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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 Forty Seven Q&A 1151 - 1175

1151. I have a 2003 TE PT with 24k miles. No problems, other than wheel slippage on wet surfaces. Can traction control be added to my car? It already has ABS. I know that the stock tires are not the greatest for wet traction, but I'm wondering about the possibility of adding traction control. Thanks. - Roger, from Pennsylvania.

I'm sorry, but I don't know of any economically feasible way to add traction control to a vehicle with only ABS programming. It may be a module replacement, but I cannot verify that would work. Your best bet would be to check with your local DC dealer.

 

1152. I have a 2002 BE PT with 77k miles. The check engine light comes on and indicates fault code P0455. If you erase the code the check engine light comes on again and indicates the same code. - Tammaco, from Georgia.

The fault code P0455 is:

EVAP Leak Monitor Large Leak Detected - It indicates that a large leak has been detected in the evaporative system.

To diagnose the problem your dealer may need to perform a pressure test of the evaporative emission system, or it could be a defective sensor, fitting, line, pump, or valve, assuming the PCM isn't defective. The code will continue to reappear as long as the problem exists. Once the issue has been diagnosed and addressed they will be able to permanently erase the recorded code using a DRB scan tool.

 

1153. I have a 2002 TE PT with 36k miles. When I insert the key into the ignition and turn it, it acts as if it's the wrong key. I can't turn it either way. The only way that I can get it to work is if I tap on the ignition for about 5 minutes or so. Once I get it turned over it works fine until I pull it out again. I hope you can help. Thanks in advance. - Dannie, from New Jersey.

By your description, it sounds like a problem with the ignition key cylinder or ignition switch. It could be a sticky or faulty cylinder or faulty switch. Other owners have reported similar issues. You can read more about the problem, suggestions on how to handle/repair it in the Top 10 Issues guide in the Pit area on the site. If you are experienced in DIY auto repair, you'll also find an ignition switch replacement guide there.

 

1154. Dick Reed wrote, I had a problem with my 2001 PT that I would like to share with other owners. Initially, the PT spontaneously started the security system panic alarm. When I tried to start the PT it ran 3 seconds then quit, then would not turn over at all. (Normally, the engine will shut down after 3 seconds if the sentry transponder key code does not match the code programmed into the Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIM)). I called the dealer and he suggested charging the battery, which resulted in no change. I paid for the tow and 1 hour labor, and they said they charged it (With The Key On: dealer didn't mention that when I called) and everything was fine. One year later, in 10-degree weather the issue occurred again. The alarm went off spontaneously. The PT started and quit within 3 seconds then wouldn't turn over. I started the charging process with the key on, not taking much current. I decided to clean the battery cables and terminals, which resolved the problem. Apparently, when the connection is bad, rather than turn over slowly, it shuts down the sentry and/or electronic system. I hope this helps save someone else some money and aggravation.

 

1155. I have a 2003 GT (HO) PT with 25k miles. The lights flicker when driving. In fact, other drivers have noticed the problem and inquired if I was experiencing a problem with the headlights. It does not matter what accessories are in use and occurs at all speeds. I have taken the car to DC and they have advised me that it is a characteristic of the product. After hearing about my problem, one of their technicians checked his PT/GT, and has the same problem. Please help or advise. Thank you. - Gerald, from Illinois.

A number of owners have reported this dimming/flickering issue, which seems to affect some PT's more severely than others. Many DC dealers consider minor dimming/flickering normal, and more of a design issue than a problem, however severe dimming/flickering could be related to additional factors.

DC has released a Customer Satisfaction Notice C30 for some 2003 and 2004 PT's. It deals with PCM electrical connector seals that may be out of place, which could allow water to enter the PCM and cause various drivability and electrical concerns.

Other owners have reported that this is a grounding issue, and have experienced a reduction or elimination of the dimming/flickering after they have cleaned the ground connections on their vehicles. To ensure a good ground remove any paint, oil or grease you find at these connections and apply a dielectric grease once you reattach the grounding strap. Start with the ground strap, which attaches the vehicle body to the negative battery terminal.

