The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Twenty six - Q&A 626 - 650
626. I have a 2001 TE PT with 53k miles. When I'm on a bumpy road I hear a loud jarring noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. While checking that area, I noticed that when I grab the rear tires and shake them vigorously I hear a clunking noise on each wheel. Is there a bearing problem I could be having with the rear? I can also shake the rear of the car from side to side and it will make the same sound; seems to be originating from behind both rims. Thanks. - Sean, from North Carolina.
There have been several cases of loose bolts at the bushings in the rear. If they are snug, you will need more diagnostic inspections.
627. I have a 2003 GT PT. I went to start the car this evening and the check engine light came on. The fault code is P0129, someone on a forum said this is due to barometric pressure? What's happening, is this issue something I need to address immediately? - Joe, from New Jersey.
P0129 - Barometric Pressure Out-of-Range low
Description - MAP sensor input voltage out of an acceptable range detected during reading of barometric pressure.
There are 11 possible causes listed in the diagnostic manual. It covers 3 pages of tests to determine the cause. I've replaced several MAP sensors. It's most likely a defect in the sensor. It's something that should be fixed ASAP.
628. I have a 2001 TE PT. I'm having a problem with my driver side front door lock and there is a buzzing sound when the doors automatically lock at 15 mph. The driver side door does not unlock using the FOB or the key. The door will not unlock from the inside using the switch, or by pulling on the manual lock pull. It will only open using the interior door latch. This happens about 80% of the time, the problem began about a week ago, conveniently the day my warranty expired. I live in a cold climate and we have had quite a bit of freezing and condensation lately. The door will unlock and lock as normal once in a while using the key fob, but the buzzing sound remains for about 1-2 seconds. Could this be a short or a blown fuse? - Chad, from Illinois.
By your description it sounds like the lock motor is failing. Either on it's own, or due to the moisture and sub-freezing temps. A blown fuse would cut power completely and a short would blow fuses or start a fire. Since your warranty just expired your dealer should be able to extend the warranty as a customer satisfaction claim.
629. I have a 2002 BE PT. While my car was laid up for over two weeks during the holidays it appears that a squirrel or something must've climbed up under the hood and had the servo vacuum elbow fitting for lunch one day. It appeared to be all chewed up. So I'm wondering if I should put a vacuum gauge on to check the vacuum in case something else got nibbled on. Do you know what the vacuum reading should be on the PT at idle? Thank you. - Dan, from Florida.
This is not an uncommon problem when a vehicle is laid up for a period of time. Little critters occasionally nest in vehicles. A steady reading over 18" should be fine.
630. I have a 2001 LE PT. I don't drive my Cruiser in the snow or rain; are there any rust issues showing up on the early model cruisers? Is it worth the cost to get one undercoated? Thank you. - Jason, from Ohio.
Other than the water that puddles in the fuel door cavity, I've not seen any potential rust problems yet. It's too early to tell since the body parts are coated and only 3 years old. Most rust works from the inside out.
An undercoating treatment can be expensive and ineffective. Personally, I would never pay to have it done and I would decline as a freebie if I could stop them from spraying that nasty goo all over my nice looking vehicle. As a mechanic, it makes working on anything a slimy mess and a very dirty job. Every bit of dirt sticks to that goo.
631. I have a 2002 LE PT and noticed that there is a "thunking" noise coming from the rear of the car. I can duplicate the sound by wiggling the back end of the car from side to side, and did so for the mechanic at the dealer. He said he thought it might be, and this is where I'm really lost, the "T bar or ball bearing " on the sway bar. Would you decipher what he said it for me, or if you have any other ideas, could you tell me? Thank you. - Mary, from Minnesota.
There is a bolt connecting the sway bar bushings and the Watts linkage. This has been known to come loose. If this is the actual problem, the fix should be relatively simple. Other owners have reported worn bushing, which would be costlier to replace. Obviously, your tech quoted the job without determining the cause and what the repair actually involves. You may want to request a second opinion from a more reliable professional auto repair shop or another DC dealer in the area.
