The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Eleven - Q&A 251 - 275
251. A number of PT owners have expressed interest (forum posts) in substituting a Magnetic Drain Plug for the OEM drain plug in their oil pan. The magnetic drain plugs have a magnet built into them, which attracts any ferrous metal (steel, iron) bits or debris that may be in the oil. Typically, when you change the oil, there's a small brown blob of debris on the magnet that you wipe off before reinstalling the drain plug.
I just completed an oil change on my 2001 Cruiser and thought I'd take the opportunity to measure the OEM oil drain plug threads for those interested in substituting the magnetic plug. The OEM drain plug is metric; it's stamped "METRIC" on the head. I measured the threads and consulted my handy Machinery's Handbook to determine a thread size of M14 X 1.5. This may also be the correct size for the 2002 Cruiser, however I haven't been able to verify that information. Make sure to pick up a new gasket for use with the new magnetic plug; the gasket on the OEM oil pan plug is part of the plug, and can not be removed. - Information provided by Rick Rodrigo.
Bill Shailer reports that the magnetic (P/N 704-1370, approximately $3.25 each) plugs are available through your local NAPA auto parts dealer. Make sure to thread the plug in carefully. At first it feels like it's not the right thread, but once you get it going, it's ok. The plug is quite a bit longer than the OEM plug, and includes a rubber gasket/washer.
252. I own a 2002 PT Cruiser. Every time I get out of the car and go to close the door, I get zapped. There is either a static electrical charge stored in the car or in me, but it creates a good ZAP when I touch the car. How can I stop this? - Brandon, from Vermont.
Most of this seems to be caused by static build-up from the vehicle moving through the air. Low humidity worsens the effect. The high rolling resistance of today's new tires really adds to this. Of course, polyester and satin materials are worse than cotton. A rubber ground strap mounted under the car can eliminate this. They can be found at many auto parts retailers. Simply touching a metal part of the car AS you exit will be a free fix.
253. I have a 2002 PT w/auto transmission. After 3000 miles I started feeling a jerking motion when riding on flat or slightly downhill terrain with my foot steadily on the gas pedal. If I remove my foot from the pedal, or slightly accelerate it stops. While in Drive this happens at freeway speeds 50-80 mph, and it's even worse if I put it in third gear, while in town, traveling at 40-50 mph. When I stop for a light, sometimes it idles rough and the engine surges from 800-1200 rpm. I thought it might be the gas, so I put injector cleaner and regular in it instead of the 89 octane that I was using, but it still does it. - Jerry, from the USA.
Follow up from owner - The dealer checked the TCM and it was OK, than they performed a diagnostic test and found erratic TPS reading caused by a 0.25 voltage drop in the circuit between the TPS and the PCM sensor ground pin #43. It was necessary to open up the wiring harness to access splice 106. They repaired the splice/connector and re-tested to find everything operating within spec's this time. The test drive went fine; it was smooth with no further sign of the jerking motion. (Splice 106 is near the TPS and Cam sensor tape-out, and the ground path for the TPS, IAT, MAP, and knock sensor. That's a very important circuit.)
254. In reference to the popping or creaking noise when stopping or starting, I had this problem and tried unsuccessfully to have it fixed at my 5-star dealer. They were perplexed, called Chrysler's problem hotline, and sent a tech to try to fix the car. Using listening ears, the tech determined that the strengthening tube within the rocker panel was possibly made a fraction of an inch too long. They fixed it by removing the rocker sill plate and drilling out a hole to accept a * Mig welder tip. Then they blew a small hole in the strengthening tube to eliminate the flexing within the tube. This fixed the problem and DC compensated me with a generous credit for their store products. Information provided by Larry Sansky
* Mig welding is widely used in the vehicle repair industry. The process is safe and easy to use, and it enables parts to be joined quickly and securely, without excessive distortion. A Mig welding set consists of an adjustable DC power supply to produce the welding current and an adjustable-speed wire feed system to deliver a consumable wire to the arc. The arc is protected by a gas shield, which is usually supplied via the gun from a separate gas cylinder. The welding voltage and wire feed speed are 'tuned' together to get a setting to suit the material being welded.
