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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 Fourteen - Q&A 326 - 350

326. I'm experiencing an electrical problem. The dome light, radio, mirrors, power locks, remote power locks are inoperable. The dash panel keeps flashing "no fuse." I've check each fuse and they appear to be OK. - Anonymous

Check fuse #18 (20amp, yellow) in the Power Distribution Center box under the hood. This fuse has a plastic pull-tab on it. It's used to control Ignition-Off Draw = IOD. The fuse is pushed in when you take delivery of the vehicle. The owners' manual explains that it's used to keep the battery from draining during extended storage. If it's blown, you will need to determine what caused it to blow. This 20a fuse won't blow unless you've added a load to the circuit or there is a component failure. It doesn't take much to blow the fuse, the addition of a stereo or alarm, or even the power window modification, if you wired it into that circuit. If you haven't added an additional load, and the vehicle self-tests check out OK, dealer service will need to diagnose the problem.


327. I own a 2001 PT LE Cruiser. The A/C cools the interior when the temperature outside is 70-80F (seems normal). As it gets warmer outside interior cooling seems to be less effective. When the temperature is in high 80-90F range the air has to run on high fan all the time, and barely cools car. The air vent is set for outside air, not re-circulate. When I use the re-circulate mode I notice that the air is much colder, but the manual states not to use this mode all the time. Do I have a problem or is the air in the PT just lousy? Thanks. - Keith, from the USA.

When outside temperatures' increase from 80F to 90F, the A/C system efficiency can drop 30%. A temperature difference of 25-30F at the vents is about all you can ask for. 100F outside air would drop to 75F at the vents. Using re-circulated air would see 85F interior air drop to 60F at the vents. As the interior temp drops, the re-circulated air would be even colder. Use re-circulation as needed. I suggest switching to outside air for the last few minutes of your drive and use only the fan. This will help minimize chances of evaporator mold growth, which can result in a foul smelling A/C. See the A/C Odor article in the Special Report section of the Pit area for information on the issue and how to treat it.


328. I have a 2002 BE PT. I noticed two tire pressure requirements on the PT, which one is correct? -Ted, from Rhode Island.

The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is listed on a white label attached to the rear face of the drivers side door. Many people rely on the pressure listed on the tires themselves, but that's actually the wrong place to look. The PSI 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.


329. My 2001 PT LT w/Goodyear 16" LS tires is experiencing a steering "wobble" when returning to neutral position after turning. It's also noticeable on very smooth roadways when traveling at 20 to 80 mph. It started at 7K miles, and DC said it was the tires. After much to do with Goodyear, they replaced the entire set at 17K miles. At 25K miles the wobble has returned and DC said it's the replacement tires. I think it's in the steering, like a loose mounting bolt, but DC says no. Thank you. - Bob, from the USA.

If it went away from 17K to 25K miles and didn't show until 7K miles, I think it's the tires. Why in the world would they put the same crappy Goodyear LS tires back on after you had these concerns? The tires are made as cheaply as possible for Mopar. I would suggest that you ask them to replace the tires again, and pay the difference for an upgrade to a better quality tire.


330. I just bought 2001 PT cruiser w/35K miles. It has A/C and power steering. I would like to replace the belts for the alternator and A/C, but I can't see them. Is there a secret to get to them, or is this better left to the dealer? Thank you. - Joe, from the USA.

It can be accomplished, but without a lift it could be a frustrating job. You will definitely need to purchase or borrow a service manual. The procedure to remove the belts is outlined in section 7-8 through 7-13 of the 2002 manual. It's a matter of choice, although the dealers labor charge may be less frustrating than DIY.


331. I have an appointment with a muffler shop to have that Dynomax Super Turbo muffler installed. The tech said he has never just installed a muffler, they usually include a cat-back system. He said that the cat-back system adds another 8-10% more hp, than just adding the muffler. I find this hard to believe. Thank you. - Ben, USN.

