The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Thirty Three Q&A 801 - 825
801. I have a 2002 LE PT. The A/C compressor clutch is not engaging. My mechanic suggested putting in a toggle switch and needs to identify the hot wire on the compressor, which turns the clutch on and off. - Gail, from Massachusetts.
That's not a good idea. The A/C compressor is controlled by the PCM and several safety sensors and switches. You need a tech competent enough to diagnose the defective part and repair it. Since the PT has been around for 4 years, any decent technician will already have all the repair and wiring service manual information. Bypassing safety systems is not an acceptable option.
802. I want to purchase a 2003 BE PT to tow behind our motor home. I know I can tow a 5 speed with all four tires down, but my question concerns the odometer. Will the odometer register miles while the vehicle is being towed? One dealer says no while another dealer says yes. Thank you for your assistance. - Jim, from Oklahoma.
No, the dealer is mistaken. He needs to spend some time in the service manuals, or check with a mechanic before giving an answer. The output shaft speed sensor sends a signal to the PCM and BCM. That signal is electronically calculated into vehicle speed based on gear ratio and tire size programming. With the key off, there is no calculation. The days of a gear driven speedometer are long gone.
803. We have a 2001 LE PT, with 29k miles. I am an ASE certified master auto tech with 35 years in the business, but I am not sure about this one. My wife's PT has a surge (for lack of a better word) when the A/C is on. It's been there since new. When traveling on a flat stretch of interstate at 65 mph, it seems like it is surging. As soon as I turn the A/C off it's gone. I was wondering if anyone else ever had this problem? I have driven many small cars with A/C and have never experienced this. I asked the service manager at the dealer where I bought it and he said all cars do that, however that hasn't been my experience. Thanks. - Fred, from New Jersey.
It is normal. You are feeling the compressor clutch cycling. On a 71 Chrysler with a 440 big block, you would never notice it. It uses 7-10hp to run the AC. The 440cu/in engine only losses about 2% of the available power. The 2.4L must use nearly 10% of the engine's power to run the A/C. On a percentage basis, that's 500% more power loss. That's why you feel the PCM increasing the injector pulse width and calculated load value to compensate for the power drain.
Follow up from owner - I didn't mention that the surge was also there with the A/C off, but not as severe. I took the PT back to the dealer and they applied a PCM software upgrade; it helped some, but is still a bit noticeable. The TSB is 1802701 - Some vehicles may exhibit moderate to severe (highway speed 45-60mph) vehicle surge. The repair is a software upgrade. In some less than moderate cases this will not work.
804. What are your thoughts on the bigger aftermarket brake rotors I see on some PT links? A mechanic friend told me slots and holes are totally unnecessary on the rotors, but it seems a larger sized rotor may be advantageous on the front brakes. Thanks. - Dan, from Florida.
Although the theory of bigger brakes is better, changing to a non-DC design voids all warranties and isn't test track proven. It's your personal decision. Again, no one has had issues with stopping distance. The brakes wear out quickly, but they do stop the car very well.
805. I have a 2001 LE PT. One morning I inserted the key and turned it to the start position. The engine ran a few seconds, then shut off. The MIL in the center of the speedometer flashes and the oil-pressure light is lit. This condition continues with the key off and removed. It was towed to the dealer, and they checked the keys, which were OK. They were able to get the car to run a bit, but it would continue to run without the key and or with the ignition switch removed. They disconnected the battery over the weekend and now it works fine, however I'm afraid that it might reoccur, if nothing was changed. Do you know what might have caused the problem? Thanks. - Vic, from Oregon.
There have been a few reports of defective ignition switches. They have all been replaced and the problem has been cured. They all have failed to turn off the ignition, even with the key removed. As a precaution have the dealer diagnose the problem, before replacing the switch.
Follow up from owner - The dealer was able to duplicate the problem and will be replacing the power distribution center (PDC).
806. I have a 2001 LE PT with 68k miles. The owners manual says that I need to check the accessory drive belts at 60K. I want to change them but the service manual has a weird measurement in HZ that measure the belt tension on the alternator drive belt and requires special measuring equipment, which of course I don' t have. This there a do-it-yourselfer method of checking the alternator belt tension? - Barry, from Oklahoma.
The standard is 3/8" to 1/2" belt deflection with 10ft/lbs of tension. The other belt uses an automatic tensioner.
807. I wanted to inquire about the upgrade on the windows that allows you to open and close them without the key being in the ignition. Is there a way to allow the radio to work in the same manner? Thanks. - Jonatan, from Florida.
