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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 Thirty Five Q&A 851 - 875

851. I have a 2002 DE PT. Not being too mechanically inclined, I understand that the temperature gauges are not accurate/sensitive. Can a better sensor be installed for the OEM gauge to make it more sensitive, or would I need to add another temperature gauge, and how would it be installed. Thanks much. - Lou, from the USA.

There really isn't any need for a temperature gauge on a non-modified engine. The thermostat will open at 195F and the cooling fans will follow the PCM programmed cooling strategy. The drivetrain will monitor all parameters and warn you or shut down during a catastrophic failure.

You can watch the engine coolant temperature swing from 195F to 215F with a $100 consumer scan tool much easier than plumbing a sending unit into an engine not designed for one. There will be much less chance of damage during installation. A stripped thread on the aluminum cylinder head will be hard to repair in the cramped engine bay.


852. My 2002 LE PT has heated seats. The switch has a high and low settings, is there an off position? Thanks. - Bill, from Pennsylvania.

The heated seat switches are located on the out-board cushion side shield of the driver and passenger seats. The two, momentary rocker type switches provide a resistor multiplexed signal to the appropriate Heated Seat Module (HSM) through separate hard wired circuits. Each switch contains two light emitting diodes (LED), one for each High and Low setting to let the occupant know that the seat heater system is on. The heated seat switches and their LED's cannot be repaired. If either switch is faulty or damaged the entire switch must be replaced.

There are three modes that can be selected with each of the heated seat switches: Off, Low, and High. When the front of the switch rocker is depressed, the High mode is selected and the high mode LED indicator illuminates. Depressing the front of the switch rocker a second time will return the heated seat to Off. When the rear of the switch rocker is depressed, the Low mode is selected and the low mode LED indicator illuminates. Depressing the rear of the switch rocker a second time will return the heated seat to Off. In addition, the heated seats will automatically return to the Off mode anytime the vehicle ignition switch is turned Off.


853. I have a 2003 BE PT. I plugged a defective air compressor into my front power outlet and now it does not work. I have tested all fuses in the internal fuse box, but none are blown. Is there another fuse that provides power to the outlet, and if so where? Thank you. - Sean, from Canada.

Check fuse #20 (20amp fuse) in the underhood Power Distribution Center. It's also described in the owners' manual in the maintenance chapter.


854. I have a 2001 LE PT and recently repacked the rear wheel bearings. What is the recommended torque for these bearing nuts? I was surprised to see that there were no cotter pins. The braking torque was slightly over 100 ft/lbs., so I replaced the bolts at 100ft/lbs. I'm not comfortable with that guess-estimate. Thanks. - Jack, from New York.

The rear wheel bearing and wheel mounting hub used on this vehicle are a one-piece sealed unit or hub and bearing assembly. It is permanently lubricated when assembled and is sealed for life. There is no periodic lubrication or maintenance recommended for these units. The hub and bearing is mounted on the spindle, which is bolted to the axle. The hub and bearing is secured to the spindle using a special nut. Vehicles equipped with antilock brakes have rear hub and bearings with the tone wheel for the rear wheel speed sensors pressed onto the hub. The only serviceable components of the hub and bearing are the wheel mounting studs pressed into the hub. The OEM replacement instructions call for installing a new hub and bearing retaining nut, and tightening the retaining nuts to a torque of 217 N-m or 160 ft/lbs.


855. I have a 2001 LE PT. The rear wiper arm stops at varying places. It wipes OK, but it forgets to go home. My dealer said they have to replace the motor for $120. Could I buy the motor and replace it myself? - Robert, from Pennsylvania.

Your description of the problem suggests that there is an open park circuit. The circuit is within the motor, and is not serviceable. Assuming that your dealer diagnosed it correctly, you will need a new motor. You can replace it yourself or have the dealer handle it, dependent upon your abilities.


856. I have a 2003 LE PT. Would you happen to know the part number of the HIGH NOTE horn, which was omitted from the 2003 PT? Thanks very much. - Joseph, from New York.

The P/N for the High Note Horn is 4671747AA .


857. I have a 2002 BE PT. I tried to install a rear cigarette lighter socket and accidentally swapped the red and black wires. I plugged a device in rear cigarette lighter, and now both the rear and front cigarette lighters are dead. I checked the fuses on the console, and they are ok. Are there any additional fuses I should know about? Thank you - Gari, from Canada.

