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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 Eight Q&A 926 - 950

926. I have a 2003 Turbo PT. I'm experiencing problems with the cruise control. When engaged, it will drop 3-5 mph on the slightest hill or incline. The resume is very slow to come back up to the set speed. All of this started to act up at approximately 4000 miles. The dealer states that all of the above items fall well within the factory specs and there is nothing they can do about it. They did not have another GT with a manual transmission on the lot to compare it with. As it stands now the cruise control is only good for a flat road. Is this normal? - Jerry, from Illinois.

Follow up from owner - Thanks for the response. I took it back to the dealer and insisted that the service manager go for a ride. That did it. They discovered that the vacuum reservoir was cracked. Problem solved and fixed.


927. I have a 2001 LE PT with automatic transmission and 138k miles. Two weeks ago the automatic tensioner on the timing belt failed and the belt shredded on my PT. I had the car towed to the local dealer. After an incorrect diagnosis and part change I decided to take it to another service center. They replaced the belt tensioner. There was no damage to the valves or pistons, however, now the engine runs rough at idle. There were no fault codes, nor could the technician find a vacuum leak. He said that he could not fix it. I took it to our local PEP Boys for a diagnostic check, and had the same results. I replaced the plugs and cleaned the throttle body input, without success. Can you help out with this problem? Thank you. - Fred, from California.

When the timing belt goes bad, the valves can hit each other if the cams are turned out of sync. The two most likely faults are; bent valves, or incorrect cam timing. The valves can be checked with a leakdown test or (less accurate) compression test. The cam timing will require inspection of the cam gears. This is the most likely problem. The belt and tensioner should be replaced at 90K miles, per the maintenance schedule.

Follow up from owner - You were right on. The technician that replaced the timing belt did not align the timing correctly. It was about 2 teeth off. I spoke with the owner of the shop that did the work and explained when I explained what had happened, he reimbursed $524.00 back to me. Thanks again for the help.


928. I have a 2003 LE 1.6L Diesel PT. My partner has a 2002 PT, which she purchased new. Some months ago it stopped and died on her. The DC dealer checked it out and replaced the crankshaft sensor. It was then ok for some months, then at around 32k miles it developed the same fault and was recovered to another DC dealer. This time they changed both sensors. Today, three days later, it's doing the same thing. I conducted a self-test and came up with DTC P0340. Have you any thoughts? - Chris, from the UK.

The P0340 fault code is a loss of camshaft position sensor signal, while still reading the crankshaft sensor. There are many possible causes. Swapping out sensors isn't good enough. They need to diagnose the wiring, PCM, power and ground circuits, as well as the sensor signal waveform on a scope. They may need to inspect the camshaft sprocket for damage. They've been replacing the symptom, not the cause.


929. I have a 2001 LE PT with manual transmission and 50k miles. The airbag warning light lit up, at first it was intermittent, now it is always on. Are there any likely suspects? Is there any way to read the codes from the airbag controller with something other than the "factory" scan tool? I'd at least like to have a clue before I put myself at the mercy of the dealer? - Steve, from Maine.

Any professional up to date scan tool can read airbag codes and point you in the direction of the faulty circuit. A professional body shop can read them for you as well.

Remember, the code only tells you what tripped the light. The fault will require diagnosis and testing. I suggest that qualified technicians with training handle the airbag repairs and have the education diploma's to verify their credentials. Don't delay having this repaired, your restraint system in now inoperative.


930. I have a 2001 LE PT with manual transmission and 48k miles. The rear center high mounted brake light is not working. I think the bulb is out, but I'm not sure how to remove the plastic cover, can you help? - Gary, from Texas.

The instructions for replacing the center high brake light can be found in the maintenance section of your owners' manual.

1. Open the liftgate and remove the liftgate CHMSL cover.The cover is held in place by 5 metal retaining clips. To remove the cover, start at one end and gently pull the cover up until the clips begin to give way and the cover breaks free.

2. Remove CHMSL lens from the housing by unlatching the two side latches.

3. Pull the bulb out of the socket and replace.


931. I have a 2001 BE PT with automatic transmission and 40k miles, and the car will not crank over. I can start it by jumping the starter solenoid, but get nothing when turning the key. I have checked all the fuses and swapped out the starter relay and nothing. Please help. Thanks. - Greg, from Illinois.