You can find OE guides for the battery, vehicle ground(s) (4 or 5) connections, and the complete CSN C30 in the Pit area on the site.

 

1156. I have a 2002 PT with 22k miles. When driving in snow, especially in a dusting of 2 inches or less, the car slides. I live on top of a steep hill and sometimes cannot get the car up the hill. Last year the car slid down the hill and did a 360-degree turn. My dealer says the OE tires are fine. Is the problem with the tires? How should I use the traction control in these conditions? Any information about these problems is appreciated. Thank you. - Ann, from New Jersey.

The traction control is automatic (unless you manually turn it off). It only works below 35mph.

The OEM tires were junk when they were new. Keep in mind, they were sourced, by the lowest bidder. At 22K miles, they are more than half-worn. Get some serious snow, or at least all season tires. Better tires aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for.

 

1157. We have a 2001 LE PT with 20k miles. After being exposed to -16 degree weather (and even colder wind chill), we had great difficulty opening the hood on our Cruiser--the release was very tough to pull. We got it open, but the latch in front is frozen in the closed position. It won't budge at all. Any thoughts? - Leslie & Dean, from Wisconsin.

That's chilly weather. You will have to determine if there's a problem with the release cable, latch assembly or both parts. If the latch or cable was damaged when you forced the hood open, you may have to replace them. If the parts appear to operate fine independently of each other it could simply be, as you have described, a frozen latch. If that's the situation try using some lubricant to free it. You'll find OE replacement guides for the latch and cable in the Pit area if you need them.

 

1158. I have a 2004 BE PT with 20k miles. The "idiot" lights on the dash (ABS, seat belt, brake, etc) will not go out, with or without the key in, and the gauges (gas, speedometer and tachometer) do not work. Just started last night. Any ideas? - Steven, from Texas.

The first step is to test the cluster by holding the trip button down while turning the ignition key to the run position. The self-test may provide some information. The fuel gauge is mechanical, while the others are controlled by the BCM. It should work as long as the BCM power supply is good.

Follow up - Owner disconnected/connected the battery and all is well again.

 

1159. I have a 2001 LE PT with 56.6k miles. No problems before, but the clutch pedal went to the floor with no pressure when my wife was trying to start the vehicle. I followed the transmission fluid canister line down and found that a fitting had come out of what looks like a pipe coming out of the firewall. The problem is, I don't know if the fitting just snaps back into the hole, because there are no threads on it. The fitting is on the bottom of the pipe, and this where the fluid is coming out. Thank you. - Chris, from Texas.

The SM shows a quick-connect fitting in the fluid line between the clutch pedal (master cylinder) and the next component, which is the slave cylinder. There are no other connectors in the line. I would suggest having a professional technician inspect the system and repair the fault. There may be other issues with such a strange problem. The risk of losing control of the transmission on the highway is too great. Clutch system information is available through the Pit area on the site.

 

1160. I have a 2003 BE PT with automatic transmission and 31k miles. I took my car into the dealership to have the spark plugs and air filter changed, and also had the transmission fluid and filter changed. I picked up the PT at the dealership yesterday afternoon, and it feels like the transmission is slipping. I feel a jerk as I slow to about 20-25 mph. I don't notice unordinary when I back up, or pull away from a light or stop sign. It was idling rough before I took it in, and figured it needed a tune up. I was told that I may need to consider having the fuel injectors cleaned and having the spark plug wires changed a little sooner than the recommended mileage. - Odilia, from Texas.

The TCM uses a CVI clutch volume index to match all shifts. It cannot slip between gears until the clutch packs are completely worn out. You are most likely feeling the downshift into 1st gear as you come to a stop. The smoother engine performance may allow you to feel what was there in the past. At some speed, the transmission must shift into 1st. This is generally around 5-8mph. If you still believe that there might be a problem have the dealer check it out or test-drive a similar PT for comparison.

