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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 Twenty Three - Q&A 551 - 575

551. I drive a 2002 LE PT and would like to know which Power Steering Fluid DC recommends using, it's not specified in the owners manual. Can I buy any off the shelf fluid? Any guidance you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks. - Paul, from California.

The service manual specifically indicates using (only) Mopar ATF+4 Automatic Transmission Fluid (MS-9602). There may be substitute fluids that work, but we recommend using the Mopar product to maintain warranty protection.


552. We recently purchased a used 2001 LE PT with 4k miles. My family and I spent the holiday missing our Cruiser. We had it towed to the DC dealer. I bought the car in August from the local Chevy dealer on St Thomas; they have a DC dealer on the neighboring island of St. Croix. The Chevy dealer was not familiar with the PT and did me the favor of changing the battery. In doing so they had to replace the OEM radio because they couldn't get it to work after the battery change. Recently the MIL light came on and stayed on steadily, I stopped by the local DC dealer and asked what it meant? They made it sound like it wasn't serious, perhaps a sensor, gas cap, or bad gas. The car was handling fine so I left with the idea of coming back at a later time.

The following Saturday I went to run an errand and the car would not start. I don't think I left anything on to run down the battery, but that's what seemed to be wrong. I tried to jumpstart the car with my other car and got it to turn over but not enough to start.

After spending some time on your web site and some of the links, (I've ordered a service manual), I was able to figure out a self diagnostics test and these are the messages I've come up with: Fault Code - P1684 Battery Disconnected in the last 50 Starts and Fault Code - P0601 PCM Internal Controller Failure. Can you tell me what the fault codes mean and what I might expect the dealer service department to come back with? Thanks in advance and for the great web site. - Jerry, from U.S. Virgin Islands.

The MIL code for the battery indicates that the battery has been disconnected within the last 50 starts. My concern with the dead radio after a battery change is that they did something wrong and caused irreparable damage. The US built PT does not have a security code for the radio. A battery change should never cause a failure. If the polarity were reversed, or the engine run without a battery, damage could occur. This could affect the PCM as well.

The cost for the repair of the PCM is covered under the warranty, since you only have 4000 miles on it. The repair is simple and requires no diagnosis. A new PCM must be installed. Assuming you have the 2001 Powertrain Diagnostic Manual refer to page 29.

P0601 - PCM internal controller failure.

When monitored = ignition key on.

Set condition = internal checksum for software failed, does not match calculated value.

Possible causes = PCM (no other causes)

Test = none. The PCM is reporting internal errors and must be replaced.

By all means get a second opinion on this, perhaps through the DC dealer you mentioned on St Croix, before proceeding with repairs. Please let us know how you resolve the problem and best of luck with the PT.


553. I have a 2001 LE PT with 32k miles and drive 55 miles to work round trip, with mostly highway driving. The brakes were squealing and new pads were obviously needed, but after inspection they tell me that the rotors are worn below .843, which by law, require replacing. I have never in all my 30 plus years have had to replace a rotor and this is the first brake job for this car. I have also heard a scraping sound as I round corners and just after coming out of a turn. - John, from Maryland.

Early mileage brake pad and or rotor replacement are common complaints with the PT. Compared to previous emails that we have received your pads have exceeded the average life expectancy at 32k miles, no doubt due to mostly highway driving. According to the 2002 service manual the recommended minimum replacement specification is .803, not .843. Replacing rotors along with pads is very common on newer cars. They make the rotors very thin and lightweight to cut costs. They also make them very soft to reduce noise, now that we can't use asbestos in the pad material. The plus side is that new rotors cost much less than they used to.


554. I have a 2003 BE PT and plan to install an aftermarket power door lock keyless entry system. Where on the vehicle do you suggest I tap into an "always-on" 12v line for power? Is there an accessory terminal someplace? Thanks. - John, from Arizona.

The underhood Power Distribution Center (PDC) has a very nice power tap. You can route the hot wire through the hood release cable opening from the engine compartment firewall to the vehicle interior.


555. I have a 2001 LE PT. How in the world does one remove/replace the cargo (truck) area light? - Christopher, from Connecticut.

You'll find guides for all of the interior and exterior lamps in the Pit area.


556. I have a 2003 PT Turbo and just installed a Remote Starter with the Transponder Bypass Module. The installation went fine, but I did not hook up the door lock feature because I wasn't sure what kind of lock system the PT uses? The product instructions mentioned positive pulse, negative pulse, single wire, relays, etc. I did not want to short out anything. Can you tell me what wire to hook up to in the kick panel or if I have to put in additional relays to make locks work? Thanks. - John, from New Jersey.

