The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Fifty One Q&A 1251 - 1275
1251. I have a 2004 GT (HO) PT with 26k miles. I am curious about the front end size on the GT's and Dream Cruisers. Everyone knows that there are physically bigger. The vendors that sell bumper covers and other accessories indicate that some parts will not fit the GT or Dream. I have a vendor that I bought a car bra from and they said it would fit, but it does not. They do not believe me and indicate that they have sold a number of these to other people with no problems. I have a few members in my club that have GT's and Dreams and they're having the same problem I am having with accessories fitting correctly. My dealer says there are the same. Thank you. - Ralph, from California.
It's easy to see the physical differences side by side. The dream cruisers (Mike has an 02) have a much thicker lower bumper fascia. The section below the bottom grille is much thicker and is missing the air dam along the bottom. Items like the chrome grille overlays do not fit the dream cruisers. Can't verify the bra, but I would be surprised if it fit.
1252. I have a 2004 BE PT with 33k miles. I hear a "squeaky" noise when I depress the clutch pedal. It also feels a bit tight. The car runs and shifts smoothly, but the noise is annoying. - Danny, from California.
A squeaky clutch pedal could indicate that the pedal bushings worn are out or need lubrication, or the clutch pedal return spring is worn out. Your PT is under warranty - have it checked by your local DC dealer.
1253. I have a 2002 BE PT with 34.5k miles. I've had re-occurring problems with a clunking and squeaking sound from the right rear. The dealer has replaced the sway bar links twice, which solved the clunking problem for a month each time. The shocks were replaced, and that actually made the squeaking sound worse. Something was also done to the bell crank (I'm not sure what). I hear the squeaking constantly, even on reasonably flat roads. The clunking occurs when going over bumps and when the car moves forward or back while starting and stopping. I'm about to go out of warranty, and would very much like to solve this problem before that happens. - Joyce, from Florida.
If the sway bar links cure the fault, then they are where the problem lies. I would also tie the fuel filler tube to the plastic splash shield. It's allowed to flop around and tap against the frame rail. Since you have clearly documented the problem with your local dealer on more than one occasion you should not have a problem obtaining warranty service if the issue continues to reoccur. There are a number of DC dealers in your area. If you're not happy with the outcome of repair work conducted by your current dealer you may want to consider obtaining a second opinion.
1254. I have a 2001 TE PT with 36k miles. It seems to be taking a long time for my clutch to engage. When I change from gear to gear, the car slows down for a couple of seconds before it engages and then speeds up. I just had the engine tuned up and the problem seems to be worse. I got an estimate of a new clutch of $1,100. I'm not sure if it makes sense to repair or trade in for a new PT Cruiser. Any help would be appreciated. - Donna, from New Jersey.
Unless you slip the clutch a lot, there's no way it should be worn in only 36K miles. A worn clutch will allow the engine to rev up without the PT speeding up. Your description doesn't sound like clutch failure. You may want to have your local dealer examine it. You'll also find a clutch diagnostic guide in the Pit area.
1255. I have a 2003 LE PT with 12k miles. How can I figure out how long I can run accessories plugged into the unswitched power outlet, without the engine running, without damaging the battery or discharging it to the point where the car won't start? For example, if I know my total power consumption for the accessories is say 1200 mA, how long can I run the device before I'm in trouble? Is there some calculation I can do where I can just plug in the numbers? Thanks. - Brian, from Florida.
Batteries have an amp/hour rating. 1.2amps should run for over a day without draining a battery to a point it won't recharge. Check out this site, it offers many calculators and conversions.
1256. I have a 2001 LE PT with 60.5k miles. I accidentally left the air and radio on for a couple of hours. When I turned on the car it did not have enough power to start. I let the car sit overnight and the next morning it turned on without a problem. Everything worked fine with the exception of the power locks and being able to arm and disarm the alarm. The alarm sensor is now constantly blinking ever so faintly whether the ignition is on or not. I have thought about disconnecting and re-connecting the battery cables to see if this issue will reset itself. I know if you manually lock the driverside door it will not let you arm the vehicle, I have tried resetting the power lock per the manual but it does not do anything. I ran the two self-tests and it did not list any errors. - Wendy, from California.
You can try the battery disconnect, but I would guess the RKE Module has failed. You'll find more information on the RKE Module in the Top 10 Issues List and the RKE System Guide in the Pit area. The system guide includes diagnostic tests and replacement procedures.
1257. My 2002 LE PT with 55K miles is due for an automatic transmission fluid change. From your experience, will a "drop the pan" and filter replacement be good enough? From what I've heard, it only replaces half of the fluid and is a waste of time and money. Apparently a more complex change can be done via the transmission cooling hoses and is much more effective. Thanks for your time. - André, from Canada.
