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The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.


Part Seventeen - Q&A 401 - 425

401. I have a 2001 PT, w/manual transmission. Yesterday, I accidentally dropped it into 3rd instead of 5th gear, while revving in 4th gear prior to the shift. Now the gear lever only goes up and down, in 1st and 2nd, but doesn't actually engage the gear. The lever won't shift into reverse, 3rd, 4th or 5th. I take it there has been some serious damage. Should the rev limiter have coped with this? - Jim, from the USA.

The rev limiter only stops the motor from increasing RPM's by cutting the fuel or ignition. There's no way to stop it from spinning if you accidentally grab a lower gear. The connection from the gears to the engine crankshaft has only the clutch. There are no safety disconnects. The transmission is probably blown - time for a trip to the dealer to assess the damage.


402. I've had 3 batteries put in my 2001 PT. The dealer can not determine what's causing the batteries to die. If the car sits, without use, for 1 to 2 weeks the battery dies. After 5 trips to the dealer I think I need a different car. Any help would be great. - Rich, from the USA.

It sounds like you have an ignition-off drain or IOD. There is even an IOD fuse in the underhood fuse box. A trained tech with a good ammeter can trace the drain and repair it. This type of battery drain is also known as dark current and parasitic drain. Both terms mean that there is a drain on the battery when the ignition is off. 20-50Ma is a normal current draw to keep the computer memory, radio, and clock from resetting. Anything above the factory drain specs is a concern. The first place to look is any after market devices you may have installed. 95% of all parasitic drains are from owner installed mods.


403. I have a 2001 LE PT and would prefer to perform my own maintenance, but I haven't been able to locate a service manual locally. Do you recommend using DC's manual, and know where I might pick one up online? Thanks. - Gene, from Montana.

If you enjoy performing your own maintenance and repair, then an OEM service manual should be considered a "must have tool" for your tool chest. You can purchase the following manuals, available in print or on CD, ordered through your local dealer, or online through Wyckoff Chrysler. PT DIY Club members receive an additional discount on purchases at Wyckoff and their manual pricing is very competitive.

PT Cruiser Factory Service Manuals

Price: $79.95
Year: (2001, 2002 & 2003 manuals or cd's), (2004 cd only)

Service manuals provide the information that students and professional technicians need in diagnosing/troubleshooting, problem solving, maintaining, servicing and repairing DC vehicles. A complete working knowledge of the vehicle, system and or components is written in straightforward language with illustrations, diagrams and charts.

PT Cruiser Diagnostic Service Manuals

Consists of 4 manuals - Chassis, Transmission, Body and Powertrain

Price: $49.95
Year: (2001, 2002 & 2003 manuals only)

Filled with diagrams, charts and detailed illustrations, these practical manuals make it easy for students and technicians to find and fix problems on computer-controlled vehicle systems and features. They show exactly how to find and correct problems the first time, using step-by-step troubleshooting and driveability procedures, proven diagnostic tests and a complete list of all tools and equipment.

In addition, you can also order these manuals directly through DC's "Tech Authority Catalog" by calling 1-800-423-7915 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If cost is a consideration prices are substantially lower through Wyckoff Chrysler, and possibly your local dealer.


404. After towing my PT from Seattle to upstate NY on an auto-transporter, the diesel fumes from the U-Haul are now all over my front end, not to mention somewhat on the rest of the vehicle. When I opened the door, the sooty stuff was also all over the inside like an oily film. The truck spewed out a thick black plume whenever going up so much as a molehill. U-Haul agreed to pay for cleaning the car since it was their equipment that caused the problem. What would you recommend I do for cleaning? Do you have any suggestions on making sure their claim adjuster covers everything? Do you think the coating would damage the clearcoat, or the engine itself? I would advise those towing in a similar manner to figure out a way to protect the outside, and to shut off outside air from entering the passenger cabin. They'll surely save themselves a real nightmare. Thanks. - Mike, from New York.

Contact a local professional auto detailing company. They have special equipment for removing crud, from blood to soot. They can clean the interior (including headliner), exterior, and steam clean the motor and undercarriage. The ductwork may need a trip to the dealer for a treatment used for A/C mold/mildew contamination. These pros will guaranty their work and be able to satisfy an insurance claim for professional repairs.