 

1161. I have a 2002 PT with 29k miles. I noticed a coolant leak and the dealer replaced the water pump under warranty. I asked that the timing belt be replaced. The bill did not include the cost of the belt. A friend said this was because the oily orange coolant had ruined it and it was replaced under warranty. Can coolant leak onto the belt, and if so, ruin it? The service manager called three weeks later and requested I pay for the belt, since it was not covered. He also admitted that he charged me an hour of labor for putting it on. The labor charge is fraudulent, but if I owe him for the belt he can keep it. - Robert, from Texas.

Coolant destroying a belt is a grey area I don't want to make precedence with. Either way, the belt was wet if the water pump leaked, and it must be removed to change the pump. The labor to change the water pump includes the belt. There should be no extra time added for the belt. Due to the labor intensive job, I always suggest a new pump or belt go along with the faulty part. This eliminates the same labor charge for the other part in the future.

 

1162. I have a 2002 BE PT with 32k miles. I purchased a set of Michelin Hydroedges at a Tire Kingdom, but they couldn't do the alignment. They said it had been adjusted as far as it could go, but I needed an extended "cam bolt". I thought that was odd since I'd only had one other alignment. I took it to a DC dealer who aligned the vehicle, but stated that I had a "radial pull" from one of the tires. They ultimately replaced two of the tires, but said that because of the "directional tires" on the vehicle that I might have some pull. Is this true or is this bull? I have noticed what feels like dragging since the deal with the wheels/tires. Does this vehicle require a 4-wheel alignment or front end only - they can't seem to agree at DC? I also inquired of DC as to putting platinum plugs in since I'm due for my first plug change. They said that wouldn't be a good idea, that I would gain no added benefits. However I've read on the site where folks have added platinum plugs and all was great? Would I void my warranty by doing so? Also, would I void any part of my warranty by adding a "backup sensor"? Lastly, what is your take on nitrogen tire filling or would the old standby "air" still be just fine? - Ms. Simmons, from Florida.

The information that you have provided regarding the tires can be construed in a few different ways and were not tire experts. Our advice would be to consult with a local independent pro tire (not DC or Tire Kingdom) that could provide you with an unbiased opinion regarding the tire pull issue. When you explain the issue to them describe exactly which tires you have on the vehicle. You started with OE non-directional tires, then went to Bridgestone high performance directional tires, then the local dealer replaced two of these tires because of the radial pull issue. Did the dealer replace the two defective directional Bridgestone tires with directional or non-directional tires? There is a distinction between the OE tires the PT comes with and Bridgestone directional tires. The OE tires that come with the PT are non-directional radial ply tires. The Bridgestone replacement tires are directional high performance tires designed to improve traction on wet pavement. To obtain the full benefits of this design, the tires must be installed so that they rotate in the correct direction, which is indicated by arrows on the tire sidewalls. When wheels and tires are being installed, extra care is needed to ensure that this direction of rotation is maintained. They may cause problems if installed incorrectly or when mixed with non-directional tires.

Nitrogen - a dry, inert gas used by racing professionals to inflate racecar tires leaks through a tire's rubber walls three times more slowly than oxygen. As a result, tires filled with high-quality nitrogen can stay inflated longer, which allows them to grip the road better and provide greater control in all weather conditions. It is easier for the average consumer to use nitrogen now that its availability is becoming more wide spread, however most consumers still do fine with just standard air if they check their tire pressure once or twice per month. Some nationally known tire retailers currently offer nitrogen service, check for availability in your local area.

The service manual indicates that vehicle wheel alignment is the positioning of all interrelated front and rear suspension angles. These angles affect the handling and steering of the vehicle when it is in motion. Proper wheel alignment is essential for efficient steering, good directional stability, and proper tire wear. The method of checking a vehicle's front and rear wheel alignment varies depending on the manufacturer and type of equipment used. The manufacturer's instructions should always be followed to ensure accuracy of the alignment, except when DaimlerChrysler Corporation's wheel alignment specifications differ. On this vehicle, the suspension angles that can be adjusted are as follows:

Front - Camber & Toe
Rear - Camber & Toe


Given their description, and that the PT is a front-wheel drive vehicle with independent rear suspension, a four-wheel alignment would be far more effective than the front two-wheel alignment. The rear wheels should follow the fronts in a parallel path. Many problems such as a steering pull to one side, uneven tire wear on the rear tires or misaligned rear wheels can cause poor tracking.

