The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part One - Q&A 1-25
1. I have a 2001 PT and would like to know how to adjust the headlights? The lights are notched out for two screws but my PT only has the screws on the sides of the lights , the ones in front are missing. I looked at one other PT and his were missing too. My lights are too low.
The complete OEM guide for adjusting the headlights and foglights can be found in the OEM Maintenance guides section.
2. What, if any, have been reported problems with the PT in the months following delivery? - Charlie M.
I have been watching for failure trends, and so far there are no major concerns. Besides TSB's posted already, the list is short. Early 2.4L engines were known for head gasket failures (oil leaking), but this has been corrected before any PTs were built. So, don't worry.
Chrysler is not known for tough transmissions. Tranny shops may send "thank you" cards to Chrysler for all the extra work they get. The 41TE (4-speed, Transverse, Electronic) is no exception. I inspected a broken pinion shaft retaining pin only an hour before writing this. This allowed the pinion shaft to come apart and the differential to tear up the transmission case. Enhanced maintenance may be the key to a happy transmission. I change the fluid and filter about every 15K miles. This may sound extreme, but it's sure cheaper than a new one. I've never had one fail, but I've rebuilt many for others.
From other forums, I've found what I would consider a very tiny number of failures. Seven out of nine failures are moving parts. Consider that several hundred thousand PT's have been produced. Every day I feel more confident in the quality design of the PT Cruiser.
3. I've ordered a 2001 5-speed PT with Luxury Touring group. That comes with a chrome exhaust tip. I'm interested in changing muffler to get a "rod" sound or at least a mellow rumble - Any ideas on this proposed change and possible equipment? Can chrome tip be removed and replaced on a new pipe? Thanks for the information. - Pat, from USA.
I have driven an automatic PT with a Borla(tm) cat-back exhaust and was very pleased with the sound. It sounded more like a street-rod than an import with a 6 inch fart-pipe(tm). The system was installed in about 20 minutes. A few clamps and hangers and that was it. A complete bolt-in replacement equipped with a chrome tip.
I have installed a Walker Dynomax Super Turbo muffler #17732. This muffler flows 403cfm; the engine is only capable of putting out 267cfm at redline.The cost should be around $35 at a speed shop like Summit Racing, or Jegs. The pipe was custom made to follow the OEM exhaust. Plan on spending around $75 for a chrome tip, pipe and custom bending. The OEM connection and band clamp were retained. The original muffler can be re-installed in under 10 minutes, if necessary. Adding a high flow intake would produce an even more aggressive sound.
4. For the first 3 months, I drove my 2001 PT, putting on about 2000 miles. I have noticed that every 5th, or 6th start, that the engine light comes on, and stays on for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the engine warms up, than the light goes out. When I put my PT in storage 3 months ago, I first had the oil and filter changed at the dealership. As my PT is in storage, in my garage, I start it up every day for about 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes, the engine light comes on at startup, and stays on. Sometimes at startup it's OK and no engine light. Is this normal? I have heard that on some PT's the engine light does come on, until the engine is warm, than goes off, occasionally. - Champion
It's my opinion that starting it every day for 10-15 minutes is terrible for your entire drivetrain. A huge byproduct of combustion is water, along with all the dangerous fumes. That water is collecting in your exhaust, because the engine is not being run at highway speeds at full operating temps. Do you see drips of water at the tailpipe? This will cause the exhaust to rust through from the inside out.
Imagine your cylinder walls, around the pistons. You run it only long enough to warm up the pistons, not the surrounding coolant. What happens then? Have you seen how a glass of ice water sweats all over the outside of the glass, soaking a coaster? That happens inside the engine. The water in the incoming air ends up in the oil. That is bad.
I have several cars in storage. Some won't get started until spring. That's April or May up North. I disconnect the batteries and plug the tailpipe, so moisture won't get in and rust everything.