The ignition switch is a place to start the electrical diagnosis. Verify that the switch is working and the relay is getting a signal to energize the starter. That's a place to begin. The relay terminals must be checked for correct signals, and then the wiring to the starter much be verified. All this can be done with a simple voltmeter.


932. I have a 2001 LE with 115k miles. The electric fan does not come on anymore. Fuses under dash appear to be good. Can't find a shop manual. Where is the fuse/relay? Is this a common problem? If so, where is the failure? In the fan motor or a relay or electrical connection? I drive this car like I stole it and believe everyone should enjoy their car as much as I have enjoyed this one; and yes I understand that probably contributes to some of the mechanical failures I'm sure to encounter. - Travis, from Texas.

The low speed and high-speed fan relays are located under the hood, along with a fuse (#5), in the PDC. Look at the underside of the PDC lid for relay/fuse locations. Preliminary diagnostics suggest:

1. Fan motor defective.

2. Fan relay, Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or engine coolant temperature sensor defective.

3. Blown fuse in Power Distribution Center (PDC).
The fans will not come on until the coolant reaches over 210F. The fans will activate if the AC is cycled.

After verifying power, simply jumper the relay contacts, and see if the fan runs. If it does, it's the control circuit including the relay, PCM, and wiring. If not, the fan is either faulty or the wiring to the fan is open.

If the fan motor is shot the entire assembly must be replaced, however a few owners have reported pulling the fan and replacing the motor brushes, which resolved the problem. The replacement motor brushes weren't OE. No further info available on that repair.

Follow up from owner - Thanks for the help on the electric fan issue. I replaced the OE fan, which was about $260 according to autozone who had the part listed, but couldn't order it. I decided to replace it with a generic aftermarket fan, which works like a charm. Total cost $75.

PTDIY Note - Glad to hear that you found a work around for the fan issue, but I hope you're aware that the OEM fan is a 2-speed fan. In Texas, during the summer months, it may not be able to keep the engine cool.


933. I have a 2004 BE PT and have read about removing the 2" white silencer tube from the OEM airbox. Today I opened up the airbox and removed the tube. However this tube is only 1/4" smaller at the opening than at the end that matches up with the air hose to the intake. How can such a small difference cause a 33% air restriction as discussed in previous posts? It does sound louder and seems to run smoother, but will removing this cause any harm to the engine or is it just for silencing purposes? It appears to me that it's only purpose is to draw air from the middle of the airbox. Would it be wise to put it back in for servicing or not? Thanks. - Ed, from California.

I think the 33% was based upon the throttle plate to silencer insert volume. The silencer is just that, a silencer. There's no harm in removing it. It acts as a venturi, along with the Helmholtz resonator built into the OEM airbox. Some folks believe, removing it, adds some extra zip, but it mostly makes the PT sound more robust.


934. I've had my 2003 TE PT for about a year now and love it. I have very little mileage on my car. Two days ago it started bucking slightly when I slowed to a stop. It only did it about 1/3 of the time and it didn't seem like the brakes. I brought it in to the dealer and they said it is the transmission pump. That indicated that is was basically a bad design and they have to replace it. I did notice prior to this occurrence that when I put it in reverse gear one time it didn't do anything. Since it only occurred once I didn't worry too much about it, but the bucking started shortly after that. I'll pick my car up in a few days when they are done, but am curious if this is the correct diagnosis? Is this a known problem? Thanks. - Elizabeth, from Texas.

If you review the information in the Tech Library you'll note that the Chrysler has had problems with this automatic transmission, which is used in several of their vehicles. It is occasionally referred to as their weak link in the product line. Some suggest that it's the best reason for an extended warranty. Having said that, although we have received reports of problems from PT owners, they have not been in great numbers. We suspect that the issue is more prevalent in Chrysler vehicles that are heavier than the PT. This is not common, but not surprising.

Follow up from owner - The dealer diagnosed the problem as the transmission pump and replaced it under warranty.


