The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Thirty Two Q&A 776 - 800
776. I have a 2002 LE PT with an AirAid air intake. I am considering purchasing the Airaid throttle body spacer. I was wondering if you had any information on independent testing of its performance on the PT? - Dave from Canada.
We're not aware of any dyno testing conducted on a PT for this product, only the popular seat-of-your-pants approach and finding, which are inconsistent. Some owners have installed TBS's and report no gains, others claim that they "feel" an increase in (torque & hp) performance. It's difficult to determine the true value of the mod, when we compare the fixed cost of the product against the outcome - a feeling, although we humans make many purchases based upon far less logic. You might try conducting an online search for "throttle body spacer performance tests." You'll notice that many other car owners report very similar inconsistencies with regard to performance.
777. I recently purchased a 2003 BE PT for my precious wife, who is recovering from a hip injury. She hasn't been able to drive yet, but her old car is too low to get in and out of, and my old Jeep is a bit high. The PT is just right and we both love it. The site mentions several oil filters, which will fit the PT but are larger than the OEM standard filters. Would using the larger size be better for the engine, in terms of extra capacity and cooling, or would it be insignificant? We plan to use Mobil-1, after reading some of your linked articles and want this car to last for a long time.
In addition, when I backed up into a neighbor's driveway two days ago I scraped the rubber air dam on the front of the PT and just a wee bit of paint off the metal area just above the air dam. I've taken care of the damaged paint, but how important is the air dam? It isn't ruined, just roughed up a bit, should I replace it or worry about it? Thank you for your help. - Julian, from Alabama.
The benefit of using a double capacity oil filter instead of a single is the extended capacity, which allows you to go longer between oil changes and not saturate the filter media. Plus, the price is about the same regardless of size. Personally, I change the oil and filter on or before the prescribed maintenance (Schedule B) period, it's inexpensive preventive maintenance.
The air dam is an issue for many owners with steep driveways, road hazards and or high speed bumps. I replaced mine during the second year of ownership after it had become unsightly. Cost was about $20 and 20 minutes to replace during an oil change. Try to keep it on the car, it helps vent colder air into the engine bay to cool the engine.
778. I have a 2003 DE Turbo PT. The owners' manual states to change the engine oil every 5,000 miles or 6 months. I went to the dealer to have this done, at 5,000 miles. When completed, the dealer placed a reminder sticker on the windshield for the next oil change in 3,000 miles. This is my every day vehicle, but I do not drive it to "extreme" unless necessary (merging into highway traffic, etc.). How should I proceed?
The service manual notes the oil and filter change interval at 5,000 miles under schedule A -Turbo, which is for less severe driving conditions. However it also states that most vehicles are operated under the conditions noted for schedule B, which places the interval at 3,000 miles. Your dealer may have assigned this interval if they were unaware of your driving habits.
(Schedule B is the preferred schedule for many drivers regardless of their driving habits when applied to common maintenance like oil and filter changes. Oil and filters are inexpensive and aid in longer engine life.)
The description of your driving habits is insufficient to make a determination on which schedule you should follow. Review the guidelines for schedule B below. If they do not reflect your driving habits, you may use Schedule A - For Turbo.
Maintenance Schedule B - All Engines
It is for vehicles that are operated under any one or more of the conditions listed below. See your owners manual for additional information.
1. Day or night temperatures are below 0° C (32° F).
2. Stop and go driving.
3. Extensive engine idling.
4. Driving in dusty conditions.
5. Short trips of less than 16 km (10 miles).
6. More than 50% of your driving is at sustained high speeds during hot weather, above 32° C (90° F).
7. Trailer towing.
8. Taxi, police, or delivery service (commercial service).
9. Off-road or desert operation.
10. If equipped for and operating with E-85 (ethanol) fuel.
779. I have a 2003 PT Turbo w/600 miles, which I purchased last month. During this period I've visited the dealer three times for the same problem and I'm going back tomorrow for a fourth visit. My door locks, lock and unlock by themselves, at times while driving, and when parked a ratcheting sound can heard from the rear doors. If I leave the doors unlocked they will lock themselves, and sometimes when locked, they will unlock themselves. Sometimes the doors will click and the manual door buttons will go up and down, and other times there's no movement and you just hear the clicking sound. All of this seems to happen after washing the car or after it rains. The dealer has replaced the (RKEM) keyless entry module, both lift gate switches and left front door security alarm switch. I'm still having the same problems that I originally brought it in for. I've told them about the water problem and I am worried about the rear door ratcheting sound. Thus far the car has been in the shop for a total of 8 days. Do I have a lemon? - Mal, from Illinois.
