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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 Thirteen - Q&A 301 - 325

301. While driving on the highway a piece of wood popped up and hit my car and put a dent on the driver side passenger door "black pillar panel" (rear door applique). Could you please tell me how to remove and replace it? Thanks so much. - Edris, from the USA.

We have a guide available in the Pit area to remove the Front and Rear Door Appliques.


302. I have a 2002 LE PT w/manual transmission and would like to know what the optimal shift speeds are for the best mpg? I have a heavy foot and need all the help I can get. Thank you for your help. - Louis, from Arkansas.

To use your manual tranaxle for optimal fuel economy it should be upshifted as listed in Table 1.

Table 1 - Manual Transaxle Recommended Shift Speeds

Normal Acceleration & Cruise Shift Speeds

1 to 2

2 to 3

3 to 4

4 to 5

2.4L - 2001

15 mph

25 mph

40 mph

45 mph

Table 1 - Manual Transaxle Recommended Shift Speeds

Normal Acceleration & Cruise Shift Speeds

1 to 2

2 to 3

3 to 4

4 to 5

2002 - 2004

15 mph

25 mph

33 mph

44 mph

For Improved performance, your manual transaxle may be upsifted up to the maximum (within legal speed limits) speeds listed in Table 2.

Table 2 - Manual Transaxle Recommended Shift Speeds

Maximum Performance Shift Speeds

1 to 2

2 to 3

3 to 4

4 to 5

2001 - 2004

30 mph

60 mph

85 mph

115 mph

If you exceed these speeds you may notice the engine cut in and out. This is caused by the electronic limiter in the PCM. The limiter is not adjustable; the engine will run normally when you reduce engine speed.


303. I plan to install an automatic dimming mirror. The instructions call for tapping into the wire to the back up light for one of the connections. Could you suggest a convenient place to do so? Thank you. - Ben, from the USA.

The wire is (18awg) violet with a black stripe. It's located at connector C105, pin 2. C105 is the white connector on the left side of the instrument panel.


304. I have the latest revision of the Whipple supercharger installed on my PT. Also running Carroll's Supercharging fuel management system. I got an engine fault code after 200 miles of P0133. The battery has been disconnected to clear the code but it has come back a second time. I looked high and low for this code but can't find what it is related to. I think it may have something to do with fuel management, as they set my PT up to run on the rich side. What is this code? - Ed, from the USA

Disconnecting the battery will not erase the code from memory; your dealer is equipped to erase the code.

The MIL Code P0133 is "Oxygen sensor slower than minimum required switching frequency." The Powertrain Diagnostic manual indicates: Set condition - The upstream O2 sensor signal voltage is switching from below .33v to above .61v and back fewer times than required in 60 seconds. This is possibly due to the rich setting on your fuel module.


305. My 2001 PT LTD 20G, with 36K miles, has done an odd thing a few times. Either just prior to stopping at a light, sign or intersection, or at a full stop, with all doors locked, all the power locks suddenly unlock on their own. One can simply hit the power lock button to re-lock, but it is a little unsettling. Any clues? - Chris, from the USA.

That could be a number of things. Beyond a simple relay or wiring glitch, it warrants a trip to the dealer. The items that control the locks are:

1. Key switches in the doors unlock buttons.
2. RKEM - Remote Keyless Entry Module.
3. BCM - Body Control Module senses vehicle speed for auto-lock.
4. Airbag controller unlocks all the doors and turns on the interior lighting if airbag deployment is sensed.

Any of these items could have an intermittent fault causing the doors to unlock.


306. I purchased a custom leather and wood steering wheel for my PT, which I would like to install. What's the easiest way to remove the OEM steering wheel, after the airbag precautions of course? Thank you. - Mark, from the USA.

The procedure for removing the steering wheel draws upon additional areas of instruction and testing using the DRB lll Scan Tool, which must not be overlooked. We have a Steering Wheel guide available in the Pit area.


307. I would like to install a hidden toggle switch to my fuel pump on my 2002 BE PT w/manual transmission to prevent the car from being started by a keyless thief. How can I do this and will the short extra wire cause extra resistance, or cause a computer or fuel injection problem? - Bob, from the USA.

Rather than mess with the fuel pump whose wiring is all underhood, put a switch in the clutch safety circuit. It's easy to get to and close to the driver's reach. Break the circuit and the PCM will not allow the car to start. It will think the clutch pedal isn't pushed in. Keep it simple.

