The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Thirty Nine Q&A 951 - 975
951. I have a 2001 BE PT. The radio/clock failed a while back and the dealer replaced the radio while it was under warranty. Now, I'm over 30K miles and the clock has stopped working again, although this time the radio still works. The dealer decided to replace the whole radio and did not charge us because we thought it was still under warranty since they had to replace it before. So after they completed the installation they realized the radio was not covered under the warranty. They said it was their mistake, so we did not have to pay for it. Since shortly after the second installation, the clock and now the horn, fail at the same time. There must be a short in the wiring, because if you hit the steering wheel or hit a bump the darn clock will come back on and my horn will work. To me, this sounds like an electrical problem in the wiring. Do you think we should have to pay them to run a diagnostic check to find this problem since the horn did work before they replaced the second radio? Thank You. - Larry, from Florida.
It sounds like an intermittent open circuit affecting both the horn and radio. I cannot see the relationship. They do not share any of the same circuits. Possibly, the 2 circuits are getting crossed by a fault in the wiring somewhere. Replacing the radio cured the symptom. The wiring fault may be the cause. This could be the cause of all the previous work. There's no way to find it without diagnostic testing. Now that the warranty is over, they are correct to charge for their time. You are welcome to take it anywhere for repairs, but many independent shops won't have the wiring diagrams and service manuals available. It's your choice. Incidentally, the radio can not be serviced, if the clock fails the dealer will replace the radio.
952. I have a 2003 DC PT Turbo with a Stage 1 kit. I take my PT to the local bracket drags now and then. Should I turn off the traction control when drag racing or leave it on? Thank you for your time. - Don, from Florida.
Traction control will reduce wheel spin by applying the brakes. This may make for a better ET. Less time spinning the wheels means more time moving down the track. The best ET would be from zero wheel spin, without braking.
953. I have a 2002 BE PT and am considering installing the Sreamin Demon Hi-Po Coil Pack together with low resistance wires (250 ohms per wire). Do you have any knowledge of these products and the related installation and performance? Thanks. - Marco, from Canada.
No I do not. I can say that the OEM Mopar ignition will always ignite the fuel and is hot enough for a complete burn. The advertising gimmicks claim you will get more hp, but there is no extra, unburnt fuel to ignite. Chrysler coil packs never fail. Mopar built a rock-solid electronic ignition in 1973 and they still lead the pack.
Plugs, wires, and coils will only add hp when the old parts are not working correctly. Replacing old, worn out plugs will make a difference, but changing new plugs with different new plugs won't make a difference as long as all the fuel is ignited.
954. I have a 2002 LE PT with automatic transmission and 36k miles. A couple times during the past few months I noticed a green greasy fluid (8" circle) in proximity to the rear axle muffler. I had the dealer check it out in June '03 and found nothing, and they stated the vehicle does not use green coolant. My wife noticed an accumulation in the snow this morning, but was too late to scoop some up before it mixed in with the slush. Any ideas what could be leaking? - Joe, from New York.
It's normal for the muffler to drain a lot of water on initial startup. It will drain form the muffler weep hole as well as the pipe seams. This may be what you are seeing. Why it's green is a mystery. There is no green fluid in the car. Hopefully, you'll know more after examining a sample of it.
955. I have a 2003 GT with 8300 miles. I hear that the 2004 Turbo has the fuel injectors utilized in the Stage 1 upgrade. Will they work on the 2003 Turbo, and what effect will they have? - Ken, from Philadelphia.
They will do nothing, unless the PCM requests more fuel by increasing the duty cycle. The stage-1 PCM upgrade is needed to take advantage of the extended fuel capabilities of the larger injectors.
956. I have a 2003 GT with 15k miles. The DTC P0480 keeps popping up when the PT sits idle/stop light during hot weather - 70 degrees or above. The actual temperature gauge doesn't go any higher than half way, which is normal. This code refers to the "Low Speed Fan Relay Control Circuit" which doesn't make sense, since there is no fan relay - high or low - in the PDC. I can hear the fan come on once in a while, but it doesn't seem to working at very high speed. - Robert, from Minnesota.