Ask your dealer to set it in the wash bay for a few hours of soaking. They may be able to duplicate the problem. You will have to check with your state statutes to determine if this constitutes a claim under the Lemon Law. The claim to resolution process can often be lengthy and cumbersome. It will be to your advantage to work with the dealer to resolve this issue before you attempt a claim under the Lemon Law.
780. I have a 2003 PT and I'm ready for my first oil change at 5000 miles. Will it void my warranty if I add an oil additive such as Lucas Oil Stabilizer to my PT? Thank you. - Gary, from USA.
I carry Lucas products at my stores. They come highly recommended over the years. Although I've never used any, it's a quality product. However, the PT service and owners manuals specify not to use any oil additives.
781. I have a 2002 BE PT and would like to know if I need to lubricate anything in the sunroof, like I do with the door hinges, catches etc.? Thank you. - Dan, from Florida.
There is no prescribed maintenance mentioned in the service manual for the sunroof and components.
782. Three weeks ago, I purchased a new 2003 TE PT w/manual transmission. I love everything about the car except the transmission. I've looked on this and other forums to see if anyone has logged any complaints about rough shifting, but have not found anything. My problem relates to what I feel when shifting between gears, especially 1st to 2nd, and 2nd to 3rd. The shifter seems to require more effort than any previous car I've owned (4different Honda 5 speeds). In addition, a "secondary" stop is felt before the shifter engages in the gear. It almost feels as if the transmission is going to grind, but it doesn't. It feels similar to one of my past cars when the clutch was going, or was out of adjustment, although the clutch feels fine and grabs at the appropriate time in the pedal travel. I did not have the opportunity to test drive the car before ordering it as no local dealers had any 5- speeds in stock and the car had to be located out of state. I took it back to the salesman to drive, since he has driven a PT(s) (auto and 5-speeds) as a company cars since they arrived, but he said all felt normal. What is your read on this, and do you have any suggestions on what to do next? I plan to address this issue during the 3k service. Thanks for your time. - Roger, from Pennsylvania.
Without knowing how a 5-speed PT drove prior to your purchase and the dealers' inability to provide you with a comparable vehicle for a comparison test drive when you reported the problem places you at the mercy of the salesman who told you their wasn't a problem. (I would get a second opinion from an actual service technician and document the problem for the record.)
The perceived concern may be a comparison between previous Honda products and a Mopar product. It is likely that all Mopar 5-speeds would seem harsh compared to Honda.
Unfortunately, no one else has reported this concern. Several owners have asked about the rpm's staying high for a split second and making speed-shifting tough. You might also look into this TSB to rule out a potential problem. Bulletin Number: 02020 Component: Power Train: Axle Assembly - Delayed transaxle engagement after initial start up. *TT PT 2003.
783. I am the proud owner of a 2003 GT Turbo and a 2001 BE PT. I was wondering if I can use the same kind of oil filter I use on the turbo on my BE PT, so I don't have two stock two different filters? Thanks. - Joel, California.
The GT uses the longer double capacity oil filters, which can also be used on the BE PT. You can review your oil filter choices in the Oil Change guide in the pitareainfo.html area.
784. I own a 2003 BE PT. I am handicapped and want to see if a PT will carry a three-wheel mobility scooter and an inside lift arm to lift the scooter. Are you aware of anyone having done this? What are the height and width dimensions of the rear lift hatch? What is the distance from the liftgate to the front seat, with the rear seat removed? Any suggestions would be appreciated. - Gordon, from Georgia.
Last year we received a request for information regarding this process, however we do not know of anyone that has converted a PT for this application. I suggested that he contact a shop that specializes in conversions of this type. I'm sure that most local government social agencies, support groups, or handicap equipment vendors could provide you with a resource that specializes in this service.
The liftgate opening is not square; it is more oval in shape. The widest part of the opening is 41-3/4". The highest part of the opening is 39-3/4". According to DC, the distance from the back of the front seat to the liftgate, with the rear seats and shelf panel removed, is 64.2". Complete specifications for all model years can be found in the pitareainfo.html area.
Follow up - Scott Moen wrote that the company he works for (Bruno Independent Living Aids Inc. in Wisconsin 1-800-882-8283) makes lifts for scooters and wheelchairs to be installed into vehicles such as the PT Cruiser. The CEO of the company bought a 2001 PT Cruiser when they were first introduced, and had them develop a number of lifts for this vehicle.
785. I have a 2003 GT PT with a Getrag transmission. What can you tell me about it, what does that stand for? Thanks. - Mal, from Illinois.