The switch is on the clutch pedal, under the driver's dash. A switch could be spliced into the wiring near the clutch pedal and hidden somewhere in the car. By opening the clutch safety interlock circuit, the car won't start. Either the light green with black, or white with pink, wire can be cut to splice in the security switch. There is very little amperage on that line, so a very small switch can be utilized.

On PT's with an automatic transmission you will find a similar switch for the shifter lockout. If the thief gets it started, he can't get it out of park. The switch is mounted on the brake pedal, under the dash. Tie into the white w/pink stripe wire going to the switch from the shift lock solenoid.


308. I have a 2002 PT Cruiser and notice it takes several minutes for the overhead air temp indicator to reset the reading from whatever it was when the engine was shut down. Is this normal for the PT? - Dustin, from the USA.

That's normal, your owners manual explains that it may take a few miles of driving to get a good reading. This is because the sensor is placed in front of the radiator. The residual engine heat from the radiator effects the sensor when the car isn't moving.


309. What is involved in replacing the 3.45 final drive ratio in my 2002 PT w/manual transmission with the 3.94 final drive ratio that the 2001 PT's use? I want the "zip" of the 2001's and don't care if mpg drops slightly. - Steve, from the USA.

Replacing the entire transmission would be the most sensible method. A wrecked 2001 Cruiser could be the donor for such a swap. The boost you're looking for could be found with Nitrous or a turbo/supercharger.


310. I have a turbo with an intercooler mounted in front of the A/C condenser, behind the upper grille. I also have a 165-degree Whipple Thermostat. The car runs cooler with the Whipple Thermostat, except in 90 plus temperature or sitting in heavy traffic. It does not overheat, but I would like the car to run cooler. I want to add an after market adjustable thermostat fan control to have the high speed fan come on at 170-180 degrees, or a manual switch inside the car that I could control from inside the vehicle. If I wanted to energize the coil to the high-speed fan relay to bring the fan on, which wire or terminal would I tap into? I have a service manual, and have looked at relevant pages, but I don't understand what I'm looking at? Is there a better way to accomplish this? Thank you. - Al, from the USA.

The 20awg dark blue with pink stripe is the wire. It goes from the relay coil to the PCM. By grounding it, the fan will engage. However, I cannot say that manually grounding that wire will not screw up the PCM. The computer will be expecting 12 volts on that line. The PCM supplies a ground path. That being said, I would rather tap into the 12awg yellow wire that feeds the fan directly. Most after market fan controllers include wiring and a relay to connect to the fan itself. Personally, I would use a relay directly to the fan.


311. Since the Chrysler auto-transmission seems to be somewhat of a weak link I was seriously considering putting in Amsoil synthetic ATF fluid, which they say meets the Chrysler ATF+4 specification. I want to replace virtually all of the fluid and not just the typical 3 to 5 quarts with a pan and filter change. Do you know the factory capacity of the entire transmission and if there's any cooler lines (I can't see any coming from the transmission or going to the radiator) to tap into to drain and/or fill the transmission? Thank you. - Mark, from the USA.

The transmission cooler lines are at the bottom of the radiator. The owners manual indicates that the system holds 8.6 quarts. See our Transmission Service Guides in the Pit area.


312. After installing a header such as JBA, Borla etc, should there be any concern over not replacing the manifold heat shields? Borla, for one, provides no means to do so. - Brian, from the USA.

It's important to rework the OEM heat shields over the header. The problem is that the shields hide all the money you spent and they are time consuming to re-install. These 2 things seem to make owners cut corners. They are important because they keep the power steering rack, coolant tank, and all other nearby parts cool. Premature failure of the steering rack due to after market exhaust heat is not covered under the warranty. I did a bit of temperature testing with & without the heatshields. They reduce ambient heat by over 100F. The outside surface of the header is over 600F @ 3000rpm for 1 minute.


313. I have a 2000 Durango and a 2002 PT. I would like to use the Durango's key FOB with the Cruiser. It would be nice not to have a pocket full of keys. Is this possible? - John, from the USA.

Everyone that I've researched this with has said that it's not possible. The RKEM uses a rolling code so there's no way for the transmitter to know which car needs which code.


314. I have a 2001 Cruiser with about 3500 miles on it. Recently it started leaking engine oil, which drips in very small drops down near the oil pan drain plug. I've checked the plug and it appears to be fine. The dealer said that I need a new head gasket. Others say that this issue is common with this engine. Is this true? I'm not sure I can trust the dealer. Thank you for your time. - Madison, from the USA.