The muffler guy will change his tune when he sees the PT's cat back pipes. They are 2 -1/4" with all mandrel bends. They are tuned perfectly to the PT engine. There is only one bend and then it's over the axle. There will be no hp gains from replacing the perfect pipes. If he goes from 2-1/4" to 2-1/2", he will actually loose low-end torque.


332. Having troubles with the auto-transmission on a 2002. The transmission gets stuck in 2nd gear when cold after coming to a complete stop. Also finds "no-gear" at times when slowing down and stepping on the gas to speed up. The engine does not rev up; it just sits between gears for 2-3 seconds. The dealer replaced the module inside the transmission that controls shifting, but the problem is still there. Any ideas? -Tom, from the USA.

Limp-in mode, or FMEM failure management effects mode, will only give you second gear. This is the response to a catastrophic sensor failure. There should be some diagnostic info available if they install a flight recorder to record all the driving parameters. An internal transmission failure may also cause the concern. I hope they take fluid pressure measurements before simply replacing the solenoid pack! Improper fluid, low fluid, or a failing pump could be the problem.


333. Would you explain what methods the PT Cruiser employs to reduce or eliminate radio noise/interference within its audio system? - Stan, from Iowa.

Radio noise suppression devices are factory installed standard equipment on this vehicle. Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and ElectroMagnetic Interference (EMI) can be produced by any on-board or external source of electromagnetic energy. These electromagnetic energy sources can radiate electromagnetic signals through the air, or conduct them through the vehicle electrical system. When the audio system converts RFI or EMI to an audible acoustic wave form, it is referred to as radio noise. This undesirable radio noise is generally manifested in the form of "buzzing," "hissing," "popping," "clicking," "crackling," and/or "whirring" sounds. In most cases, RFI and EMI radio noise can be suppressed using a combination of vehicle and component grounding, filtering and shielding techniques. This vehicle is equipped with factory installed radio noise suppression devices that were designed to minimize exposure to typical sources of RFI and EMI; thereby, minimizing radio noise complaints. See the Noise Suppression System and Components in the Pit area for specfic system information.


334. With all the talk about transmissions being the weakest Mopar link, I am wondering if adding any additives to the ATF would be a good idea? I have seen some additives that claim to help cool the ATF. - Pat, from the USA.

Although some enthusiasts have been critical of the PT's transmission, we have received few complaints from owners during the last 16 months. We don't recommend adding any additives and neither does DC. If you decide to use them and a problem does arise you may very well give DC grounds for voiding your warranty. From the factory service manual:

Fluid Additives

DC strongly recommends against the addition of any fluids to the transmission, other than those automatic transmission fluids recommended in the owners' manual. Exceptions to this policy are the use of special dyes to aid in detecting fluid leaks.

Various "special" additives and supplements exist that claim to improve shift feel and/or quality. These additives and others also claim to improve converter clutch operation and inhibit overheating, oxidation, varnish, and sludge. These claims have not been supported to the satisfaction of DC and these additives must not be used. The use of transmission "sealers" should also be avoided, since they may adversely affect the integrity of transmission seals.


335. I have a 2002 PT and I am changing the spark plugs to the champion RE 14PlP5. I just wanted to double check on the gap specifications. Is .050 correct? Thank you. - RC, from Nevada.

The correct gap specifications for the PT 2.4L engine are 1.24 -1.37mm or 0.048 - 0.053 in.


336. I have a 2002 Taupe Frost colored Cruiser. The passenger airbag cover and gauge cluster color does not match the body color. I would like to paint the center dash console to match the other interior parts. What color should I ask for? - Ted, from the USA.

DC's refers to the Cruisers interior instrument panel trim colors as "color keyed inserts." They do not specifically identify the interior colors. Some PT interior and body color's match and others do not. For instance, we know that the Patriot Blue interior and body colors match, but the Silver interior and body colors do not. Matching interior paint is not available through DC, unless your PT interior color happens to be one that matches the body color, which is available in a brush or spray application. If your exterior body color does not match the interior, you might consider checking with a pro paint shop. Perhaps they can custom mix paint to match your interior.


