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The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.


Part Ten - Q&A 226 - 250

226. I own a 2001 LE PT and recently had air suspension installed. The gauge for the air tank pressure has been routed through one of the slots for change (near the cup holders) in the console. The gauge is not lit, so at night, I have had to turn on the interior lights to check the gauge. How would I go hooking up some sort of very small light, of any color that won't be distracting during driving? I can set it up to light up the gauge, but I'm not sure where to tie it into the PT wiring to power it. Thanks for any help. - Robert, from the USA.

There's a red power wire under the floor console, that you can access, which is only powered with the key on. There's also a light/wire to the shift position indicator in the console of the automatics. That wire would be on with the running lights. For additional information on the light wire under the console see the Flame Ball guide in the Pit area.


227. I have a 2002 BE PT with auto transmission and read about an available ASE chip for the PT in the forums, which supposedly enhance torque and horsepower. Can an amateur install this something like this with out too much of a problem? Thanks. - Michael, from the USA.

You must send your PCM to ASE for reprogramming. It does modify several important engine parameters and requires the use of premium fuel at all times.


228. I have noticed a problem with outside air venting into my 2001 PT since I purchased it. The fan is on and turned (knob) to the right one or two positions. The Mode Control knob is to the extreme left and set so that air flows through the panel vents in the dash. The Temp Control knob is adjusted to the extreme left in the blue (cold) area. The Circulation knob is adjusted to the outside air position.

When I start the car first thing in the morning, everything works OK with fresh outside air coming into the cabin. I drive the car for 10-15 minutes (engine warms up normally), park it in the shade for 30-45 minutes (engine off), and then restart the car, and HOT air comes out the vents. Is this normal in all PT's? Thank you. - Bill, from the USA.

That's ambient heat from the engine heating up the vent ducting as well as the coolant heating the heater core. It's normal, although aggravating.


229. I own a 2002 PT Cruiser, which is due for its first oil change. The owners manual calls for 5W30 or 10W30 motor oil, but the conditions are a bit confusing to me. I live about 20 miles north of the Florida line. It gets in the high 90's and as low as the low teens. What weight oil should I use? Would 10W40 be acceptable for year round use? Thank you. - Russell, from Georgia.

It's certainly in the 90's more than the teens, especially with summer around the corner (03-02). I would use 10W-30. No one recommends 10W-40 anymore. Engine tolerances and fuel economy have demanded the use of lighter weight oils. Make sure your oil is rated as SJ. The cheap stuff still refines to SG and I wouldn't use it.


230. I have a 2001 LE PT. Last year when I drove it from Minnesota to Washington state, I noticed that while driving it up hilly terrain, it would "shift down" then seem to take off like a bat out of hell. Recently, while driving and maintaining a constant speed of 60, the rpm's suddenly went from 2000 to 2500 then dropped back down again. I'm not sure if the problems are related, or if I even have a problem. What do you think? Thanks. - Mary, from Minnesota.

The downshift is caused by the speed control trying to maintain speed. If it needs more throttle, it takes it. At some point the PCM reads the Calculated Load Value (CLV) and determines that a downshift is needed to keep from lugging the engine. This sudden shift at nearly full throttle gives you that boost forward.

The "hunting" rpm may be caused by the torque converter lock-up solenoid disengaging. This may be normal under certain conditions, but I recommend that you discuss this with your dealer. Get it documented on paper for future reference.


231. What is the least expensive, most reliable way to increase performance? Are there turbo or super chargers that don't require changing peripherals? I just want an extra 50hp; or should I wait until 2004 when they come with one stock? - Davio, from the USA.

Great balls of fire! The only way to get 50hp is forced induction or nitrous oxide. Super or turbo chargers require LOTS of modifications to the car, i.e.: no powertrain warranty. I would wait for the 2004 models, if 50hp is the minimum goal.


232. I am about to order parts to install a passenger side armrest in my 2001 PT Cruiser. What is the difference between the Euro (left) armrest, and the recently available 2002 passenger side armrest? Is there any advantage of one over the other? Thank you. - Larry, from the USA.

The armrests are the same. Prior to DC including the passenger side armrest in the 2002 models, the only way to obtain one was to order it for a RHD export PT. The new kit uses the 2002 bracket, thus providing a perfect install. Luckily, the days of cutting and shaping a metal bracket are over!


233. I am installing a keyless entry system in a base model 2001 PT. I have every feature connected except the horn honk. I need the wiring color code for the horn wires at the steering column. I want to splice into the wire that powers the horn relay, as if you would press the horn button. Also, is this wire + or - in polarity? Thank you for your help. - Eugene, from the USA.

The wire is a 20awg black w/red stripe. It goes from the clockspring (steering wheel) to pin A2 of the horn relay in the Power Distribution Center (PDC) (under the hood). It also goes to pin 18 of the RKEM connector, which I'm sure you have behind the dash. There is 12v power through the entire circuit. The horn switch supplies a ground inside the steering column.


234. I own a 2002 LE PT. I would like to install a hood switch from a 2001 model to get back the under hood security that DC designed out of the 2002 model. Can I connect it like the 2001 model or do I need a "work around" like putting the switch in series with another (door?) switch? Thanks! - Marty, from the USA.