The radio would be very easy to leave on and drain the battery. I don't recommend this mod. However, by looking at the radio wiring in the power antenna guide, you could cut the switched power lead to the radio and connect it to the constant 12v memory lead. Now it could be used all the time. Don't splice both leads together without cutting the switched wire. You would back-feed the switched circuit and power too many accessories. It could overload the circuit.
808. I have a 2003 GT PT. Is there a way to defeat the high-speed limiter? The car is obviously capable of more. I do a lot of traveling in the southwest and some of the roads are very tempting, (long & straight). With planned mod's, (suspension & exhaust), I would like to be able to use what I have. This limits the top speed of the vehicle. - Anonymous, from the USA.
This limiter limits the top speed of the vehicle and is programmed into the PCM. Aftermarket computers (in the future) may bypass it. The motor may be capable, but the thin and light-duty suspension, and tires and brakes may not be up to the task. The weakest link may not be the motor.
809. I have a 2001 LE PT. The side view mirrors won't move in the downward direction. Both the left and the right will go up, left, and right, but not down. The only suggestion so far has been for me to raise the seat. Thanks. - Scott, from California.
Have you tried gently pushing down on the lower part of each mirror with your fingers until they are repositioned? This should let you start fresh when using the switch.
810. I am interested in purchasing a used PT, how can I ensure that the odometer has not been tampered with? Is it possible to tamper with the readings on an electronic odometer? Thanks. - Sharat, from USA.
It's very easy with a factory DRB scan tool. You'll never be sure. I've seen a lot of mileage rollbacks on both mechanical and digital odometers.
811. I took my 2001 LE PT w/automatic transmission in for the 30k mile servicing. The service writer called and said that in addition to the other things I had requested, I needed the transmission fluid changed and throttle body serviced. I told him the owners' manual indicates transmission service at 48k miles. I think that is a bit long and was planning on doing it at 36k. He said they have no service schedule for the PT and normally recommend a 30k mile interval maintenance service for the transmission.
The throttle body is another question. I'm still not sure what it is, although I've read the description you have on this web site. I don't see it listed in the service schedule. Is 30k mile interval service on this needed? I have no problems with the car. It idles and runs great. - Puck, from Virginia.
You are correct; the fluid and filter maintenance interval change for the automatic and manual transmission (fluid only) is 48k miles under schedule B. There is no service interval provided for the throttle body in the service manual. Unless there is a driveability concern (it runs funny), I would stick with the service schedule outlined in the owners' manual. If you have to have it serviced you can DIY for much less than the dealer charges using the Throttle Body Cleaning guide in the pitareainfo.html area.
812. We have a 2001 LE PT. What is a solenoid pack and what is its duty on the PT? Thank you. - Rich and Erin, from Ohio.
The solenoids do the job of the valve body in older vehicles with non-computer controlled transmissions. The PT's Solenoid/Pressure Switch Assembly is external to the transaxle and mounted to the transaxle case. The assembly consists of four solenoids that control hydraulic pressure to the LR/CC, 2/4, OD, and UD friction elements. The reverse clutch is controlled by line pressure from the manual valve in the valve body. The solenoids are contained within the Solenoid/Pressure Switch Assembly, and can only be serviced by replacing the assembly. The solenoid assembly also contains pressure switches that monitor and send hydraulic circuit information to the TCM. Likewise, the pressure switches can only be service by replacing the assembly.
813. I'd like to add the OEM high note horn that was omitted from the 2003 GT PT. My car appears to have a harness for only one horn. Is there any reason I can't just splice in to the existing wires for the second horn? - Alexander, from California.
Not a problem, just add the 2nd horn.
814. I have a 2001 LE PT. I'm having a problem with my turn signals - they intermittently fail to work (no clicking, no interior indicator, on exterior turn signal flashing). Last night on my commute home they stopped working again. No amount of working the lever would make them function. An hour after getting home I went out and tried them again, without success. This morning they work fine. This has happened twice before. My car goes in for service Monday and it's going to be hard to get them to make repairs under warranty when the is no apparent problem. Has anyone had this problem and been able to get it resolved? - Puck, from Virginia.
The multifunction switch has been a popular defect from time to time. Hopefully, the dealer will be able to diagnose the problem during your Monday visit. It should be a warranty repair. I would also inspect the hazard flasher relay.
815. I have a 2002 LE PT. I would like to install an external amp, are their RCA outputs on the OEM radio? - Alicia, from California.
No, the OEM radio is not built for aftermarket equipment. See the OEM Radio Connections guide in the pitareainfo.html area for more information.