Check fuse #20 (20 amp) in the underhood Power Distribution Center (PDC) box.


858. I have a used 2001 LE PT with an automatic transmission, which I purchased last May from a friend. I haven't had any problems with it, nor did the previous owner, other than normal wear and tear. While driving around the city today (it rained most of the day) I drove through a few puddles, but avoided as many of them as I could. After driving for about 20 minutes I came to a stoplight. After it turned green, I started driving and the car suddenly jolted almost as if the transmission was slipping. Then I noticed that it sounded and felt like the car was not shifting out of first gear. I looked at my instrument console and noticed that the mph readout was on zero, although I must have been doing at least 20mph. Then the gas fill light came on and the audio reminder prompt proceeded to beep, although it had about a 1/4 tank of fuel. When I previously stopped at a stoplight the gas gauge was reading correctly at 1/4 tank, but now it indicated that it was almost empty. I managed to drive the car about 10 blocks to the dealership. It was the weekend, and the repair shop was closed, however I asked the dealer if they knew what the problem was and they said a few other people had come in with odd car problems during the day. They thought the rain and humid weather might be affecting the computer system. Thank you. - Louise, from Minnesota.

The shifting strategy is called 'limp-mode'. It's a failsafe in the event of a catastrophic computer failure. It could be the PCM, TCM, or BCM causing the fault. Water intrusion is unlikely, due to the connector seals. The circuit boards are coated in waterproof conformal coating. Once the fault caused the limp-mode, you will have diagnostic codes to read with a scanner. They should indicate a general location of the fault.

Follow up from owner - The dealer indicated that the fuse for the Transmission Control Module had worn out. Some PT's have blown the TCM fuse due to chaffed wires under the battery support bracket. They wiggle tested the fused positive battery wire from the PDC to TCM with an ohmmeter connected to the circuit and no shorts were discovered, however they noticed (questionable) wires that appeared to be chaffed. The wires did not look like they were worn through the insulation, however they repaired them anyway. They reinstalled battery support and battery, replaced the old fuse with a new one and test drove the vehicle which operated normally. They could not find any " real " reason as to why this happened, so it could happen again. The total cost for repairs was about $160.


859. I have a 2001 LE PT. The horn is starting to sound funny; it has a high pitareainfo.htmlch now off and on. I just replaced it last winter. - James, from Connecticut.

There are 2 horns on the 2001 and 2002 PT's. Only one is used on later model year PT's. I would start by unplugging one and see if the sound changes. They may have an adjusting screw on them. If so, only a tiny turn may be needed to bring it back to life. If there's no adjustment screw identify the faulty horn, then take the wire lead from the working horn and connect it to the suspect bad horn. If the suspect horn still fails to work you can rule out the electrical connection as a possible problem and replace the suspect horn.


860. I have a 2002 BE PT. Can the underhood heat blanket be replaced? Does it need to be used? Can it be painted to match the car? Thank you. - Chris, from Tennessee.

If you are referring to the silencer pad under the hood, it's there for reason - it absorbs some of the engine noise. Paint may reduce the effectiveness of the pad to absorb sound. I can recall reading a forum post or two several months ago about an owner painting it, but we don't have any details on the process. It gets pretty hot in the engine bay; you may want to think about using some high temperature paint.


861. I have a 2003 LE PT with 4,700 miles and OEM wheels and tires. I experience a vibration after the car warms up between 47 and 50 mph. I have returned to the dealer seven times, to no avail. The dealer currently says car performs as others. Tires have been balanced and aligned. Is this common to PT's? Thanks. - George, from Florida.

There have been a number of Goodyear tire concerns since the PT came to market in 2000. If it is a tire issue it will be covered under the manufacturers warranty, not DC's warranty. I would also look at the brake rotors for any signs of warping. The fact that it doesn't vibrate when it's cold warrants inspecting the brakes. You might also request a comparison test-drive in a similar vehicle off their lot to point out the differences. If your regular dealer hasn't been able to resolve the problem after multiple visits you may want to consider a second opinion with another dealer or a shop that specializes in tire, brake and suspension work.