The old head gaskets on the 2000 and older 2.0L Neon engine were prone to failure. The 2.4L PT engine is not. Somehow the old stories never die. It could be the gasket or a cracked head. Either failure would be considered rare for the PT. I would definitely get several more opinions.


315. Do you know what the wheel lug pattern is on the PT? I want to find a set of stock plain rims in 17" for my PT. I use spun moon hubcaps on my PT and want to use them on 17" wheels if they make a rim to fit it. Thanks. - Don, from the USA.

15" Stamped Steel Wheel
Diameter 15.0 inches
Width 6.0 inches
Bolt Pattern 5 x 100mm
Wheel Offset 36.5mm
Tire P195/65R15 Radials
Revolutions per Mile 835

16" Cast Aluminum Wheel
Diameter 16.0 inches
Width 6.0 inches
Bolt Pattern 5 x 100mm
Wheel Offset 40.0mm
Tire P205/55R16 Radials
Revolutions per Mile 836


316. While checking the air filter I noticed that there is a fairly large hollow space at the front of the filter cover. What is it for? Many thanks. - Francois

That's a Helmholtz resonator. It reduces the noise of the incoming air. That's why the open style air cleaners are so much louder.

U of New South Wales
Grape Ape Racing


317. I would like to paint my OEM front factory splash guards. I want to remove the guards, but there does not seem to be an easy way to do this, like just popping off a few screws. It appeared that the splashguards are attached to one whole under-wheel unit. Thanks. - Eric, from the USA

The Wheelhouse Splash Shields guide is available in the Pit area.


318. I have a 2002 LE PT Cruiser with a manual transmission. It has less than 1,500 miles on it. I've noticed a peculiar idle hunting/surging problem that the dealer either can't fix or claims that it is normal. This problem becomes worse after the car is fully warmed up and heat soaked. Here are a few of the symptoms of the problem. I believe that they are all related.

As you are coming to a stop from any speed, you put in the clutch and finish the stopping in a coast mode; the engine speed will drop down to about 1,000 rpm and then increase to 1,300 rpm or as far as 2,000 rpm. Sometimes it will drop to 1,000 rpm, go back to a higher rpm; then repeat the cycle another two or three times. Once you've come to a complete stop, the idle will settle down at its normal 800 rpm. Even after the surging cycle, the idle will not drop below 1,000 rpm until the wheels have stopped turning. This happens whether the clutch is disengaged or not, and it doesn't matter if the gear selector is in a gear or in neutral.

Another symptom happens when you are either creeping along in a traffic queue or moving through a parking lot. You give it just enough gas to move 10 feet while letting the clutch out, you let off of the gas to roll the 10 feet, and then the engine will zoom up to at least 2,000 rpm before dropping back down to 1,000 rpm. This symptom is really annoying while parking because the engine is revving up every time you have to move to maneuver into a parking spot.

A related symptom happens when you shift early between gears at engine speeds below 2,000 rpm. After you let off the gas and put in the clutch to shift to the next higher gear, the engine speed will increase 300 to 700 rpm before decreasing. This makes shifting smoothly difficult because you can't match engine speed to transmission gear speed easily.

An interesting side note is that you can't stall the engine if the car is rolling. At a complete stop, you can let out the clutch and the engine will stall. But if you have the car moving just a little, you can let out the clutch and it will accelerate to 10 mph in first. You can then up shift without using the gas pedal and the car will hold 25 mph in fourth. I've never had manual transmission car that acts like an automatic before.

The only Chrysler dealership that attempted a fix performed a flash update control of the PCM. This was based upon a TSB. The work order didn't indicate which one, but I think it may be TSB #1802701. Unfortunately, since the update, the problem seems to be worse. Any advice, ideas, or suggestions would be appreciated. - Kevin, from New Mexico.

Engine rpm is controlled mostly by the input from the MAP sensor. The IAT, O2, ECT, etc. all contribute to controlling the rpm, but the MAP is the boss. DC does not use a mass air flow meter like other makers. They rely solely on the MAP signal to calculate the PCM outputs. I would look closely at the signal. It may be within specs, but just barely. Mopar is known for failing MAP sensors.


319. I have read that some PT's (export model) include an interior alarm as part of the vehicles' OEM security system. Is this true, and how does it work? - Jackie, from Wisconsin.

It's called an intrusion sensor. Some (export) vehicles equipped with the premium vehicle theft security system (VTSS) use a ultrasonic intrusion sensor. This intrusion sensor is integrated into the overhead dome lamp and detects any movement in the cabin when the VTSS system and the intrusion sensor are armed. In the event the intrusion sensor detects movement inside the vehicle's interior (with system armed), the ARKEM module will sound the siren.


