The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Four - Q&A 76-100
76. Will an under seat drawer, like the one I have under the passenger seat, fit under the driver seat? I have a Black Limited with power up/down. Thank you. - Grant, from the USA.
No. You can put a box under there, but there isn't as much room and there are no drawer slides.
77. When I started the car some white smoke came from the tail pipe. I change my oil according the schedule B plan in the owner's manual. I have 30,240 miles on my 2001 PT, should this be some cause for concern? - Lonnie, from the USA.
White smoke is water (or coolant if you're unlucky). Blue is oil. Black is unburned fuel from too rich an air/fuel ratio. It's normal for water to condense in the exhaust and steam out when started. Let's hope it's water and not coolant. Keep an eye on it.
78. At 22,000 miles my front brake pads are squealing. Is it time to replace the brake pads, and how easy is it to do myself? Should I do all four wheels; what would be the cost? - EZ, from the USA.
You can DIY. Do the front pads only, the rears are probably fine. Seventy percent of the braking is done with the front pads. The PT uses Wagner MX-841 Thermo-Quiet pads. They are available at professional parts stores for around $60 or at the dealer for $127. I know, because I have a set right here.
79. Do you have to lube the front end on the PT Cruiser. Thanks. - Bob, from the USA.
No, it's not necessary, the ball joints are filled and sealed at the factory.
80. I recently purchased a 2001 PT Cruiser and heard that there is a dual exhaust kit available for them. Is this kit available, and would it aid in performance? Thanks for your time. - Gil, from the USA.
There are several dual and single exhaust kits available. Actual performance gains are questionable. The OEM exhaust is well designed. I chose a Walker Dynomax muffler for mine based on sound, not horsepower.
81. Would indexing the plugs and degreeing the cam do more for the PT than all of the other modifications put together? Exhaust, cold air intake, and things like that. - Al, from the USA.
No. The cams are very well engineered. They are producing over 1hp per cubic inch, which is extremely efficient. The hemi head design negates indexing the plugs.
82. I want to change my air intake system. I am green as grass when it comes to stuff like this. I have tried removing the factory air intake box, but got stuck. I do not know how to remove the bottom part of the box. Thanks. - EW
To remove the OEM air box assembly loosen the hose clamp connecting it to the air intake hose; then lift the air box upward to release the pop-in mounts. If the air box seems stuck apply a little extra pressure and it will pop off. Make sure to firmly seat it during reinstallation.
83. With the cruise control on and set at about 65 mph it will often downshift on even a moderate hill to maintain speed. Sometimes it won't downshift, but the rpm's will surge about 400 revs (torque converter?) and then come down when the grade evens. It surges right before the downshift also. I have driven many cars on this same road and none of them needed to downshift, even cars with less horsepower though they were a little lighter. Is this just an under powered car or is there something to be done? My car was built May 2000 and TSB 18-18-00 has been done with no effect on this problem. It may also be a problem even without the cruise control on, but I unconsciously ease off on the gas so it doesn't downshift; in any case it is more noticeable with the cruise on. Any help is appreciated. Thanks - David, from the USA.
This is normal operation. The 400rpm is the torque converter lock-up disengaging. The Transmission Control Module (TCM) reads speed, Calculated Load Value (engine load), and RPM to determine what gear to be in. Don't worry about it, there's nothing's wrong.
84. How do I disconnect the odometer? It is usually plugged in around the transmission, but I can't seem to locate the connection. Thanks for your help. - Rick, from the USA.
The Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) is what reads the output shaft speed. This is the speedometer, odometer, PCM input for air/fuel mix, and part of the advanced accident strategy of the airbag system. Disconnecting it will set several trouble codes that only a dealer can turn off, and you will lose the speedometer, which is very illegal. So, I don't recommend it.
85. My March '01 PT Cruiser sometimes exhibits a clutch slipping symptom after sitting for 4-5 days. It is noticeable only in 1st gear when cold, and does not occur after 20 miles of driving. Do you have any suggestions? If you recommend checking the transmission fluid level, can you describe where the fill plug is, and how to access it? Thank you. - Curby, from the USA.
The 5-speed transmission fluid does not come in contact with the clutch. Low fluid won't cause clutch slippage; instead it will whine and grind. A problem with the clutch master/slave cylinders may exist. You may not notice it in higher gears, and once it warms up it may work fine. I would schedule a trip to the dealer on a Monday. Drop it off on Friday and keep the keys. Go in first thing Monday and take the service manager (not a writer) for a drive to show the concern. Invite the assigned tech to join you. FWIW, I have never known a service writer that had any mechanic experience. The manager usually has some skills.
86. I have a 2001 LE PT with an automatic transmission, and 6500 miles. Every time I take off from a stop sign or stop light I get a creak, moan and a soft pop sound from the front end. This happens when the weight of the car shifts from front to back and vice versa. I noticed this the first month I had the car. I have since lowered the car hoping the mechanic would find something and fix it, but he didn't any problems and the noises still occur. The car runs great and handles fine, but the sound worries me. Many thanks. - Randall, from the USA.