862. I have a 2001 LE PT. A few weeks ago I noticed that the fog lamp indicator in the instrument cluster would illuminate whenever I turned the right turn signal indicator on. When I complete the right turn, the multifunction switch returns to the normal position and the fog lamp indicator stops illuminating. During this process, although the fog lamp indicator lamp is on, the fog lamps are not on. The fog lamp control on the multifunction switch is completely functional with regard to the fog lamps, and the multifunction switch works correctly with all other actions. - Ed, from Florida.

I took it to the dealer (2 months left on warranty) and their diagnostic tests indicated that the multifunction switch was shorted internally, which they replaced (P/N 05073049AA) under the warranty.


863. I have a 2001 Classic PT with 1.6 /115 HP engine (manual). While driving on the freeway at approximately 75mph, in 5th gear, without passengers, and ascending (terrain?) about 3%, the car loses speed progressively (2mph every 0.5 miles) until I must shift into 4th gear just to maintain the speed (to increase the speed is impossible). When I accelerate between 50-60mph, acceleration is very slow, taking as much as 20 seconds to reach 60mph. In the shop Chrysler can not find anything abnormal in the motor. Is this normal? Thank you. - Francesca, from Spain.

Although no one in the USA has seen the 1.6L PT motor, I understand that it has very low horsepower. A 3200lb car with such a tiny motor may be so slow that it becomes dangerous. If you can't get out of the path of an oncoming truck, that's dangerous. I can only suggest that you test drive another 1.6L PT and see if it has the same concerns. If it has more power than yours, then there is a problem. Ask the service manager to make them the same.


864. I have a 2002 BE PT. I am going to have an aftermarket stereo installed. It is 3000 watts, with a one-farad capacitor. I know the current alternator is 120amps. Could you help me find an aftermarket alternator to put in, or would you suggest a rebuild? Also, if available what is the OEM P/N for the mounting bracket and alternator? - Thomas, from Utah.

We do not have information on any aftermarket alternators, nor do we normally make product recommendations. The PT generator can supply over 1700 watts continuously. You may want to look closely at your stereo power amps current draw rating. You may not exceed 120 amps, if your power is rated at peak-to-peak output. Work with your stereo supplier/installer to determine the best design approach for your system.

[EDZ]=2.4L 4 Cylinder

P/N 5033177AA (1) - Alternator
P/N 6101512 (3) - Screw & Washer, Hex Head, M10x1.5x45
P/N 4668445AA (1) - Bracket, Alternator
P/N 6101623 (1) - Screw & Washer, Hex Head, M10x1.5x45
P/N 6503705 (1) - Screw & Washer, Hex Head, M8x1.25x95


865. I have a 2003 BE PT. I was wondering about my new PT the doors, they still have the plastic drain plugs in the bottom. Should I remove them, especially since I live in the NW, where it rains a lot? - Thierry, from Washington.

The plastic plugs that you're describing are not drain holes, they are too high up for water drainage. The drain holes are located at the lowest outside corners of the doors.


866. I have a 2002 BE PT. I replaced the front rooters and pads at 21k miles. After driving a week I am now hearing an intermittent squealing noise coming from the passenger side when I apply the brakes as I come to a stop. There is no vibration in the pedal when I apply pressure to it. What would cause this squeaking? I installed new rooters and Mopar pads, and I bled the brakes after finishing. Thanks. - Staci, from California.

There are a few possibilities. The "value line" brake pads from Chrysler are a low-grade replacement ($30) pad. They're a grade below the OEM Chrysler brake pad in quality. The OEM $80 pads are top-shelf material. The lower the grade, the more likely to squeal. You may not have used the anti-squeak sealant, commonly called 'goo', on the backing plates of the pads. This gooey stuff creates a dampening seal between the caliper piston and the pad. The Wagner MX-841 pads that we recommend using are a top rated pad, which do not require the goo. They should be installed dry.


867. I have a 2002 TE PT with 40k miles. It appears to me that the rack and pinion is failing. At slow speeds the steering wheel has a faint wiggle motion back and forth. The fluid is not low and the tires are in good shape. The wiggle is more pronounced when the temperature is colder. The dealer wants around $1,100 plus alignment, to replace the rack and pinion with no guarantee that the problem will go away. I have heard that the steering system in PT's is a weak link, is it? I have searched the web sites and have not found anything on the subject. The part is not under warranty because there is more than 36,000 miles, but I feel Chrysler should bear some cost for what I feel is a very early failure for a major part. What do think I should do? Thanks. - Ed, from USA.

