The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Twenty Two - Q&A 526 - 550
526. I have a 2002 LE PT and would like to know how to remove the door sill pads? Thank you. - Joe, from Florida.
There are six rectangular retention posts on the backside of each sill pad, which mate up with matching holes in the body frame. To remove the pads gently slip a screwdriver under the end of each pad and pry up enough to slip a finger or two underneath, than pry each pad off.
527. I'm installing pillar gauges on my PT and would like to know where the water temperature and oil pressure sending unit is located? Thank you - RJ, from the USA.
The water temperature sensor is located just below the thermostat. The oil sending unit/switch is a little harder to find. It's near the back of the engine above and aft of the oil filter. To identify it, look for the oil pressure switch electrical connector.
528. I have a 2002 LE PT. I was under the impression that because of the chip in the ignition key that a remote starter was not recommended for use with the PT. But my brother-in law recently had a remote installed on his 2002 Ford Pick up, which also has a chip in its key. Is it possible, and will it interfere or limit any of the security features on the PT? Thanks for your time. - Paul, from Massachusetts.
It involves installing a spare 'chipped' key inside the steering column. You will lose the security key feature and anyone could cut a $2 key and drive off. That's the trade-off for starting the car without getting in it. I won't mention that if you had an oil pump failure, the car would burn up the engine before you got to it. Can you tell I'm not a fan of remote starts? I've seen the starter engage while the car was driving down the road. That can cause a serious accident. The PCM will not allow the starter to engage when the engine is running; a remote start bypasses this safety feature. That aside, they do seem to be popular.
529. I have a 2001 PT Cruiser, with aluminum wheels. We have had to put air in the front tires every couple of weeks, as they lose about 50% of their pressure during that time. We were away on a trip for about six weeks, and the car sat inside our garage for that time. When we returned, both front tires were flat. I have not taken it to the dealer for this problem yet, because I wanted to see if anyone else is having the same problem. A friend suggested checking the rims, since aluminum is porous. I have checked the tires for nails, etc. Thanks. - Dennis, from the USA.
They need to be removed and dipped in a tank to check for slow leaks. Porosity is a real problem, although rare. If the dealer refuses to help you, suggest they install air conditioner safety seals over the valve stems. These heat-shrink seals are serial numbered to prevent unwanted tampering. They will prove that tires are leaking and you are not letting the air out.
530. I have a 2001 LE PT and have a simple question. I'm in the process of installing an after market under seat drawer. The instructions ask for the cars MDH? Thanks for your time. - Kevin. From West Virginia.
The MDH month-day-hour is located on the edge of the driver's door. It's part of the vehicle safety certification label.
531. I have a 2001 LE PT. When you replace the battery for the remote does it have to be reprogrammed? Thanks. - Roberto, from California.
When you replace the battery the remote will retain the code. The recommended replacement battery is 2016 or its equivalent.
532. I own a 2001 LE PT. The HVAC blower in my vehicle has recently started to make a "roaring" sound, which gets louder as the fan speed is increased. Have their been any other occurrences of this problem reported and how difficult is it to get to the blower motor to check it? - Larry, from Maryland.
This is not a common failure and may be foreign material that entered through the intake ducting. This is another good reason for installing the cabin air filter (CAF). The AC/Heater unit housing is situated under the dash on the passenger side of the vehicle. The blower motor is located on the bottom right side of the unit housing. The blower motor can be removed from the vehicle without having to remove the unit housing assembly. You will need to purchase or borrow a service manual for the motor diagnosis and testing procedure, which includes circuit descriptions and diagrams, and for the removal and replacement of the motor if faulty.
Removal - With Air Conditioning
1. Remove right side scuff plate.
2. Pull back carpet.
3. Disconnect blower motor wiring connector.
4. Remove blower motor retaining screws, and lower blower motor assembly from unit housing.
Follow up from owner - I removed the heater blower motor per your instructions, and discovered that there were small dried leaves and maple tree seeds in the blower. I removed them and stuck a shop vacuum up the heating duct to remove any other debris (of which there was some, as expected). Put it all back together and the problem is solved. It was actually pretty easy to do. I'll be adding the cabin air filter fix the next chance I get.