816. We recently received a question regarding the maintenance schedule and fluid requirement for the U.S. manual T-350 transmission. It seemed like a pretty straightforward question, however while checking the 2001 -2003 service and owners manuals' we discovered a good deal of contradictory information. My thanks to Chuck Schneider for bringing this issue to our attention. I recently contacted DC for clarification and they replied:
Thank you for your email to DaimlerChrysler regarding the Chrysler PT Cruiser. The transmission fluid and maintenance schedules are the same for all model years of the PT Cruiser. For the manual transmission, severe usage requires transmission service every 48,000 miles - please refer to Maintenance Schedule B in the owner's manuals. The recommended manual transmission fluid is Mopar Manual (Type MS-9417) Transaxle Fluid.
817. I have a 2003 BE PT. When I turn on my front lights, the taillights don't come on. Brake lights work, turn signals work, and the emergency lights work. Do I have a fuse problem - if so, where is it located and which one is it? Thank you. - Jay, from Illinois.
Fuse #2 in the interior fuse block powers the taillights separate from the stop lamps and turn signals. You need to determine what blew a 15amp fuse. Page 8W-11-7 & 8 shows that fuse #2 also supplies power to the front marker lamps, power mirrors, and door lock motors. If only the rear lamps are not working, the open circuit lies in the wiring harness going to the rear.
818. I have a 2001 BE PT, which I am more than happy with it. I have recently noticed that the plastic section in the central part of the dashboard (oval shaped area containing the stereo) appears to be covered with small bubbles that tend to lift and peel off, leaving the plastic without its outer finished skin. Have you received any previous reports of this problem, and how would I treat it, outside of replacing the part, which I imagine is expensive? Thank you. - Stefano, form Italy.
The part that you are describing is technically called the instrument panel center bezel, however many owners refer to it as the center console, not to be confused with the floor center console, which is where the shifter resides -very confusing slang. We haven't received any reports of defective instrument panel center bezels, but occasionally we hear from owners who describe similar damage on the dash (cover) board. In these instances the dash cover has been deemed defective and replaced by DC. I would suggest that you have your local dealer evaluate the damage, before spending $140 on a replacement bezel.
Follow up - We received a note from Dawn, who wrote, I have a 2002 PT, and live in San Francisco (not a highly sunny area or high heat). Approximately 3 months ago we noticed that our center bezel was spider-web cracking. This was most easily viewed in direct sunlight. It was very noticeable on the air vent slats, as they were completely cracked through and ready to fall apart. The PT was just out of warranty, so I had to rely on the good graces of my dealer for help. They came through and replaced it, free of charge. I have been in contact with several other PT owners regarding this abnormality. Mainly I just wanted to write in and say that it does happen, it's not a singularity and the dealer should replace it. I was also concerned with the dealer replacing it with the same P/N. Having experienced this once, I didn't want to go through this again in another 3 years when I was ready to trade in or sell the car. The dealership understood and agreed, and provided me with a part warranty as well as their word that they will replace it again if it cracks.
819. I have a 2002 BE PT and would like to know if the multifunction switch is identical for each model year PT? Thank you. - Kate, from Connecticut.
Each model year has a different P/N for the multifunction switch. The three shown below are for a switch with fog lamps. All three are somehow different.
2001 - P/N 5016 951AA
2002 - P/N 5019 712AA
2003 - P/N 5073 049AA
820. I would like to know if there are any brake pads available for a 2001 LE PT that don't make wheel dust. Thanks for any help. - Robert from Pennsylvania.
We try to steer clear of making product recommendations, however as an alternative the Wagner MX-841 pads are tried and true upgrades for the OEM brakes. Wagner also makes the PT brake pads. Many owners have used them, and there is significantly less dust.
Another owner reported using Raybestos (PGD841Qs) dustless pads on the front of his 2001 LE PT and was very happy with them, however we're not familiar with this application. Make sure that you recheck the P/N.
Another option would be to use Kleen-Wheels dust shields.
821. I purchased a used 2003 BE PT, with 24500 miles at the end of June 2003. A week ago I had to have it towed to the dealer because it would not shift into any gear. The mechanic said it was an internal problem with the transmission and it was going to need a rebuilt transmission. They removed and replaced the front pump, torque converter, and valve body due to debris in the pan. Then they inspected and reassembled transmission, did a reverse flush and flow check cooler. I picked it up after the repairs and as I m driving home I hear something come loose under the hood. It felt like I had a flat tire, and as I am attempting to slow down on the freeway it was practically bouncing as I came to a stop. The front axle was sticking out the side of the car. The mechanic said that the CV joint failed and axle cracked, but it is unrelated to the transmission issue or the work they completed. I don't agree and need your professional opinion? - J, from California.
I would suspect the CV shaft failure was directly due to the transmission work. There have been no reports of halfshaft failure under normal conditions. They should have simply swapped out the transmission. Your report of the work performed is suspicious.