632. I have a 2002 basic edition PT and wanted to know if models, such as mine, with out power locks, alarm or extra cigarette lighters in the dash or rear typically come from the factory with the same wiring harness? In other words, are all the connections and wiring there, but just not the module or buttons? I would like to install an aftermarket keyless entry system. Thanks. - Bryan, from Georgia.
We can't provide you with a yes or no. Years ago, I had friends working at a GM wiring plant. At that time, they made one harness that included every available option. This saved labor and space requirements. Today, they seem more concerned about weight and material costs, than about labor. This may be due to the low labor costs associated with foreign production. Fifteen years ago, the answer was "yes", all the wiring should be there. Today, I don't know. Some PT owners have reported finding some wiring in place and others have not, the only way to know for sure, is to check it yourself.
633. I have a 2003 BE PT and just purchased a chrome exhaust tip from my local DC dealer, however installation instructions were not included. How would I install it - just add screw at pre-drilled hole, will that be secure enough? - Mike, from Nebraska.
I would use the predrilled hole as you suggested, but I would add an additional screw to ensure that if one fell out (due to vibration) you would not loose the tip.
634. I have a 2001 LE PT, which uses an excessive amount of motor oil - about one quart every 900 miles. This has been the case since the car was new. I bought the car from a dealer in Tennessee and had it shipped to Italy. The service representative here in Italy say this consumption is normal, but I find that hard to believe for a new car. My boss purchased his PT at the same time and it does not use any oil, and other friends who have the same model and have no oil consumption. I have heard that there is a TSB that states that the valve cover needs to be modified to correct this problem, but I am unable to find this TSB. Is there any help for my situation that you know of? - Charles, from Italy.
A number of owners have complained about excessive oil consumption. DC and many dealers have indicated that this consumption is acceptable/normal for their vehicles. The fact that many PT's do not exhibit this problem only lends suspicion to their position.
The valve cover repair that you mention was first presented in the PTCC forums about 2 year ago. At that time there was no TSB, and to our knowledge that hasn't changed. To the best of my knowledge it only affected a very small percentage of 2001 model year PT's. You can access the information by visiting the PTCC web site. Once there, access the public forums and visit the "Engine Performance" section. Once in the section, perform a forum post search using the text "oil consumption valve cover" and you will pull up 3-4 posts describing the problem. The fix for the problem is in the PTCC "members only" area. If you want access to it, you will have to become a (paying) PTCC member.
The article mentions that the problem does not seem to be very wide spread, and that there could be other causes for oil consumption (piston rings, valve guide seals, etc.), or an oil leak (valve cover gasket, oil pan gasket, rear main seal, etc.). If your Cruiser is consuming 1 quart or more of oil every 3,000 miles and the dealer can't determine why, or indicates that this is normal oil consumption, you may want to check this article out. Here's a small excerpt of one forum post by Mike (PTCC owner) describing the problem:
"The problem on this Cruiser was the PCV baffle on the underside of the valve cover was not sealed properly causing oil to be sucked into the intake manifold and burned. The sealer was not placed properly causing oil to take a shortcut to the PCV valve. The catalytic converter will mask the oil smoke and you will not even know it is burning oil."
Greg, from Texas reported that the fix described on PTCC site might not work for all owners. His 2001 PT has a different valve cover than the one described in the fix. We have heard this before; unfortunately we can't provide you with any information to help determine which valve cover DC installed on your PT.
635. I have a simple question. Why is it that a wider, shorter cylinder outperforms a taller, thinner cylinder of the same volume? If possible can you respond in physics terms? Thank you. - Danh Le
The same principals apply to people. It's easier, more efficient, and you have more available power to lift a brick off a table than off the floor. The shorter stroke puts less stress on the moving parts. It gives more available power and higher efficiency to the rotating mass (either your arm & elbow or a connecting rod & bearings). You must maintain the volume. A shorter stroke with smaller bore gives a smaller cu/in displacement. Less volume means less air and less fuel. It's obvious that a small lawn mower engine cannot produce the power of a big block V-8. A huge bore with short stroke will produce tons of horsepower, but it can't make high rpm's. Imagine trying to run with your knees tied together.There is a happy medium in the middle.