533. I have a 2001 LE PT with 54k miles. For no apparent reason my rear power windows no longer work. I have checked the lockout switch in both positions and it's fine. The front windows work fine and I couldn't find any fuses that were blown in the fuse box. (I couldn't identify the specific fuse for the windows.) The rear window switches on the dash still light up, but neither of those switches or the switches in the back seat will work. I noticed that the rear cargo light wasn't working and when I replaced that it seemed to have a loose connection on the bulb. I don't know if it's related or not. Thanks in advance. - Ed, from Massachusetts.
There are no fuses for the windows. They all work off the 20amp circuit breaker in the fuse box. The switch illumination for all 4 switches in front are driven by the instrument cluster. The rear switch lamps are powered by the same 12v line that's switched by the lockout, from the front. If the rear switches illuminate, you are getting power and ground to the rear windows. You will have to trace the power from the front to the rear and to ground. It's doubtful that both window motors failed. Power from the front to rear is a 14awg yellow wire.
534. I just purchased a used 2001 PT basic edition with 32k miles on it and I have the balance of the 3yr/36k OEM warranty available. On cold days (25 degrees) I hear a distinct whining noise, which appears to originate from the power steering unit. The power steering fluid is at the correct level. When the engine warms up, the sound goes away. Have you heard of these complaints before? Thanks. - Mike, from the USA.
There have been a few reports of noisy pumps. I have not seen a re-design for the pump. Those who get new ones are getting the same unit. None have been replaced long enough to tell if the new ones will become noisy.
Follow up from owner - I rechecked the fluid level in the power steering reservoir and found it to be low. After topping it off to the proper level and going to work this morning (30 degree) there was no more whinnying noise.
535. I have a 2001 LE PT with ABS/traction control. I've heard rumors that turning off the traction control can save gas. I find it hard to believe, except on very hard acceleration, that it could make any difference. Is there any truth to this? - Bill, from Kansas.
The traction control and ABS are completely passive until needed. They do not affect anything, including fuel mileage. Both systems work to control wheel spin by adding high frequency pulses to the brakes. One way prevents wheel lockup while braking; the other prevents wheel spin while accelerating.
536. I own a 2003 PT GT. On my other cars I have found modifications which allow the fog lights to stay on when the high beams are used. I altered the wiring at the relay; can you explain how to do this on the P T without butchering the OEM wiring? Thanks. - David, from Kentucky.
The wire gauge is determined at a specific current draw. Powering all the lights at once can overload the current capacity of the small wires. You can ad another relay with independent wiring and fusing just for the fog lights. Use the high beam signal to trigger the relay. You won't need elaborate wiring diagrams for that. I've done this to several cars, but would never splice into the OEM wiring.
537. I have a 2001 LE PT. How do I replace the "clockspring" in the steering column? - Kouka, from California.
The clockspring is mounted on the steering column behind the steering wheel. The removal and installation procedure consists of a few sub-procedures, including disarming/removing the air bag restraint system. You will need to purchase or borrow a service manual for this procedure or utilize the guide in our Pit area.
538. I am confused about towing with my Cruiser. The manual states a maximum towing capacity of 1000lbs, but the hitch I have states a 2000lbs capacity. I have an Indian motorcycle (painted to match my PT) and would like to tow it to different places around the country. When you add in 4 passengers, luggage, and the trailer, which weighs about 275lbs, plus the 650lb motorcycle, that's a good deal of weight. Thank you. - Paul, from Massachusetts.
The hitch rating is for the hitch assembly only. The PT is rated to pull up to 1000lbs and carry a load of up to 860lbs of people and luggage. Maximum loading can severely affect vehicle handling and braking.
539. We recently purchased a used 2001 PT as a second car. My wife enjoys driving it, but has commented on a few occasions that she has difficulty seeing what's behind and to the rear sides of the PT when maneuvering in traffic. Has anyone else commented on this? - Jeremy, from Alabama.
