TEST 2: Making Sure The MAP Sensor Is Getting 5 Volts

Making Sure The MAP Sensor Is Getting 5 Volts. How To Test The MAP Sensor (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 3.8L V6 Grand Caravan, Town And Country, Grand Voyager)

Like any other electrical component on your minivan, the MAP sensor needs power and Ground to function.

In this test section we're going to make sure that the pink with yellow stripe (PNK/YEL) wire is providing the sensor with 5 Volts.

If 5 Volts are being supplied to the sensor, then we can move on to the next test, which is making sure that it's getting Ground.

In the photo above, I've labeled the PNK/YEL wire with the number 3.

IMPORTANT: On some of the 2001-2004 3.8L Chrysler/Dodge mini-vans, the wire that supplies 5 Volts to the MAP sensor is an orange with pink stripe (ORG/PNK) wire.

These are the test steps:

  1. 1

    Place your multimeter in Volts DC mode.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the MAP sensor from its electrical connector.

  3. 3

    Gently probe the terminal that connects to the PNK/YEL with the red multimeter test lead.

    NOTE: Be careful and don't damage the female terminal. I recommend using a back probe on the connector or a wire piercing probe on the wire.

  4. 4

    Connect the black multimeter test lead to the negative (-) battery terminal.

  5. 5

    Have a helper turn the key on but don't start the engine.

  6. 6

    The multimeter should display 4.5 to 5 Volts on its screen.

Let's examine your test result:

CASE 1: The multimeter registered 4.5 to 5 Volts. This is the correct test result.

Now that you have confirmed that the MAP sensor is getting power. the next step is to make sure that it is getting Ground. For this test go to: TEST 3: Making Sure The MAP Sensor Is Getting Ground.

CASE 2: The multimeter DID NOT register 4.5 to 5 Volts. Without these 5 Volts the manifold absolute pressure sensor will not function.

The two most likely reasons for this are:

  1. An open-circuit problem in the wire between the connector and the fuel injection computer.
  2. The fuel injection computer may be fried internally (very rare).

Altho' it's beyond the scope of this tutorial to test these two conditions, you have now eliminated the manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor on your 3.8L V6 Chrysler (Dodge, Plymouth) mini-van as being the cause of the problem and/or the MAP sensor diagnostic trouble code (DTC) lighting up the check engine light (CEL).

TEST 3: Making Sure The MAP Sensor Is Getting Ground

Making Sure The MAP Sensor Is Getting Ground. How To Test The MAP Sensor (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 3.8L V6 Grand Caravan, Town And Country, Grand Voyager)

If you've reached this point, the test results of TEST 1 and TEST 2 have confirmed that:

  1. The MAP sensor is not producing a decreasing/increasing voltage as you applied/released vacuum to it.
  2. The MAP sensor is getting 5 Volts from the pink with yellow stripe (PNK/YEL) wire.

In this last test section we're going to make sure that the dark blue with dark green (DK BLU/DK GRN) wire is providing the manifold absolute pressure sensor with Ground.

In the photo above, I have identified the DK BLU/DK GRN wire with the number 2.

IMPORTANT: If you probe the front of the female terminal, probe it very gently with your multimeter test leads. Or you run the risk of damaging the terminal.

CAUTION: The fuel injection computer provides Ground for the MAP sensor. Be careful and don't short the wire to battery 12 Volts or you'll fry the computer. The multimeter voltage test I'm suggesting is a safe way to test for Ground in this wire.

Let's get testing:

  1. 1

    Place your multimeter in Volts DC mode.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the MAP sensor from its electrical connector.

  3. 3

    Gently probe the female terminal that connects to the wire labeled number 2 in the photo above with the black multimeter test lead.

    This is the terminal that belongs to the dark blue with dark green (DK BLU/DK GRN) wire of the MAP sensor's 3-wire connector.

    NOTE: Be careful and don't damage the female terminal. I recommend using a back probe on the connector or a wire piercing probe on the wire.

  4. 4

    Connect the red multimeter test lead to the battery positive (+) terminal.

  5. 5

    Have your helper turn the key on but don't start the engine.

  6. 6

    Your multimeter should display 10 to 12 Volts if Ground is present.

Let's examine your test result:

CASE 1: The multimeter showed 10 to 12 Volts. This is the correct test result and tells you that the fuel injection computer and the wire/circuit (that supply this Ground) are OK.

This multimeter test result also confirms that the MAP sensor is bad and needs to be replaced if you have confirmed:

  1. That the MAP voltage signal does not decrease when you apply vacuum to the MAP sensor (TEST 1).
  2. That the PNK/YEL wire is supplying 5 Volts DC (TEST 2).
  3. That the DK BLU/DK GRN wire is supplying Ground.

If you need to buy a new MAP sensor, check out my MAP sensor recommendations here: Where To Buy The MAP Sensor And Save.

CASE 2: The multimeter DID NOT show 10 to 12 Volts. This test result indicates a problem with either the PCM (internal fault/problem) or an open in the wire between the MAP sensor and the PCM itself.

Altho' testing these two conditions are beyond the scope of this tutorial, you have now eliminated the MAP sensor on your 3.8L V6 Chrysler (Dodge Plymouth) mini-van as being the cause of the problem and/or the MAP sensor diagnostic trouble code (DTC) lighting up the check engine light (CEL).

MAP Sensor Code Won't Go Away

Nothing is more frustrating than replacing the MAP sensor (and erasing the trouble code) and then having the MAP sensor code come back during your road test.

Why does it happen? Usually because the MAP sensor is just reporting the effect that a problematic mechanical condition is having on the engine's ability to create vacuum inside the intake manifold.

Here are a few suggestions on what to check (if this is what's happening in your specific situation):

  1. Check the MAP sensor's O-ring. There's a good chance that the o-ring on the MAP sensor's vacuum inlet nipple (the part that goes into the intake manifold to sense the vacuum) is torn, missing or distorted. When this happens, ambient air will leak into the intake manifold and skew the MAP sensor's readings.
  2. Check engine compression. Worn or damaged cylinder head valves or piston rings will cause the engine to produce erratic and low vacuum readings that can fool the fuel injection computer into thinking the MAP sensor is bad.
  3. The MAP sensor is failing intermittently. Which means that it works fine most of the time, but every now and then it doesn't:
    1. I have found that the best way to test these intermittent failures is to slightly tap the MAP sensor with the handle of a screw-driver and see if this tapping screws up the voltage readings as I apply vacuum.
  4. Check the MAP sensor's connector. See if the MAP sensor connector is broken (this could be causing an intermittent open-circuit or short-circuit problem in the MAP signal wire). This usually happens when the MAP sensor's electrical connector's locking tab has broken.
  5. Check the fuel pump's pressure with a fuel pressure test gauge. The second most common cause of a MAP sensor code is a lean air/fuel mixture caused by a failing fuel pump. Most of the time a fuel pump will fail completely and the engine won't start, but not always. The fuel pump can slowly fail and not send enough fuel to keep the engine humming along nicely. To check for this, I recommend a fuel pressure test.
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Chrysler Vehicles:

  • Town & Country 3.8L
    • 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

Dodge Vehicles:

  • Grand Caravan 3.8L
    • 2001, 2002, 2003