935. I have a 2004 GT PT. I went to the PT Block Party in Pomona last November and talked with the Mopar Speedshop boys about the Stage 1 upgrade. They said, since I had a 2004 GT all I needed was the PCM, as my engine already had the 577cc injectors in it. I went to order the PCM from my dealer and they said it only comes in a kit, PCM & Injectors. I called the performance line and they said it comes only in a kit. Does my 04 GT have 577cc injectors? My dealer could not tell me. Thank you.

I'm sorry, I don't have that answer. The injector size is not specified in the service manuals. If they are a custom size, the dealer's parts department might have a part number that suggests the rating.


936. I have a 2001 LE PT. The dealer installed a new power steering pump in my PT due to a moaning noise and hard steering. When the car came out of the shop, the steering was fine, but the moaning was still there. We were advised that this condition would take 2-3 weeks to clear up. Four weeks later its back to the dealer, the noise is to embarrassing to all. The dealer claims they just received a bulletin on a fluid change, which should clear the problem, and for an additional charge of $84 they will take care of it. Shouldn't this fall under some type of warranty? What type of power steering fluid are they using? Thank you. - Bill, from New Hampshire.

AFAIK, the only fluid used in the power steering is ATF+4. This TSB is posted in the Pit area: Bulletin Number: 1900701 Component: Steering: Power Assist: Power Steering Fluid - Information on new power steering fluid. If the TSB was in place when the pump was replaced, they should cover the job that should have been done the first time. (See the Top 10 List in the Pit area for additional information.


937. I have a 2004 GT TE with automatic transmission and 3k miles. There is a bad lifter type noise coming from the valve train area. It occurs when starting cold or if you drive the car for a while then park it and restart an hour or so later. I was told that a brand new TSB dated March has been released about this problem for the 2.4 engine and covers the 2001-2004 model years. Thanks. - Bob, from Kentucky.

TSB 09-007-04 is dated march 2, 2004 and applies to some domestic 2001-2004 PT and GT Cruisers, and other vehicles equipped with the 2.0L and 2.4L engine.

Symptoms - Irregular Engine Snapping Sound

The sound may be noticed when the engine is idling in park between idle rpm and 1400 rpm at normal operating temperature. The sound is on the upper end of the engine (cylinder head) towards the front of the engine or passenger side (right side). The sound is irregular, not periodic or harmonious. The frequency of the sound will increase with RPM. The sound is more of a higher pitch snapping noise not a low metallic knock.

The repair involves chamfering the bore radius on cam bearing caps L2 through L5 and R2 through R5. See the TSB index in the Pit area for more information.


938. I have a 2001 TE PT with manual transmission and 28k miles. I changed my car battery last night and now the radio is acting strangely. I see no display, no time and none of the functions work. All I see are the 3 little orange LED lights on the graphic equalizer slides flashing continuously. Is there a code to enter to get the radio going again? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. - Roger, from California.

Try disconnecting the battery and pressing the brake pedal for 10 seconds to drain the energy reserve module. Connect the battery and see if it's working correctly. If not, a diagnostic scanner may be needed to diagnose the body control module for radio fault codes. An arc or spark surge while connecting the battery may have fried the radio. There is no security code in the OEM radio.

Follow up from owner - I took the PT to the dealer and we checked for error codes on the computer and found none. The service rep replaced the radio with a new one and it worked great. So I guess the simple act of disconnecting and reconnecting the battery fried my radio.

PT DIY Note - This is the second report, within a two week period, of such an outcome when disconnecting the battery, which no doubt has been done a countless number of times by owners.


939. I have a 2001 LE PT with 54k miles, and a brake problem. When you apply the brakes to slow down the pedal does not return. You have to bring it back up with your foot, but if you apply the brakes hard and come to a complete stop the pedal returns. It's starting to do this all the time now. I feel it may be the power booster or the master cylinder. I would like to know what you think? Thank you. - Bill, from New Jersey.

The master cylinder and related return piston and pedal are where I would begin diagnosis. This is a potentially dangerous problem, address it as soon as possible.


940. I have a 2001 TE PT with automatic transmission. All of my power windows work, except the one on the rear driver side. I initially thought it was the front switch controller, but the rear controller works all the doors, except the rear driver side, so I think it might be a fuse. Is there a fuse for each window? - Jorge, from California.