822. I just bought a 2003 BE PT with less than 6000 miles. My paint code is "PJR". What color is that? It's sort of a green/gray but I can't find the color name using touch up paint codes, and the DC website only lists the name of the colors and none seem to match my color. Thank you. - David, from Texas.
According to the service manual, there is no PJR in the 2003 model line up, however there is a YJR - Onyx Green Pearlcoat.
In practice, it is not unheard of for some automotive manufactuers to change the assigned paint code, for what appears to be the same color paint, each model year. We contacted DC and requested an explanation for this practice, however they referred us to the local dealer. I discussed this with two body shop managers who were unable to explain DC's paint coding system. Both said that the practice of using a random letter as the first character of the paint code is common with Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and Jeep vehicles, and that they always refer to the second and third characters, within the three-character code to determine the correct vehicle color. Example - 2001 Inferno Red=PEL, 2002-2004 Inferno Red=WEL.
The paint identification codes and related DC P/N's for each model year are available in the Pit area.
823. I have a 2003 LE PT, which was involved in a major accident and repaired. Both air bags were deployed. I replaced the bags, although I reused the passenger air bag cover. The horn and the cruise control worked for about 500 miles and then it stopped. The dealer parts man seemed to think it might be the cock spring. Why would it work for about 500 miles and then quit? In addition, the trac control light and air bag lights remain on. Is this because the computer needs to be reset or something else? Is there a way I can reset this or do I have to go to the dealer? Finally, I don't have a remote keyless entry, can I pick up one at the salvage yard and reprogram it or do I need a new one? Thanks for all your help. - Gail, from Massachusetts.
The clock spring is located within the steering column and is part of the restraint system. Assuming that they replaced it during air bag repairs, it could be installed incorrectly, or another part may have been miss-installed during the re-assembly process, which could possibly result in the issues you mentioned. They won't be able to tell you why they initially worked until the dealer gets in there to diagnose the exact nature of the problem.
The clock spring assembly consists of a flat, ribbon like, electrically conductive tape that winds and unwinds with the steering wheel rotation. It is used to maintain a continuous electrical circuit between the wiring harness and the driver airbag. The clock spring must be properly centered when it is installed on the steering column following any service removal, or it will be damaged. The clock spring cannot be repaired. If the clock spring is faulty, damaged, or if the airbag has been deployed, the clock spring must be replaced.
After a driver and or passenger airbag has been deployed there are a number of components within the restraint system that must be replaced because they cannot be reused. See the Restraint system guide in the Pit area for more information.
I would purchase the RKE transmitter through the dealer and have them program it for you. They're not that expensive, and although there is a procedure, which will allow the customer to program it, some owners have reported that they were unsuccessful in their attempts. The dealer can program it got you using their DRB scan tool.
824. We have a 2001 BE PT. The overhead dome light turns on whenever the dashboard lights are dialed ON at all. We can't safely drive at night, because the dome lights are too bright, but when you turn them off (dialing the dash lights OFF using the multi-function switch), the back lighting on the dashboard also goes dark, and you can't read the speedometer, etc. This problem occurred recently. Is this a common problem with PT's? Thank you. - Maria, from New York.
This is the first time a problem like this has been. The dash light dimmer control on the multi-function switch stalk should rotate from dim instrument lighting to bright. The next click forward is parade/funeral mode. The dash indicators and radio display will be bright, even though the headlights are on. The next and last position will turn on the interior lights. If the lights are not functioning correctly and the dimmer control is operated properly, I would look for a malfunction in the multifunction switch.
825. I have a 2001 LE PT w/139, 544 miles. I was going about 40mph up a hill when the rpm's on the gauge dropped to zero. The oil and engine light came on. I applied pressure to the gas pedal and the car went no where. I checked the computer for faults and it indicated "no faults" so I'm pretty sure that the timing belt broke. What has to be removed to get to the timing belt? I know the PT has a non-interference engine, but do you think there could be any damage to the engine? - James, from Connecticut.
Replacing the timing belt is a challenging job, which involves removing numerous components to access the belt. The service manual outlines the procedure in 25 steps, plus 6 sub-procedures. You will need a service manual, skill and the necessary tools and equipment to DIY. (The recommended service change interval is 90k miles under schedule B.) The PT engine is a non-interference motor, but only to a degree. Although the pistons will not hit the valves, the valves from both camshafts can hit each other. Valves hitting each other are very bad.
Follow up from owner - I went to my mechanic today and he replaced the belt. The OEM belt was horrible, and was tough to replace. He only charged me $350, but said the job is worth around $500. Fortunately, no other parts were damaged.
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