Local dealers will not replace the OE Champion plugs with the Champion DP plugs because they are not original equipment. If you brought in your vehicle for an oil change and asked them to install a FRAM oil filter instead of an OE Mopar oil filter, they would also decline. They only use OE parts. The DP plugs will provide a longer life than the OE Plugs. If you want the DP plugs installed you can DIY with the guide we have on the site or you can have a local independent auto shop replace the OE plugs with DP's for you if you request them. It will not affect your warranty and will soon become a non-issue at 36k miles or 3 years, which ever occurs first, assuming that you have a basic warranty. That would also include a back up sensor for parking.

You'll find an OE guide for the plugs, back up rear sensor and a good deal more information on the tires and wheels in the Pit area on the site

 

1163. I have a 2001 PT with 75k miles. The master cylinder was recently replaced at a certified automotive repair center. Since the repair, a week ago, the brakes have locked up twice. The first time I brought the PT back I was told that a rock was stuck in the caliper. Yesterday, I was told that something is wrong with the master cylinder and they will install a new one today. They also said that I must pay for new calipers and brake pads because of the damage to the brakes. This should not be my responsibility because of a faulty part. Is there a lemon law to protect me? Thank you. - Debbie, from Florida.

This would not be regarded as a Lemon Law issue, however the installer can apply for a warranty labor claim with the master cylinder manufacturer though his parts supplier. This can include damages ancillary to the failed part, but all failed parts must be held for review by the manufacturer. The time to get credit is generally 3 months. The installer must pay for the new parts (except the master cylinder) and would expect you to pay for them as well. The credit will be tracked so you receive your money back in the future. The installation labor for the entire job must be negotiated between you and the installer.

 

1164. I have a 2003 TE PT with 25k miles. I had a dead battery about 2 weeks ago. I took the car to the dealership for a new battery and since that time, have had a problem with my radio. The OE radio works fine, but will not go into CD mode. Is there a code needed to reset the radio to make my CD player work? Michigan

No, the radio doesn't require an operational code, and there isn't a reset. We have received several emails from owners who have experienced erratic problems with their radios once their batteries were disconnected or changed. Read more here.

 

1165. I have a 2001 BE PT with 24k miles. When the brakes are wet from rain or I run the car through the car wash they make a "metal to metal" grinding sound. When it is dry, they are fine and do not grind. The car has drum brakes on all four wheels and the brakes do not "pull" when wet or dry. I have inspected the brake shoe and there is plenty friction material on the shoes. Any suggestions on what the problem is, or how to correct? - Max, from Oregon.

Your 2001 basic edition PT is equipped with (standard) front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. In addition, owners can upgrade to rear disc brakes with optional packages, but no models have front and rear drum brakes. What you are probably hearing is the front disc brakes. When water is introduced rust forms very quickly on the disc, usually overnight. It's normal to make some noise as the surface rust is removed by the brake pads. If the noise is there all the time, and the pads are OK, have the brake system checked. At 24k miles you're just above the average OE pad replacement interval reported by most owners. You may want to check out the Top 10 Issues List in the Pit area before the next pad change to help select a pad/disc which will provide for quieter performance, longer pad life and less brake dust accumulation on the rims.

 

1166. I have a 2001 LE PT with 35k miles. The key cylinder locked up. I replaced it and all electric functions work fine, but the car will not start. I suspect I need to reset the alarm feature somehow. Can you describe this process? - Burton, from Georgia.