337. Our 2002 PT automatic experiences very slow acceleration in 3rd and 4th gears between 2500-3000 rpms. At freeway speeds, especially if I press down on gas to accelerate, I get no response unless I drop down 1 gear. Is this normal for this engine? - Mike, from the USA.

That's the nature of the 2.4L motor. If you look at the horsepower and torque curves, you'll see that power doesn't build until around 3500rpm. If you keep the motor in the power band (3500-5000rpm), you will find that it performs as expected. Most new 4-cylinder vehicles can run at 7000rpm all day without concern. Don't be afraid to use all the available rpm.


338. We have a 2002 LE PT, which we enjoy, but I've owned several cars and have never seen an A/C system control design like this before. How do you turn the damn thing off! - Warren, from New Hampshire.

ThumbnailThere have been other reports of owner confusion when working with DC's uniquely designed A/C control system, which leads some owners to constantly drive with the air conditioning on.

Example - When the Fan Control knob is turned to the left, the air conditioning is operable even when Temperature Control is turned to warm.

Example - The air conditioning compressor operates in both Mix and Defrost or a blend of these modes even if the Fan Control knob is not in the air conditioning position. This dehumidifies the air to help dry the windshield, but also degrades fuel economy. To improve mpg , use these modes only when necessary.


339. A few PT owners have reported a fuel line routing problem with their Cruisers that we thought you should be aware of.

Stefanie, a contributor to the site, reported smelling a slight scent of gasoline around her 2001 Cruiser. Later in the day the scent intensified and filled the PT cabin so badly that she almost passed out. She stopped at a gas station close to home to have it checked out, and just as the mechanic opened the hood, he excitedly requested that she shut the engine down. The mechanic discovered gasoline leaking all over the engine. It was later determined that the fuel line had been misrouted by the factory over the metal A/C lines in the engine bay. Apparently, the fuel line rubbed across the A/C lines long enough to eventually wear a hole in it and create a fuel leak. (Photo #1 demonstrates the problem found on Stefanies Cruiser. Note - the yellow line is too long. The fuel line is the braided one, on top of the metal A/C lines.)

Because of the potential safety issues involved, we recommend that you inspect your fuel line where it routes over the engine as soon as possible. If it appears to be rubbing on anything that could wear a hole in it have dealer service inspect and repair it immediately. Some owners have initially reported using a tie-wrap on the fuel line to keep it away from the metal A/C lines. Although this may be fine for a temporary fix we recommend that you have your vehicle inspected and repaired by dealer service as soon as possible.

To date, random inspections and feedback by owners indicate that in most cases the fuel line appears to have been routed away from the A/C lines. Some 2002 Cruiser owners report that DC currently utilizes a clip (See photo #2.) on the fuel line to segregate it from the metal A/C lines. ( A site visitor, Terry, reported that he purchased the clip (P/N CBL1B160) through his dealer for $0.14.)

Based upon limited feedback we do not know the extent of the problem, however thus far only a few owners have reported the issue. Although we suspect that only a small number of PT's are affected by this problem, it is important that you confirm that your PT is not among the afflicted few.


As of August 12, 2002 DC has issued a recall on some 2001 PT's. If your PT is affected DC will mail you a recall notice, or you may check with DC or your local dealer. Have your VIN number available when you call.

My thanks to Stefanie and MX-5 for their information and photos. Webmaster -Ed


340. DaimlerChrysler has recalled a specific number of 2001 PT Cruisers because the child restraint anchorage system fails to comply with standards for children.