It's a personal choice for you. The argument from both sides will never be settled. The flush gets more fluid, doesn't disturb the pan and gasket, is much more profitable for the shop, and leaves you with a dirty partially clogged filter. The pan drop gets all the fluid except what's in the converter and cooler lines, installs a new/clean filter, takes more labor time, and increases the chances of a leak from the pan by a technician who doesn't do the job correctly. (I still see technicians use an air gun to tighten pan bolts that are designed to be finger tight). My choice is to change the fluid every 24K miles and alternate. Flush onetime, and change the filter, the next. Whatever you do, be sure to use Chrysler ATF+4 and not a generic transmission fluid.
The OE guide in the Pit area provides one preferred method - pan drop, and one alternative method - dipstick tube fluid suction.
1258. I have a 2002 LE PT with 45k miles. I understand that the chip modifications that are sold for PT's on the web are very subjective with regards to performance or the "feel" of performance. If installed, can they harm the vehicle, cause the computer check engine light to go on, or anything else? I am looking at the G-BOX by Next Level Gen. I'm just curious if I can expect to experience any problems in the short/long term with this type of modification. Thank you. - Manny, from New York.
The sensors the G-box intercepts are not read at any time you exceed 85% throttle. Passing gear or hard acceleration will give you no gains at all with this modification. I wouldn't describe it as a cost-effective modification.
1259. I have a 2001 LE PT with 60k miles. While under the PT performing maintenance I noticed a blue wire hanging down on each side behind the rotors. The wire had a tag on it with the number 04794264ad61789. My local DC dealer parts department said it's a strut bracket ground wire. How critical is this part? Is this something I can repair myself or do I need professional help? Thanks in advance for your help. - Joe, from Pennsylvania.
The ground wire is important. It should never break off on it's own. Something wrong must have happened, or a tech got lazy. Have a local pro check it out.
1260. I would like to have the side door windows tinted in my new 2004 BE PT convertible, but the window drops down about 3/4" when the door is opened and return to the original position when the door is closed. In order to cut/apply the tint properly the door needs to be open and the window fully extended. There does not appear to be a way to get the windows to fully extend while the door is open. Disconnecting the battery does not help because the weather stripping lip on the outside of the window can be damaged if the door is forced open without allowing the glass to drop down. The power window switches will not raise the windows past their drop-down point as long as the door is open. I have not located the switch assembly that I could manually trip to trick the door into thinking it was closed while it is open. How can I accomplish getting the windows all the way up with the door open? - AB, from South Carolina.
Try pushing the door latch inwards, as if the door were closing against the striker. The switch is integral to the latch assembly. Be sure to release the latch by using the exterior door handle prior to shutting the door.
Follow up from owner - Thanks; that worked like a charm.
1261. I have a 2001 LE 2.0L PT with 30k miles. The PT seemed to be working fine, but as the weather conditions warmed up it started to make a metal grinding like sound and occasionally gives off white smoke and a burning odor from the exhaust pipe. I was involved in an accident last year. The left front of the vehicle was damaged, including the radiator, which was welded during the repair. Since there aren't many PT Cruisers in Poland, the main problem is that no one can tell me exactly what's going on. Some said it was the A/C, which I thoroughly checked and refilled. Others say it is the transmission. Can you please help me or just give me a hint what to do next? - Michal, from Poland.
White smoke from the exhaust is coolant burning through the cylinders. That is most likely a head gasket failure, although it could be several other causes. You need to have the system pressure tested and then run a cylinder leakdown test. These tests will show where the coolant is entering the cylinder.
1262. I have a 2001 BE PT with 40k miles. If the car sits for a day or more, when you turn the ignition key to start, it apparently blows the 20amp FP/ASD fuse in the PDC. I replace the blown fuse, turn the key and the car starts. I've been to the Chrysler dealer and they can't find anything amiss. This has happened at least a dozen times, and started about 6 months ago. Any help would be appreciated. - Rick, from Pennsylvania.
That would be fuse #13 in the PDC. It feeds the PCM, fuel pump relay to fuel pump motor, data link connector pin #16, and the ASD relay to power the injectors, O2 sensors, ignition coil, EGR solenoid, and PCM. There must be an intermittent short to ground somewhere in the 30+ feet of wiring. By performing a wiggle test, a good tech should be able to locate the fault.
1263. I have a 2001 LE PT with 66k miles. One day the horn went out along with the cruise control. The air bag light comes on and stays on and you can here a funny humming sound like the air bags are trying to inflate or something. Someone told me it might be a relay, but I can't figure out which one controls those three. I checked the fuses and they are fine. I did buy a horn relay but that was not it. - Ron, from Ohio.