Your MIL-Maintenance Indicator Lamp problem will require professional diagnosis. If it only lights up when the engine is cold (overnight), that information will help. It takes 3 warm-ups without the failure to turn off the light, and 40 warm-up cycles will erase the code. At cold start 2 major circuits are watched. The MAP-Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor and the EVAP-Evaporative Emissions system. The EVAP has an air pump to pressurize the fuel system. "The PCM will activate the pump and count pump strokes. If the pump does not stop or stops too soon, a DTC-diagnostic trouble code will set." When it is failing, it needs to go to the dealer for a check-up. Leaving the gas cap loose will set a code. It prevents the fuel system from pressurizing.
5. Well I'm finally going to get my 2001 PT. I placed my order on May 4th and expect it to ship on January 26th. While waiting, I've been doing research on installing either a turbo or a supercharger. I've come to the conclusion that a Whipple supercharger would be best. Increased gas mileage and a smoother power curve versus the turbo. What do you thing about my choice?
Also, I'm going to retrofit my 1969 Corvette side exhaust and tie them into either the Basani or Borola headers. I haven't read anything about the horsepower gain on these two products. Have you heard anything and do you consider them good choices? Thanks for your time. - Ed, from USA.
Allow to me to start off by first saying that I am not familiar with your exhaust setup. Operational dual side pipes on a four cylinder may not sound good. There is no cam overlap to give it that choppy, throaty sound you may desire.
As for the super charger, that would be my choice over a turbo setup. For off-idle torque, good driveability, and ease of installation, the super charger gets my vote. Additionally, there are no permanent modifications to the drivetrain (cutting for oil cooling tubes, exhaust modifications, etc.). It's a straightforward bolt-in modification. The turbo certainly has power and efficiency advantages some may want to consider. My super charged car even maintains the warranty and has a 50-state CARB certification.
I don't know about the Whipple electronics, but you will need premium fuel and a boost/retard for the ignition timing to prevent pre-ignition. Keep in mind that the exhaust CFM requirement will nearly double.
The top worry on my list is the automatic transmission. The 41TE automatic is not known for strength or durability. I'm sure there will be no warranty on a super charged drivetrain.
I would suggest trying it first, the way it is. There's over 1 horsepower per cubic inch and that's very efficient. If power and speed are your primary interest, you may want to consider a muscle car instead of a minivan. That said, I'd go for the supercharger.
6. I have a couple of problems with my 2001 PT. The first being the passenger side window has a life of it's own. It goes down automatically when it wants. The second problem occurrs when the car is cold. I put the car in reverse and hear an audible squeal. Thank you. - Rich, from USA.
The brake squeal sounds (pun intended) like classic brake rotor surface rust. High humidity makes this more pronounced. When you park it, the hot brakes cool off. This makes condensation on the rotors. The rotors then lightly oxidize overnight. Let it sit for a week and take a look at the brakes, yuck!
Don't worry, a few spins of the wheel with the brakes lightly applied and all is well again. Try moving slowly forward and back with the brakes on before backing down the driveway. I bet the noise is gone.
You can see why the ABS PT's sound is more noticeable, they have 4 wheel disc rotors. Your options are to install a back up alarm or turn up the radio. :)
Follow-up questions and answers for the window issue:
I believe the "Express Down Module" is failing intermittently. It is part of the window switch and the entire switch must be replaced. This should take about 6 minutes of technician time (1/10th of an hour as billed on the work order). Pop out the switch and unhook the 12 pin connector, plug in the new one and it's fixed.
The dealer should be able to bill this under a repair code for "Unable to verify customer complaint" There are "customer satisfaction" codes designed for this situation (the tech can't make it fail). They should order a new switch and replace it without any more than your word and a copy of the diagnosis we just performed. Electrical devices have mysteriously failed ever since Edison's first light bulb blew out. :)
7. How do you adjust the fog lights? I have a Service manual and have the specifications on how high they should be. The manual does not tell how to adjust them. I too ordered my 27G in April and received it at the end of November. Thanks for all the information. - John, from the USA.
There is a Torx head screw inside the air intake right next to the fog lights. It's the same size as the headlight adjust screw and like the headlights, is only moveable up and down. Mine were set WAY too low to be useful. The complete OEM guide for adjusting the headlights and foglights can be found in the OEM Maintenance guides section on the site.