405. Where is the fuel pump relay located? - Kevin, from North Dakota.

The fuel pump relay is located in the Power Distribution Center (PDC) under the hood. The inside top of the PDC cover has a label showing relay and fuse location. The relay supplies battery voltage to the fuel pump. A buss bar in the Power Distribution Center (PDC) supplies voltage to the solenoid side and contact side of the relay. The PCM controls the fuel pump relay by switching the ground path for the solenoid side of the relay on and off. The PCM turns the ground path off when the ignition switch is in the Off position. When the ignition switch is in the On position, the PCM energizes the fuel pump. If the crankshaft position sensor does not detect engine rotation, the PCM de-energizes the relay after approximately one second.


406. We have just purchased a 2002 LE PT with an OEM alarm. The dealer told us the alarm has the capability of having shock sensors added, which are integrated with the OEM computer. The service technician looked for the alarm hook ups and could not locate them. Is it possible for us to add the shock sensors and avoid the dealer price of $400, or the price of a separate alarm? - Loren, from the USA.

It's in a module behind the dash. The Mopar EVS shock sensor is a direct plug-in. The cost is about $123 through Wyckoff Chrysler's online store. We haven't personally installed one, and can only assume that it comes with instructions.


407. I have a 2001 PT. The rotors and brake pads have been changed twice with about 29K miles on the PT. I had the repairs completed at my local Dodge house, DC was not able to diagnose or fix the car. The repairs were completed a month ago, and now the rear brakes grind and I am starting to experience the same problem with the front brakes. On the front driver side, I detect chirping noise at low speed and a clicking sound. The front pads on the driver side were worn down. Should I let the Dodge have another go at it with a bill of $300 or take it to a good front end and brake shop? - Gary, form the USA.

If only one side is showing brake pad wear, you have a problem with the caliper. Either it's sticking or the ABS/traction control is applying braking to that wheel. You should be ready for the first brake replacement, not the third. If Dodge didn't repair it correctly have them take another look at it, if for no other reason then to document the problem, so it's on record. You may also want to consider asking for another opinion outside of DC or Dodge.


408. Can you tell me which PT colors have been added to the 2003 models? Thank you. - Ally, from Tennessee.

Taupe Frost Metallic Clearcoat has been discontinued, and Electric Blue Pearl Coat and Onyx Green Pearl Coat have been added to the 2003 model year line up.


409. I have a 2001 LE (G28) PT. The fuse on the interior lights has blown and I can't find the fuse. I have checked both fuse boxes, under the hood and dash. I was installing some lights in the back of the car and tied the power in from the light next to the rear power outlet when the interior lights went out. Thanks. - John, from Ohio.

Perhaps there's not a problem after all. Fuse # 13 in the fuse block in the dash powers the courtesy lamp driver in the instrument cluster. The interior lighting is computer controlled via the lamp module. They turn themselves off after a few minutes with the doors open. This is designed to save battery power. This would seem like a blown fuse, but it's normal.

If this is not the situation try checking for power at fuse #13. It receives 12 volts directly from the battery. It's a very short and simple circuit from the battery through the lamps and into the lighting control module. If you've hooked up something incorrectly and damaged the module it's going to be a dealer fix that's not covered by the warranty.


410. Three times my front wiper control arm has come off the steering column. I have managed to re-attach it so that the wipers will function, but I haven't been able to get the windshield washing control to work. In fact I am not certain the front windshield washing system functions because the wiper control arm fell off immediately after I bought the 2001 PT LE Cruiser. I have found the situation to be very dangerous and annoying as it has compromised my vision on a cross-country trip. The first time I re-attached the control arm, the wipers continued to operate and I was unable to stop them for several hundred miles of driving. I am not sure how I finally corrected this problem, but after wrestling with the control arm, it finally corrected itself. I am particularly shocked to find no mention of these problems on this web site. How do I correctly re-attach the wiper control arm to the steering column so that it will function properly including the front windshield washing control function? - Gerald, from the USA.