That combination of issues suggests that the clockspring has opened up. There have been problems with the clockspring on multiple model year PT's, and many have been replaced. It's not an uncommon fault. You'll need a SM if you plan to DIY, or the procedure is available through the Pit area. You may also want to review the TSB Steering subsection on the site regarding clockspring issues.
1264. I have a 2001 LE PT. All was fine when I parked the PT in the backyard, but now the original battery is dead from sitting too long. I attempted to jump it with a Shumacher 10/30/50 quick charger. With the charger properly connected and in the off position, it smoked the charger. After installing a new battery, the engine will not crank. If I jump the starter solenoid to the positive battery terminal it will crank, but will not start with the key in run mode. Fuel appears to be ok. I checked all fuses in the PDC and fuse box, and changed out the starter relay, but still won't crank with the keys. - Phil, from Texas.
It sounds like the charger may have damaged the PT. When it smoked, it may have taken out some important circuits. Lets hope the PCM didn't get damaged. The PCM is attached to a bracket, which is welded to the dash panel wall located in the driver side rear quadrant of the engine bay just behind the Power Distribution Center. You'll find a system guide in the Pit area, but you need a lot more diagnostic tests than can be done by email. A visit to your local DC dealer may be in order.
Follow up from owner - I rechecked all of the fuses again and they were OK, so I decided to take it to the dealer. They ran a diagnostic and determined that the PCM was bad and replaced it under warranty. If the fuses were good, how/why does the PCM short out or go bad? Thanks for your help.
PTDIY follow up - When a battery is completely dead, or if the charger fails, it can output a lot of high frequency voltage instead of a nice clean 12-14volt DC output. This RF "noise" or "hash" can be very destructive to a circuit designed for a flat DC voltage in the 12-14 volt range. A battery acts like a large capacitor, absorbing the "hash". If it's completely dead, the hash gets into every circuit that's turned on.
1265. I have a 2001 BE PT with 77k miles. Sometimes when I pull and set the emergency brake, I do not hear a chime. Is there a switch that is not making contact? Thank you. - Mark, from New Jersey.
When the parking brake is applied with the ignition on the brake light in the instrument cluster will come on. If the parking brake is applied while the vehicle is moving, a chime will sound to alert the driver. The chime will sound up to 10 times, or until the vehicle has returned to a stop. There is no chime when you set the brake while the vehicle is not in motion.
1266. I have a 2002 TE PT with 44k miles. The problem started about a week ago. I haven't been driving the vehicle as much in the past month (only about 2 times a week compared to 5 times a week). When I shift into reverse or drive there seems to be some resistance while shifting. Once I have shifted it seems to drive fine, but the resistance is still there. I've tried driving a little more over the past few days and it seems to be getting more resistant. - Melanie, from Maine.
I would begin the diagnostic process by having the shifter linkage bushings on the transmission end of the cable inspected.
1267. We have a 2002 LE PT with 36k miles. The PT started fine. I drove our kids to school and stopped for coffee. When I tried to start car it was dead. There is no power to anything except the door open bell. The gauges twitch when I push the unlock button on the key Fob. - Campbell, from Louisiana.
That should be a simple electrical diagnosis. A meter, test probe, and scanner should locate the open circuit and find the root cause of the broken circuit fairly quickly.
1268. I am new in the world of PT Cruiser. I have been offered to buy a defective PT 2002 LE PT, which has been overheated. Is it worth trying to repair the engine or is it best to buy an engine? I have read that overheating is a common, but expensive issue on the PT's. I live in Curacao, an island off the Netherland Antilles in the Caribbean, near Aruba and South America. - Ronald, from the Netherland Antilles.
Overheating is not a common fault with the 2.4L domestic PT engine. Neglecting proper maintenance is the cause of most PT problems. Someone who continues to drive a hot engine to the point of permanent damage is the cause of a blown motor. Replacement or repair is your personal choice. Locating the parts for a domestic PT outside the USA may be a big job. I was just on the island of Saint Lucia in January to help a PT owner get his project running after 2 years of struggling for parts and information. He shipped in a damaged PT, just like you are asking about.
1269. I have a 2003 GT (HO) PT with 3k miles and want to install a transmission temperature gauge. I was wondering where to install the sensor? - Keith, from Illinois.
There is already a transmission temperature sensor built into the transmission range sensor. The PCM constantly monitors transmission fluid temperature to determine shift strategy. You do not need a second sensor.