636. I have a 2003 GT PT. It looks like the window controls in the front of the vehicle have a cutout for light to shine through, is there a way to illuminate the rear window switches? Thanks. - Steve, from the USA.
As far as I know at this time, the lamps and wiring are not there. They were dropped from the 2003 PT. The switches are still made to the OEM specs; that's why the lens is visible. Hopefully someone with a service manual will try to modify them to reflect the 2001 -2002 PT's.
637. I have a 2001 LE PT. A short time ago my dealer worked on a problem with my rolling door locks, that stopped working. They had a hard time resolving the problem until they found out it was tied into the alarm system. Later, after the fix, I noticed that on the driver side door the body plug, right above the door latch, was missing. The DC parts department had a hard time identifying the part, however I finally received the plug P/N2895126, which I thought was the correct part, but it fell right through the hole into the bottom of the door. That plug seems to be the size of the ones at the underside of the door. You wouldn't happen to have access to the right number plug would you? Thanks. - Bob, from Pennsylvania.
P/N 3760 482 Plug, access hole, latch. Have your dealer verify the part and number on page DPT-107 of the parts manual.
638. Do you know of anyone that is making 3.0 or 3.3 motor modification kit for the PT? Thanks. - Jim, from New York.
Mothers wax did a conversion. The total investment for electronics, hardware, and engineering was more than $40,000 on top of the $20,000 to buy the car. They used DC's injected aluminum V6-block 3.8L engine, which was transplanted from a minivan to a PT with a manual transmission. It was not necessary to cut the firewall or fenders during the installation. The 3.8L engine was chosen because it is an overhead valve pushrod engine, and as such is much narrower than their 2.7 - 3.5L engines.
639. I have a 2002 BE PT with 10k miles on it. I was detailing the car and decided to give the "chrome" door handles some attention. I noticed a hairline crack on the door assembly under the door release button. I checked the other four doors and sure enough all the handles have it to some degree or another. I'm planning on taking it to the dealer next week. Any suggestions? Thanks. - Donald, from Texas.
It appears to be normal and part of the casting process. It's a slight 1/2" vertical hairline and uniform on all door (2001 and 2002 model years) handles we looked at; you really have to look for it to see it.
640. I have a 2001 LE PT, with a squeaky driver side seat It literally drives me nuts, is there anyway of easily lubricating the springs inside the seat? Thank you for any help you can give. - Andy, from the U.K.
Unfortunately, the service guide is a little vague in this area. It shows the removal of the seat from the vehicle and disassembly of the seat cushion and seat back from the seat frame. If you look under the forward part of the seat you will see spring supports attached to the frame, which you easily access once the cushion is removed. There are no springs in the cushions themselves; they're filled with foam. Seat noise is not uncommon, try tightening all the hardware found on the seat to see if that resolves the problem prior to removing the seat. If you end up removing the seat you will need a service manual to disarm the restraint (assuming you have side airbags) system and to disassemble the seat.
641. I have a 2001 LE PT w/automatic transmission. I understand the towing capacity of my Cruiser, however is there something that could be done to increase the capacity, perhaps the suspension? Thank you. - Paul, from Massachusttes.
Not easily, the suspension, engine, cooling system, transmission, brakes and frame are all part of the equation that help determine a safe towing capacity.
642. I have a 2001 BE PT. As you may have heard, Canada gets bloody cold and car manufacturers apparently do not have to worry about the problems created by constant deep-freeze conditions. My first problem is the hood latch and related cable connection to the hood release itself. After an extremely cold night I was forced to try to pop the hood to dig out the plug for my engine-block heater. The ice, which was undoubtedly coating the release latch under the hood, made this difficult and in fact provided enough resistance that even the short throw of the (plastic) hood release latch under the dash was enough to strain the connection via the hood release cable. It was a struggle to get the hood properly latched after an unsuccessful attempt to dig out the engine-block heater plug. How would I access and replace the cable and/or the release latch itself without tearing out the engine or the entire dash panel?
The second problem is that I'm unable to locate the plug cord for the engine block heater as my PT remains in 1.5' of packed snow and solid ice, with no space to see under the car. Do you know where the block heater plug might be located? Thank you. - Robert, from Canada.