I'm surprised that you've continued to tinker with this problem for as long as you have given the concerns you mention. If you experienced a problem with it shortly after purchasing the PT an easier approach may have been to have the dealer handle it under the warranty. The reason why you haven't read about the problem here is because you're the first person to report it. In order to diagnosis and or repair the problem you will have to remove multi-function switch, which means removing the steering column upper shroud. We do not recommend that you do this without purchasing or borrowing a manual since this involves the arming/disarming of the driver side air bag restraint. Failure to follow the safety procedures outlined in the manual can result in serious injury. My advice is to have the dealer handle it for you, hopefully still under the warranty.


411. I have a 2001 PT Cruiser, w/manual transmission. When I use the A/C, the engine bogs down and is hard to shift smoothly. Any suggestions? Thanks. - Mark, from the USA.

We haven't heard of this problem before. Without riding along to experience the problem, it would be difficult to offer advice. A trip to your local dealer is warranted here. If they can't find anything wrong ask to test-drive another 5-speed from their lot to see if it behaves in a similar fashion.


412. I have a 2002 Inferno Red PT Cruiser and have experienced some paint chipping problems. Can you tell me what paint to order? Thank you. - Bea, from the USA.

DC's bottle & brush IR touch up paint code for the 2002 Cruiser is "WEL", and "PEL" for the 2001 IR model year. You may also want to review the "Langka DIY Paint Chip and Scratch Repair" product information if you plan on making the repair yourself. You can read more about Langka products on our PT DIY Club member page.


413. As many of you know DC has determined that the fuel pump module mounting flange on some 2001 and 2002 PT Cruisers may leak if the vehicle is involved in a rollover collision. Fuel leakage in the presence of an ignition source can result in a fire. Owners with vehicles that are subject to this recall will be notified via mail. If you haven't received a recall notice and think your vehicle may be affected contact your local DC dealer, or call the DC Customer Service Assistance Center at 1-800-853-1403. Have your VIN number available when you call. DC notification number: B23.

In addition, we have some photos shot during the repair, which show the secondary seal being added to the fuel pump module. My thanks to Jeff and Mike for providing this information.

1. The 4 pieces of foam seal that get squished together to form the new fluid barrier. The cut-outs are for the fuel lines and wiring to pass through.
2. Shows a bit of the fuel pump wiring connector and the top of the tank.
3. Photo of the wiring connector.
4. Technician prepping the area for the foam seals.
5. The 4 foam seals installed, stacked and squished together to form a fluid barrier.
6. Highlighted completed repair.


414. I recently purchased a 2002 Cruiser. At approximately 1500 miles I noticed that the rpm's stay up a little longer than they should, when compared to coming to a stop at a light, or when you press lightly on the gas. It would climb up to 2000-2300 rpm, hesitate, and then drop down. By 2500 miles it was also surging when I shifted into 1st gear. When stopped (900 rpm) the rpm's climb to 2000 rpm when I let out the clutch, without giving it any gas. This happens even when I lightly apply pressure to the brake. The car is at the dealer right now and they are being tight lipped about it. Any ideas would be great. Thank you for your time. - Tracy, from the USA.

Something is telling the PCM to increase the engine speed via the IAC idle air control valve. Finding the cause is called driveability diagnosis and can be very time consuming. In the end, it will likely be a simple sensor.


415. My PT is 2 years old w/46K miles or so. My driver side door has begun to make a loud buzzing noise each time I lock or unlock the door. The door also stays locked while all others unlock, and sometimes it's hard to open with the handle. My local DC dealer indicated that the door latch was faulty and the repair would cost $300. Is this a repair I can make on my own? Thanks. - Daryl

The crash estimating labor guide pays .4 hours for the door trim panel and .3 hours for the latch. The price for the power lock and door ajar switch is about $67.45. The procedure is available in the Pit area.


416. I recently fitted a set of PT Woody chrome front bumper inserts to my new 2002 PT, which has OEM body colored plastic bumpers. They look great, but unfortunately one was damaged and needs to be replaced. Do you have any instructions regarding how I go about removing the damaged insert, which I believe is held on (very securely!) by 3M tape? Is there anything I can use to promote failure of the 3M tape to take it off? I have been told that pouring boiling water on the area may work, but there will be residual tape, which must be carefully removed. I'm concerned with damaging the paint on the bumpers in the process. I have written to the manufacturer asking the same question and await a response. Any help would be greatly appreciated. - Chris, from the USA.