The 2003 service manual, pages 8N-1 to 8N-7, explain the door locks. It mentions the use of 2 relays, one for positive and one for negative. The door lock motors simply reverse polarity to reverse the motor.

The 2003 service manual, pages 8W-61-1 (835) to 8W-61-9, cover the wiring. The switches do not connect to the lock motors. They only supply a ground path for the RKEM remote keyless entry system. The driver's door uses different relays than the others. All the relays are built into the RKEM.

The wire you want to ground to activate the driver's door lock is white w/dark green stripe. It's found at pin 13 of connector 204 under the steering column. A quick pulse to ground should request the RKEM to actuate the lock motor.


557. I have a 2002 BE PT. The factory cloth seat bottom upholstery on my driver side seat (base) was damaged. Can I order a new OEM bottom piece and replace it myself? I have an extensive mechanical background and two double rollaway toolboxes of tools but no upholstery experience. - Bob, from Arizona.

The seat cushion (bottom) and seat back are different P/N's and can be ordered separately. There are 2 trim codes. R7 for the cloth, and GL for leather finish. The R7 bottom seat cover is TP73 1FLAA for the cloth driver's seat. Have the dealer refer to page IPT-25 figure IPT-510 for details in the parts catalog. If you decide to handle the replacement yourself you will have to purchase or borrow a service manual. The procedure includes disarming the restraint system, removing and partially disassembling the seat, and replacing the cushion.


558. I have a 2001 LE PT. My ignition cylinder would not turn this morning. I placed the ignition key into it and the key goes in, but does not work to start the car! It does turn backwards to start the radio, but will not start the car. What has happened? - Donna, from Canada.

Possibly a failure of the shift interlock. Try pulling the steering wheel to either side. While holding tension on the wheel, try to turn the key. There have been a few reports of key cylinders that would leave the engine running with the key removed. A rare, but annoying problem.

Follow up from owner - Advice resolved the problem.


559. I own a 2001 BE PT with 35k miles. I have a coolant and A/C leak, which the dealer has not been able to find. Will this be covered after the warranty expires as an ongoing problem? Thank You. - Rick, from Florida.

If you have brought these issues to the attention of the dealer prior to the expiration of the warranty and they have documented the problems in writing they should cover it under the original warranty.


560. I have a 2002 LE PT and recently purchased an APA front/rear chrome light trim kit. While looking over the trim pieces I noticed that the edges are wide and cover the holes in the OEM light covers. What are the small holes in the front headlights for? Well the new trim covers allow me to access and change the headlight bulbs? What is the screw at the bottom of the taillight for? Thanks. - Mike, from New Jersey.

The holes in the front are for headlight alignment. The front bulbs are changed from the rear of the lamp housings through an access panel in the wheel well. The screw at the bottom of the taillight is a mounting screw. It holds the tail lamp assembly to the body panel. In order to replace a bad taillight bulb you will need to access the back of the tail lamp unit by removing the mounting screw. Are you sure these were designed for the PT? I would request installation instructions from the manufacturer.


561. I have a 2002 TE PT and just installed the aftermarket AirAid intake. Everything went in like a charm. I put everything together, closed the hood and discovered that it wouldn't close. I retried, and made sure the wiper hose was out of the way and it's still not closing. I am at a loss. It mounts on top of the lower OEM air box, does the box have to be modified? Any suggestions would be extremely helpful! Thank you! - Kathy, from Wisconsin.

It is not necessary to modify the lower OEM air box or AirAid intake for installation on a 2001-2003 Non-Turbo PT, however the hood (clearance) tolerance is close when the AirAid is installed since the weather seal on top of the AirAid is designed to fit against the underside of the hood when closed. This prevents some of the hot engine bay air from entering the intake, and helps reduce dirt/water contamination in the filter box.

1. Make sure that the lower OEM air box is completely seated in the vehicle. If necessary, pop the box into its lower mounting holes to seat it correctly.

2. Make sure that the AirAid is seated correctly on top of the OEM air box and locked into place using the two spring loaded OEM air box clips.

3. Make sure that the rubber seal on top of the AirAid assembly is completely seated against the AirAid box and not protruding up.

4. Make sure that no vehicle parts are slipping into place between the hood and AirAid assembly while attempting to close the hood.

5. If you have checked steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 and the hood still won't close you may have to adjust the height of the hood using the two rubber hood stop screws near the radiator and one near each (rear) hood hinge.