It sounds like a fault in the control circuit. The dealer will have to run a diagnostic in order to determine the exact nature of the problem.
Turbo Radiator Fan
The radiator cooling fan is a variable speed electric motor driven fan. The radiator fan assembly includes an electric motor, fan blade, and a support shroud that is attached to the radiator. The radiator fan is serviced as an assembly (fan motor/fan/shroud).
The variable speed radiator fan is controlled by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) by way of a Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) signal. The duty cycle ranges from 30% for low speed operation then ramps-up to 100% for high-speed operation. This fan control system provides infinitely variable fan speeds, allowing for improved fan noise, A/C performance, better engine cooling, and additional vehicle power.
To control radiator fan operation, the PCM looks at inputs from:
Engine coolant temperature
A/C pressure transducer
Transmission oil temperature (automatic transmission only)
The PCM uses these inputs to determine when the fan should operate and at what speed.
957. I have a 2001 LE PT with 40k miles. Two days ago my Malfunction Indicator Lamp came on, so I took it in to the nearest Chrysler dealer. I told them to handle the oil change while I was there, but to call me about the MIL problem. They just called a few minutes ago to say I needed a "major tuneup" including replacement of the plugs, cleaning of the fuel injector and throttle body, and I forgot what else. Hey, not too bad, I thought - just a tuneup. "How much?" I asked the technician. "Well, sir, including your oil change, should be looking right at $350," the tech said. I expected to pay maybe $100-150 for a tuneup, but not $300 plus dollars. Is that price as crazy as it sounds? - Cary, from Kentucky.
Although, the pricing for the quoted work is a bit high according to most of the folks we hear from, it is not unheard of.
The nationally recognized Motor/Alldata labor time for a spark plug change is .6 hours. At $80/hr, that would be $48 labor plus 4 plugs at about $2 each, or about twice as much for the preferred DP plugs. Neither the fuel injector cleaning or throttle body cleaning are specified in the service charts in the owners manual. The plugs are called for at 30K miles; that's all.
Many owners with average DIY skills handle the oil and plug changes and throttle body cleaning on their own at a fraction of the cost a dealer would charge. You can purchase a service manual, or use the instructional guides available in the Pit area on the site.
958. I have a 2003 2.0L BE PT with AT and 11k miles, which I would like to use as a hire vehicle at special events. I have an old ARGO taxi meter (about 1975 vintage) which is a cable driven unit and taps into the speedometer cable of the vehicle. Does the PT have a mechanical speedometer and is there a way of breaking into it to facilitate the meter? Thanks so much! - Robert, from Australia.
The speedometer is part of the instrument cluster, which is also the Body Control Module (BCM). All new cars use a VSS vehicle speed sensor. There are no speedometer cables anymore.
959. I have a 2001 LE PT with AT and 82k miles. The front windshield washer pump is not operating, as it should. The rear works fine. The front washer pump makes pumping noises, but no fluid flows. I disconnected the hose under the hood and blew compressed air back through it. The line was clear and the washer fluid bubbled out of the reservoir. After the compressed air is blown back through, the washer works once. Possible causes? Where is the pump and how do I get to it?
The engine light came on last week. I did the self-test and was informed 'NO FAULTS'. It runs fine and all fluids are OK. What does it mean? - Dana, from Florida.
There is only one pump. It works by pumping fluid forward for the fronts, or reverse for the rear. If the pump is working in one direction, the likely cause is a clogged hose to the front water nozzles. The pump is at the bottom of the reservoir, under the passenger hood cowl. See the interior air filter ventilation guide in the Pit area if you need help accessing that area.
If the engine light came on, you do have codes to read. They are kept in memory and may require a scanner to access them.
960. I have a 2003 DE GT with AT and 15k miles. I recently bought a boost gauge and installed it. I would like to hook up the light on it to come on with the dash lights. Where is the easiest place to hook into the dash lights? - Don, from Florida.
Page 8W-44-5 of the 2003 SM shows the interior dimmer controlled circuit as an orange wire to connector 200, then pink to connector 208, then orange to the overhead console module. That would be the correct wire to tap inside the A-pillar.