Since you feel that the mechanic would have found something during the spring changeover, I would look at the transmission/motor mounts. Try holding the brake in gear; then give it some throttle. Do this in forward and reverse. If the sound is heard, you have a bad mount.
87. I have a 2001 LE. The right rear window suddenly stopped working and failed in the down position. I couldn't operate it using the window switches, then after sitting for an hour, it miraculously began to work perfectly again. I haven't experienced any problems since then. Any clue as to cause, or probability of reoccurrence? - Don, from the USA.
There is an auto-resetting circuit breaker, but it supplies power to ALL the windows. If it opened, none of them would work until it cooled off. The service manuals make no mention of a thermal breaker on each window motor. With the information available, I'd say that you might have an intermittent OPEN circuit. Not a 'short circuit'. Shorts blow fuses and cause fires.
88. I'm getting ready to do my second tire rotation tomorrow night and I found that I'm missing a lug nut. I went to a couple of part stores and they didn't know the size I needed, do you know the thread size? Thanks. - Greg, from the USA.
As a precaution, you should check the other lug nuts for proper torque immediately. If one is loose, the others may be also.
Wheel mounting stud size = M12 X 1.5mm
Wheel mounting nut hex size = 19mm
Wheel mounting nut torque = 100ft/lbs (85-115)
Re: page 22-18 of the service manual 2001
Re: page 22-16 of the service manual 2002
89. Does the steering wheel center cover pull off, or is there something you have to do first to keep the air bag from going off? Don't want that to happen! - Danny, from the USA.
The center cover IS the airbag module. It does not pull off. There are retaining clips in the back of the wheel. The system must be disabled. Refer to 8M-10 of the service manual for instructions. This is not a recommended procedure for DIY'ers.
I recommend disabling the airbag system for ANY work near the bags or sensors. Think of an active airbag as a hand grenade with the pin pulled and one finger on the lever. One wrong move and it will explode in a millisecond, with no warning.
90. I like your idea about the Walker Dynomax Super Turbo muffler. Did you feel a performance difference and is this just as good as a Borla cat-back system? What can Borla do as far as the 90-degree bend to make their system flow better? - Phil, from USA.
How would you describe the sound of your Dynomax muffler? I understand that it's a subjective opinion, but would like the benefit of what you have to say before going that (your) route. Thanks you. - Pete
I don't know if the performance gain I felt was real or the placebo effect of a new mod. It sure sounds better. I received many compliments on the sound at the Niagara Falls cruise-in. The OEM exhaust is very well designed. I don't see any room for improvement through the pipes. They are mandrel bent and large enough to flow well. The pipe size shouldn't be too large. If it is, you cool the exhaust gas too quickly and actually slow down the exhaust velocity. This also leads to moisture buildup inside the pipes, which is a negative because it leads to rust. The aftermarket retailers don't want you to spend $35 on a muffler, they want you to spend $500 and justify it with stainless steel and chrome.
The PTs with the 5-speed transmission complain that it's too loud. It resonates about 3000rpm into a low drone. The automatic would be going about 90mph at that rpm, so it's not a problem. The idle is not loud, yet louder than stock. It is a much lower tone. Combined with an open intake, it will certainly turn heads when flooring it. While cruising, you will hear it as a low drone from the rear.
91. I am experiencing some difficulty with the rear hatch handle not opening the hatch. Do I need to replace the handle or just lube it? - James, from the USA.
There's a Rear Hatch Access issue, which was addressed to all DC dealers as a service information bulletin. You may want to have the dealer check out the problem.
92. I adore my 2001 Cruiser, however after driving it for the first week I just can't get into a comfortable position. I feel as though I'm being pitched forward and I have the seat adjusted to its lowest adjustment. The seat needs to be lower and titled up and back towards the rear end. Can the seating be adjusted any further? Thanks so much. - Stanly, from the USA.
I've had the seat out while researching my passenger seat armrest modification, and noticed no way to reposition the seats safely.
93. I am trying to install factory fog lights on a 2001 PT Cruiser. I found the sockets in the grill to plug the lights in, but can not find the rest of the harness. I also have had the dash completely apart, but still can not find any sign of the rest of the harness. Do you have any suggestions? - N/A
I noticed a post in the forum, which indicated that if you have an F package or higher the Cruiser comes prewired for fog lights. If not, you will have to run the wiring harness, included with your fog light purchase, yourself. This will also determine if you have to disassemble the dash. With an F package or above you would simply install the new stalk on the steering column, and plug in the fog lights. (This accuracy of this information has not been determined.)
94. My 2001 LE 5-speed has a miss or stutter between 2000 and 2500 rpm, under light or steady throttle. It is slightly worse at about 2200. It has done this since new and now has 2100 miles on it. It is not the A/C compressor as the dealer says. Thanks - Larry
Without being able to put a data recorder in the car, I would first check the Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) for an intermittent open in the potentiometer. Your dealer should be able to drive the car without the A/C on and feel the concern.
