How To Test The Throttle Position Sensor (1998, 1999, 2000 2.5L V6 Sebring, Avenger, Cirrus, Stratus)

Testing the throttle position sensor (TPS) is not hard. In this tutorial I'll explain how to do it with just a multimeter.

The TPS diagnostic tests are explained in a step-by-step way and in plain English. You'll be able to find out if it's defective (or not) in three simple multimeter tests.

This TPS tutorial applies to:

  1. 1998, 1999, 2000 2.5L (H) V6 Chrysler Sebring Convertible.
  2. 1998, 1999, 2000 2.5L (N) V6 Chrysler Sebring Coupe.
  3. 1998, 1999, 2000 2.5L (H) V6 Chrysler Cirrus.
  4. 1998, 1999, 2000 2.5L (H) V6 Dodge Avenger.
  5. 1998, 1999, 2000 2.5L (H) V6 Dodge Stratus.

The contents of this tutorial at a glance:

  1. Symptoms Of A Bad Throttle Position Sensor.
  2. TEST 1: Testing The TPS Voltage Signal.
  3. TEST 2: Verifying The TPS Has Power.
  4. TEST 3: Verifying The TPS Has Ground.
  5. TPS Circuit Diagram 2.5L (H).
  6. TPS Circuit Diagram 2.5L (N).
  7. Where To Buy Your Throttle Position Sensor And Save.
  8. More 2.5L V6 Chrysler Diagnostic Tutorials.

Symptoms Of A Bad Throttle Position Sensor

The one thing you can count on, when the TPS fails, is the check engine light (CEL) shining nice and bright on your Chrysler/Dodge's instrument cluster.

You're gonna' see one of the following trouble codes:

  1. A TPS diagnostic trouble code (DTC) stored in the PCM's memory:
    1. P0121: Throttle Position (TP) Circuit Performance Problem.
    2. P0122: Throttle Position (TP) Circuit Low Input.
    3. P0123: Throttle Position (TP) Circuit High Input.

You're also gonna' see one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Your vehicle fails the smog check (state mandated emissions test).
  2. Bad gas mileage.
  3. Hard start and/or extended cranking time (after shut off).
  4. Black smoke coming out of the tailpipe.
  5. Hesitation when accelerating your vehicle down the road.

Thankfully, the TPS can be tested without a scan tool and in the next section we'll start with the very first test.

Which 2.5L Engine Does My Vehicle Have?

The color of the wires of the TP sensor depend on what 2.5L engine your vehicle uses.

In a nutshell, your vehicle will have a 2.5L (H) engine or a 2.5L (N) engine.

You can easily find out by checking the 8th VIN of your Chrysler/Dodge. The following guide will be helpful too:

2.5L (H) engine is used on the following vehicles:

  1. 1998, 1999, 2000 Chrysler Sebring Convertible.
  2. 1998, 1999, 2000 Chrysler Cirrus.
  3. 1998, 1999, 2000 Dodge Stratus.

2.5L (N) engine is used on the following vehicles:

  1. 1998, 1999, 2000 Chrysler Sebring Coupe.
  2. 1998, 1999, 2000 Dodge Avenger.

For further details, you can check out the circuit diagrams at the end of this tutorial: TPS Circuit Diagram 2.5L (H) and TPS Circuit Diagram 2.5L (N).

TEST 1: Testing The TPS Voltage Signal

Testing The TPS Voltage Signal. How To Test The Throttle Position Sensor (1998, 1999, 2000 2.5L V6 Sebring, Avenger, Cirrus, Stratus)

The wire that outputs the throttle position signal the TPS creates is:

  1. 2.5L (H) engine: Orange with dark blue stripe (ORG/DK BLU).
  2. 2.5L (N) engine: Brown with red stripe (BRN/RED).

The arrow with the number 2 points to the TP signal output wire in the photo above.

In this test section, we're gonna' connect a multimeter to the throttle position signal wire and see if the TPS is creating a voltage signal that increases/decreases as we manually open/close the throttle plate.

IMPORTANT: The throttle position sensor has to remain connected to its connector for this test to work. You'll need to use a back probe or a wire piercing probe to access the voltage signal inside the wire. You can see an example of the wire piercing probe here: Wire Piercing Probe Review (Power Probe PWPPPPP01).

OK, let's get testing:

  1. 1

    Place your multimeter in Volts DC mode and connect the red test lead to the ORG/DK BLU (or BRN/RED) wire of the TP sensor harness connector.

  2. 2

    Ground the black multimeter lead directly on the battery negative (-) post.

  3. 3

    Turn the key on but don't crank or start the engine. This will power up the TPS.

  4. 4

    Manually rotate the throttle.

    You'll get the best results by opening and closing the throttle directly on the throttle body instead of stepping on the accelerator pedal.

  5. 5

    The multimeter should show an increasing voltage as you (or your helper) open up the throttle.

    You'll get the best results by opening and closing the throttle directly on the throttle body instead of stepping on the accelerator pedal.

  6. 6

    The multimeter should show a decreasing voltage as you begin to close the throttle.

  7. 7

    Using a screwdriver's handle, gently tap the TP sensor as you open and close the throttle and observer the multimeter.

    The purpose (of tapping the TP sensor with the screwdriver's handle) is to see if the TP sensor shows gap's in the voltage signal. Why? Because a good TP sensor will show a continuous increasing or decreasing voltage signal even while getting tapped by the screw-driver's handle.

Let's take a look at your test results:

CASE 1: The TP voltage signal increased/decreased as indicated in the test steps. This is the correct and expected test result and let's you know that the TPS is working correctly (not defective).

CASE 2: The TP voltage signal DID NOT increase/decrease as indicated in the test steps. This usually tells you that the TPS is defective. To be absolutely sure, the next steps are to make sure that the TPS is getting power and Ground.

The next step is to check the violet with white stripe wire for 5 Volts. Go to: TEST 2: Verifying Throttle Position Sensor Has Power.

CASE 3: The TP voltage signal was 0 Volts DC. This usually means that the TPS is not getting power.

The next step is to check that the TPS is getting power. Go to: TEST 2: Verifying Throttle Position Sensor Has Power.