The hood ajar switch signal is from pin 23 of the RKEM to ground. If the connector C-205 is still included in the PT wiring harness, you should be able to simply plug it in. The colors are brown w/tan stripe and black. The 2002 service manual still shows the hood ajar switch in the wiring diagrams. Reference: 2002 service manual, page 651. Make sure to let us know if this works. You can test its function without buying a switch. Open the hood, set the alarm, and then use a paper clip to connect both wires together. The alarm should trigger.


235. I own a 2002 LE PT. The radio/audio system I have (OEM-RAZ) doesn't match up with the instructions in the 2002 owner's manual. It says there are 3 bands to the graphic EQ, but I only have two. Did DC change codes and radios between 2001 and 2002? That is, is a 2002 RAZ different from a 2001 RAZ? Do you know what supplier builds these PT audio systems for DC? Thanks. - Marty, from the USA.

Yes, the RAZ radio did change for the 2002 models. The display has changed to dot-matrix. The middle EQ band is deleted. The connectors are completely different; the 2001 has two 7-pin connectors and the 2002-2004 radios have one 22-pin connector. Even the antenna connection has changed to a positive locking style. We do not know the OEM manufacturer.


236. I purchased a 2002 LE (automatic) PT last December. I have 3300 miles on it now. The transmission slips (sometimes). Most noticeable is in 4th gear when I accelerate slightly. Example: At 60 mph, 4th gear is about 2250 rpm. Steady acceleration immediately increases rpm to 3000, and then the car will catch up with the rpm at about 80mph. It does this 3 out of 4 times. That 4th time, it acts normal and rpm won't rev up unless it downshifts into 3rd. And sometimes it will just rev up without any apparent reason. It started this at about 1800 miles. At 2300 miles the dealer had it for 3 days and finally said it was 1 pint low on transmission fluid, added it and sent me on my way. Still had the same problem. Today, at 3300 miles, I took it back to the dealer. The service manager said it is normal and took me for a ride in a brand new cruiser, which behaved in a very similar manner. He agreed that it doesn't seem right. So he is going to contact the regional DC rep for clarification. The dealer thought one of my mods might be causing the problem (the ghost in the flames?). The revving is more than the 400 rpm mentioned in question # 83. What can I do? Thank you. Brad, from Texas.

From here, it sounds like the torque converter lock-up solenoid. If it's not, something is wrong.


237. I own a 2002 steel blue BE PT Cruiser. I want to do some minor upgrades, but I am worried about voiding my warranties. If I change the air intake, will this void anything? Also I was considering changing the exhaust from the cat back. That was until I read most of your responses and learned that there isn't much change besides sound. Now I'm just going to change the muffler. Will this have any effect on my warranties? If I change the intake it will change the cars computer, right? Is their any way to clear it my self and have it set back to original? That way I could put the OEM filter box back in and have the car serviced as needed without worries. Thank you. Jason, from Chicago.

A muffler or air intake will not change the computer program. It will adapt to the new parameters, but it's not permanent. Any warranty claim will have to prove that a replacement part caused the failure. A defective muffler MIGHT cause the exhaust system warranty to be denied, but it won't affect the rest of the vehicle warranty. A defective muffler can't cause a power window or lock to fail. See what I mean? Many of the air intake modifications can be reversed in a few minutes. The original air intake or muffler can be put back on prior to service if warranty issues are a concern. It does take some forethought to create a mod that's functional, inexpensive, and easy to remove.


238. I have a 2001 PT (automatic) cruiser, without power locks or anti theft sentry system. I would like to install a remote starter. Are there any problems doing this, and what remote starter system could you recommend? - Gordon, from the USA.

If there is no Sentry key, any remote start should work. I'm sorry, but we try to steer clear of making product recommendations. These are personal choices only you can make. You might try posting your question in a few of the popular PT forums, perhaps an owner with experience in this area can make a recommendation.


239. I recently experienced a rough idle problem and took my LE PT to the dealer. They discovered a low voltage problem with the TPS and replaced it. Now the idle seems quite stable around 800 rpm. What is the TPS? When I shift to neutral, the rpm still rises to 1300-1500 rpm and then goes down to 800 rpm. Is it normal for PT? - Wing, from the USA.

The TPS is the Throttle Position Sensor. It reads how far you have the pedal pushed down. It figures air/fuel ratio and shift points based on voltage. Technically, it's a potentiometer; simply, it's a volume knob.

If the motor is at operating temperature, the change in rpm to near 1500 is unacceptable. Something is wrong. When the motor is cold, the idle will be higher. It's what we used to call a 'choke'.


240. I like the concept behind the air box change out, but I am worried about water. By doing this mod, are we increasing the likely-hood of the engine swallowing enough water to hydro-statically lock up (and break) the engine? How much better is the swap out over just replacing the OEM filter with a K&N in the original box? - Kirk, from the USA.

There are several air intake guides on the site, many of which have been installed for over a year and many thousands of miles. There have been no moisture concerns. These guides do not include removing the rubber weather-stripping surrounding the engine bay. Don't worry about it. We don't have any quantitative test results, which compare one example with another, therefore we are unable to provide any measured feedback on hp gains or increases in mpg, other than the comments accompanying each guide.