255. I would like to add an Air Conditioner Compressor On indicator to the dash. I was thinking a blue LED right above the A/C side of the controller would work nice. It would be wired to light when the compressor was on. I was wondering if there was a wire in the dash that could be tapped to do that? It should not just light when the control was on A/C, but whenever the clutch for the compressor is engaged such as on defrost in winter? - Kirk
The only place to get +12v during clutch operation is the feed from the relay to the clutch. It's a dark blue w/black stripe 20awg wire. The relay is in the underhood Power Distribution Center. You want pin D1. See the 2002 service manual, page 683.
256. I have a 2001 PT and recently damaged the black flexible plastic (air dam?) strip under the front of the car while on the interstate. Can you help me with the actual name of the part and the part number for a replacement? Any idea on what the cost might be? Thank you very much. - Larry, from Wyoming.
It's called an air deflector. It deflects cooler outside air up and into the radiator area.
Deflector P/N 5288792AA (about $25)
Screws P/N 6506161AA
257. Where on the engine can I pick up a vacuum fitting? Thanks. - Rich, from the USA.
The brake booster hose or possibly the proportional purge hose on the intake will accept a vacuum tee. The 2002 factory service manual, page 1111, shows the hose routing.
258. Are the plastic panels that cover the passenger side and driver air bags restrained in any way? The thought of getting whacked in the face by either of those panels after they've been accelerated to between 150 and 200 mph is not comforting. Many thanks. - Walt, from the USA.
The panels swing out of the way during airbag deployment.
259. The ventilation fan is squeaking; how do I lubricate it? How do you get to the fan? - Ulf
You do not lubricate the blower motor. It's a warranty replacement. The only other blower motor noise concern was one with the DIY interior ventilation filter mod. If you have added this mod/filter, try removing it to determine if the noise is the fan or the filter.
260. I received an oil temperature gauge free with my pillar pod, as well as a voltmeter. I have figured out how to hook up the voltmeter, thanks to the information on the site, but where is the oil temperature sensor on the PT? Thanks. - Bryan, from the USA.
The PT does not have an oil temp sensor. You will need to contact the retailer's tech support department for specific PT installation instructions. You may be able to adapt it to tee into the oil pressure sensor port.
261. I took delivery of my 2002 BE PT this March and love it! It did not come equipped with the Light Group Option. Is it possible to purchase the overhead console that has the map lights and compass/ thermometer through the dealer, and would it be relatively easy to install in my vehicle? Thank you. - Doug, from the USA.
It should be relatively simple, but I've not tried it. The temperature sensor is mounted in front of the grille. You may need to get that also. The electrical connector should already be under the headliner, but again, I haven't personally checked. You may want to look for a wrecked PT from a salvage yard. The dealer's pricing may be a lot higher than you think.
262. Have you found a PCV valve for the 2001 Cruiser anywhere other than Mopar? Thanks. - Bob, from the USA.
No, I haven't checked lately. The PCV is an emissions part and will be replaced for free, if defective, for up to 60K miles. We have a PCV Valve Test / Replacement procedure available in the Pit area.
263. I just had my 2002 PT towed into the dealer service. The oil light came on and 5 minutes later the car just stopped running. They told me that the pin on the camshaft was sheared off. They have had my car for 3 days now. Can you explain a little bit about what this means? Thank you. - Craig, from the USA.
In short, it means that you should accept nothing short of a new engine. If the oil light comes on and the car still runs, you're either out of oil or the oil pump has failed. The oil level is your responsibility to maintain. The pump is a warranty part. It sounds like the engine stopped receiving the required amount of oil and began to freeze up. The broken camshaft pin is proof that the engine wasn't being lubricated. A few miles with no oil pressure can either add 100K miles worth of wear, or completely destroy the motor. More damage to the motor would occur if you kept it running after the oil warning light came on; less damage would occur if you shut it down immediately. This warning is documented in the owners' manual. This is a fine line of responsibility. A failed pump may have caused the loss of oil pressure, which would be a warranty replacement. However, if you continued to drive it after the warning that may very well put the responsibility for a new motor on you.
264. I read somewhere that a coolant line bypass will increase your hp 5-15. The line bypasses the coolant going through the intake manifold, which warms up the air going into the intake. Is this a good idea? Thank you. - Walter, from the USA.
The 2.4L PT motor does not have coolant flow in the intake manifold. It's Just a plastic tube for air.