1270. At 43K my 2001 BE PT has developed a hollow "knock" in the area of the left front wheel on from dead stop acceleration. The sensation of the knock can be felt in the steering wheel. After reviewing the majority of Q&A's, I expected to find CV joint deterioration. The garage floor shows no evidence of leakage and upon examination, the boots are all dry. The problem is only noticeable in straight line acceleration, not while turning. Additionally, the "knock" can occur when encountering a rough surface (pot hole, etc.). With the vehicle on jacks, the left wheel shows a considerable amount of play (at the hub), in opposition to the right. In a traditional rear wheel drive configuration I would consider this to be a wheel bearing failure where the bearing was loading and unloading as the direction of force changed. Does the hub nut simply need tightening or does the entire hub need to be replaced? My Haynes manual gives very little information on the hub itself or associated bearings. I'd be very appreciative to hear your take on this. – Michael, from USA.
Although a hub bearing might be the cause, I would look closely at the lower control arm bushings. They have a very high failure rate. We don't generally recommend using Haynes manuals – several PT owners have reported issues of omitted information. Although lacking in some areas, the OE SM usually does a much better job. OE diagnostics and repair guides are also available through the Pit area on the site.
1271. I have a 2001 LE PT with 107.5k miles. The PT started to run warm with the A/C on, checked the coolant level and added coolant to the overflow tank. I used Sierra non-toxic. The car ran normal temperature for about 2 weeks then started to fluctuate on the temperature gauge. The coolant level was low, added again. It was fine for a week or so than I noticed while highway driving at a sustained speed of 65mph + the temperature started to rise to the next hash mark on the gauge. I let up on the accelerator and the temperature returned to normal. When we got to our destination I popped the hood when the engine was cool and removed the cap. The coolant was brownish looking and felt oily, and the reservoir was low again. I added some water and we cruised home with no trouble. The car was fine for about a week. Then, the temperature started to rise again, so I flushed the engine and put in a new thermostat and coolant. I noticed that at idle there was no water movement in the fill neck to the upper radiator hose. I revved the engine and the water overflowed the neck. I also noticed (at idle) the coolant would boil out of the neck quite violently. I removed the thermostat and put in the old one, minus the center. The engine still runs hot and the temperature gauge rises above the centerline. I suspect a blown head gasket or a bad water pump or both, any Ideas? - Frank, from New Jersey.
First, ensure that you are using the correct thermostat. Second, you need to have the system pressure tested and a leakdown test performed in each cylinder. I agree that you may have a serious engine fault. Other owners with similar symptoms have reported occasional blown head gaskets and or warped/cracked heads.
1272. I have a 2003 BE PT with 21k miles. Is there a way to turn off the passenger side air bag so I can have my 10 -year old grandson ride in the front set with me? Thank you very much for any help. - William, from California.
I'm sorry, but as a practice we don't provide advice on how to disable any of the safety systems built into the vehicle. I would suggest that you thoroughly review the owners' manual where you'll find information on how to properly restrain and safeguard the lives of all of your passengers.
1273. I have a 2003 GT (HO) PT with 1.6k miles. When my PT sits over night and I try to start the car the starter cranks about 10 times and runs very rough for 5 seconds. This only acts up like this when the car sits for a long time. I can start and stop the car all day and it will start on the first crank. Thank you. - Mal, from Illinois.
Try turning the ignition to the "on" position and wait until the fuel pump primes. You should be able to hear the pump run for 2 seconds before turning to the start position.
1274. I just purchased a new 2004 GT PT about a month ago. After 2 weeks of operation I have noticed that both of my front power windows shake and rattle when completely closed or when partially open. Is this a common problem, is there an easy fix or is this something I need to take to the dealer for immediate attention? - Chris, from Canada.
I can recall receiving a few complaints regarding excessive play in the windows. I believe that the track hardware inside the door was mislaigned or loose in both instances. It's a warranty issue, have your local dealer check it out. You can review a similar report of this issue and potential fix here.
1275. I have a 2003 TE PT with 32k miles. I am on my third go around with DC on vibrating/rattling front windows when the windows are partially down. The window regulators have been replaced twice at no charge, but the rattle usually reappears within a few months. It has gotten so bad that the creak I hear is readily evident with the windows full up. My local dealer service manager said the last time that they would contact DC to see if any fix is listed. He concurred that mine is not the only car with this problem. Thanks. - Roger, from Pennsylvania.
We have received several complaints from PT owners regarding squeaking and or squealing windows as the window travels up/down, but very few regarding vibrating or rattling. Most of these complaints began after the release of the 2002 model year PT, however we haven't received more than 2 complaints (including yours) during the last two years. DC released a TSB for a "front window regulator squeak", which affected 2001-2002 model year PT's. The fix involved replacing the regulator upper plastic gliders. The TSB/repair can be reviewed in the Pit area on the site. There were some additional issues, which caused squeaking and or squealing for some owners, which can be reviewed here.
In this instance, if the regulators are repeatedly replaced there may be an underlining issue that causes the failure. We are not aware of any recent issues with faulty regulators. A few owners have reported that their window tracks were loose, which resolved noise problems.
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