241. The right turn signal indicator light on the dash has stopped working on my 2001 LE, both for the turn indicator and emergency flashers. The actual front and rear exterior turn signal indicator lights work fine. Will removing the top dash cover give me access to replacing the turn indicator bulb? I prefer to replace the bulb myself because the dealer wants the car for a full day, possibly 2 to get the job done. Thanks. - Mike, from the USA.

Yes, you can replace the indicator bulbs. In fact, they are the only ones that can be changed. Make sure you replace both. If one is bad, the other can't be too far behind. Follow the instructions in the Instrument Cluster Guide in the Pit area to access the bulbs.


Thumbnail - Suspension specs242. What is the correct torque specification for the three nuts that hold the front upper struts on the 2001 PT Cruiser? Thanks. - Roberto, from the USA.

Tighten the three nuts to a torque of 34 N-m or 25 ft/lbs.


243. I'm trying to install your (Motor-Mike Example) alternative air intake on my 2002 PT and I was wondering if you removed the lower part of the air box housing? If so, what did you do with that second air hose? Thanks. - Laney, from the USA.

The lower air box housing was removed. The second air hose is called a make up air hose, and has been re-designed since the modification on my 2001. For 2001 and early 2002, the hose is a hard plastic line that goes to the backside of the flexible rubber tube near the IAT. After January 2002 the hose connects to the inboard side of the lower air box assembly. You can plumb that into the intake tract or use a breather filter available at most speed shops.


244. I have a 2002 PT cranberry and want to install a fog light switch to override the factory switch, which color wire should I use? Thank you. - Danny, from the USA.

You could tap into the light blue wire at pin 1-one of C-106. C-106 is located behind the interior fuse block, under the dash. It's the gray connector. The white one is C-105. Lift the black retaining latch to disconnect the plug. The PT uses a 15amp fuse for the fog lights.


245. I have heard from a friend whose son is a mechanic at a DC dealership that PT's with over 40k on them are having a problem with blown head gaskets. Is this a problem that you are aware of, and if so what is DC planning to do to address this issue? Thank you. - William, from the USA.

It's my opinion that the mechanic is referring to the 2.0L engine in the Neon. Pre-2001 2.0L and 2.4L engines had a different head gasket design. The 2001 and newer gasket design does not have any problems. There aren't very many PT's with over 40K miles on them yet, I think it's another case of mistaken identity (the PT does not use the Neon motor).


246. I recently rented a PT Cruiser while traveling in the UK. Besides being under powered compared to my family's two PT Cruisers, the UK version was fitted with a manual retractable antenna. Do you know where I can find this antenna in the States? My local dealer told me I must be mistaken when I told him about the UK antenna. Since than I've seen that all the European models have these antenna's as do the ones sold in Australia. Thanks - Rick, from the USA.

The P/N's for the export antenna are:

Antenna mast - 4793 962AC
Cap nut - 4793 964AC
Adapter - 4671 627AB
Base - 4671 628AE


247. Are after market performance products like the Spiralmax and Helix Power Tower cost-effective additions for the PT Cruiser? Thank you. - Jack, from the USA.

We have seen no evidence that products like the Spiralmax, Tornado Air Intake and Helix Power Tower provide any appreciable gains in performance or improvements in mpg, when installed on a PT Cruiser. See a review of the Tornado Air Intake product here.


248. I would like to know if there is a difference between the brake pads on the 2001 and 2002 Cruiser? I want to change the soft OEM ones for a durable aftermarket variety and the pads for the 2002 are not available, except through the dealer. Thanks. - Doug, from the USA.

The illustrated parts catalog lists the same number for both years. They are the same.


249. I hear key blanks should be about $30 to $35, the dealer near me has them for $42. Do you know where I can find them a little cheaper? I would like to make an extra key before I loose one of my originals. Thanks for your time, Jim.

The only place to get an extra key would be a DC dealer. Actually $42 isn't too bad, some visitors have reported paying as much as $85 for one key. If your dealer is charging you $42 comparison-shop other DC dealers in your area. If that's not an option you can purchase an OEM Key Blank w/ Sentry Security System for about $32, plus shipping, online through Wyckoff Chrysler. PT DIY club members receive an additional 5% saving. See the PT DIY Club page for details.


250. I bought a PT Cruiser with 10,000 miles on it. It is in mint condition with one exception. The engine has what looks like to me, some white mineral deposits left from maybe water and or salt from the road. What can I use to restore the spotting to its original shiny black plastic finish? It doesn't cover the whole top of the engine, just in spots. Thank you for any help you might be able to give me. - Brent, from the USA.

Any mild detergent should work. A soft bristled brush should be used to loosen the crud. Don't use high-pressure water spray, it can penetrate the electrical connectors! Rinse the motor, but don't power wash it.

Consider drying the surface area with clean rags once you wash it, rather then air drying it. If you live in an area of the country that has a good deal of minerals in the water they will leave a white deposit if you allow the surface water to air-dry. See our Water Spotting report in the Pit area.


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