We have received email from a few owners who have complained of poor rear visibility and a blind spot on the passenger side. To some extent this was a more significant problem on the 2001 model year Cruiser, which used a larger rear headrest. On later model year PT's the rear headrests are somewhat smaller, which provide for better visibility. Suggested rear visibility remedies for owners have been to lower the rear head restraints, remove them completely, or fold over the rear seats, assuming that you are not carrying passengers.
To raise the head restraint, pull up on the head restraint. To lower the head restraint, depress the button and push down on the head restraint.
To remove the head restraints release the backseats and fold them forward. The head restraints can not be removed with the seats in the upright position. There are two adjustment buttons at the base of the head restraints on either side. Press in on both buttons to release, and then lift the head restraints up and out of the slots.
A suggested remedy for the blind spot created by the wide rear pillars on each side of the liftgate, is an inexpensive stick on convex spot mirror. They easily attach to the OEM passenger or driverside mirror surface and provide a distortion-free panoramic view, which helps reduce blind spots and aids in turning, backing or passing. They are usually available in a few different sizes, applicable to the size of your OEM mirror. You can pick one up at your local auto parts store.
If visibility is an issue while parking, you may want to take a look at a product like AutoPark 2000, which warns the driver if there's an obstacle behind them. The product and installation guide, are available in our Pit area.
540. I have a 2001 LE PT with a Whipple S/C. I do not drive my PT very much; to keep everything lubricated and the battery strong I start my car every day or other day and let it run for about 20 minutes. While going through this routine today I noticed that the engine light was on as I shut the engine down. The MIL code was 0300, which is "all cylinders misfiring." The car starts ok and I took it out for spin and everything seems fine. If I can reset engine light, should I do this and how can it be done? Thank you for your help. - Roger, from Canada.
The code will reset after a number of ignition cycles. If the problem persists, it will require diagnosis. Random cylinder misfire with all the ad-ons could prove more difficult to diagnose.
541. I have a 2002 LE PT with 25k miles. I have noticed that my PT is a little low on antifreeze. I have not seen any blatant leaking, but while I am attempting to track down the leak, is it ok to use Havoline Dex-Cool (GM type) to "top off" the coolant bottle? I see where DC recommends not mixing other types of antifreeze with its "HOAT" antifreeze and I wonder if the Havoline Dex-Cool is HOAT? I did not see that marking on the label of the container. Thanks. - Tom, from New York.
It should not be low; it's a sealed system. Keep an eye on it for leaks. Dex-Cool is OAT formulation. There may be differences of opinion on mixing them. Any independent shop will use Dex-Cool. Only Chrysler will use their hybrid mix. It's up to you. (Mike uses Dex-Cool).
542. I have a 2001 LE PT and would like to know if the 2003 exhaust manifold and turbo will fit the head of my Cruiser? Thanks. - Henry, from South Carolina.
No, they are not interchangeable. Plus, the non-turbo connecting rods will snap if you push 14psi into the cylinders. The standard engine has 9.5:1 compression. The turbo has 8.1:1. The turbo engine is completely redesigned to handle the increased load.
543. I own a 2001 BE PT with automatic transmission. Should the coolant recovery tank loose water over time? The dealer checked for leaks and found none, but I've had to add coolant from time to time. - Rick, from Florida.
No, it is a sealed system. It should never need filling, only regularly scheduled coolant flushing. You either have an external leak or the engine is burning coolant. Either way, it's not good.
544. I have a 2001 LE PT. At very low (0-15) MPH I experience a fairly heavy wobble in the steering wheel 1-2 inches in either direction. It seems to disappear when I exceed 15 MPH. The tires are Goodyear Eagle LS and inflated per the door sticker. This occurs regularly. Any ideas? Thank you. - Carl, from Idaho.
We have received a number of complaints regarding the Goodyear Eagle Tires, that you can read about in the library. Based upon your description of the problem I would have the wheels and brake rotors checked for runout. One or the other may be the cause. Worn steering components should also be inspected.
545. I have a 2001 LE PT. While trying to remove the rear brake drums, I noticed that they are stubborn to pull off. Do you have to remove that large nut on the axle prior to removing the drum? Thank you. - Frank, from Nebraska.
The removal procedure does not include removing the large nut on the axle. The Rear Brake Drum Pad Replacement procedure is available in the Pit area.