The recall was reported by the DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Recalls

NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 02V162000

Recall Date: June 26, 2002

Model & Year: PT Cruiser, 2001

Build Date: August 1999 - October 2000

Potential Number of Units Affected: 77000

Component: Interior Systems: Seat Latch

Defect Summary:

Vehicle description: Certain passenger vehicles fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 225, "child restraint anchorage systems." The right rear "65%" seat center lower anchor was manufactured with a wire diameter that is greater than the maximum allowable dimension as specified in the standard.

Consequence Summary:
If the connector for a latch-type child restraint is not attached correctly to the anchorage points, the restraint will not properly protect a child in the event of a crash.

Corrective Summary:

Dealers will inspect the right rear seat center anchor and, if necessary, resize the anchor to meet the diameter specified within the standard. DaimlerChrysler has not yet provided an owner notification schedule for this campaign. Owners who take their vehicles to an authorized dealer on an agreed upon service date and do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact DaimlerChrysler at 1-800-853-1403.


341. I have a 2001 PT Cruiser with 32k miles. At its sixth oil change the oil pan threads came out with the oil drain plug. I now need a new oil pan and gasket. There was no cross-threading indication on the plug. The threads came out in a helical shape on the plug. The mechanic who performed each oil change says he tightens the oil drain plug finger tight and then adds 1/4 turn. The dealer and DC customer service say it was over-tightened. I've seen a number of Internet reports that says that DC's aluminum oil pan is notorious for this. Have you heard or seen similar issues with DC products? Thank you. - Alan, from California.

I have not seen a common problem with threads dislocating from the pan. The stripped oil pans I've seen usually happen when the plug is tightened. It's good that only one tech has ever changed the oil. This will greatly reduce the finger pointing.


342. I have just purchased a 2002 LE PT that came from Canada. The front parking lights are on all the time. I am in Washington and would like to have them operate like a vehicle built for the US. Thank you. - Jim, from the USA.

What you describe are the Daylight Running Lights, which are standard equipment on Canadian PT's. The Body Control Module is programmed for the lights. It cannot be changed that I'm aware of. The cluster must have been reprogrammed from kilometers to miles. I would suggest checking with the program tech at the dealership about the DRL's.


343. I drove through some deep water when the streets were flooded in our area. The fog lamps have water in them, and the bulb continuously burns out each time I replace it. The lens has water vapor on it and needs to be dried. It looks like the lens can be removed from the assembly, but I don't know how to remove the fog lamp. - Jim, from the USA.

The fog lamp unit appears to be one assembly in the manual. There are no instructions for disassembly or whether they are supposed to be watertight. If they were submerged water may have entered through the bulb access hole on the back of the unit. When you remove the fog lamp units determine if you can disassemble them for cleaning. If not, you may be able to drain the water out through the bulb access hole. Try shaking out all the water you can, then spray some compressed air up there to remove any residual water. Use a hair dryer to dry out the interior or allow to air dry. I would be surprised if the dealer covered this issue under the warranty - it would not be considered a failure under normal operating conditions. The instructions for removing the fog lamp units are available in the Pit area.


344. Several PT owners have posted window issues in the forums. The complaints generally refer to squeaking and or squealing windows as the window travels up and down. Mike's local DC dealer confirmed today that the replacement window track and guide has been re-designed, which should help cure the offending sounds.

Scott Sherwood wrote that he also experienced this issue with his front passenger side window. His service manager mentioned receiving additional complaints from other owners and suggested having all windows serviced at the same time. The premise being, if one window has the problem, the others will soon follow.

Dan wrote that he experienced similar noise/problems with his windows and discovered that the motor and cable guides for the window regulator had rusted out. The dealer will replace the damaged components on the affected and remaining windows under the warranty. If you're experiencing a window noise issue and plan to inspect the window components yourself you can access the area by removing the interior trim panel and weather barrier on each door. The instructions for removing the trim panel for each door can be found in the Pit area.