You can learn more about the Getrag transmission here.
786. I have a 2002 BE PT w/auto transmission and noticed that when in cruise control, and headed down a steep hill, my transmission will downshift (as needed) to hold the speed at my set target. Sometimes it almost seems to be setting the brakes as well. Could you tell me how this system maintains a set speed while driving down a steep decline? Thank you. - James, from New Mexico.
You can read about the Speed Control System in the Pit area.
787. I have a 2003 BE PT. The engine light has been lighting up every few hundred miles. The code is always the same - P0456 minor vapor leak. It first occurred after 145 miles, and resets at different start up intervals - one time 16 starts, another time at 26 starts. After the first two occurrences they replaced the gas cap. It triggered again and reset itself and just happened again. Now the dealer wants me to bring the PT back and leave it so they can test it. Is it possible that they don't know what is causing this? Thanks. - Sandra, from New Jersey.
It may be another component. They need to perform a pressure test of the evaporative emission system. It could be a defective sensor, fitting, line, pump, or valve, assuming the PCM isn't defective. Lots of lengthy tests must be performed to isolate the leak.
788. I have a 2001 LE PT. My left front rim/tire? is bent inward toward the body of the car, as opposed to the right front tire, which is straight. What do you think caused this? Thank you. - Michael, from Florida.
Likely, a pothole or curb has bent the suspension. Either an alignment or a body shop (or both) will be needed. Physical damage is not a warranty item.
789. I have a 2001 TE PT w/manual transmission. The transmission will not shift while the engine is running, but you can shift into the gears when the car is not running and of course it runs in that gear. It just happened while driving down the interstate, not a gradual thing. Is this the clutch or something in the transmission? - DR, from Virginia.
If the clutch engages and disengages when you press the pedal, it's not the clutch. Likely, the synchronizers have gone south. It's an internal mechanical failure.
790. I have a 2003 LE PT diesel. I'm having a little problem installing a navigator system VDO DAYTON 5000. One of the requested cables is the speedometer cable. I noticed a picture of VSS head cable on the site, but I'm not sure that's the correct cable to use with the navigator system. Can you confirm this for me please? In the 2200 CRD engine, where is the VSS head? Thank you. - Denis, from Italy.
The wire is gray with a white stripe. It goes from the output speed sensor pin 3 to pin 55 of connector #1 of the engine control module. See page 8W-33-7, 724 of the 2003 service manual. Note - this is for the diesel only.
791. I have a 2002 PT. Twice I have had my foot slip off of the brake pedal when I was in a slow moving situation. My foot slips - the brake pedal returns over the top of my shoe and the car moves several feet before I can get my foot back onto the pedal. The pedal seems a little high. In my Grand Voyager my toes extend beyond the brake pedal a couple inches. With my PT my toes just reach the top of the pedal. Have others had a similar problem? - James, from Ohio.
We haven't received any other complaints of this nature. The height of the brake pedal is nonadjustable. You may want to consider replacing the OEM pedal with an after market (performance style) pedal. Some are a little larger than the OEM pedal.
792. I have a 2001 LE PT, without the power door lock option. I'm having an alarm/remote start system installed. The alarm dealer has a power door lock option for the alarm. It will work from a remote and a rocker switch that they will install along with the proper actuators. Can I purchase the OEM power door lock switch for them to use and where is it supposed to be mounted? I would like a factory look instead of the after market rocker switch. Thanks. - Bruce, from Connecticut.
Assuming that the OEM power door lock switches will operate with the after- market installation, there are two switches, one on each front door. Each switch is inset into the corresponding inside remote handle power door lock switch bezel, which is part of the door trim panel. If you expect the modification to look like the OEM installation your best bet would be to purchase replacement door trim panels that include the power door lock switch bezel option, rather than attempting to modify the existing trim panels.
793. I have a 2002 LE PT, w/8000 miles, which I've owned for a few months. It developed a squeaking sound that sees to be coming from the rear suspension. At first it was mild, but over time it got quite annoying. Any small bump in the road now causes it to squeak. I asked a friend about it and he suggested I squirt some WD40 on some of the pivots on the rear suspension. Sure enough the problem went away. Before if you pushed up and down on the rear bumper it would squeak very easily, now it was almost perfect except on the largest of potholes. Unfortunately after 500 miles the noise returned. I don't think WD40 is the proper lubricant, but lubricating the pivoting parts did seem to do the trick. Should I use heavier grease, similar to what is used on the doors? Is there a more serious problem at hand? - Ken, from the USA.