I'm not familiar with the boiling water approach and would be leery of applying it to a painted surface. I would defer to the manufacturers instructions, however if they fail to provide help, you may want to consider a procedure (heat gun or hair dryer) used with the removal of the OEM body molding, which is also held in place by double-sided 3M tape.

Follow-up from the manufacturer and Chris. Manufacturer - You can remove the moulding by carefully pulling on it at a downward angle. If it is still sticking well use a hair dryer, but very lightly, to help loosen the adhesive. Chris - It took about 15 minutes to do the job, and I didn't need the hairdryer after all. I used a small plastic security card, a bit like a credit card, but the type used in offices. Make sure that the edge of the card is smooth so it won't scratch the paint. Take the card and carefully run it under the bumper insert starting at the center of the bumper, gently easing forward. (The card must be used very gently so as not scratch the paint or leave an impression in it.) Once the seal breaks, get your finger underneath and gently pull back, slightly downwards and towards the fender. Any tape left on the bumper (in my case minimal) will come off if you rub your thumb over it. A bit of alcohol to finish to remove any residue and job done. The bond may have been stronger between the adhesive and paint, had the inserts been installed more than a few weeks ago.


417. I have a question regarding my ABS brake system. Since purchasing my PT I have noticed that the brakes tend to grab at very low speeds (2-3 mph). After speaking with several mechanics, I have been lead to believe that this is somewhat common for ABS systems, and there is nothing wrong with my car. They told me that problematic brake grabbing occurs at the slightest touch of the brake pedal, which doesn't happen with my car. It only grabs when I'm rolling very slowly to a stop. Is this information correct, or is there a problem with my car? - Brock, from the USA.

The ABS will run a self-test upon startup, but should be a passive system until the wheel speed sensors determine the need for ABS activation. You should not have active ABS during normal driving.


418. Do you know where we can get a copy of the popular downtown PT font for our PC? Thank you. - Lou, from Rhode Island.

You can download a copy of the 19KB zipped PT downtown font here.

Windows True Type PT Downtown Font

Windows Installation
  1. Save the file to your hard drive (note location and file name).

  2. Open the file using a compression utility like Win-Zip.

  3. Once open, extract the font to your windows/fonts directory.

Follow up - Michael, a Mac user, writes that the Windows "Downtown" font also works without modification on Mac OS X, however you will have to convert it if you're working with Mac OS 9.


419. I have a 2002 PT w/manual transmission and 1200 miles. I have been experiencing a clunk, clunk sound due to the A/C and there is a little shake every 2 or 3 seconds. The shakes do not conform to any rhythm. - Luis, from the USA.

The A/C will make a sound as the clutch engages and releases. The best diagnosis is to compare it to another PT at the dealership. If yours proves defective, you can easily show the service tech the differences.


420. I have a 2001 PT w/auto transmission. While in park, neutral, or if you release pressure on the brake slightly, the car seems to rock forward and aft. Since it does it while in park I wondered if it is a transmission problem? I checked the tranny fluid level after the car was sitting for over a day and, it appeared to be over filled (twice as much as required). I took it to the dealer several months ago for a "surge while going down hill" and they found an open wire in the harness, but I don't think they added transmission fluid. - Jerry, from the USA.

The fluid should be checked with the engine running and fully warmed up. I've not seen a car move back and forward, over and over again while in park. The parking pawl in the transmission should prevent tire rotation. A trip to the dealer to diagnose the problem may be in order here.


421. I have a BE PT that did not come with the lighted visors, but I bought a pair and wanted to install them. Any information on it would be appreciated. Thank you. - Armando, from the USA.

The factory service manual does not include instructions on how to modify or swap out the existing standard OEM visors for OEM lighted visors. You will have to remove the current visors in order to determine if the connectors are available on the wiring harness and ready to plug into your new visors. If available, they should be in the front corners of the headliner. They ground to a ground point in the left kick panel. Splice 244 is shown as "light group only". This may mean that the wiring is not included on the base model. If the connectors are not there you could simply run a hot wire to the visors. One hot wire could be run to both visors, with one common ground.