8. My 2001 PT came in about two weeks ago and a week later I found out the headlight was blown. I read the manual, which explains fairly well how to change the bulb and what not to do. The part that it doesn't explain is how to open and remove the access door to get at the bulb. I took the car to the local dealer and they changed it in about 45 minutes. I ask them if they would show me how to open the access door in case I had to change another at some point. They told me that it was complicated and it took one of their Chrysler trained technicians 20 minutes to open it. Can you tell my how it is attached and how to open it? - Jim, from the USA.
Replacement time for me is 5 minutes. All you have to do is pull off the access cover. Pry it off, starting at the outside edge closest to you. Pry hard and it will come out. It may be easier to reach in with the wheel turned, or removed. If you remove the wheel make sure to support the vehicle with safety jacks before attempting to remove the access cover. Twist the bulb counter clockwise to remove it. Don't touch the new bulb. Oils on skin will reduce the life of the bulb. Here are the replacement bulbs and numbers:
Low beam: 9006XS
High beam: 9005XS
Fog light: 9006
Park/Turn/Side marker: 4157NAKX
9. Any problem towing a PT, with a Remco transmission pump, behind my motorhome? Will warrantee be affected? Thanks. - Lee, from the USA.
Here's the towing info from page 0-9 of the service manual.
"Automatic transaxles can be flat towed at no more than 44mph for no more than 100 miles."
"5-speed manual transaxles can be flat towed at any legal highway speed for extended distances."
In either case, the steering column must be unlocked and the transmission in neutral. This is not what you wanted to hear, but the manual transmission is the only way to go. Your salesman should have discussed this with you prior to your purchase. I would suggest checking with your dealer service manager regarding the warranty issue.
10. I am picking up my new taupe 2001 Cruiser in Fort Worth Texas and driving it back to Tacoma Washington. I am seeking your opinion on how I should be driving ie."Breaking in" my new baby. Thanks in advance, Bruce
First off, check all the fluids! My own Cruiser was 1/2 quart low on transmission fluid (@ $8.00/quart).
Second, find a quiet place (away from the dealer) to review all the features and functions of the car. Read the owners manual cover to cover. Seriously, an hour of intimacy with the PT can reduce 'NCSD' - New Car Stress Disorder. You know, the "Where the #%*! is the switch for (insert anything electrical)?!?" Setting the clock at 70mph is not the recommended procedure.
DC Recommendations - The engine in your new vehicle does not require a long break-in period.
Drive moderately during the first 300 miles (500 km). After the initial 60 miles (100 km), speeds up to 50 or 55 mph (80 or 90 km / h) are desirable.
While cruising, brief full-throttle acceleration, within the limits of local traffic laws, contributes to a good break-in.
Wide open throttle acceleration in low gear can be detrimental and should be avoided.
11. I have a 2001 BE PT and would like to know how to program a new key? - Ted, from New Mexico.
You can program new keys to the system if you have two valid sentry keys by doing the following:
12. I was recently at a private show where some "inside" people had some information on a new GT Cruiser in the works. I've heard that the stock 150 hp is pretty weak. This GT version is suppossed to get around 200+ horses. When do you think it will be officially announced. Thanks. - Gary, from the USA.
I haven't received any firm news regarding the release date of the GT, so it's difficult to comment on. When a GT Cruiser arrives in my shop, I'll have some information to share. What I do know is that the PT engine puts out more than 1hp per cubic inch displacement. That's VERY efficient. Imagine the Chevy 454, Chrysler 440, or Ford 460 with more horsepower than (cid) cubic inch displacement. WOW!
The PT 4-cylinder engine has more horsepower than a lot of V-6s. The Cruiser runs 18s in the 1/4 mile. From a standing start, that's 2 city blocks in 14 seconds. It's my opinion that horsepower is an advertising gimmick. Actual speed and power are developed through torque. There are forced induction kits available if you don't want to wait for a GT version.
13. We have a 2001 LE PT, which we enjoy very much. The feature that we find the most annoying is locking and unlocking the car with the FOB. Is there a way to make all the doors lock or unlock with one click of the FOB, instead of two? Thank you. - Ralph, from Virginia.