546. I purchased a black 2002 PT Cruiser, but the dash inserts are silver. I want them to match the exterior color like some of the others PT's. Did the dash inserts on the 2001 black Cruisers match? I plan on having mine painted. - Anonymous, from the USA.
All of the dash inserts are silver for black, white, silver, and taupe Cruisers. Only the blue, red, green and cranberry Cruisers have color-coded inserts.
547. We have a 2002 BE PT. Having moved to Lake Placid from the Seattle area, we now are experiencing a new problem with our cruiser that seems to be weather related. Recently, while in very cold weather, we have smelled gasoline in and around the vehicle after it has been sitting all night. Today, it wasn't all that cold, and it still smells prior to start-up. It goes away when the vehicle's been running awhile. It doesn't seem to be coming from the engine area, more like from underneath. Any ideas? Thanks. - Michael from New York.
There are a few lines for fuel and the EVAP emissions system underneath the PT. You may want to have the PT checked ASAP.
Follow up from owner - My PT was purchased in Feb 2002 in Washington State. The dealer ran the VIN and discovered that it was flagged for the fuel pump recall. It was apparently a plastic type connection that allowed for too much expansion and contraction, thusly the intensified odor of fuel in extreme cold weather. The pump had leakage problems and is a serious fire hazard. I never received a notice from my dealer or DC, so there may be others out there with the same problem. For additional information see the TSB/Recall section in the Pit area.
548. Jim Schoonveld owns a 2003 PT Turbo (Build date: 10-02) and wrote: I recently brought my new PT into the dealership for service and asked them to check on a problem I have been experiencing with the headlights and interior lights, which experience a faint "flicker" when the brakes are applied. They called DC and found out that other Turbo owners have reported these symptoms and that the engineers were looking into it. Presently, it appears to be unique to some 2003 Turbo models. When and if I find out more I'll let you know.
549. It appears that the upper and lower portions of the air intake box on my 2002 PT must be removed to access the battery. If so, how do you remove the lower half of the box? Thanks very much! - Bob, from Arizona.
Battery Removal - 2.4L Engine
1.Make sure ignition switch is in OFF position and all accessories are OFF.
2. Open hood.
3. Remove the air cleaner housing.
To access the battery you must remove the entire OEM air box housing assembly. Disconnect the air inlet hose, which is attached to the intake assembly, by loosening the hose clamp with a flathead screwdriver. Then lift the air box assembly straight up to release the two pop-in mounts. You may have to apply a little upward pressure to break loose the assembly from the pop-in mounts.
Note - Some model PT's - If applicable disconnect the make up air tube from the left side of the lower half of the air box housing while removing the air box.
4. Disconnect and isolate the battery negative cable then the positive cable.
5. Loosen bolt and retainer that holds the battery down to the tray.
6. Lift battery out of battery tray and remove from vehicle.
Warning - During reinstallation ensure that you firmly seat the air box assembly into the two mounting holes. Failure to properly seat the assembly may cause the air box to protrude high enough to damage your hood when you attempt to close it.
If you require additional help accessing the battery please review the OE Battery System guide in the Pit area.
550. I have a 2001 LE PT. Where can I find the VIN on the PT? - Jack, from Vermont.
Automobile manufacturers assign alphanumeric characters to their vehicles primarily for registration and identification purposes. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is located on the upper left corner of the instrument panel, near the left A-Pillar and dash speaker. It has been said that manufactuers chose this inconvenient location to discourage tampering. In most vehicles the windshield would have to be removed to falsify the VIN number.
The VIN consists of 17 alphanumeric characters that provide specific information about the vehicle. To protect the consumer from theft and possible fraud the manufacturer is required to include a Check Digit at the ninth position of the Vehicle Identification Number. The check digit is used by the manufacturer and government agencies to verify the authenticity of the vehicle and official documentation. The formula to use the check digit is not released to the general public.
The VIN number can also be found on the Manufacturer Sticker, which is posted on the rear face of the drivers side door, just under the door latch area. Each time you bring your PT to the dealership for servicing they usually run the VIN number through their system to identify the vehicle and determine if there are any outstanding issues or recalls, which affect the vehicle.
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