961. My girlfriend has a 2001 LE with MT and 40k miles. The symptom was a noisy "fan" belt when starting the car, especially on cold days. I drove it and did feel a slight roughness in the steering for the first few turns. Thereafter it is fine. The dealer says the rack and pinion has failed and the fix is going to cost $1,100. The car has been very carefully looked after, and drives and looks like new. It is hard to believe this failure has occurred, and I do not see how this problem can cause the noise even when the car is not moving. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated. - Keith, from Canada.
Many steering racks have been replaced on PT's over the last 3 years. The pump and fluid are moving through the system, even when the car is parked. The cold fluid is much thicker than warm fluid. That's why it's more prevalent when first started. There is no "fan belt" because the fan is electric. Noisy accessory drive belts are rare. I cannot verify the dealers price quote, but a failed rack & pinion is not a myth. Check the Top 10 List in the Pit area for more help with this issue.
962. I have a previously owned 2001 TE PT with AT and 51k miles, which I purchased 6 months ago. I haven't used my PT in about 5 days, and today it started to act up. Whenever I stop, it seems like the transmission holds back before a complete stop, then lets go. I get a strong jerk before it stops. I also floored it and it held back before kicking up to the next gear. It felt like I was running and someone held me back just enough to slow me down a little, then push me forward. I have not changed the transmission fluid or filter, and I don't have the maintenance history.
The car also has a slight stutter at idle, like if it needs new plugs, but I changed them on Thanksgiving day and I'm not getting a check engine light or any trouble codes with the diagnostic tricks. I used the platinum plugs you guys recommend, and the car was perfect up until a few weeks ago. What do you think my problems are? I love my car and I want it running 100%. I would appreciate any help. - Mike, from New York.
The transmission sounds suspiciously like a solenoid pack going south. The solenoids control the shifts electronically. There have been more than several replaced and your dealer should stock them in the part dept. They are about $100, plus another $100 or so for installation. A tech will need to verify the solenoid fault prior to throwing parts at it, but from your description, that's the prime suspect.
A no-code rough idle could be several things; plugs, wires, dirty throttle plate, PCV, etc. Make sure the wires are securely connected to the plugs. If the throttle plate needs cleaning see the guide in the Pit area. It's easy to handle on your own and will save you $$$ on dealer servicing.
Follow up from owner - The dealer replaced the rack, which was binding. The power steering pump was bad internally, and was also replaced. They said that the accumulator snap ring broke, causing internal damage to the transmission. They changed the seal package, the torque converter, the pump, solenoid, 3 sets of disc clutches, 2 sets of plates, cover accessory, rings, and 9 quarts of ATF+4. Now, the transmission feels powerful and the power steering whine is gone. The extended warranty has already paid for itself.
963. We have a 2004 TE PT with 7500 miles. We just bought some chrome blue LED windshield washers. After we put them in we decided to test them before tightening the bolts and finishing up. We found that the spray is too low on one side and flying over the car on other side. How can we adjust the spray? Thank you. - Perry, from Tennessee.
The OE service manual makes no reference to aiming the OE nozzles once installed. With an unfamiliar aftermarket product it's hard to tell what the issue is. If the spray pattern problem were isolated to one nozzle, it could possibly be a defective nozzle. If the spray pattern for both nozzles is incorrect they may incorrectly installed or both defective, or need to be aimed. Some washer nozzles are adjustable and others are not. You may want to check with the manufacturer prior to attempting any adjustments.
Many washer nozzles can be aimed by simply slipping a straight pin into the nozzle eye and re-pointing them. It is our understanding that this method works for nozzles that have distinctive streams, not for nozzles that fan the spray. Some nozzles are sold with an adjustment tool for aiming the spray.
When adjusting with a pin, adjust it in very small increments; a small adjustment to the nozzle eye can make a sizeable change in where the spray contacts the windshield. Aim them pretty high so they land near the top of the windshield. At highway speeds air will force the stream downward on the windshield.
964. I have a 2003 GT with automatic transmission and 12k miles. Optional items include lots of led lighting, upgraded sub woofer, black light on the interior, which is run off of an inverter. The problem is the battery dies after approximately 10 minutes of running the led lights and stereo. I would like to install a deep cell gel type battery, but can't find one that will fit. Batteries, like the Optima do not seem to be available in a size that will fit the PT. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. - Keith, from California.
