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Chrysler ECU Computer Code 11

by Bob O'Neill and Bob Lincoln

Summary and Diagnostics:

The engine has not cranked since the battery was disconnected. The power limited light will not light and limp mode does not apply. This code shows up when the computer has been reset and the engine has not cranked or, if cranked no signal was received from the ignition sensor (Hall Effect Pickup, or HEP). If the HEP fails it will not throw a code. To test for a bad HEP reset the computer and try to start the engine. Code 11 will also present if the computer has been reset and the timing belt is broken.

Possible reasons for Code 11

ECU Lost Battery Power - Code 11 indicates that the ECU has lost power. This could be caused by something simple like the battery being disconnected and the ECU has not seen a signal from the engine to indicate that the engine has turned over or an attempt to start it. The code 11 would NOT be present if the engine has started since the battery was disconnected or since the ECU lost power. Another possibility would be that there is no signal from the ignition sensor. This sensor has been called the 'distributor pick-up' sensor or 'Hall Effect Pickup' (aka HEP).

Poor connection or bad wiring - Read 'How to troubleshoot drivability issues'.

  • Because the HEP receives power and sends a signal to the ECU, if there is no signal from the HEP, code 11 can be thrown.
  • If the wiring and connections between the HEP (located underneath the distributer cap) and the logic module are faulty, code 11 can be thrown. For TBI cars there is one connector and for Turbo cars there are two connectors at the ends of wires from the HEP (one for ignition and one for fuel injection signals). These connect to the harness and the ECU. Check for continuity (a good circuit) at the connectors.

The HEP is a magnetic sensor which charges when the shutter plate is not present in the gap, and produces a voltage. When the shutter plate enters the gap as the distributor turns, the signal is disrupted and the ECU grounds the primary coil circuit, which fires the plugs.

If there is no continuity in the Hall Effect sensor as the distributor shutter passes through the gap, then either the HEP is bad or the connections at the end of the wires have broken. It 'may' be possible to repair them if that's the case. You'll have to solder the wire to the right pin of the connector to repair it. Otherwise the HEP will have to be replaced. When you reconnect the HEP connectors to the harness, be sure to use dielectric grease on the connector to prevent corrosion and shorts.

Hall Effect Pickup or timing belt failure - Code 11 will not show up if the HEP fails or if the engine fails to start. To see if the HEP is bad, disconnect the battery and try to restart the engine. If after a failed attempt to restart the engine code 11 is present, either the HEP has failed or the timing belt is broken. If the timing belt is broken, the distributor will not turn while the engine is cranking (from the starter) and code 11 will not be erased when the starter is run.

The good news on timing belt breakage is that 2.2 and 2.5 liter engines are "non-interference" designs, which means that there is usually no damage resulting from a broken timing belt. (There are times when an engine can be badly damaged even with this design, so change your timing belt on schedule. But now you know why Chrysler's schedule is so much longer than many competitors, and some of their newer cars). The bad news is that you need a new timing belt; generally it makes sense to replace the tensioner and water pump at the same time.

For TBI engines, there is one wire and a three prong connector coming from the HEP. This is the ignition reference sensor/signal. For turbo engines there are two wires and three prong connectors coming from the HEP. One is the ignition reference sensor and the other is the fuel injector sync sensor cables. These often get pinched where they exit from the sensor and under the distributor cap. Care must be taken when replacing the distributor cap as to not pinch these wires between the Hall Effect pickup (HEP) and cap. When you replace the HEP, be sure the cables are clipped or tied to the distributor cap shroud (or elsewhere) so they do not get knocked.

Related: Hall Effect / Ignition Reference Sensor | Fuel Injector Sync

Sensors, Switches, and Other Systems | Main Repairs Page | EEKs

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