The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Two - Q&A 26-50
26. As a proud new owner of a 2001 PT Cruiser, I have returned to my youthful hot rodding days. I have spent some time investigating a potential upgrade of the plugs and wire set. I have located a Crane Firewire 8.5mm-plug wire set for the PT, but haven't enjoyed much success locating performance plugs. Neither Bosch nor Spitfire has Platinum plugs available for the PT yet. In the past it was common to open up the plug's gap by .010+ to improve the combustion and power, assuming that you had already upgraded the wire set. In those days the preferred street wire was Packard 440. Am I still correct in assuming that my past knowledge is applicable to today's world, knowing that the computer precludes many of the formerly favored modifications? What would be a good plug and or gap match for the Crane wire set? Thank you. - Bob
I've done my share of modifying hot-rods. But, Chrysler has done their homework on this engine. I believe the plug/gap/wire resistance combination is optimum for power and efficiency. Are you prepared for the check engine light (MIL) to come on indicating a misfire code because the gap is opened up or the wires' resistance is too low? The OBD2 computer watches everything!
The proven ways to get a little more 'oomph' out of the motor is a free flow intake and a less restrictive exhaust. I think the only difference you would feel from the new plugs and wires is a lighter wallet. We have a number of inexpensive homemade free flow intake examples in a guide called Alternative Air Intakes available in the Pit area.
27. I just purchased a pillar pod w/ 3 gauges, and have a few questions. (1) Where is the best place to tap into the panel lights so the gauge lights light and dim with the dash lights? (2) Where to tap into for a mechanical oil pressure gauge? (3) Where to tap into for a vacuum gauge? Thanks - Pete, from USA.
(1) The only choice is the red wire from the instrument cluster to the multi-function switch. That is the only signal that dims the dash lights. (2) You must find some sort of adapter to 'T' into the oil pressure switch hole. It's located at the rear of the block on the back side. It's a single wire switch that feeds directly into the PCM. Don't even think about bypassing it! (3) The vacuum port for the cruise control would be my best recommendation. There aren't many choices. Check your underhood emissions decal for hose routing.
28. I installed an Ooogah horn as a replacement to the standard horn on my 2001 PT. I used inline splice connectors inside the power distribution module (PDM). The ooogah works fine when pushing the horn. The problem is with the alarm/keyless entry system. The remote will no longer arm the system and lock the doors. The disarm and unlock procedure work fine.
While troubleshooting, I have the hood up and I reprogram the alarm not to chirp the horn on arming. Now on arming the door locks lock. Then I close the hood and the arming doesn't work. Of course the panic button doesn't work either. Is there any modification to make the ooogah horn compatible with the alarm system? - Greg
Only one splice should be needed. The horn should make a ground at the mounting location. One wire for power is all you need. To minimize the chance of mistakes, I would connect the power to the OEM horn lead (dark green w/red). This will leave the PDC unaffected. It sounds like you have a lead hooked to the relay coil side. That is where the RKEM takes its signal. Pg 8W-41-2 of the service manual.
29. The front headrests on the PT Cruiser are large and bulky, and reduce visibility. In addition, they bend forward and I always bump my head when I straighten up in the seat. My basic PT doesn't have the back seat headrests. Do you know of a smaller headrest (about half the size) that one could use instead? Thanks - Bill, from the USA.
I don't know of any other "drop-in" headrests that you can use to replace the OEM originals, however I did a little experimenting and here's what I found out.
I dug up and tried the rear headrests in the front, and that does not work. Although the rear headrests are smaller, the mounting rods are too close together for use in the front. Then I tried turning the front headrests around 180 degrees. They fit well and give much more room. Give that a try.
30. I have a 2001 PT. Can you tell me the best way to access the back of the factory stereo? I am interested in connecting the cable that goes to a (remote) CD changer. I am told it is the correct CD changer for a PT Cruiser (model number P5604219AF). Your help is appreciated. - Bryan, from the USA.
To access the radio you have to remove the instrument panel center bezel. We have a guide in the Pit area for that procedure.
