P020C Cylinder 3 injection time
OBD2 Error Codes

P020C Cylinder 3 injection time

P020C Cylinder 3 injection time

OBD-II DTC Datasheet

Injection time cylinder 3

What does this mean?

This Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) is a generic transmission code, which means it applies to most OBD-II equipped vehicles, including but not limited to VW Volkswagen, Dodge, Ram, Kia, Chevrolet, GMC, Jaguar, Ford, Jeep, Chrysler, Nissan, etc. Despite the general nature, the exact repair steps may vary depending on the make / model.

A stored code P020C means the powertrain control module (PCM) has detected a malfunction in the injection timing circuit for a specific engine cylinder. In this case, we are talking about the third cylinder. Consult a reliable vehicle information source to find out the exact location of the third cylinder of the vehicle that stored the P020C.

In my experience, the P020C code is stored exclusively in vehicles equipped with diesel engines. Today's clean combustion (direct injection) diesel engines require extreme fuel pressure.

Because of this high fuel pressure, only qualified personnel should attempt to diagnose or repair the high pressure fuel system.

When pump injectors are used, the injection pump is driven by the engine timing chain and is synchronized according to the position of the crankshaft and camshaft. Every time the crankshaft and camshaft of the engine reach a certain point, the injection pump gives a pulse; resulting in excessive (up to 35,000 psi) fuel pressure.

Common Rail direct injection systems are synchronized with a common high pressure fuel rail and individual solenoids for each cylinder. In this type of application, a PCM or standalone diesel injection controller is used to control the timing of the injectors.

Changes in valve timing and / or crankshaft timing alert the PCM to inconsistencies at certain cylinder injection points and request a stored P020C code. Some vehicles may require multiple Fault Ignition Cycles to store this type of code and illuminate the Malfunction Indicator Lamp.

Corresponding injection timing codes include cylinders 1 to 12: P020A, P020B, P020C, P020D, P020E, P020F, P021A, P021B, P021C, P021D, P021E, and P021F.

Code severity and symptoms

All regulations relating to the high pressure fuel injection system must be considered stringent and urgently addressed.

Symptoms of a P020C engine code may include:

  • Engine misfire, sagging or stumbling
  • General insufficient engine power
  • Characteristic diesel smell.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency


Possible causes for this P020C code include:

  • Defective fuel injection solenoid
  • Open or short circuit of the wiring and / or connectors in the fuel injector control circuit
  • Bad fuel injector
  • Engine timing component malfunction
  • Malfunction of the crankshaft or camshaft position sensor (or circuit)

Diagnostic and repair procedures

I will need a diagnostic scanner, digital volt / ohmmeter (DVOM) and a reliable source of vehicle information to diagnose the P020C code.

Begin by visually inspecting the high pressure fuel system components and wiring harnesses. Look for signs of fuel leaks and damaged wiring or connectors.

Check the Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) that pertain to the vehicle, symptoms and codes / codes. If such a TSB is found, it will provide very useful information for diagnosing this code.

Now I would connect the scanner to the car diagnostic port and get all stored DTCs and freeze data. I like to write this information down as it can be helpful as the diagnosis progresses. I would then clear the codes and test drive the car to see if the code is cleared. If the crankshaft sensor and / or camshaft position sensor codes are stored, diagnose and repair them before attempting to diagnose the injector timing code.

If the code is reset:

If the vehicle in question is equipped with a common rail injection system, use the DVOM and vehicle information source to check the injector solenoid for the respective cylinder. Any component that does not meet manufacturer's specifications must be replaced before proceeding. After repairing/replacing suspicious parts, clear any codes that may have been stored during testing and test drive the vehicle until the PCM enters Ready Mode or the code is cleared. If the PCM does go into ready mode, then the repair was successful. If the code is reset, we can assume that the problem is still there.

If the injector solenoid is within specification, disconnect the controller and use the DVOM to test the system circuits for a short or open circuit. Repair or replace system circuits that do not meet manufacturer's specifications according to the pinout located in your vehicle information source.

A malfunctioning unit injector can almost always be associated with a failure of an engine timing component or some kind of leakage from the high pressure fuel system.

  • P020C should only be diagnosed by a qualified technician due to excessive fuel pressure.
  • Determine what type of high pressure fuel system the vehicle is equipped with before starting diagnostics.

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Need more help with a P020C code?

If you still need help with DTC P020C, post a question in the comments below this article.

NOTE. This information is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a repair recommendation and we are not responsible for any action you take on any vehicle. All information on this site is protected by copyright.

One comment

  • Jose

    well, my car is a jeep grand cherokee 3.0 crd 241hp and I get the engine and cylinder 1 injection synchronization fault almost always and now after changing the crankshaft sensor I also get cylinder 5 and 3 with the same fault, so I have 3 identical cylinders and when it runs for a while the fault goes away and it comes back out after a while always with the engine fault light on

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