You may want to check with your local dealer on the hood latch - if defective it may be covered under the warranty. If you decide to replace the latch mechanism and components on your own refer to the Hood Latch Installation Procedure in the Pit area.
PTE forum members report the location of the block heater wiring in the vicinity of the driver side area between the firewall and strut tower under the hood. It is described as a flat, black, 3-conductor wire, tie-wrapped to other wiring. It may be wrapped with the plug and wiring in a bundle in that location, if not follow the wiring back to the plug. It's about 3' long.
One post suggested routing the cord forward under the air filter housing and to the radiator. There's a rubber flap at the side of the radiator. Route the plug through the flap, then pull the cord down to the appropriate level. The poster remarked - After unclipping one of the extra zip-ties he had just barely enough slack to reach under the bumper between the fog light and license plate. It leaves the plug and about 0.5" of cord available for the hook up. Make sure to cap the plug when you're not using it to prevent ice from forming and coating the plug during freezing rain.
Engine Block Heater -The heater is mounted in a core hole (in place of a core hole plug) in the engine block, with the heating element immersed in coolant. The engine block heater is available as an optional (about $35) accessory. The heater is powered by 110 V AC house current through a power cord and connector. When in operation, the engine block heater can provide easier engine starting and faster warm-up, when vehicle is operated in areas having extremely low temperatures.
643. We have a 2002 LE PT with 9.6k miles. When the car is sitting and idling it surges, and when the vehicle moves forward there is a hesitation or stumble. It occurs when you are moving very slow (10-15mph). I've taken it to the dealer and they claim they can't find anything wrong. In talking with another PT owner he told me that he remembers reading that there's a relay, which is tied into the transmission, that causes this and the dealers dislike replacing it. I'm going to take it to another dealer for a second opinion, but would like to hear your thoughts? Thanks. - Rick, from Texas.
There have been several questions about surging and hesitation. To date, no one has come back with a reported cure and we have no information regarding the relay you mentioned as a potential cause. If the dealer is telling you that it is normal request a comparison test drive in similar PT off their lot or try to find a more reliable dealer. A second opinion is a good idea.
644. I have a 2001 LE PT. While wiring lights for a trailer I apparently touched something while the lights were on and now the brake lights, including the 3BL do not work. All other lights - turn - tail - work. I've checked the fuses in fuse panel under the dash and under the hood, all were OK? Is there some fuse I've missed? Could I have fried a wire before a fuse cooked? What test can I perform? - Ed, from Washington.
Page 725, 8W-51-4 of the 2002 service manual shows the wiring. Power is from fuse #12 in the underhood Power Distribution Center. From the fuse to the brake switch on the brake pedal, then directly to the lamps. A simple test light will diagnose the problem.
645. I have a 2002 TE PT and could use some help solving a chirping mystery. When I turn right or left I occasionally hear a chirping sound, which seems to be coming from the engine compartment, or front section of the car. Occasionally I hear it while going over speed bumps and or while idling. Other times I hear nothing at all, but most often it occurs during right turns at low speeds. I took it to the dealer and they supposedly checked the belts and were not able to reproduce the sound. Can you help me? Thanks. - George, from California.
It sounds suspiciously like the CV joints. When the constant velocity joints fail, they often make a chirping sound when turning. I can't believe a licensed tech would look at the belts when the sound is present when turning. A power steering belt would not be so intermittent. You may want to try visiting another dealer in your area for a second look.
Follow up #1 - George reported that the problem occasionally occurred while in park or neutral, which changes our diagnosis. CV joints must be turning to make that sound. The next thing to check is the steering rack and pump. There have been a lot of them replaced on the PT lately.
Follow up #2 - Owner reports continuing difficulty in pinpointing exactly where the sound originates.
Final Follow up - After taking it to a much better dealer in another town, they found that the noise was coming from inside the car behind the center console. They removed the center console and found that the wire harness had broken and was cutting through the metal. This was causing the chirping/squeak sound every time I turned right and so on. Well they fixed it and the noise is non existent.