31. I have been experiencing driver side rear brake dragging on my 2001 PT (rotor gets hot after a few miles). The dealer has not been able to fix the problem (they are in communication with Chrysler), but stated that he doesn't recommend ABS as they are troublesome. I felt they were worth every penny. What are your thoughts about Chryslers ABS brakes? Thanks. - Ray, from the USA.
A brake that's dragging and not locking up should be repairable. Besides a malfunctioning caliper, hydraulic pressure or a mechanical parking brake cable is about all there is to diagnose. Rarely is a brake problem caused by the ABS. When it is an ABS fault, watch out. They can be a real PITA to fix.
32. We have a 2001 PT and would like to know if the automatic door lock feature can be disabled? - Jackie, from Florida.
Yes, it can. If equipped, the doors will automatically lock if:
The automatic Door Locks can be enabled or disabled by performing the following procedure:
33. I have a 2001 PT and am experiencing a brake noise from the right rear side. The sound does not happen all the time and the dealer has inspected it and they can't find anything wrong. When the noise occurs, if I depress the brake pedal or try the emergency brake it stops momentarily, then starts again. But as I said it doesn't happen all the time. I posted the problem at PTE and they said it could possibly be the drum brake. I have ABS, 28G LTD, with all the options. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you - Lance, from the USA.
Little known fact: Your rear disc brakes actually have a small drum brake hidden inside the rotor. These little tiny brake shoes push against the rotor hat to form the parking (emergency) brake. This is called a 'drum in hat' rotor. It separates the rear disc brakes from the E-brake. If there is a defect inside the drum-in-hat, you won't see it without complete brake disassembly. This is a rather complicated visual inspection and I bet your dealer is refraining from committing that much time to a tech without duplicating the complaint. That's my SWAG. Scientific Wild Ass Guess!
34. When I park my 5-speed manual 2001 PT Cruiser, I like to put on the emergency parking brake. When I pull up on it, as I approach the tension limit of the brake (i.e. starts to feel tight) the hand brake will suddenly ratchet all the way up, beyond where it should be able to go, without putting any tension on the brakes. I have to put it back down, and lift it again to get it to "grab" or set the brakes. I have brought this to the dealership's attention, but they say they are unable to duplicate my problem. It happens about 2-3 times a month, for no apparent reason. It has happened in ALL of these scenarios: sitting on a hill facing up, sitting on a hill facing down, and also on level ground. Any ideas? I don't push the button in when I lift the hand brake either! Thanks. - JW, from the USA.
First, let me say that I use my parking brake at least once per day, even with my automatic. If you never use it, it might not work when you do need it. It's way to common to see the E-brake lock up from rust and non-use. I also find that I DO push the button in while I lift the handle. Your problem is most likely a defect in the parking brake lever automatic adjuster. This is a clockspring loaded to 19lbs. It maintains a constant tension on the cables to keep them adjusted properly. The entire mechanism is at the lever. The floor console is removed to service it. I would advise the dealer to visually inspect the linkage, mechanism and page 5-9 of the service manual.
35. I have a new Euro 2LT PT Snoozer that needs to be speeded up. Will the AFX underdrive pulley help? I have also tried to contact Whipple to find out if the new super-charger will fit the 2LT, but they have not replied. Finally, will boring out throttle body help?- OZ
IIRC, the Whipple Supercharger will not fit the 2LT export engine. The underdrive pulley will only slow down the speed of the alternator, power steering and air conditioning. With all the glass in a PT, I can't imagine slowing down the A/C. It needs all the help it can get.
Here are the specs; the P/S uses less than 1hp to spin the pump when you are driving straight (i.e. no load), the alternator uses around 1hp to maintain a charge during normal driving (i.e. no headlights, or any major electrical draw). So, if a few hundred dollars for 2hp is worthwhile...you get my point. Creative advertising is the heart of selling you something you don't need. The intake and exhaust modifications are proven, go that route and you won't be disappointed.
Boring the throttle body isn't going to produce the desired effect. It is not the restrictive part of the system. Remember that the "system" is from the air intake to the exhaust and everything in between. All these modifications are not going to change the camshaft profiles, compression ratio, fuel injector pulse width, or the valve sizes. The internal engine components are a well matched system. To make considerably more power, you have to modify ALL of the variables. The computer modules and reprogramming can make a noticeable boost, but the only real power maker is a supercharger or turbocharger. For the $4-5K to fully set up forced induction, I'll accept the PT for what it is and just enjoy it.
