As I was driving to work today, the car was running smoothly then suddenly the engine light came on and the engine died. The codes were p0016 and p0420. When I tried to restart, it just cranks. Any ideas?
To add, the car is a touring edition, non-turbo.
Sorry to hear she died. The 0016 is the cam position sensor problem. The 0420 is a catylitic converter problem. Right now, I would forget that one.
How many miles do you have on her right now? Is it above 90,000 miles and if the timing belt has not been changed, first thing is to check it. I had mine break, but instead of breaking, it sheared the cogs on the inside of the belt and I thought it was OK, so, if you pop the hood, on the passenger side of the engine there is a cover that is rounded on the end with a hole about the size of your thumb. You can look into the hole and see two big gears. Have a friend turn the engine over and look into the hole for a couple seconds and see if the two gears rotate. If they don't, time for a new timing belt. The good news is, even though it is supposed to be done every 100,000 miles, there is rarely any damage done to the inside of the engine valves. If both the gears do full rotations when you look in there, not just a little bit of jiggling, then it will be time to change the cam sensor, which is located on the driver's side of the engine, about the size of an oreo and located on the flat of the head below the valve cover. Do not use anything but a dealer part. I had a NAPA cam sensor end up costing me roughly $800 trying to diagnose a problem it said I had but didn't have because of the material it was made out of, so do a Mopar (Chrysler) sensor only, the extra $10 over aftermarket parts store price could have saved me a whole lot of money.
Either cam or crank sensor may cause P0016, but the code is actually a cam/crank misalignment or a timing relationship error code (meaning that the timing belt has probably jumped or failed). This would cause the no-start.
The 2.4L is not a piston-to-valve interference engine, but a rare valve-to-valve interference could occur if everything stops in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have never seen one damaged from this.
It is likely in need of a routine timing belt/idler pulley/water pump replacement.
The P0420 catalytic converter code may be real, but I usually note and erase the code on the first occurrence to see if it comes back a 2nd time. The cat has an 8 yr/80K mile extended federal emissions warranty if there is any chance that you may still be under that. The P0420 code needs to be in the PCM memory for the dealer to see it, so don't erase the 'ck eng' light before taking it to them.
Less expensive aftermarket 'direct-fit' converters are the best way to go if you aren't covered. The state of California does not recognize aftermarket converters.