consideration regarding the P0323 code

If the P0323 code is stored, the problem may be with the PCM, but this is very rare. In most cases, a battery with a low charge or damaged wiring will be the cause. Thus, it’s important to diagnose the issue properly before continuing with any repairs. Furthermore, if the cause of the P0323 code is not repaired and the code is not cleared, the Check Engine light will likely remain on, and the vehicle will not pass OBD-II emissions testing.

Need help with a P0323 code?

YourMechanic offers certified mobile mechanics who will come to your home or office to diagnose and repair your vehicle. Get a quote and book an appointment online or speak to a service advisor at 1-800-701-6230.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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