If equipped, that feature is called "Central Locking and Unlocking." The operation of the door locks can be adjusted, when using the key entry or key FOB entry modes.
All vehicle doors are locked with the first turn of the key to the LOCK position. The double activation feature requires you to turn the key in the cylinder lock two times within five seconds to UNLOCK all vehicle doors at once. You may turn this feature off and unlock all the doors with one turn of the key by following the procedure below.
Key Fob Entry
The double activation unlock feature causes the driver's door to be unlocked on the first press of the UNLOCK button on the key fob, a second press of this button (within five seconds) unlocks the all doors. This feature can be disabled, allowing all doors to be unlocked with the first button press by following the procedure below.
14. Can you provide instructions for removing the floor console? I need to replace the floor console (The one with coin & cup holders, rear window switches, power outlet, gearshift, etc.) in my wife's PT Cruiser (5 speed stick). I cracked it when installing the wires for her underseat CD Changer. As you would expect, I'm a bit gun shy. I'm looking for some basic instructions to walk me through the process. Thanks in advance for any guidance.- Bob
The Floor Console and Shift Knob Removal guide can be found in the Pit area.
15. I have a 2001 PT and plan to start using Amsoil Synthetic Oil after my second oil change at 6,000 miles. Is this an adequate time to allow the rings to properly seat? Would you recommend using Synthetic oil any sooner? Thanks for your help. - Jack, from USA.
I think you're right on with that schedule. Although I change my oil more frequently (every 2K), you have it planned well. Preventive maintenance along with good record keeping will really pay off in the long run. Almost everyone should follow the "Severe Duty" maintenance schedule.
16. Two quick questions. 1. My compass is erratic after calibration. 2. Do you think the available blower kit would hurt the engine? - Ed, from USA.
Compass - After you calibrate the compass you still must set the Variance Zone according to your owners manual map. If that does not cure it, you may need to have the roof de-magnetized. Do not use any kind of magnet mount antenna on the roof. Make sure to calibrate it away from any metal or metallic objects. This should include power lines. This is from page 8V-3 of the service manual.
Blower kit- Yes and no. By their nature, any forced induction adds stress to the existing drivetrain. The crankshaft, pistons, rods, transmission, etc.. are designed to put out 150hp for over 100,000 miles (hopefully). Now you want them to put out 200hp. That's a lot more stress. What do you think will happen? Does added stress reduce the lifespan? In theory, you will only be using the extra power intermittently (unless you drag-race). So, if you only use the boost 2% of the time you're driving, will you notice a reduction in lifespan? Probably not. My theory is that a blower will increase lifespan. Anyone dumping $3K into a supercharger should certainly perform preventative maintenance (oil changes, etc..) more often, therefore extending the life of the vehicle.
17. I have a 2001 PT. There are 3 wires that connect into the ignition coil (coil connector). Where does each wire go ? Thanks - Steve, from USA.
Pin 1 = dark brown w/tan is #2 coil driver. PCM pin 3.
Pin 2 = dark green w/orange is power from the ASD (automatic shutdown relay). Follow splice 103, splice 102, C 101, to pin E1 of the ASD.
Pin 3 = black w/gray is #1 coil driver. PCM pin 11.
18. I have 24,000 miles on my year old 2001 PT and the clock has suddenly stopped working unless the radio is turned on. In addition I think there's a problem with the brakes, since they seem to wear out too fast. - John, from USA.
The radio is under warranty. Have the dealer swap it out with a new one. Anything that uses electricity WILL fail. It's a guarantee.
New vehicle brakes will wear out much faster than they should. The quest for quiet has sacrificed quality and longevity. Expect to replace the rotors every time the pads wear out. The metal is made thin for light weight and soft for quiet braking (no squealing). 24,000 miles is about right for city driving.
19. Hi, I just replaced my front stock cloth seats with the limited edition leather ones. My 2001 PT is a pretty much base model, so its not wired for the side air bags (that are in the seats) or the height adjust (on the drivers seat). I realize that without the side sensors not much can be done for the air bags, but I'm thinking about hooking up the height adjust. I just wanted to get your input before trying it. Can you explain where to route the power. In addition the power outlet on the console does not seem to be working. Thanks - Steve, from USA.