36. I have 9000 miles on my 2001Cruiser (automatic-inferno red) and have been down one quart of oil at each oil change (3000 miles). The dealer has told me that this is normal, but I have never owned a car that loses oil. When I pulled the hose off of the PCV valve (it came off very easily), there was a small amount of oil in the hose. Are these conditions normal or should I return to the dealer? Thanks - Bill, from the USA.
Chrysler will tell you that this is normal. It says so in the owners' manual. All I can say is keep an eye on the oil level. If it starts using more, I would have it checked for leaks or a cylinder leakdown test. (The leakdown test checks for blow-by around the piston rings.) The PCV sounds OK. You may want to have the dealer handle the next few oil changes so the loss of oil can be verified by Chrysler. CYB- Cover your butt. Get it in writing!
37. I have a 2001 PT and want to take the panel off my dashboard that surrounds the gauges so I can paint it black, and also the passenger side air bag cover so I can paint it black with a single long stem red rose on it. Any ideas how and once I take the airbag cover off can I drive my car without it? Nobody seems to know that works at the Chrysler dealerships that I have been talking to. - Sandy, from the USA.
To access the instrument cluster bezel you have to remove the instrument cluster. We have a guide for the Instrument Cluster in the Pit area. Be careful, the cluster cover lists at $119.
You can't remove the passenger airbag cover without removing the entire dash. I mean everything from door to door. That panel is part of the airbag module. If you want a mechanic to do this, the book time is 7.7 hours or about $400. He had better have the service manual. (Due to safety concerns related to the restraint system we do not offer an online guide for this procedure.)
38. My remote entry key fobs work erratically. I have replaced the batteries in one and when one stops working they both stop. Then I drive a while and they start to work again, but when I come back later they stop working. - Danny, from the USA.
The range is listed at 23ft for the transmitter. The RKE module circuit is most likely the fault. If the electrical circuit is functioning, then the module should be replaced. Reference page 231 of the Body diagnostic manual.
39. How do you change the bulb in the cargo compartment light fixture? I see that you get access to it through the jack compartment but does the lens cover come off, do you manipulate the socket, does it take a special tool, do I have to go to the dealer and have them change it? - Dana, from the USA.
Remove the jack and tool bag to gain access to the light. Place your right hand on stem of the cargo lamp housing and pull downward until the lens separates from lamp housing. Pull the lamp housing out to access the bulb. See page 8L-11 of the service manual.
40. The traction control is automatically set to on each time the car is started, the 2001 owners manual seems to imply that continuous use is bad. Is there a way to reset it so that it only turns on by request? - Robert, from the USA.
Continuous use refers to constantly spinning the wheels, not leaving the switch ON. The traction control, like the anti-lock brakes, should be ON all the time. It will only become ACTIVE when the controller detects a wheel spinning. When the system is active, the TRAC light on the dash will illuminate. See page 5-73 of the service manual. Leave the TRAC switch on all the time. If a wheel loses traction, you won't have time to reach down and push a button.
41. I have installed an AirRaid cold air intake system and a cat back exhaust on my 2001 PT like the one's described on the site. I love the sound and it has increased the power some. I am disappointed that the throttle seems to have a delayed or sluggish response. Once you hit about 2000 rpm's things begin to accelerate pretty good but not before. Any tips? Would a header system improve things? Would a larger throttle body improve things? Are there any other items to add besides turbo (that's for after the warranty)? - Dan, from the USA.
All the modifications that increase power do so at the upper rpm range. A header will only make problems worse. By opening up the system for more hp, you move the power band up the rpm scale. All this increased exhaust velocity lowers the low-end torque. You don't feel horsepower, you feel torque. Torque is what sets you back in the seat. This 4 cylinder will never have the torque you want at low rpms. It needs to be above 4000 rpm to make any power. The answer is to downshift and keep the rpms above 3500. Lugging the motor is more stressful than running high rpms. If you are accustomed to V-8 power, you must relearn where the power band is.
