Dodge Journey: Description - monitored systems

There are new electronic circuit monitors that check fuel, emission, engine and ignition performance. These monitors use information from various sensor circuits to indicate the overall operation of the fuel, engine, ignition and emission systems and thus the emissions performance of the vehicle.

The fuel, engine, ignition and emission systems monitors do not indicate a specific component problem. They do indicate that there is an implied problem within one of the systems and that a specific problem must be diagnosed.

If any of these monitors detect a problem affecting vehicle emissions, the Malfunction Indicator (Check Engine) Lamp will be illuminated. These monitors generate Diagnostic Trouble Codes that can be displayed with the a scan tool.

The following is a list of the system monitors:

  • EGR Monitor (if equipped)
  • Misfire Monitor
  • Fuel System Monitor
  • Oxygen Sensor Monitor
  • Oxygen Sensor Heater Monitor
  • Catalyst Monitor
  • Evaporative System Leak Detection Monitor (if equipped)

Following is a description of each system monitor, and its DTC.

OXYGEN SENSOR (O2S) MONITOR

Effective control of exhaust emissions is achieved by an oxygen feedback system. The most important element of the feedback system is the O2S. The O2S is located in the exhaust path. Once it reaches operating temperatures of 300º to 350ºC (572º to 662ºF), the sensor generates a voltage that is inversely proportional to the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. The information obtained by the sensor is used to calculate the fuel injector pulse width. The PCM is programmed to maintain the optimum air/fuel ratio. At this mixture ratio, the catalyst works best to remove hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrous oxide (NOx) from the exhaust.

The O2S is also the main sensing element for the EGR (if equipped), Catalyst and Fuel Monitors.

The O2S may fail in any or all of the following manners:

  • Slow response rate
  • Reduced output voltage
  • Dynamic shift
  • Shorted or open circuits

Response rate is the time required for the sensor to switch from lean to rich once it is exposed to a richer than optimum A/F mixture or vice versa. As the sensor starts malfunctioning, it could take longer to detect the changes in the oxygen content of the exhaust gas.

The output voltage of the O2S ranges from 0 to 1 volt (voltages are offset by 2.5 volts on NGC vehicles). A good sensor can easily generate any output voltage in this range as it is exposed to different concentrations of oxygen. To detect a shift in the A/F mixture (lean or rich), the output voltage has to change beyond a threshold value. A malfunctioning sensor could have difficulty changing beyond the threshold value.

OXYGEN SENSOR HEATER MONITOR

If there is an oxygen sensor (O2S) DTC as well as a O2S heater DTC, the O2S heater fault MUST be repaired first. After the O2S fault is repaired, verify that the heater circuit is operating correctly.

Effective control of exhaust emissions is achieved by an oxygen feedback system. The most important element of the feedback system is the O2S. The O2S is located in the exhaust path. Once it reaches operating temperatures of 300º to 350ºC (572 º to 662ºF), the sensor generates a voltage that is inversely proportional to the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. The information obtained by the sensor is used to calculate the fuel injector pulse width. This maintains a 14.7 to 1 Air Fuel (A/F) ratio. At this mixture ratio, the catalyst works best to remove hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) from the exhaust.

The voltage readings taken from the O2S are very temperature sensitive. The readings are not accurate below 300ºC. Heating of the O2S is done to allow the engine controller to shift to closed loop control as soon as possible. The heating element used to heat the O2S must be tested to ensure that it is heating the sensor properly.

The O2S circuit is monitored for a drop in voltage. The sensor output is used to test the heater by isolating the effect of the heater element on the O2S output voltage from the other effects.

EGR MONITOR (if equipped)

The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) performs an on-board diagnostic check of the EGR system.

The EGR monitor is used to test whether the EGR system is operating within specifications. The diagnostic check activates only during selected engine/driving conditions. When the conditions are met, the EGR is turned off (solenoid energized) and the O2S compensation control is monitored. Turning off the EGR shifts the air fuel (A/F) ratio in the lean direction. The O2S data should indicate an increase in the O2 concentration in the combustion chamber when the exhaust gases are no longer recirculated. While this test does not directly measure the operation of the EGR system, it can be inferred from the shift in the O2S data whether the EGR system is operating correctly. Because the O2S is being used, the O2S test must pass its test before the EGR test. Also looks at EGR linear potentiometer for feedback.

MISFIRE MONITOR

Excessive engine misfire results in increased catalyst temperature and causes an increase in HC emissions.

Severe misfires could cause catalyst damage. To prevent catalytic convertor damage, the PCM monitors engine misfire.

The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) monitors for misfire during most engine operating conditions (positive torque) by looking at changes in the crankshaft speed. If a misfire occurs the speed of the crankshaft will vary more than normal.

The PCM can detect and compensate for variances in the engine and its components. To learn these variations, the PCM uses the input of the actual crankshaft rotation pattern and ideal crankshaft rotation pattern that has been calibrated into the PCM. The PCM then compares the two patterns. The variation between the two values is the Adaptive Numerator. If the Adaptive Numerator is not learned by the PCM, the misfire monitor will not run and the Multi-Cylinder Displacement System (MDS) will not operate. Without MDS operation, the customer will experience decreased fuel economy. If the customer experiences decrease fuel economy, use the scan tool to ensure that the Adaptive Numerator is learned.