320. We have a 2002, Inferno Red, TE PT, which we ordered in March and took delivery of in May 2002. We have enjoyed the PT and have completed some of the modifications on the site. I like to personalize my vehicles by adding unique lighting like LED's or some sort of Daytime Running Lights. At this time I have added ultra bright red LED's to the back-up lamp housing, which give off a nice "glow." Do you know the DC P/N for the "Repeater Assembly" side marker/turn signal lights used on the export versions? Thank you. - John & Terry, from PA.

Two of each P/N number is required. When you call your DC dealer to order the parts refer him to page 008-1105 of the 2002 illustrated parts book dated May 2001.

P/N 4399 599 - seal
P/N 5288 895AB - lamp, side repeater
P/N 4676 801 - gasket, side marker lamp
P/N 5288 931AA - socket, side repeater lamp
P/N L0028 25W5W - bulb, W10/5, front fender side repeater


321. I have a 2001 Cruiser, which is garaged 100% of the time. After taking it for "in-town" and highway drives, I notice when I park it in my garage I smell a funny melting plastic type of odor. The temperature is fine and I haven't noticed any malfunction lights. Any ideas? Thanks. -Dave, from the USA.

I would look for contaminants on the exhaust system. A plastic grocery bag can get trapped and smell for months. If the underside is clean, maybe a trip to document the concern at your dealer is needed. (In a follow-up Dave reported finding a piece of plastic stuck to the exhaust.)


322. I have a 2002 BE PT. I just had a security system installed this weekend with remote start and keyless entry. I noticed that the #16 interior fuse is missing in the interior fuse panel. What is this fuse for and could it have been removed so that the remote start would function? - Maddy, from the USA.

That fuse seems to only be used as part of the "autostick" transmission feature. That's only used in the export models.


323. My 2001 cruiser with automatic transmission has an intermittent miss and an engine surging problem (with and without A/C). The miss occurs when pulling out from a stop at moderate or hard acceleration and when cruising at steady speed around 60-70 mph, and when put in reverse.

The surging happens when the car is in neutral or park and the engine is held at about 3500 rpm. The engine will miss erratically and then begin to surge or hunt increasing in speed by about 500-800 rpm. I've changed the plugs at 8k miles and a similar condition was fixed. I now have 35k on the car. I tried new plugs with no change, taken it to the dealer, which resulted in a "no fault found" report. They said it was probably the plugs or air cleaner (I use a K&N filter modification). Thank you. - John, from the USA.

The engine is limited to 3500rpm in neutral or park as a safety device. This is normal. With 35K miles and an after market air filter, I would look into a thorough cleaning of the throttle body and a new PCV valve. While the K&N is a useful and popular filter, the oil that you apply to the paper element can be drawn into the throttle body and gum up the plate. Normal PCV action can also deposit sludge on the throttle plate. In addition, you might consider visiting another shop for a second opinion. We have a Throttle Body Cleaning guide in the Pit area.


324. I am considering replacing the standard bulbs in my fog lights with after market bulbs. How hard is it to remove and replace the bulbs? Thanks - Patrick, from the USA.

I would proceed cautiously; we have received mail from other owners who indicated that they experienced problems (melted lens cover and burnt up wiring harness) using after market replacement bulbs. Make sure to follow the factory guidelines outlined in the Internal & External Lamp guide posted in the Pit area when selecting a replacement bulb.


325. I just purchased a used 2001 LE Cruiser w/automatic transmission. The vehicle has 11,000 miles on it and is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes and ABS. At the first start up and movement of the day, I sometimes hear what sound like a "ratcheting" sound as I accelerate from a dead stop. It's only for a moment and then I do not seem to hear it again. I do not feel anything but can definitely hear it. Any ideas? - Doug, from the USA.

The factory service manual mentions the following sounds during the start-up and drive-off cycles.

Start-Up Cycle

When the ignition is turned on, a popping sound and a slight brake pedal movement may be noticed. The ABS warning indicator lamp will also be on for up to 5 seconds after the ignition is turned on. These conditions occur as part of an ABS self-diagnosis test performed by the antilock brake system. The popping noise is the result of brief activation of the solenoids inside the integrated control unit (ICU).

Drive-Off Cycle

When the vehicle is first driven off, a humming may be heard or felt by the driver at approximately 25-40 km/h (15-25 mph). This is caused by brief activation of the ABS pump motor on the ICU and is a normal function of ABS as the system is performing a diagnosis check.


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