265. I have a 2001 PT with 35,000 miles. I just replaced my front brakes and pads, and had the rotors machined. Then I started to experience a clicking noise and couldn't figure it out, so I took the PT to a shop and they said one of the hardware clips on the calipers was bent. Apparently, the clips are small pieces of metal on the top and bottom of the caliper that the brake pads fit into. Do you know the actual name for the part? They also said my left front rotor was under specs by about 100/1000's and I would need new ones soon, which he said are only available through the dealer, is that true? If they do the complete brake job its going to cost me at least $350.00. Thank you. - Lamar, from the USA.
The part that you describe as a retaining clip is actually a brake pad shim P/N 5017857AA, and retails for $9.45. The rotors should be available from Wagner, the brake division of Federal Mogul. You can view a breakdown of the parts in the Disc Brake Caliper Painting guide in the Pit area.
266. I would like to add a turbocharger to my PT. I realize that many OEM parts of the engine would not stand up to the additional stresses. Thus far, I have been told to replace the pistons, rods, eventually replace camshafts and valve springs, and perhaps the clutch. Are those the right parts to replace to handle a large turbo boost, are there any other parts I need to know about to replace, and if so, what might they be? Thanks for any help. - Robert, from the USA.
A large turbo boost will require ignition/timing electronics and possibly an intercooler. The clutch is definite once you're above 6-10 psi. Additionally, it would be a good idea to contact the turbo manufacturer and ask for their specific recommendations on which parts to upgrade for the modification.
Read about Bob Stockum's experience installing a Hahn RaceCraft Turbo in his PT.
267. What causes the dome light to come on when the driver's door is opened? I can't find any switch or trip mechanism. Thank you. - Richard, from the USA.
I have searched for specific info and found none. It seems to be integrated into the door lock switch. The lighting is actually controlled by the BCM instrument cluster. There is no direct wiring from a door switch to the lamps. The lock motors and switches are controlled by the body control module via the PCI communication bus.
268. My 2002 PT makes an audible ringing sound when I use my turn signal indicators, is this normal? Thank you. - Jill, from Montana.
When the turn signal is on the cluster shall remind the driver that either turn signal has been left on by continuously chiming after:
Left or Right turn signal left ON for 1 mile (U.S.), 4 km (export), or 1.6 km (UK), and,
Vehicle speed of 15 mph or greater. Info - 2002 service manual.
269. What is the purpose of the knock sensor on the PT? Thanks. - Bill, from Maine.
The knock sensor threads into the cylinder block and is designed to detect engine vibration that is caused by detonation. When the knock sensor detects a knock in one of the cylinders, it sends an input signal to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM). In response, the PCM retards ignition timing for all cylinders by a scheduled amount. For complete information on the Knock Sensor see the Systems Index in the Pit area.
270. What kind of paint finish is used on the PT Cruiser? - Ralph, from North Carolina.
On most vehicles a two-part paint application (basecoat/clearcoat) is used. Color paint that is applied to primer is called basecoat. The clearcoat protects the basecoat from ultraviolet light and provides a durable high-gloss finish.
Exterior vehicle body colors are identified on the Body Code plate, located in the engine compartment on the plenum behind the right side strut, as well as on the Vehicle Safety Certification Label, located on the drivers door shut face. The first digit of the paint code listed on the vehicle indicates the sequence of application, i.e.: P = primary coat, Q = secondary coat.
271. My 2002 LE PT w/auto transmission came with the optional heated seats; can you tell me where the heater seat relay is located? Thank you. - Alan, from the USA.
One heated seat relay is used per vehicle. The relay is located in the instrument panel fuse block and is responsible for distributing the voltage (B+) to the heated seat system. Info - 2002 SM.
272. Kirk Blum reports that he just completed installation of his A/C LED indicator, which determines when the compressor cycles on and off, and observed the following behavior.
To have some defrost capability without running the A/C compressor, select the halfway point between the Defrost/Floor position and the Full Floor position. This will provide airflow to the windshield without causing power and gas robbing cycling of the A/C compressor. With the fan on higher settings, enough airflow is provided to prevent fogging. Note - Selecting a position closer to the Defrost/Floor setting will cause the compressor to cycle.
273. I have a 2003 PT and would like to know what type of gasoline to use in my PT? My brother said, higher-octane gasoline would make the car run better. Thank you. - Sally, from Georgia.
The 2.4L engine is designed to meet all emission regulations and provide excellent fuel economy when using high quality regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87. The use of premium gasoline will provide no benefit over high quality regular gasoline, and in some circumstances, may result in poorer performance.