I will assume that we are talking about the OEM suspension in this instance. It may be something as simple as a loose part, but you may want to try to determine the exact nature of the problem before you re-apply more lubricant. Have a friend apply downward pressure to different areas of the car while you are underneath to help pin point the problem. White lithium grease would last much longer then WD-40, and is readily available through most auto part stores.
794. I have a 2002 BE PT. I recently purchased a powered sub and plan on installing it in the hatch area. What is the best location for a ground wire back there?
Second, When I purchased my PT in 2001 I installed an after market Pioneer CD player. At the time, I was unable to locate a Chrysler antenna adapter so I simply snipped the end off the OEM antenna cable and replaced it with a normal end. This worked fine for a while, but the connection has loosened and the signal is degrading. I want to repair this properly. What do you suggest? Can I purchase a new lead to connect to the antenna and run it back to the unit? Thank you. - Chuck, from Pennsylvania.
You don't mention a specific mounting spot for the subwoofer; therefore it's difficult to provide you with information for an accessible grounding point. If applicable, you can try to ground it directly to the chassis of the vehicle. If that's not an option you will find one grounding point behind the rear left and or right lower quarter trim panels in the cargo area, which are currently being utilized for grounding the rear left and right door ajar switches. Remove each panel to access the ground.
During an antenna swap, one of our regular site visitors (Thanks Bill) discovered that there is an intermediate connector between the OEM antenna and the OEM radio. It's located behind the panel that is just to the right of the glove box. It only takes 2 screws to remove the cover, and the connector is right there. On one side of the connector the wire leads to the OEM antenna with the universal antenna connector. The wire on the other side of the connection leads to the OEM radio. The latter wire sounds like the wire you cut to mate up with your radio. You may be able to remove your cut wire and replace it with a new one, then find the correct adapter to mate it with your radio. If this approach were not feasible we would suggest that you check with a pro auto stereo shop for a solution.
795. I have a 2003 GT PT and have been experiencing a stumble when shifting in 2nd gear between 5000 and 6000 RPM at wide-open throttle. The dealer said the rev limiter was intervening to take care of the engine. Is the rev limiter a physical component or software? Since then, I have driven another Turbo and experienced the same stumbling. I have surveyed some of the chat rooms and forums and discovered that other GT owners are experiencing this problem. When attempting to pass another car on a two-lane road it is a little disturbing to have the engine cut in and out. Some online chatter has suggested re-gapping the plugs to 40 thousandths to solve the problem. What do you think? Thanks. - Chuck, from Oklahoma.
We have followed some of the forum talk about this. Re-gapping the plugs to the lower limit of .040-.042. may help, and it won't cost you more than some free time to test the theory.
The rev limiter is software. If you see the engine dyno graphs, you'll notice that the 2.4L motor quits making power below the rev limiter. There is absolutely no benefit from revving any higher. It's dyno proven.
#1 Follow up from owner - During my last visit to the dealer they flashed my PCM with TSB 181803. Now the car has more pep, transmission acts better, and the stumbling occurs much less often when the motor is cold. They also drove the car with a recorder and nothing was found. No codes have been set either. I will complain again, and try the plug re-gapping.
#2 Follow up from owner - Spent 5 hours with the dealer in Tulsa on 7-17- 2003, drove another Turbo and it has the same surging problems as mine (5000 to 6000 rpm in second gear and some in third). My car was placed on a recorder, since it is worse than the new model, then the info was sent to DC. All TSB's were checked again on my car and TSB 11-002-02 was performed again, with no change in performance. DC has the data on my car and will "get back to the dealer", no time frame. The dealer's mechanic did not think a change in spark plug gap would do anything since the car revs to redline in first with no surging (WOT).
#3 Follow up from owner - DC contacted the dealer and said that there were "no problems with the sensors based upon the data recording the dealer sent to them. The dealer is stumped because the service manager and mechanic both agree there is a problem. I've decided to call DC customer service for help in resolving this issue. In the interim I decided to re-gap the plugs to .040 and 98% of the surging and stumbling has disappeared. Two of the plugs were gapped at .054. The plugs were black around the thread end - too rich? I have noticed that the car idles about 40rpms faster since the re-gap and the engine seems smoother through the gears.
#4 Follow up from owner -The SM at the dealership called this morning and indicated that a DC engineer has responded to my problem and determined that it was the PCM. The new PCM was installed yesterday and it has resolved the stumbling, and surging issue, it's just smooth consistent power to redline in all gears. The engineer stayed on the phone during the test drive, and indicated that the PCM was from current production runs. The SM told me that DC would mail a copy of the TSB to me. The dealer said that all owners who are experiencing the surging problem should contact their dealer, as soon as possible. On a side note - the plugs were re-gaped back to .050 before installing the new PCM.