There is only one auto-resetting circuit breaker for all 4 window motors. If only one is faulty, it must be the wiring, switch, or window lift motor. A voltmeter and a service manual wiring diagram is required to diagnose the fault.


941. I have a 2003 BE PT with manual transmission and 8k miles I am in the process of replacing my black factory installed antenna and bezel to chrome versions. No instructions were provided with the bezel. It appears that I need a spanner wrench to remove the bolt between the antenna and the bezel. Would you please tell me what size? Thanks in advance for any guidance. - Stacey, from Iowa.

The chrome antenna nut requires the use of a special 11/16" external hex three-prong socket, which services 1987 and later Chrysler vehicles. You'll find some tips, along with a guide and photos in the Pit area on the site.


942. I have a 2004 GT TE with automatic transmission and 3k miles. I noticed a transmission leak, in the rear area of the transmission bellhousing. I looked underneath and the rack is dry - it appears to be coming from the rear of the transmission. I hope that it is not a front torque converter seal. Thanks. - Bob, from Kentucky.

A transmission leak could be from several places. The dealer may add a small bottle of dye, then ask you to drive it for a few days. Then they will use a special light to trace the leak to the source. Again, there have not been a lot of leaky transmissions. Those that have leaked have all been the solenoid pack.


943. I have a 2002 RHD 2.0L Autostick automatic, which I have heavily modified, however the aesthetic appearance of the "pythons head" gearshift drives me mad. Can the 2003 gearshift assembly be used as replacement? Failing that, any other suggestions? - Mike, from the UK.

With the standard non-autostick shifter, a DIYer can retrofit a 2003 and newer shifter into the 2001/2002 PT. The autostick is a different animal. I cannot confirm if it will retrofit or not. Someone has to try it. If you decide to try it, I hope you'll consider taking some photos and writing a guide.


944. We have a 2001 LE PT. When turning corners, the power steering seems to fail intermittently, which makes it very hard to turn the steering wheel. There is also a dragging noise on the driver side of the car, as if you are dragging a piece of paper or something. The noise began when the steering problems appeared. About 10 months ago we had the steering column changed because of problems with it. Thank you. - William, from Canada.

With the cold weather, there have been more complaints of faulty steering pumps. The part was redesigned to eliminate this failure, so a new one should cure it. You will need professional diagnostics, this is only my opinion over the 'net. The cold temps thicken the power steering fluid. That's why most failures occur in winter.

Follow up from owner - We visited our dealer, and you were right we have to change the steering pump. The dealer will charge a premium, but there are few very places to have the PT repaired in our area. Thank you


945. We have a 2001 LE PT. The cargo net was inadvertently fouled in the liftgate lock. We cannot open the liftgate. Along with prayer, can you offer any advice? Thank you. - Lynn, from Georgia.

If you can't open the liftgate door from the outside, crawl into the cargo area and try to see where the net is hung up. There's some space between the bottom of the liftgate door and frame. If the net is not too entangled you may be able to cut the tangled section out and pull the remaining pieces through, unblocking the lock mechanism. You might also try removing the liftgate trim panel. You should be able to do that with the liftgate closed. Once removed you may have a little better access to the entangled area. The panel can be pried off, it's held in place by spring clip type fasteners.

Follow up from owner - Thanks for your interest and a big thank you for your most excellent web site. It helped me get an understanding of how the liftgate worked and how to solve the problem. Often our cargo net is full of stuff that moves around, however this time the net got too close to the latch. We decided to clear out the cargo area for a better look and to improve access. Then I unclipped the net from the D-rings on the floor. I got hold of a double handful of net, hummed a few bars of the "Song of the Volga(r) Boatmen" and, while my wife worked the latch outside, I heaved. That worked just fine and we were able to open the liftgate without cutting the net. Now that I understand how the latch mechanism works, it probably helped when I heaved on the cargo net, pulling it towards the driver side of the vehicle.