Thumbnail Thumbnail

Mike mentioned that it's not uncommon for rust to form within the vehicles' doors. The weather-stripping doesn't do much to stop water intrusion. Especially while driving at highway speeds. The drain holes at the bottom of the doors are supposed to let the moisture drain out. The 2002 models don't have the rubber weather-stripping along the bottom of the door, like the 2001's. One of the best rustproofing things you can do is to empty a can of spray-lube into the door panels. It will run out the holes, but it will coat the lower seam where the door skins are welded and not painted. This is where most rust begins. When available, it's preferable to use a dry type spray-lube rather than a liquid spray-lube. Mike recommends using 3M Silicone Lubricant (Dry Type) P/N 08897, which is available in most well stocked auto part stores that carry the 3M brand. If it's unavailable WD-40 can be substituted, although it's somewhat messier to work with.


345. My 2001 PT Cruiser doesn't have door pin switches for an after market alarm, my guess is the sensor for this is located on the door mechanism, am I right? Thanks. Julio, from Mexico.

The sensor is located in the interior lighting switch within the driver's door latch mechanism. The wiring will be easy to trace inside the door panel.


346. I have a 2002 LE PT. Is there a way to reprogram the interior lights so they stay off when I open the door, instead of coming on? Thanks. - Pete, from Nevada.

To activate the "interior light defeat off" feature rotate the dimmer control to the extreme bottom "Off" position. The interior lights will remain off when the doors are opened.


347. At 4000 miles I've changed the oil and filter twice on my new PT. On both occasions, after adding 5 quarts of oil, my dipstick indicated I was 1/2 quart low. I used Rhino Ramps to gain access to the filter and drain plug. - Marc, from the USA.

We will assume that you're using a regular filter, instead of a double capacity filter, and checking the oil level under the following conditions:

The best time to check engine oil level is after the vehicle has sat overnight, or if the engine has been running, allow the engine to be shut off for at least 5 minutes before checking oil level. Checking the oil while the vehicle is on level ground will improve the accuracy of the oil level reading. Add oil only when the level is at or below the MIN mark.

If you've added 5qts for certain, you may have a dipstick that's not reading correctly. Have the dealer try several other dipsticks from other PT's. Try yours in their PT's. This should determine if yours isn't calibrated correctly. Semi trucks calibrate the dipstick by adding the correct amount of oil and then marking the stick.


348. I have a 2001 LE PT. When traveling on level roads at speeds between 50 -60 mph my car looses power, like the fuel or the engine is cutting off. It does it in fast/quick intervals. It feels like the torque converter is slipping in and out of overdrive. It causes the car to jerk when it does this. It was in the shop for over a week on this problem and the EGR valve was replaced. This seemed to correct the problem, but it returned after about 300 miles. Any suggestions would be appreciated. - Terry, from the USA.

If the replacement EGR valve temporarily cured it, I would suspect that something else is causing the valve to malfunction. You may want to suggest that dealer service install a flight recorder to trace the failure.


349. I have a Kenwood CD player and subwoofer installed in my 2002 PT Cruiser. Recently my sound system stopped putting out sound, but strangely my subwoofer kept beating out the bass. I am fairly skilled in car audio so I figured my head unit had a malfunction. I reinstalled the factory CD player and it had the same problem. I'm getting sound from my sub and amp, but no sound from the door, rear or tweeter speakers. I was wondering if there is some sort of fuse or device for the speakers that might have been tripped. Any help you could provide will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. - Adam, from the USA.

The speakers are wired directly to the radio connector. There are no fuses in the speaker leads. Please use the resources mentioned on the M-M page for additional help in resolving stereo related issues.


350. If I decided to lower the rear end by 2" would that affect the front end alignment? Would it affect my Warranty? How will it affect the aerodynamics? Thanks. -Rich, from the USA.

It will effect everything. If the aerodynamics were better with the rear 2" lower, they would all be designed and built that way. Several owners have destroyed the exhaust systems by backing into parking curbs. The dealer would have to prove that the suspension caused another component to fail, and the warranty for the suspension would be void.


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