422. I'm going to be installing a rear obstacle warning system modification that requires that I cut into the PT's wiring system. Are there any splicing guidelines or instructions mentioned in the service manual? Thank you. Carl, from Ohio.

Standard Procedure - Wire Splicing

When splicing a wire, it is important that the correct gage be used as shown in the wiring diagrams (service manual).

1. Remove one-half (1/2) inch of insulation from each wire that needs to be spliced.

2. Place a piece of adhesive lined heat shrink tubing on one side of the wire. Make sure the tubing will be long enough to cover and seal the entire repair area.

3. Place the strands of wire overlapping each other inside of the splice clip.

4. Using a crimping tool, crimp the splice clip and wires together.

5. Solder the connection together using rosin core type solder only. Do not use acid core solder.

6. Center the heat shrink tubing over the joint and heat using a heat gun. Heat the joint until the tubing is tightly sealed and sealant comes out of both ends of the tubing.


423. A while back a visitor wrote that she experienced a problem parking her PT on an incline. When she was ready to depart she had a great deal of trouble shifting out of park and into drive. While recently visiting the Car Care Council web site I noticed that they offered some advice on this subject.

Have you ever wondered why you had so much trouble shifting out of PARK on a steep grade? An automatic transmission, when in the PARK position locks the driving wheels. On a steep grade you'll need more than normal pressure to move the shift lever. This is because the transmission's parking pawl resists the vehicle's tendency to roll. To help a stuck shift lever, on a very steep grade, the vehicle will need an uphill push or pull, thereby releasing pressure on the transmission. The Car Care Council suggests a simple procedure to prevent being stuck in PARK on a grade:

When parking, do not shift into PARK until, with foot brake applied, you've secured the emergency brake. When you're ready to depart, before you release the emergency brake, apply the foot brake and move the shift lever to NEUTRAL or DRIVE.


424. I have been attempting to provide keyed access to my radar detector from the overhead console. I currently have it hooked to the black and white wires going to the overhead lights, which isn't controlled by the key. Can you tell me which two wires would provide keyed power? Thanks. - Gil, from the USA.

There is a solid black 20awg wire at pin 9 of the overhead console module. It is the ground lead. Accessory power is on the yellow w/red stripe 18awg wire. Power is from fuse #14. Keep in mind that the module is a small computer programmed electrical device. Don't just start splicing wires.


425. The other day I put my 2002 PT LE up on ramps for its first oil change. We have about 3000 miles on the car and so far my wife and I love it. It's a great car with flawless operation. While scooting under the engine I immediately noticed a substance coating the back of the oil pan on the right (passenger) side. It looks and feels like oil, but I'm not 100% positive, since the power steering reservoir is directly above that area. It isn't a large leak, and I don't see drops hanging down, but just touching the pan covered my hand with it. I decided to hold off on the oil change until the service department checked out the problem. After about 30 minutes the dealer indicated that the job was complete; they had completed the repair for a non-related recall, but found no oil leak. I requested the service manager, who then put the PT back up on the lift. While he poked around with a drop light, I saw that the most of the area in question had been wiped clean. I reached up beyond the wiped area and came out with two wet covered fingers. The SM mentioned seeing "moisture and seepage", which I would characterize as a leak. He told me that if I felt it was a leak they could but dye in the oil to help identify the problem. I scheduled an appointment for the following week to do so. This is obviously more than just seepage; I'm curious to know why they would try to hide this leak? What's going on and what should I be aware of? Thanks. - Scott, from the USA.

If it's wet, there's a leak. End of story. Your dealer is just trying to wiggle out of warranty work. (Manufacturers pay the warranty rate at about 60%. If the technician makes $20 for a normal repair, he would receive $12 for warranty work, which provides little incentive for the dealer.) Follow through with the dye test and let them find the leak. It should be completely cleaned prior to injecting the dye. Drive it for a while and they will use a special light to identify the leak.


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