The OEM battery is a standard group 26. I would suggest a second, deep cycle marine battery with an isolator to run the accessories when the engine is off. This will separate the (very expensive) vehicle electronic control systems from spikes and surges of an aftermarket load.
965. We recently purchased a used 2001 LE PT. While cleaning the interior, my wife found what appears to be a net behind the rear seats. Is it part of the PT, or just junk? Thank you. - Gil, from Montana.
The rear cargo net is an optional purchase with all PT Cruisers. It is used to hold packages or lightweight cargo. It can be configured in a number of different ways using the cargo loops on the quarter trim panels and rear cargo floor in combination with the rear shelf panel.
1. Attach the six removable hooks to the cargo net at the corners and middle edge.
2. Fold the net in half, with the hooks at each corner and the black edging on the sides.
3. Attach the hook / net assembly to the rear most upper cargo loops on the quarter trim panels and the rear cargo floor loops. (4 hooks at the top and 2 hooks at the bottom)
4. Items can be placed inside the pocket formed by the sides of the cargo net.
1. Attach 4 hooks to the net, one at each corner.
2. Fold the net in half, with the hooks at each corner and the black edging on the sides.
3. Attach the hook / net assembly to the cargo floor loops.
4. Items can be placed under the net.
1. Place the rear shelf panel into the vertical position.
2. Fold the net in half, with the hooks at each corner, and the black edging on the sides.
3. Place the net corner loops over the hooks on the underside of the rear shelf panel.
4. Attach the remaining cargo net loops to the rear shelf panel hooks if more support is needed.
Floor and Upper Rear Cargo Loops Position
1. Attach the six removable hooks to the cargo net at the corners and the middle edge.
2. Attach the 4 hooks on the corner of the cargo net to the cargo floor loops and the remaining 2 hooks to the upper rear loops on the quarter rear trim panel.
3. The cargo net will help prevent items from rolling around the cargo area.
Top of Shelf in Middle and Floor Position
1. Fold the net in half, with the hooks at each corner and the black edging on the sides.
2. Place the cargo net corner loops over the corner hooks on the underside of the rear shelf.
3. Items can be placed on top of the rear shelf panel with the net holding them secure. Note – It may be necessary to remove the hooks from the cargo net.
966. I have a 2001 LE with 44k miles. I am installing a ZEX nitrous system and would like to know what color and location of the throttle position sensor wire. - Ed, from New York.
The throttle position sensor attaches to the side of the side of the throttle body.
VT/WT - Violet/White - 5V supply
OR/DB - Orange/Dark Blue - TPS signal
BK/LB - Black/Light Blue - sensor ground
967. I have a 2001 BE PT with 46k miles and a manual transmission. The VTTS (Sentry Alarm) red indicator light came on and radio started to operate erratically. The car does not, or as have ever had, a VTTS system installed in it. Sometimes the radio would work and other times it would not. When it did not work, the readout would flicker and the clock would reset itself to 12:00. After the car is shut down over night, it operates normally again. After about 2 weeks, the radio stopped working completely and the readout was frozen on one the last stations, even though there was no sound. Pushing the on/off button did not change the readout.
Two or three mornings later, the car would not start. When I turned the key absolutely nothing happened. AAA jumped started it and we took it to the dealership. The dealership said that the battery needed to be replaced and all other electrical systems checked out. When I drove it off the lot, I noticed that the red Sentry Alarm indicator was still on. I brought it back and the dealer said that there is a faulty in the instrument cluster circuit board. Could this faulty circuit board have fried my radio and ruined my battery? - Matt, from New York.
The battery failure is most likely due to age and mileage, but a defect in the cluster could aggravate the problem. The radio and cluster only share a communication bus signal circuit, so a connection is unlikely. I cannot tell you if there is a connection, without first hand diagnosis of the electronics and charging system.
968. I have a 2002 TE PT with 41k miles, which I purchased, used about 10k miles ago. Should the rear hatch open with the remote? Mine doesn't, but when I lock or unlock it with the key all the other doors lock. Thanks. - Darrell, from Florida.