646. Steve wrote, I changed the tires on my Cruiser to a 60 series tire to accommodate a 2" whitewall. It put the speedometer off by 4mph at 60mph. I thought I could have the electronic speedometer re-calibrated using a computer at the dealership. They tried, but said there were only 2 settings on the calibration program, and they could do nothing else for me. I wrote DC to confirm this and they agreed - there isn't a way to calibrate the speedometer to a 60 series tire.
Follow up from Mike - The speedometer does not use a replaceable drive gear. It's programmed with a DRBIII scanner. Obviously, there are only 2 tire sizes to choose from (P195/65R15 and P205/55R16) in PT production, so the engineers only put 2 choices in the TCM. Remember, aftermarket modifications are the decision of the PT owner and not up to Mopar to anticipate. The change in tire aspect ratio will also alter the handling characteristics. For better or worse, they will change. (Although this hasn't been verified through the dealership, with the addition of the 17" tires on the Turbo, there maybe one additional tire size the dealer can work with.)
647. I own a 2003 TE PT and have read about two ways to remove the headrests on the site, but neither work on a 2003. The dealer says they cannot be removed. Is this true? If they can, how is it done? Thanks. - James, from Nevada.
Instructions for removing the front headrest restraints are included in the service manual. According to the Rear Seat Back Cover removal instructions in the 2001-2003 service manual the rear headrest restraints can be removed, but they don't provide a procedure. You may be able to use the same method as described for the front headrests, however we haven't verified this on a 2003 model year PT.
Front Seat Head Restraint
2. Insert a stiff wire into the hole on the right hand side head restraint sleeve/guide and push to release latch.
3. At the same time, press the button on the head restraint sleeve/guide left hand side and pull upward to release the head restraint.
4. Remove head restraint from seat back.
2. Push head restraint down into the lock position.
3. Raise head restraint to ensure it locks at the last stop.
648. I have a 2001 BE PT. I got into a minor fender bender (rear-ended someone) and there is no noticeable damage except my hood won't go down all the way. The hood hinges appear to be ok, but there's a 1/2" gap on one side. I'm trying to keep the car out of a body shop (don't like chemicals and paint), but I don't know where to begin to adjust the hood so it's seated properly. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. - Diane, from New Jersey.
Without the benefit of seeing the damage there's little advice we can offer. If the hinges are positioned correctly and the hood is still out of alignment by 1/2" there may not be much you can do to adjust and compensate for the problem. In order to determine the extent of the damage have it inspected by your dealer or a body shop. Once they evaluate the damage they can provide you with a quote for the repair or hopefully a recommendation on how to seat the hood correctly.
It is not uncommon with this type of a minor fender bender to see little initial physical damage to the body, however upon closer inspection they may discover underling damage. If you rear end someone and impact their vehicle with your front bumper, the energy foam behind the front bumper fascia and the supporting bumper frame may be damaged. The bumpers and supporting components meet safety standards, however like most vehicles they are not designed to withstand much of an impact. Failure to repair these components now could place you at risk in the event of a future accident.
649. I have a 2003 TE PT w/manual transmission. I haven't seen any information on the web site concerning clutch adjustment or free-play inspection for manual transmission equipped Cruisers. Is it required (or possible) to adjust the clutch on these cars, as older cars required? Any opinions on the Hurst 5-speed shifter kit for the Cruiser? Many thanks. - Mark, from California.
The PT's clutch is self-adjusting and controlled hydraulically. You can read more about it in the Diagnostic Section in the Pit area.
I know that some owners have installed Hurst shifters, however we have little information about the modification or feedback from owners who have installed them. I would suggest that you post your question in one of the popular PT forums and ask for feedback on the modification.
650. We have a 2001 TE PT. My wife and I have noticed a pronounced "thunking" sound coming from the rear suspension area when hitting rough pavement or bumps. I've removed the spare tire and basket, thinking that might be the cause but it's still there. There seems to be some front-to-rear play (with an accompanying similar noise) in the Watts Linkage center pivot assembly. Should there be any front-to-rear play in this bearing? Thank you. - Steve, from Michigan.
Starting from page 70-74 of the 2002 manual, I see no reference to any allowable play. The mounting bolt should be tightened to 110ft/lbs. You might also inspect the Watts linkage bushing; we have received reports of worn or loose bushing, which produce similar symptoms.
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