95. The MIL (Maintenance Indicator Lamp) light came on today about 1/2 mile from my house for no apparent reason. I've checked all the obvious stuff (loose gas cap and possible bad gas) and ran the diagnostic self-test, and no fault codes showed up. She seems to be running fine other than the darn light staying on. In your answer to Engine Light Comes On in the Tech Library you state that it takes 3 warm-ups without failure to turn off the light. Is this true regardless of what triggered the light in the first place? Should I drive a few days with the light on to see if it eventually goes out? Any chance of damaging anything if I do? I restarted the engine several times today but it was still warm each time and the light is still on (steady, not blinking). Thanks. - Tom, from the USA.
The diagnostic test with the trip odometer being pressed only tests the cluster/body control module. It does not test the engine controller. You have a fault code. It's under warranty. Get it checked by the dealer. Even after the light goes out, the code will continue to be stored until it's reset by the mechanic. If something simple were failing, I would want it fixed before it takes out something important.
Click here to see our resource on the Vehicle Diagnostic Self-Tests and Fault codes.
96. Where is the best (safest) place to place a jack or jack stands under a PT Cruiser? Many tips suggest putting the car on stands, but they are never very specific as to the location. Under the rear axle/crossmember and the side jacking points seem logical, but what about up front? Thanks. - Sean, from the USA.
There are 4 areas on the frame corners designed for lifting. You can identify these areas easily. Look for an oblong hole with a rubber bushing in each corner of the frame. Do not attempt to raise one entire side of the vehicle by placing a floor jack midway between the front and rear wheels. This practice may result in permanent damage to the body. When properly positioned, a floor jack can be used to lift the vehicle and support the raised vehicle with jack stands. A floor jack or any lifting device, must never be used on any part of the underbody other then the described areas. See the OEM Hoisting and Lifting guide in the Pit area for complete information.
97. I am in the process of installing my Ohooga horn. What I would like to do is install a selector switch so that I can choose between the stock and Ohooga horn. The OEM horn button on the steering wheel would operate both horns. Is installing a second selector switch possible? If so, what kind of switch do I need and where in the circuit do I install it? Thank you. - Tony, from the USA.
What you need is a DTSP switch. That's double throw (to separate on positions instead of on & off), single pole (one set of contacts). This type will have 3 connections. Don't get one with a center off position. That would give a position where nothing will sound. That's bad. The switch only needs a one amp rating because you will still use a relay for each horn. This will allow the switch to be very small.
There is only one wire leading from the horn button to the horn relay. You will splice the switch into this line. The lead to the button will hook to the center pin on the switch. The lead to the OEM horn relay will connect to either outside pin. A wire leading to your extra horn relay will connect to the remaining pin.
The button gives a ground path to the relay. It does not supply 12V. Make sure that your extra relay is the same. The wire from the OEM relay is at pin A2 of the relay in the (PDC) Power Distribution Center, it's 20AWG and black with a red stripe. Follow this wire until you can get at it to splice into the circuit.
Whichever horn you have selected should beep when the (RKE) Remote Keyless Entry module is activated. Don't forget to use a fuse when powering your horn. Electrical code calls for no more than 4 inches of unfused wire for add-ons. See our Ohooga Horn guide in the Pit area.
98. The rear window wiper on my 2001 LE stops in the up position and makes a grinding sound when running. What could the problem be, and how can I access the wiper from the inside. Thank you for your help. - Toby, from the USA.
The access panel on the hatch is held on with push-in clips. It simply pulls off. However, I don't recommend that you try to diagnose this one. It's under warranty and a problem like you describe will almost certainly require new parts. If you go digging around in there your dealer will have sufficient cause to deny a warranty claim. If you cannot make it fail for the dealer, I suggest video taping the concern and submitting it as evidence. Keep a copy for yourself.
99. I'm having problems with the A/C not cooling. The compressor lines are cold but no cold air is being blown into the car. Should I take it to the dealer or is there something I can do? - James, from the USA.
There are several possible causes. The most likely is a defective blend door. This is the flap that lets cold or hot air through to the vents. It is not a user serviceable item. It's under warranty anyway.
Follow up from the owner - The PT was diagnosed by the dealer as being low on Freon. Dye was run through the lines and no leaks were detected. However, Mike indicated that if were a slow leak it would not be detectable during the duration of a short test period. Covered under warranty.
100. I just purchased a 2002 PT Cruiser with outside mirror defrosters. They mention them in the manual, but not how they're turned on or off? Thank you. -Tom, from the USA.
The heated mirrors go on with the rear window defroster. The push-button switch is located at the center of the instrument panel, below the radio. An amber light shows that the defroster is on. The defroster turns off automatically after 10 minutes of operation. Each following activation of the defroster will last for 5 minutes. 2001 PT owner's manual, page 147.
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