A. In small and equal increments adjust one set of hood stops at a time. Start with the front, then test the hood to see if it closes. If not, adjust the rear stops near the hinges in the same increment; then test the hood again. Continue this pattern until the hood closes and locks. The trick is to adjust the hood stops enough to close the hood, but not too far, since it will affect your ability to latch the hood. In addition, a major adjustment to the hood stops will (visually) spoil the fit on the vehicle. If the hood does not latch and lock it's too high. Mark the black hood stops before you start so you do not loose your original orientation.


562. I own a 2001 LE PT. My anti-theft system has been faulting on it's own. While parked in my garage the alarm triggered itself for no apparent reason. While driving the locks will engage, door (dash) sensor activates to indicate an open door and the cabin light comes on. This will happen repeatedly while driving. Any suggestions? - Robert, from Tennessee.

It sounds suspiciously like an intermittent fault in the security module. An intermittent door switch could also cause similar problems. The dealer is the next stop.


563. I have a 2002 TE PT. When raising the rear hatch, and it reaches the last few inches of maximum height, there is scraping (metal to metal) sound that appears to be coming from the (gas spring) struts. While at maximum height, I can take my hand and slightly bounce the rear hatch up and down. My wife has a house cleaning service and opens the hatch several times each day to load and unload her equipment and the noise is very noticeable. The dealer replaced the rear hatch struts, but the noise is still there. It seems that the hatch is rising too far and extending the spring piston beyond its limits. Is this a design flaw or are the struts designed to operate with this noise? Thanks for your help. - Ron, from Georgia.

We checked three additional (2001 and 2002) PT's for this condition, and found that it existed on all of them. Apparently, it is normal on the PT. Practically speaking, there is little you can do to limit the travel of the hatch door. Perhaps a longer strut would resolve the problem, but I don't think the average user/owner would consider it so annoying that they would swap them out.


564. I have a 2001 BE PT w/with manual transmission. The problem I'm experiencing occurs in the morning or after the car has completely cooled down, and the outside temperature is -15C or colder. The car starts every time, however, with the transmission in neutral, I release the clutch, and the car stalls. I restart the car, release the clutch, and the car idle drops to the point of dimming the lights and almost stalls again. Once the car is warm the car starts and runs fine. - Steve, from Canada.

This is normal and has affected stick-shift cars for 100 years. The oil in the transmission gets thicker as it gets colder. That cold fluid is slowing the engine to a point it cannot keep running with the throttle closed.


565. I recently purchased a used 2002 BE PT, which came with only one Remote Keyless Entry transmitter. After buying a second transmitter, I tried to program it as per the owner's manual, to no avail. Thinking that perhaps the batteries were faulty, I replaced them with the ones from the working transmitter and now I can't get either one to work. Any suggestions? Thanks. - Wayne, from Montana.

On the original working transmitter - first, rule out the battery. Double check for the correct battery (2016 or its equivalent) and make sure that it's installed (polarity) correctly. When you replace the battery the remote retains its memory of the original code in the RKE module. If the battery is OK and the transmitter fails to communicate with the RKE module in the PT it may mean that there was an error on the initial programming attempt while adding the second transmitter, which has now affected the original code in the RKE module. When you successfully add a transmitter BOTH the new and original transmitters are assigned NEW codes in the RKE module during the programming procedure. In order to program additional transmitters you must have at least one transmitter that communicates with the RKE module. If you can get the original transmitter to work with the PT you can try reprogramming the second one again, however if the original no longer works you will have to make a trip to the dealer to reprogram both transmitters/RKE module using their DRBIII scan tool.

Follow up from owner - The dealer determined that the remote was defective and will replace and program it under warranty.


566. I want to buy a PT Cruiser, but I'm not sure which one to buy? Can you help? Thanks. - Joe, from the USA.

Purchasing any new car is personal decision only the user can make. I would suggest that you make a list of features and performance preferences that you would like to see, than visit your local Chrysler dealer. Ask for brochures outlining the PT's specifications and features, examine and test drive each model for comparison, and research "PT test drive reviews", which are available in various automotive magazines and online. Once you decide on a model visit this site, various PT forums and or a local PT club to learn more about the model - an owners' experience and perspective can be invaluable when you're close to making a final buying decision. Best of luck with your purchase.


567. What does PT stand for?

We've always been told that the acronym stands for “Personal Transportation”, however we've also read that it stands for "Positively Tremendous," and the initials also designate the car's platform. The Neon was based on the Chrysler PL platform, or "Platform Low," while the Cruiser was based on the Chrysler PT platform, for "Platform Tall." PT was also the production code for the PT Cruiser. The name may also stand for "Plymouth Truck", as it harks back to the 1930s line of Plymouth Trucks (known by the "PT" moniker). The original concept car was a Plymouth; the Chrysler brand adopted the production car when the Plymouth brand was discontinued.


