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Old 06-16-2008, 05:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How-To: Replace Power Steering Pressure Sensor

Hey guys I had this problem over the weekend and after searching on forum info was poor at best. Here is what I have found. This sensor is used by all the dodge cars that use this platform and this seems to be a common problem. The process is pretty simple.

First off this code will only come up when you are traveling at 50mph or higher and engine coolant is 86F and above.

The 0551 code will only come on for two reasons. bad sensor or something is actually wrong with the power steering system.

In my case, I wasn't having any indications that i was having a real problem. After reading in the service manual, one of the jobs of this sensor is to maintain idle when steering (like maneuvering in a parking lot) it tells the pcm to up the idle so the car doesn't bog down. Well I never thought anything of it but my car would bog down if i was setting still and moving the steering wheel. I replaced the pressure switch and it fixed it.

The pressure switch can be bought from Autozone for about 28 bucks (part#PS399). I called napa and O'riely and they do not have it. You can also get it from your dealer or from RockAuto Parts Catalog (under switches).

So you will need the switch, power steering fluid, 7/8" deep well socket, extension longer then 8" long, jack, jack stands, something to catch the fluid, and some rags.
  1. Jack the car up on the driver side, enough for you to get under it
  2. crawl under behind the front tire and look about the crossmember you will see the pump and a sensor coming straight out toward you(see picture below)
  3. unplug sensor(its bitch due to the lack of space)
  4. get your oil catching container ready and use your socket wrench to unscrew the sensor(the deep socket allows you to go over the connector)
  5. let as much fluid drain as you want. Make sure the old rubber o ring came off with the old sensor and install new sensor BY HAND.
  6. Tighten new sensor but be careful not to over tighten to damage the sensor or worse the pump.
  7. Take your time and clean all the old fluid off car. the cleaner you get it will help you know if you have a leak
  8. reconnect the sensor
  9. lower the car back off the jacks and fill the power steering pump back up.
  10. start the car and go from lock to lock on the wheel. Turn off motor and recheck fluid level.
  11. After the fluid has reached the full mark let the car run and look under to see if you seeing anything leaking.
  12. I turned the car off and rejacked the car up and checked to be sure.
  13. reset the code and take a 30 minute highway cruise to see if the problem is fixed.

Here is a picture of the sensor from the service manual


Here is the two pages from the service manual for deeper trouble shooting of the switch and wiring and a little more details of what I just went over.

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Old 06-21-2008, 01:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for this write-up! I have this code periodically and the PSS seems fine, I'll try the sensor, hopefully this takes care of the code.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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could someone possibly take a pic of what exactly your talking about.
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Old 06-21-2008, 09:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have witnessed this code a couple times at the roadcourse. both times, 2 different cars, topped off the PS fluid and the code has yet to come back almost a year later
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote: Originally Posted by bordeniuk View Post
could someone possibly take a pic of what exactly your talking about.

the first picture i posted is a really good one. Although its a line drawing, if you were to jack the car up and look above the cross member behind the front driver side wheel you would see the pump and the switch staring at you in the face.
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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well i think i know what sensor it is if its the right one mine is leaking, you think this could be a problem i havent had a CEL, but my afrs do act retarded when im turning at idle or pulling into a parking space
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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well with mine, the extra load the motor gets when moving the steering wheel at idle, the motor would bog down. this sensor is suppose to idle up the car to counter act the lower rpm/load of the power steering. After I installed the new sensor this problem went away.

If yours is leaking i would replace it, the pressure switch may not be seeing the real pressure due to the leak.

This sensor has a rubber O-ring, which could be damaged in your case.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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thank you!! i have been havin that check engine for weeks thinking it was just a minor technicallity until i got the service code checked. For 28 bucks it was definatly worth it.
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm hoping to help as well as get a little help. I have some pictures that might be of assistance.

Here is a picture of where the power steering pressure (PSP) switch should be (I don't have one installed):


Here's a pin out for the connector:


And here's the wiring diagram for the PSP switch:



Now comes my issue. I swapped a 2004 SRT-4 engine, computer, and harness into my 2005 SXT. I'm getting CEL code P0551 because the power steering gear doesn't have a hole drilled to install the switch. I am curious if I can just jumper between Pin 1 and Pin 2 on the gray connector and make the code go away. Anybody have any inputs?
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wow, that's a good question actually. I'm sure you could probably try jumping them. Give it a shot...what do you have to lose? I really don't know the answer to tell ya the truth. But here is a free bump for you.
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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is this the right sensor ?

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Old 08-31-2009, 10:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is this the right sensor?

Pretty sure you're looking at the Evap/Purge Solenoid, phs17. That regulates the rate of vapor flow from the Evap canister to the throttle body. The solenoid is operated by the PCM.

If you're looking for the power steering pressure switch, you're pretty close. you just need to look on the other side (rear side) of the steering rack. If you scoot back a few inches, just aft of the crossmember, you'll be looking at the rear of the steering rack.

Last edited by snarp98; 08-31-2009 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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thanks man. yea i figured it out earlier lol took me 30min just to find the damn thing but i founnt it and got rid of the code thanks man
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I will be swapping mine next week
Of course maybe ill jsut check the power steering fluid since it may be something that simple
I got the code about 2 months ago driving home from work on the highway
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:23 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Very happy I found this thread.
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