The rear hatch should lock and unlock the same as all the other doors. It does not open with the remote, only the lock engages or releases.
969. I have a 2002 PT with 45k miles. I can no longer switch the air ventilation path from upper path (dash vents) to the lower path (heater). I now only get the upper path. If I re-direct the air to the lower path, the airflow stops. - John, from Michigan.
You will need a service manual to help diagnose this issue. No forced air in the heat position can be caused by:
1. Vacuum line pinched or leaking. - Locate and repair vacuum leak or pinched line.
2. Faulty heat defroster or mode door. - Test the actuators and door operation. Repair as necessary.
3. Faulty selector switch. - Test the selector switch and replace if necessary.
4. Vacuum check valve. - Test the check valve and replace if necessary.
970. I have a 2001 LE PT with 55.5k miles and automatic transmission. I have an overheating problem at 4000 plus feet. I drive the I-5 interstate weekly, through an area called 'The Grapevine', which runs from Bakersfield to Lake Castaic.
I haven't had any problems with the PT, other than normal wear items i.e. tires, brakes, etc. The cooling system usually runs in the 'normal' or middle of the gauge. During the past few months I've noticed that I can go over this pass at 70mph with the A/C on, with no overheating problems, but last week I was driving the same route and the temperature gauge began rising rapidly. I turned off the A/C, turned on the heater full blast and slowed down to 45-50mph, but even that didn't help much. I finally had to stop under an overpass, called for a tow and got back home. I took it to a local shop (1st mistake), they did a diagnostic check and didn't find any leaks, but they did say that the radiator cap was at fault, so they changed it - 3 hours later I was back on the road. Cheap fix...not. I drove around town without any problems. On Saturday I had to go 'down south' over the 'Grapevine'. I started out without any problems, got to the midway point of the trip and the overheating began. I pulled off the road, opened the hood, found no leaks; other than what was coming out of the coolant reservoir overflow. I let the engine cool down, to below the normal mark on the gauge. I re-serviced the reservoir and started out again, only this time I was descending at 45-50 mph, heater full blast, and the gauge stayed at 'normal'. The next day I took it to a Chrysler dealer, perhaps they could work some "magic" and tell me what was wrong. I walked them through what was happening, and they decided to perform ANOTHER diagnostic check. The test indicated that the system was not leaking, nor were the head gaskets, but that the radiator cap was at fault - it was the wrong pressure cap. They also said that I was running the wrong type of coolant in the car. They changed the cap to the 'correct one', flushed the coolant system and refilled it with the correct coolant. I drove around town without any problems, then got on the grapevine. I rode it for about 20 miles, not even to 4000ft, and the overheating began. I pulled off the freeway and called the dealer. They said if it didn't get to the RED LINE, that it wasn't a problem. I got back on the freeway, went 2 more miles and it climbed up to the RED LINE. Now I'm on the I-5 stopped. I called the dealer again and they said they didn't know what was wrong. I called for a tow, which brought be home. Any ideas would be appreciated. - Thomas, from California.
That's a lot of legwork to finally get to the point of changing a stuck thermostat.
The coolant should not be the cheap green stuff, as I'm sure you know. The use of aluminum cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, and water pumps requires special corrosion protection. Mopar Antifreeze/Coolant, 5 Year/100,000 Mile Formula (MS-9769), or the equivalent ethylene glycol base coolant with hybrid organic corrosion inhibitors (called HOAT, for Hybrid Organic Additive Technology) is recommended. This coolant offers the best engine cooling without corrosion when mixed with 50% Ethylene Glycol and 50% distilled water to obtain a freeze point of -37°C (-35°F). If it loses color or becomes contaminated, drain, flush, and replace with fresh properly mixed coolant solution.
The green coolant MUST NOT BE MIXED with the orange or magenta coolants. When replacing coolant the complete system flush must be performed before using the replacement coolant. Mixing it will reduce the corrosion protection and may result in premature water pump seal failure. DC has voided the warranty in some instances when cooling system components have failed due to using the incorrect coolant.
The cap must be correct for the pressure specifications to function within the engineered limits. Most likely, the thermostat is sticking closed.