946. I have a 2002 LE PT, with a manual transmission. I started to experience a problem with my PT about twenty miles from the dealership. It was whirring like it was having a difficult time changing gears. By the time I had driven 15 miles to the dealership it was slipping gears when accelerating, and the MIL light came about two miles before reaching the dealership. They report that it has a DTC code 36 and excessive metal in the pan. They say the transmission needs to be replaced. The car is only 16 months old with 39k miles on it. It had it a 30k-mile check up at 32k miles and the transmission oil was clear. It does not make any sense that a car's transmission should fail so soon. Is this a common problem with the PT? Thanks. - Hank, from California.

We have received 3-4 reports from owners regarding problems with the 41TE auto transmission during the last three years, however given the reputation of Chrysler transmissions, we expected to hear from more owners. That said, we have only received one or two reports of problems with the manual transmission. Based upon the information you provided, you have a defective transmission. The TCM will keep the shifts accurate by using a CVI calculated volume index, which measures the amount of fluid needed to keep the clutch packs engaged. It will continue to add fluid, maintaining quality shifts, until the CVI limit is reached. It will slip from there on. A worn out transmission takes many more miles than 39K. Something is faulty internally. By maintaining the shifts with the CVI, the TCM could have been masking the failure for quite a while. Either way, you need a new transmission.


947. I have a 2002 LE PT. I lowered my two back seats forward to take luggage on a trip this past weekend. After returning, I cleaned out car, but was unable to raise the wider of the two seats back to its upright position. The center seatbelt was taut and would not provide enough slack to open the seat more than an inch. The manual says that in order for the center seatbelt to release, the seat must be installed properly or upright. - Bonny, from Florida.

Follow up from owner - I took it to the dealer and the service advisor I spoke with, said you cannot have the seatbelt (latched) closed when you lower the seat or it will lock up. Apparently this is what occurred in my situation. They had to replace the seatbelt (about $225) to correct the problem. They also installed (another $12) a small "peg" through the seat belt near the top, to keep it from retracts as far as it used to (and locking up?).

PT DIY Note - This is the third reported incident of this issue.

Mark in Texas experienced the same issue, and with the help of his 8-year old son, was kind enough to provide us with this fix.

I saw the $225 repair example from another PT Cruiser owner and went to work on a fix somewhere this side of cutting the seat belt and rendering it useless.

1. I removed the Rear Seat (the wider of the two rear seats) to get a closer look

2. I went through the trouble of removing the 15+ screws that secure the large plastic cover on the bottom of the seat, but this is NOT necessary.

3. I found that there is a small, round silver pin, which is spring loaded at the anchor point of the center seat harness.

4. I pressed on this pin, while pulling at the harness and VOILA! Seat belt was retracted and I was able to re-install the seat and use it as before.

5. Once you see how the release pin works, this whole procedure could be performed without removing the seat from the vehicle.

6. I would recommend pressing on the release pin with a medium-sized flat head screwdriver to save your finger tips.


948. I have a 2001 LE (2.0L) PT. I recently had my Cruiser serviced and was advised that the bushing on the front suspension need replacing is this common after only 15k miles? Thanks very much for you help and support. - Andy, from United Kingdom.

I would be surprised to see that they need replacement at 15K miles. It's normal for them to crack and look terrible when the car is lifted and the suspension is hanging. Fear not, they compress and do their job when it's off the lift. If they need to be changed, that is a warranty repair, and part of the 3/36K warranty.


949. I have a 2003 PT Turbo and would like to know how many amps the alternator is rated for? I want to know if I need to install a cap on my system (280 watts rms of amplification from 2 amps) or it the OE charging system can handle it? Thanks. - Rick, from Kentucky

The PT alternator is a 120amp rating. Your system will draw 19amps at the rms rated output.


950. We have a 2004 LE PT. When the engine starts to idle, shortly thereafter (15-20 seconds) it begins to idle rough. Not like a fouled plug, but more like it is running to rich or lean. It will set up a slight uneven vibration that you can feel though the cars frame. It was fine when I drove the car off the lot, and started around 1700 miles. Thank you. - Wayne, from USA.

Follow up from owner - I took it back to the dealer and after testing they indicated that all the parameters were in spec. The SM told me that the PCM had the latest firmware installed, however they decided to re-flash it anyway, and it smoothed out the idle.


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