We have received and or read about only one other (unconfirmed) report of rack failure during the last three years. The dealers' diagnosis sounds very wishy-washy if he's not willing to stand behind it. That would be an indication to me that it might be prudent to obtain a second or third opinion. I would investigate several other garages to determine if the rack is failing, without initially mentioning what the dealer told you. There may be many other causes, including the tires. Another known good set could be installed, to rule out that issue. Another place to inspect is the brake rotors for warpage.

If it does turn out to be premature failure of the rack, ask your dealer for assistance. Dealers and DC occasionally make free "out of warranty" repairs or will pay for a portion of the repair cost under a goodwill policy. They are usually more receptive to helping out if the damage occurs just outside the warranty period and if you can demonstrate that it occurred prematurely. Of course, if you can show that it a documented widespread problem, that would be a tremendous help, however we are unaware of any TSB's or reported concerns that support that contention. If the dealer isn't open to helping you, try contacting DC customer assistance and explaining the situation to them. If you're a repeat DC car buyer it wouldn't hurt to mention that either.

Follow up from owner - A friend, who is a mechanic, has experienced this same problem in other cars. His research has indicated that the geometry of the front suspension and the nature of modern radial tires create this problem. He stated that it is particularly noticeable on Ford Taurus. Nothing to worry about. Better tires may help, however were going to experiment with different alignment settings, i.e. caster and camber, etc. to see if we can eliminate the problem.

Follow up from owner - I increased the air pressure by 2psi all around and the problem disappeared. I normally run with 38psi in the front and 36psi in the rears, and now run at 40 and 38 and there is no indication of any wheel shake or wiggle. DIY Note - The normal and recommended tire pressure for the OEM tires is 35psi. Over inflation can be dangerous and cause uneven tire wear.


868. I have a 2001 LE PT. What's the difference between a touring suspension Vs the regular suspension on the PT's? I was told that my cruiser has 'SPORT' suspension as an option. It rides firm, do all the other cruisers ride firm or softer due to the different suspensions? - James, from Connecticut.

If you review your PT purchase paperwork you'll notice that the LE version comes with the touring suspension. DC does not offer a "sports' suspension option. The only difference between the touring and normal (MacPherson Strut Independent Front Suspension and Twist Beam Rear Suspension with Coil Springs and Watt's Linkage) suspension is that it uses different spring part numbers. The rest of the parts are the same. The touring suspension is supposed to offer an improved ride, however were told that the differences are minimal.


869. I have a 2001 LE PT. At around 70k miles my PCM had problems, so I had that fixed. At the same time they replaced my spark plugs. Everything appeared to be fine, then about 1k miles after that, the engine started missing. I took it back to the dealer; they hooked it up to the scanner, and verified that it was missing on cylinder #1. The technician pulled the plug and replaced it, and it ran fine. About 1k miles later it starts doing the same thing. This time they replaced the wires, which resolved the problem. This worked fine for awhile, then the problem returned and they replaced the coil pack. This worked fine, but about 5k miles later it's doing it again. What do you think? - Mark, from Missouri.

I think they are guessing. If they replaced a spark plug and that cured the misfire, why would they replace the wires the next time? Why replace a coil the following visit? Chrysler coils never fail. That's the first clue that they are just throwing parts at it in hopes of a repair.

Try swapping the plug wire from cylinder #1 to #4. See if the misfire moves. If it does not, swap spark plugs #1 to #4. See if the misfire moves. You can swap both of them without lifting the intake. That will save a lot of time.

At 75K miles, have you cleaned the injectors? Have you cleaned the upper intake and throttle plate? Try one thing at a time to verify the repair. Never do two things at once. You won't know what the fix was.


870. I have a 2003 BE PT. I read that DC is offering a new 180hp turbo, plus the current 220hp turbo. Are these new engine choices and if you know, how do they pull an extra 40 horses out of the same engine, I assume that this is a 04 model? Thanks. - Bob, from Florida.

We have not had the opportunity to inspect the new the 180hp turbo. However, were told that the 180hp turbo, is the same (220hp) motor. A site visitor, Joe Burnett, reports that both engines have intercoolers.

