P0936 – Hydraulic pressure sensor -circuit intermittent

By Benjamin Jerew (Contact Me)
Last Updated 2016-08-14
ASE Master Tech

Trouble CodeFault LocationProbable Cause
P0936 Hydraulic pressure sensor -circuit intermittent Wiring, poor connection, hydraulic pressure sensor, ECM/PCM/TCM

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What Does Code P0936 Mean?

Unlike manual transmissions, which the driver manually selects gears, automatic transmissions shift gears by switching hydraulic circuits to engage and disengage different gearsets. In fully-automatic transmissions, this can occurs without any driver input other than the accelerator pedal. On the other hand, automated-manual, and some automatic and dual-clutch transmissions enable the driver to change gears via push-button without the need for a clutch. The hydraulic pressure is generated in the transmission pump and then distributed to the rest of the transmission via a series of valves, which can be both hydraulically and electronically controlled. Electronically-controlled valves are modulated and monitored by the transmission control module (TCM), which may be integrated into the engine control module (ECM).
Depending on driver demand and engine and transmission loading conditions, hydraulic pressure needs to be adjusted. For example, on light acceleration, one would expect the transmission to shift smoothly, perhaps imperceptibly. On the other hand, on hard acceleration, one would expect a firmer shift quality. In these two cases, pressure being lower or higher is automatically modulated by the hydraulic pressure control solenoid, also called the line pressure control valve. The ECM monitors hydraulic pressure via the line pressure sensor (LPS), making continual adjustments in line pressure control (LPC) solenoid duty cycle as needed to achieve the pressure needed for specific driving conditions.

Basic Hydraulic System Diagram - LPS and LPC Highlighted
Basic Hydraulic System Diagram – LPS and LPC Highlighted

If the ECM detects a problem in the pressure sensor or the pressure sensor circuit, such as unexpected voltage, it will treat this as a fault and stop using the sensor for feedback. The ECM will store a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) in system memory and illuminate the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL).

What are the common causes of code P0936 ?

Depending on year, make, and model, DTC P0936 may have number of causes. Here are some of the most common.

  • TSB – A few TSBs (technical service bulletins) have been released by various automakers to address this DTC. LPS and circuit problems notwithstanding, over-sensitive ECMs tend to reject the LPS readings as being off-spec. ECM updates were prescribed to address the issue, relaxing the specifications enough to ignore minor variations in signal voltage. Always check for TSBs when beginning diagnosis of a DTC.

What are the symptoms of code P0936 ?

Aside from the MIL, you’ll probably note some serious drivability issues if the ECM is unable to modulate line pressure. Most vehicles will set the pressure control solenoid to a default duty cycle, which will probably result in harsh shifting in low-load conditions and delayed or soft shifting in high-load conditions. Depending on failure mode, some automobiles may also lock out certain gears, so you may experience poor acceleration (starting in second gear) or excessive engine speed (locked out 3rd or 4th gears.)

How do you troubleshoot code P0936 ?

Regardless of the code and the system affected, the word “Intermittent” refers to the fact that there is a sporadic, unpredictable, or, well, intermittent fault in that system. The most likely causes of codes that relate to intermittent faults include poor connections in both live and ground circuits, as well defective switches, relays, and sensors.

Intermittent faults can be extremely difficult to trace and fix, since code readers generally do not specify in which part of the circuit the problem lays. For instance, the fault could be an intermittent interruption of the reference voltage (power supply), or, as often happens, the problem could be an intermittent break in the signal voltage to the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) due to a failing sensor, wiring issues, or defective electrical connector(s).

Note that the word “intermittent” often means different things to different applications; some systems will set a code the first time an intermittent fault occurs, while others will only do so after several failure cycles. In some cases, it may be necessary to allow the fault to worsen before an accurate and definitive repair can be made.

To diagnose this circuit fault, you’ll need a DMM (digital multimeter) and EWD (electrical wiring diagram) specific to your vehicle.

  • General Checks – Check wiring harnesses for obvious damage, which may indicate a short circuit. Check connectors for water entry or bent pins and that they are properly seated. Repair as necessary.
  • LPS Circuit
    LPS Circuit

    Sensor Checks – Check for proper voltage and ground and repair as necessary. With the key in the ON position and using your DMM, you should measure LPS supply voltage at 5 V and 0 V to ground, with some variable voltage on the signal line.

    • If you measure 5 V reference and 5 V ground, you have an open circuit to ground. Trace the ground circuit and repair it.
    • If you measure 5 V reference and 0 V ground, but over 4.5 V signal, suspect an internal LPS short, but do not condemn the sensor until doing the final circuit checks.
    • Disconnect the LPS. You should measure 5 V reference and 0 V signal and ground. If you measure over 5 V reference or over 0 V signal or ground, trace the circuit to find and repair the short to power.
  • Circuit Checks – With the key OFF and the ECM and LPS disconnected, check the circuits end-to-end. You should measure 0 Ω end to end and over 10 kΩ to each other and to ground. If any measurements are off-specification, trace and repair the fault.

Codes Related to P0936

  • P0932 Hydraulic Pressure Sensor Circuit
  • P0933 Hydraulic Pressure Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
  • P0934 Hydraulic Pressure Sensor Circuit Low
  • P0936 Hydraulic Pressure Sensor Circuit Intermittent

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