The 2.4L high output turbo engine is designed to meet all emission regulations and provide excellent fuel economy when using high quality unleaded gasoline having an octane rating of 91. The purchase of a higher octane gasoline is not recommended. The use of high quality unleaded gasoline having an octane rating of 91 is recommended, but not required. High quality unleaded gasoline having a minimum octane rating of 87 may safely be used for you vehicle, however the use of a lower octane gasoline may result in reduced acceleration performance.
Light spark knock at low engine speeds is not harmful to your engine. However, continued heavy spark knock at high speeds can cause damage and immediate service is required. Engine damage resulting form operating with a heavy spark knock may not be covered by the new vehicle warranty.
Poor quality gasoline can cause problems such as hard starting, stalling and stumble. If you experience these problems, try another brand of regular gasoline before considering service for the vehicle.
DC supports the use of reformulated and oxygenated gasolines for its vehicles. Properly blended reformulated gasolines will provide excellent performance and durability of the engine and fuel system components.
274. My problem started when I went to my dealer to fix fuel gauge TSB. They dropped the tank and supposedly replaced the part that was malfunctioning. Everything seemed OK until I went to fill up the tank later on. Now, the gas gauge continuously swings between and empty and full.
During the next few days I started to experience problems with the high beams and fog lights. The high beams would only work on flash mode and could not be set to stay on and the fog lights wouldn't work at all (bulbs were OK though). So, I made another trip to the dealer. I figured that the multi-function lever was broken, which would explain the problem with the lights. While there, I requested that they also recheck the fuel gauge TSB.
They worked on it for a day and determined that the wiring harness had melted (short w/ potential fire hazard), which caused the malfunctions with the gauges and lights. They suggested that the fog light lamps created the problem. I replaced the OEM fog light bulbs with the Xenon 51-55w that are advertised for the PT Cruiser. The dealer indicated that the Xenon bulbs voided my warranty, and the replacement cost for the harness would be around $900, or $450 just for the harness.
I find it strange that if the fog lights caused it, why are they currently working? I also changed the headlight bulbs to Xenon 80w and they're working just fine. When I do the self-diagnostic test it reads "fuel sensor short" only. Is there any possibility that it could be something else? Any help would be greatly appreciated. - Rick, from the USA.
I would tend to agree that the high wattage bulbs draw more power than the wires are designed for. The current passing through it determines each wire gauge. Bigger wire is heavier and costs more. They will use the absolute minimum. Now passing twice as much current through tiny connector pins causes a lot of heat. Enough to melt the connectors. Replacing a harness may be overkill. You might only need a few wires spliced and repaired. Without seeing the damage, I cannot make a recommendation. Armed with the OEM service manual and some basic electrical knowledge, you may be able to fix it. I would agree that the warranty on the lighting system is voided.
275. My previous vehicles have been Honda Civics so that is the ride and handling I'm used to. However, I just purchased a 2002 LE PT w/auto transmission. I have been following the manufacture's break-in recommendations the best I can, including occasional full throttle while cruising. I have just gone past the 300 mile mark today. I purchased the PT a week ago and have consistently noticed that when I reach approximately 80-85mph and above the PT's ride starts to feel rough and actually shake, enough so, that it feels abnormal. It feels like your driving over the round plastic lane dividers on the highway. I'm sure it's not specific to this highway since it occurs on a number of different roads.
I initially thought that the tires might need balancing, however my steering wheel does not vibrate at any speed. Then I thought this might be normal for the PT when driving at higher speeds with the touring suspension. The manual says if the PT is driven up to or over 75mph the tire pressure needs to be based on the tire placard (the PSI rating on the side of the tire?) not the label on the driver side door. Any suggestions would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks. - Eric
I would look at the tires. The Goodyear's and have had more troubles over the last 2 years than we have webspace to describe.
You should keep them at the recommended 34psi, per the door decal. Many car owners check the pressure listed on the tires themselves, but that's actually the wrong place to look. The number on the tire is the maximum allowable air pressure — not the recommended pressure for that tire when used on your vehicle. The recommended tire pressure is almost always lower than the maximum tire pressure.
They may simply need high-speed balancing. Most likely the rears, since you have no steering vibration. Please consult the owner's manual for new vehicle break in recommendations and appropriate speeds. You might also try posting your question in one of the specialized PT forums relating to tires and wheels. Perhaps someone has experienced a similar problem and can offer advice.
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