DC Overview

A new 180-horsepower (134 kW) turbocharged engine option lets the Chrysler PT Cruiser deliver yet another power punch. This latest engine option joins the 150-horsepower (112 kW) 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine and the 220-horsepower (164 kW) High Output turbocharged engine to round out the 2004 PT Cruiser engine family.

As a stand-alone option, the new 180-horsepower engine adds a mid-level choice that's perfect for customers wanting something in between the naturally aspirated engine and the full PT Turbo performance package. This new turbocharged 2.4-liter engine also delivers 210 lb.-ft. (285 N-m) of torque. Available as an option on the Touring Edition and Limited Edition PT Cruiser models, the engine package includes a four-speed automatic transaxle. A body-color front fascia with larger lower opening, a unique "2.4L Turbo" liftgate badge, large diameter chrome exhaust tip and new 16-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels distinguish 180-horsepower-equipped models from the others in the 2004 PT Cruiser lineup.


871. I have a 2001 LE PT and been having problems with the keyless fobs that came with my PT for some time. Little by little, they no longer opened/locked the doors from a range, till it got to the point of me having to stand by the driver door and putting the remote under my chin in order for it to work. I went ahead and replaced the fobs, but I still have the same problem. They work excellent when I'm inside the car, but once outside I have to literally stand next to the car in order for them to work. Any clues of what might be the problem? Thanks for your help. - Rick, from New Jersey.

The service manual indicates that the transmitters normal operating range is within 7 meters (23 ft.) of the vehicle. Range may be better or worse depending on the environment around the vehicle. There is no mention of a test for transmitter distance, or of an external receiving antenna, it's built into the RKEM. Only the Japanese PT's have an external antenna. Further diagnosis is needed, but it may very well be the RKE module, that needs to be replaced. The behavior that you describe has not been reported before, but we have received several complaints from owners who have had problems with this module.


872. I have a 2002 LE PT Woodie, which is configured with front disc, rear drum brakes and no ABS. I had to sacrifice it to get the woody but miss them. What is involved with adding ABS to my PT? - Dan, from California.

We don't have much info on the process, however it has been discussed in the PT forums. The forum post explains that the kit to swap the rear hardware will not function properly with the standard hydraulic brakes. It's an expensive modification and a good deal of work, for something that doesn't function correctly.


873. I have a 2001 BE PT and have been experiencing a problem with my OEM AM/FM Cassette radio. A few weeks ago the radio quit working. At the time, I noticed that the clock flashed on and off a few times until it completely shut down. I checked the fuses and they appear to be fine. I removed the radio from the dash to check for loose wires or a possible rub through and found nothing. Ironically I reinstalled the radio and it worked fine for a few days. The same thing occurred again. When I remove the radio and disconnect the wires, than reconnect it, it works fine again for a while. I think the problem is with the radio itself, not a wiring or connection issue. I would appreciate any thoughts or advice you can provide. Thanks. - Rick, from Pennsylvania.

The only way to diagnose the problem is to install voltmeters on the power leads. Then you will know if it's losing power externally. The time to perform that test would cost more in labor than the replacement cost for the radio. The radio is not serviceable by the dealer; they will only replace it. If you are out of warranty and decide to order one, you may want to check ebay before ordering from the dealer. Owners often sell their OEM PT radios on ebay when they upgrade/replace the OEM headunit, usually at good prices. Make sure you purchase a 2001 model radio for your car. The OEM 2001 radios have two 7-pin (gray & black) connectors. The OEM 2002-2004 radios have one 22-pin connector. They are not compatible.


874. I have a 2003 LE PT. If I install a ceramic-coated header to my car, will I still need to use the heat shields, or will the header be cool enough to leave the shields off. I've heard that because it is a ceramic header, it will be cooler and therefore the heat shields are not needed. Thanks. - Joe, from New Jersey.

The heat shields are always needed. Too many owners have destroyed underhood components from heat damage from headers without heat shields. The ceramic coating is an advertising ploy. Check with the manufacturer and you will find that they do not warranty and will not pay for any damages from installation of their product.


875. I have a 2002 BE PT and have been using a Bug Bra from Chrysler due to the large number of bugs in my area. How do I replace the rubber gaskets around the headlights, which were damaged by the bug bra? I have purchased the replacement gaskets, but have yet to figure out how they come out. Thanks. - Bruce, from Illinois.

In order to access the area and replace the gaskets, the headlamp units will have to be removed.


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