568. I have a 2002 DE Cruiser and was shocked to find my battery completely dead this morning. I'm a low mileage user (4,600 miles in 9 months). I believe everything was turned off that needed to be, and temperatures have been moderate at 40-50F. The car was last driven two days ago. - Tamara, from Kentucky.

A drained battery in 2 days means something is drawing power. If you have been using the seat heater in the colder weather check for a sticking relay for the heated seats. There have been several cases of bad relay contacts. The interior lights will turn off after about 45 minutes to save the battery.


569. I went to retrieve a manual (roadside assistance policy) from the passenger seat storage bin and it would not open. It's always been a little rough to operate, but in the past opened when needed. - Tamara, from Kentucky.

The drawer is held in similar to the racks in your oven. Lift up and pull. There is no positive latch that must be released. An object inside could slide around and become stuck. You might try jiggling the drawer from side to side to free it or get it back in its tracks. Once you get it open use some silicone spray on the tracks for easier opening and closing.


570. I have a 2001 LE PT and recently replaced my catalytic converter with a straight pipe and flex joint assembly. Now my MIL comes on and I know it's from the disconnected oxygen sensor that went to the converter. I want to put in a jumper wire to send a good signal back to the OBDII to prevent the light from coming on, but I don't know which connections to short out. Thanks for the help. - DJ, from South Carolina.

You can't. End of story. Oxygen sensors are the only sensor that actually generates voltage. The PCM compares the 2 signals and follows a program of functional parameters. The signal must differ, but not too much. (Please send me the $15,000 for the emissions fine, you can forgo the jailtime.)

The results of removing the converter will be:

1. Less exhaust restriction lowers the useable torque by moving the power band upwards in the rpm range. Since the rpm is computer limited, you lowered the output horsepower.

2. You've removed a vital piece of the engine computer controls. With the PCM never entering closed loop operation, you've lost the timing advance that provides mid-throttle power and increases fuel economy.

Dyno tests prove that any power gains will only be at the uppermost rpm. Daily driving probably won't allow you to stay near 6000rpm very long.


571. I own a 2002 LE PT and would like to know if I have to use special windshield washer fluid for the PT? - Hilary, from Illinois.

The owner and service manual do not specify a brand or type. There are 2 basic fluid formulas. One is good to -10F and the other, commonly called ice-melter, is good to -35F. It uses slightly more alcohol in the mix. Select a type that is specific to your regional temperature conditions. Do not use the pink stuff called RV antifreeze. It's sold next to washer fluid, but it's for the water supply and sewage system in the RV.


572. I have a 2001 LE PT and would like to purchase a service manual, only Daimler Chrysler charges $100, are there other sources? - Maurice, from New York.

You can order a service manual through any DC dealer, however prices vary among dealers. Many owners purchase through Wyckoff Chrysler online for convenience and the 5% PT DIY Club discount. It's $80 for the manual, less the 5% discount, plus shipping.


573. I have a 2002 LE PT. I'm curious if the PT Cruiser ECU supports the OBD2 or OBD3 protocol, or if there is a more advanced proprietary Chrysler protocol, which is supported as well? I didn't find much OBD information on the site. - Will, from New York.

The service manual is rather vague in this area. It discusses the OBD briefly in few chapters as it applies to other PT components and includes all of the fault codes. All the 2001-2004 PT's use OBDII. A good resource for the OBD can be found at


574. I have a 2002 LE PT and would like to install footwell lighting. I need a 12v power source to tie into, but I want the lights to come on when the doors are open, or when the dimmer switch is on in the forward most position. - Will, from New York.

The closest wire to supply interior lighting control is the transmission range selector illumination lamp. It's inside the center floor console. The power lead is orange and the ground is black. All interior lighting is controlled by the panel lamps driver in the Body Control Module / instrument cluster. I cannot guaranty that additional lighting current draw will not overload the BCM. That could be a very expensive modification if the BCM cannot control additional loads.


575. I have a 2002 BE PT and am considering upgrading the exhaust system. From what I've read on this site, the stock exhaust pipes are already 2-1/4" mandrel bent. But are they stainless steel like many replacement cat-back systems? If so, is there any reason to install a complete cat-back rather than just a muffler? Thanks. - Gregg, from Maryland.

The OEM exhaust pipes are aluminized steel, which will not rust through like the pipes used during the old days. Unless you have money to burn there's no reason to change them. I'm sure it's difficult for the retailers to justify $500 for a muffler, so they include a stainless steel copy of the OEM pipe. The muffler is the best (cost-effective) add on from a performance perspective.


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