Follow up from owner - Believe it or not, I finally got it fixed. The Chrysler dealer discovered that the 'water jacket bolt' needed to be retorqued because it was leaking. I have never heard of that type of repair, but I have not had any problems with the cruiser, since the last visit to the dealer.
971. I have a 2002 BE PT with 33k miles and manual transmission. I installed an aftermarket strut tower brace that was rubbing against the connector for the Inlet Air Temperature Sensor. A week or so ago, I was driving down the highway and the MIL light came on. The trouble code was P1193, which has to do with the inlet air temperature sensor. Last week, I took the car to the NJ DMV inspection. They hooked it up to the OBD-II connector and said that the computer read "not ready." They flunked the car and told me to go back to the dealer.
The dealer said that the aftermarket brace sheared the IAT sensor connector and fried the PCM. They are talking $1500 for repairs - all out of warranty. I haven't gotten around to troubleshooting the problem with the sensor connection. The wires could have separated internally, but would that have fried the PCM? - Paul, from New Jersey.
The PCM should be able to handle an output or input voltage shorted to ground. I'm surprised to see the PCM destroyed by a simple sensor short. You may want to get another opinion. A few owners who purchased the APC and Freedom strut braces have complained of the fit in relationship to the IAT in their vehicles, but this is the first compliant of a damaged sensor.
The PCM is programmed to your specific vehicle. Aftermarket parts stores may have them available with a programming option based upon your VIN. See the PCM systems guide in the Pit area for more information about the replacement process.
Follow up from owner - I purchased software that allowed me to read MIL's with my palm pilot. I then traced the wiring to the IAT and found that one of the conductors had parted just inside of the connector body. I repaired the break, cleared the MIL's and the car's performance has been fine since the fix. Thanks to your help, I saved the cost of replacing the PCM.
972. We have a 2001 LE PT with 103k miles and recently experienced a leak in the rear cargo area. The dealer indicated that the liftgate weatherstrip needed to be replaced. The car is out of warranty and I think we can handle the repair. Would you happen to have a P/N for the weatherstrip? Thank you for your help. - Leo, from Arkansas.
It should be a fairly straightforward repair. The P/N is 4724 763AB weatherstrip, Liftgate Opening.
973. I have a 2001 LE PT with 25k miles. An owner reported through a forum that her radiator overflow hose rubbed through and she lost all of her coolant. I checked mine and it seems to have a small grove rubbed in from being next to the A/C hose. I also noticed it is in a very tight place rubbing against body metal. Have you heard of any other problems with this or a fix for it? Thanks. - Bob, from California.
There have been no other reports of hose failure. Only a portion of the engine coolant will be lost if the hose from the reservoir to the radiator would leak. There is no high pressure through that hose, and it's higher than the cooling system. The radiator cap seals in the hot fluid and keeps the engine cooling system pressurized. A simple zip-tie should position the hose out of harms way.
974. I recently purchased a 2004 BE PT. The only option I purchased is the auto transmission. I would like to get power door locks installed. The salesman indicated that the car comes with the power door locks and that the module just needs to be activated. He told me to get an aftermarket alarm installed. Then they can activate the module and the power door locks would work with my alarm. Does this sound right? What is my best option if this is not true? I love my new PT, however I didn't realize what a drag it is to manually lock all the doors each time I exit the car. Thanks. - Don, from California.
Unless your salesman knows something that we do not, the base model does not come with the module. In fact, we hear from base model owners all the time who indicate that none of the components are in place. You can have an aftermarket power door lock kit professionally installed, which would include their modules - some companies that install auto alarm kits provide optional kits for power door locks. Or you can install one if you're handy. You'll find an Autoloc power door lock installation guide in the Pit area, which has been popular with owners. Pit Pass subscribers receive an additional discount on the kit.
975. I have a 2002 LE PT with remote entry and factory alarm. How can I tell if my car requires a transponder key? Thanks in advance for your help. - Bob, from California.
All PT's come equipped with a Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS), which prevents unauthorized operation of the vehicle by disabling the engine. The system will shut the engine off after two seconds of running if an invalid transponder key is used to start the vehicle. You can read more about this in your owners' manual.
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