#5 Follow up from owner -
Date: August 8, 2003
Subject: Slight Engine Miss-Fire Above 5200 rpm
Overview: This bulletin involves replacing the Power train Control Module (PCM).
Model: 2003 (GT) Chrysler PT Cruiser
Note: This bulletin applies to vehicles built prior to January 22, 2003 (MDH0122xx) equipped with a 2.4L Turbo engine and manual transmission or prior to March 18, 2003 (MDH 0318xx) for vehicles equipped with a 2.4L Turbo engine and automatic transmission.
Symptom/Condition: Vehicle operator may describe a random or slight engine miss-fire when operating vehicle above 5200 rpm.
796. We have a 2001 LE PT w/automatic transmission. Lately, the shifter occasionally freezes in the "park" position. For instance, we'll go someplace and park the car; come back, start the car and try to shift into reverse, but the shifter won't move. Sometimes straightening the front wheels helps it pop out of park (reluctantly), but sometimes we really have to struggle to move it. The mechanic at the dealership could offer no help. Have you ever heard of this problem? Thank you for any help you can provide. - Jennifer, from Pennsylvania.
Does this Q&A apply to your problem? If not, another component to check would be the park-release relay. It's the mechanical lock that prevents shifting out of park without the brake pedal depressed. (Unable to respond via email - bounced back as undeliverable, user unknown.)
797. We have a 2002 TE Woody PT and would like to know what we can use on the wood panels and trim to clean it? Thank you. - Julie Brown, from Maryland.
I'm afraid that the after purchase care for the woodgrain decals is not discussed in the service manual. You may want to check with DC or your local dealer.
Follow up from owner - I called DC and they said it's treated; they recommend that you do not use anything (no wax) on it other than normal soap and water.
798. I have a 2001 BE PT with 71120 miles and automatic transmission. During my last oil and filter change I noticed that the coolant bottle was somewhat low. The system required about 2 cups of 50/50 Havoline to bring it up to the correct level. Today, 3000 miles later, while changing the oil, I noticed that the level once again has gone down somewhat. Cumulatively, I have added a total of 5 cups of fluid, and do not see any evidence of coolant and oil mixing, nor anything dropping on the white concrete. I was curious to know if now would be a good time to completely drain, flush and change the coolant? Then should I continue to monitor the level, but for how long? Coincidentally, I noticed this drop in level just after having the vehicle tuned and the throttle body serviced. Could there be any connection? - Peter, from Michigan.
The coolant system is a closed system; you shouldn't be loosing coolant under normal operating conditions. I would suggest a pressure test of the system to look for leaks. This should include testing for internal leaks, i.e. head gasket failure. You are certainly due for a coolant flush, but there's no reason to pay for a flush if the system will be drained to repair a leak. Test it first.
799. I have a 2001 LE PT with 137,544 miles. I've been noticing some squeaking coming from the front end. I applied some white lithium grease to the front suspension bushings, which eliminated the squeaking, but it returned within a few days. In addition, the car seems to shake more now running over bumps and there's unevenness in some roads. The front wheels seem to bounce more than once. Thus far, I've only had to replace one ball joint. The suspension and alignment is perfect, says the dealer. Should I start worrying about the fuel pump and filter at this many miles? - James, from Connecticut.
I would get a second opinion. You're way overdue for struts. Since struts wear slowly, most owners don't realize how bad they are until new ones are installed. I would look closely at the tie rod ends, stabilizer bushings, and lower control arm bushings. They should all be worn by now. It's mileage; not time that kills these. The service manual does not provide a service or replacement interval for the fuel pump and filter. They are replaced when they are symptomatic or fail. Click here for additional information.
800. I have a 2003 BE PT. I am handicapped and looking for handholds, like the OEM door handles, as I walk around the PT. The main problem is the rear lift hatch. I was thinking of mounting one or two handles on the outside of the lift hatch that I could grab onto as I walked around. Where would be the best place on the hatch to mount such handle(s)? I was thinking about mounting them vertically along the edge of the door below the window. This seemed to be the thickest area of metal or am I wrong? Your help would be much appreciated. - Gordon, from Georgia.
Were not qualified to give an answer. My thoughts are that no part of the rear hatch metal would have enough strength to stop an adult from falling. The metal isn't much thicker than soda pop cans. A body shop will have the experience and body diagrams to make an educated guess, or as we discussed previously, check with a shop that specifically handles conversions like this.
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