I would expect to find a hidden connector somewhere under the seats. Possibly under the carpet, but I bet the wires are already there.
Connector 206 is a 2 pin with black for ground and:
Early build = Red w/Light Blue stripe.
Normal build = Red w/Light Green stripe.
This connector is only used for the seat height adjust. The seat airbags and heated seats use different connectors. If the seat does not work, check for the 20amp circuit breaker located in the fuse panel. It's at the top left, number 2. In addition check for fuse number 6 in the underhood fuse/relay panel. Fuse number 4 in both panels is used if the PT was originally set up for heated seats.
If you don't find the connector or wiring under the seat you can power it yourself. Run your own fused wires to the switch. Pins 2 and 5 go to ground. Pins 3 and 4 should already go to the motor. Pin 6 goes to power through a 20amp fuse.
Power Outlet Problem - The power outlet is on the same fuse (#20) and ground (G203) as the cigar lighter. The lighter is switched with the key and the outlet is on all the time. If one works and the other does not, it will need a trip to the dealer for a warranty replacement.
20. My gas gauge seems to have a mind of its own. I can come home with 3/4 of a tank and the next morning it will read almost empty. This has happened several times, and I'll fill up and it will only take 4 or 5 gallons. Thanks for your help. - Steve
There's a current TSB on this problem. Time for a trip to the dealer.
Bulletin Number: 081400 Interior Systems: Instrument Panel: Gauge: Indicator: Gas - Customer may report that the fuel gauge needle does not reach the full mark with the fuel tank full, even after topping the tank off. *TT
21. I have a 2001 PT and was wondering how to remove the overhead compass/temperature display. Any ideas? Thanks - Joel, from USA.
Disconnect battery. Pull the front of the console downward to disconnect the front retaining clip. Slide the console forward to disengage the rear tabs from the headliner. Disconnect wire connector. Unsnap compass from inner roof panel. Install is the reverse.
22. I am attempting to install a set (4) of the stainless door sill pads. The rear ones are fairly easy to work with since there is nothing else to remove prior to installation of them. I was wondering how to remove the OEM front plastic sill pads. Thanks - Ron, from USA.
Pull upwards with a quick jerk. They are held in place by metal push-on clips.
23. I am having cruise control installed in my 2001 PT, since it did not come with the car. The dealer said that they are getting a fault code on the air bag system and the car needed a new clockspring. They will give me the car but the cruise control will not function until they replace the clockspring. I have no idea of what he is talking about. Can you help me? - Bill, from USA.
The clockspring is how all the connections are made through a steering wheel while still allowing it to spin. The airbag, horn, and cruise ('speed control' is the tech term) all go through this circular connection. The cruise uses pins 6 & 7. The switch changes the resistance across those 2 wires, the PCM reads the changes, and takes the appropriate action. It sounds like the installer destroyed the clockspring during the cruise installation. Does the horn work? We can only hope the airbag is still functional.
24. When you open either of the two back doors on the 2001 PT there seems to be what looks like a plastic black vent where the doors meet the body...it's on the body. Any ideas what this is? Thanks! - Angela, from the USA.
That is where the A/C - heater air vents out. There are more of them behind the rear plastic panels beside the hatch. Air is drawn in through the HVAC intake port under the hood, behind the washer fluid tank. That incoming heated or cooled air has to go somewhere or else the PT would blow up like a balloon. :) Many cars vent the air out where the door handles and keyholes are. This helps to keep them from freezing in the winter. Engineers are pretty smart sometimes.
You can review the our Interior Ventilation Filter Installation Guide in the Pit area.
25. I have been wondering how the digital readout of the odometer will retain its memory if by chance my battery goes dead, and also the clock in the radio. - Angela, from USA.
The odometer uses the same kind of memory as your computer. Even with the internal battery disconnected, it will retain its data. The radio will hold the station presets for quite some time. However, the clock will be cleared if the power is removed. The instrument cluster has enough memory to "learn" what options the car has (ABS, VIN, airbags, cruise, etc.) That is why you cannot interchange the cluster from one PT to another.
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