FUEL SYSTEM MONITOR

To comply with clean air regulations, vehicles are equipped with catalytic converters. These converters reduce the emission of hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide. The catalyst works best when the air fuel (A/F) ratio is at or near the optimum of 14.7 to 1.

The PCM is programmed to maintain the optimum air/fuel ratio. This is done by making short term corrections in the fuel injector pulse width based on the O2S output. The programmed memory acts as a self calibration tool that the engine controller uses to compensate for variations in engine specifications, sensor tolerances and engine fatigue over the life span of the engine. By monitoring the actual air-fuel ratio with the O2S (short term) and multiplying that with the program long-term (adaptive) memory and comparing that to the limit, it can be determined whether it will pass an emissions test. If a malfunction occurs such that the PCM cannot maintain the optimum A/F ratio, then the MIL will be illuminated.

CATALYST MONITOR

To comply with clean air regulations, vehicles are equipped with catalytic converters. These converters reduce the emission of hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide.

Normal vehicle miles or engine misfire can cause a catalyst to decay. A meltdown of the ceramic core can cause a reduction of the exhaust passage. This can increase vehicle emissions and deteriorate engine performance, driveability and fuel economy.

The catalyst monitor uses dual oxygen sensors (O2S's) to monitor the efficiency of the converter. The dual O2S's strategy is based on the fact that as a catalyst deteriorates, its oxygen storage capacity and its efficiency are both reduced. By monitoring the oxygen storage capacity of a catalyst, its efficiency can be indirectly calculated. The upstream O2S is used to detect the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gas before the gas enters the catalytic converter. The PCM calculates the A/F mixture from the output of the O2S. A low voltage indicates high oxygen content (lean mixture). A high voltage indicates a low content of oxygen (rich mixture).

When the upstream O2S detects a lean condition, there is an abundance of oxygen in the exhaust gas. A functioning converter would store this oxygen so it can use it for the oxidation of HC and CO. As the converter absorbs the oxygen, there will be a lack of oxygen downstream of the converter. The output of the downstream O2S will indicate limited activity in this condition.

As the converter loses the ability to store oxygen, the condition can be detected from the behavior of the downstream O2S. When the efficiency drops, no chemical reaction takes place. This means the concentration of oxygen will be the same downstream as upstream. The output voltage of the downstream O2S copies the voltage of the upstream sensor. The only difference is a time lag (seen by the PCM) between the switching of the O2S's.

To monitor the system, the number of lean-to-rich switches of upstream and downstream O2S's is counted. The ratio of downstream switches to upstream switches is used to determine whether the catalyst is operating properly. An effective catalyst will have fewer downstream switches than it has upstream switches i.e., a ratio closer to zero. For a totally ineffective catalyst, this ratio will be one-to-one, indicating that no oxidation occurs in the device.

The system must be monitored so that when catalyst efficiency deteriorates and exhaust emissions increase to over the legal limit, the MIL (Check Engine lamp) will be illuminated.

EVAPORATIVE SYSTEM LEAK DETECTION MONITOR (if equipped)

The ESIM (Evaporative System Integrity Monitor) is the next generation evaporative leak detection system that is used on vehicles equipped with either the Next Generation Controller (NGC) or Global Powertrain Engine Controller (GPEC). The operation of this monitor is similar to the Natural Vacuum Leak Detection (NVLD) system it replaces. A leak detection pump is no longer required and the system is able to detect a leak equivalent to a 0.020" (0.5 mm) hole.

The basic leak detection theory employed with ESIM is the "Gas Law". This is to say that the pressure in a sealed vessel will change if the temperature of the gas in the vessel changes. The vessel will only see this effect if it is indeed sealed. Even small leaks will allow the pressure in the vessel to come to equilibrium with the ambient pressure. In addition to the detection of very small leaks, this system has the capability of detecting medium as well as large evaporative system leaks.

The ESIM seals the canister vent during engine off conditions. If the EVAP system has a leak of less than the failure threshold, the evaporative system will be pulled into a vacuum, either due to the cool down from operating temperature or diurnal ambient temperature cycling. The diurnal effect is considered one of the primary contributors to the leak determination by this diagnostic. When the vacuum in the system exceeds about 1" H2O (0.25 KPA), a vacuum switch closes. The switch closure sends a signal to the powertrain module. The module, via appropriate logic strategies, utilizes the switch signal, or lack thereof, to make a determination of whether a leak is present.

HIGH AND LOW LIMITS

The PCM compares input signal voltages from each input device with established high and low limits for the device. If the input voltage is not within limits and other criteria are met, the PCM stores a diagnostic trouble code in memory. Other diagnostic trouble code criteria might include engine RPM limits or input voltages from other sensors or switches that must be present before verifying a diagnostic trouble code condition.

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