42. I have been trying to find out what temperature the thermostat is set to in the 2001 PT. It's probably 195°, I would like to find a replacement that is 185°. I changed the one in my truck to 185° and it helped the performance a lot. What do you think about this? Any help would be great. - Rich, from the USA.
It is a 195F thermostat. Be careful lowering the temperature, high cylinder temperatures help to keep exhaust emissions down. Lowering the temperature will tell the PCM to add more fuel. So, the change may increase emissions and lower fuel economy. Do you really want worse gas mileage?
43. How do I remove the two OEM windshield wiper nozzles on the hood of the Cruiser? Thank you - Jim
Page 8K-10 of the service manual says to remove the padding, unhook the hose, and close the hood. Now slide a credit card under the front of the nozzle to release the catch. Rock the nozzle back and forth to release it from the hood. They snap back in place. Sounds easy enough. We have a Windshield Washer Nozzle Light installation guide in the Pit area.
44. I have a set of the windshield wiper nozzle lights. I want to tap into the driving lights, under the hood. I have found the wiring bundle under the air filter box, but I do not know which wire in the bundle goes to the fog/driving lights. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated. - Tim
I suggest that you splice a few inches back from a parking light. The splice should be soldered and water sealed to prevent corrosion. Look for the black wire with a yellow stripe. The solid black wire is the ground. Refer to page 8W-50-6 of the service manual supplement.
45. Today, I installed the Mopar Fog Lamp kit from Wyckoff Chrysler in my 2001 PT. The lamps wouldn't light unless I jumped the ground to the to steel on the engine block. The instructions suggest grounding the lamps to the lower radiator support. However, even after removing the paint from a spot there, the lamps still won't light. Should I create a jumper or contact my dealer with a potential issue? - Jeff, from the USA.
Some checking with an ohmmeter will find the best ground location. If you can attach it to the engine so that it will not interfere with normal operations, that should be fine.
46. I have a 2001 PT with a auto transmission and have added one of your insulated cold air intakes and a Dynomax super-turbo muffler. I read somewhere that cruising in 3rd gear rather than overdrive will maintain rpm's in the 2800-3500 range and therefore increase my mpg's. Is this correct? Thank you - Pam, from the USA.
This is incorrect. The higher the rpm, the more fuel will be used. The PCM will try to keep the air/fuel mixture around 14.7:1 (stoichiometric), so less rpm equals less air and less fuel.
47. I would just like to confirm that the 2001 PT Cruiser uses a relay of sufficient amperage in the horn circuit to run an Ooogah style horn via the standard horn wiring. Is this true or do I have to install my own relay and power? - Werner, from the USA.
The relay is fused (#14-underhood) at 15 amps and the horn wires are 20 AWG. That should be plenty for one horn.
48. My 5 speed 2001 PT has a lot of pep when I first start it, but as soon as it reaches full temperature (half way mark) it really gets sluggish. Why? Would it help if I tried an additional engine cooling method? The first few minutes are excellent. Thanks - Dom, from the USA.
The pep you feel is likely the extra fuel used to richen the mix in cold-start mode. In the old days, we called it a choke. It choked the air while using the same fuel. New fuel injected engines allow the air to flow and add more fuel. The colder the reading at the IAT- intake air temp sensor, the more fuel will be added. That's the benefit of the insulated air filter called cold-air-induction.
49. I have a Lighted Voltmeter that I want to install in a pillar pod. Where can I tap into the 12v system for both the meter and the light, preferably near the steering column/dash pull-down panel? Thanks! - Tim, from the USA.
12V switched, with the panel lights, is available near the pillar pod. Find connector C208 by first removing the top dash panel. The 6-pin connector has 4 wires and is located just to the left of the driver side dash speaker. The wire you want to tap is pin 1, 20AWG pink going in, orange coming out. Reference pages 8W-44-4, 8W-80-18, 8W-90-16 of the 2001 service manual supplement.
50. What would be the benefits of, if any, of adding a larger bore throttle body or throttle body spacer to a stock engine? - Danny, from the USA.
Since the PT has 2 more feet of intake plenum after the throttle body, I would guess that it would do absolutely nothing. Remember, the fuel is added right above the intake valves. Everything before the injectors is just air.
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