The SKIM will allow the engine to start, but will die in 2 seconds if the correct transponder signal from the key isn't received. The SKIM is the module that wraps the antenna around the key cylinder. If it won't crank or start at all, you have connection problems. Since it ran prior to the lock cylinder repair, that is the only place to look for a fault. This is assuming that the battery was disconnected prior to attempting any electrical system repairs. Use your SM as a reference regarding the various components, or refer to the Top 10 Issues List, OE starter system diagnostic guide, ignition switch guide and VTTS/SKIM system guide in the Pit area on the site for help in troubleshooting the problem.

 

1167. I have a 2002 TE PT with 67k miles. Hazard and turn signals do not blink when selected. All bulbs are operational. I purchased the relay to change myself, but can not find it. - Chris, from Missouri.

The turn signal flasher and the hazard warning flasher are combined into one unit called a combination flasher (combo-flasher). The combo-flasher is a smart relay located on the back of the multi-function switch. If you don't own a SM, you'll find a guide in the Pit area for the replacement procedure.

 

1168. I have a 2003 GT (HO) PT with 25k miles. I just filled my windshield washer tank but they don't work. Is there a fuse or what could be the problem? They have worked fine in the past; the rear one doesn't work either, but did in the past. Thanks. - Dave, from Minnesota

The PT is equipped with an electrically operated windshield washer pump, which is mounted directly to the reservoir. The pump and reservoir are serviced as separate assemblies. The rear washer system shares the washer reservoir of the front windshield washer system. The washer pump is a two way pump that is reversed depending on which switch is activated.

If the washer pump runs when you activate the switch, but you don't have fluid, it could be a few things: no fluid in the reservoir, nozzle is plugged/frozen, broken, loose or pinched hose or faulty pump. If the pump doesn't run it could be a faulty pump, switch, or fuse. Check fuse #15 (20 amp) in the interior fuse box. If it's not the fuse, see your dealer, it is under warranty.

 

1169. We have a 2003 BE PT with 14k miles, which my wife drives. Over the last 1-1/2 years the PT has died at intersections about 5 times, a very dangerous thing to happen. I've taken it to the local DC dealer at least 7 or 8 times, and they haven't been able to determine (no fault codes recorded) what's wrong with it because it occurs sporadically. About 2 months ago it started bucking a little as we were going down the freeway. It cleared up in a few seconds, but had never done that before. Back to the shop it went, but once again they couldn't find anything. We love the car, but I'm concerned for my wife's safety, and trying to resolve the problem before the warranty expires. Thank you. - Leonard, from California.

As I'm sure you know, intermittent issues can be very difficult to troubleshoot. We haven't received any reports of similar problems from other owners. You might try asking the dealer to install a 'flight recorder'. This will record all the datastream and might help locate the fault. It could be many things. From the ignition switch to ASD relay to fuel pump. There are a lot of circuits that are not monitored by the computer. No code will be set if they fail. A recorder might tell if it's losing fuel or spark. This will help diagnose the fault. I wouldn't be overly concerned about warranty coverage. You've brought the problem to the attention of the dealer while in warranty and they've documented the problem. Hold onto your records in the event that the warranty expires prior to resolving the problem. Under these circumstances, they should honor the warranty.

 

1170. I have a 2001 LE PT with 23k miles. The HVAC system control knob on the right controls the inside and outside air. When I try to adjust the heat settings the knob keeps moving back to the colder A/C setting and will not stay on the setting I select. Then warmer air flows from the dash vents. Is a cable broken or is it controlled by a vacuum? Thanks in advance. - Mike, from Virginia.

You cannot use the defrost function with the recirculated air mode. It's designed to switch back to outside air to defog and defrost the windows.

 

1171. I have a 2002 LE 1.6L diesel PT with 57k miles. Is there a simple way to convert the headlamps from RHD to LHD drive mode? Some vehicles have a switch beneath the headlamp to move the shadow mask around. Does the PT? - Mark, from the U.K.

The light spread is designed into the headlamp housing reflector. They are different from RHD to LHD. You can order the housings from the dealership and swap them out. The mounting bracket should be the same.

 

1172. I have a 2003 GT (HO) with 5k miles. There seems to be some debate about how the performance of traction control (TC) compares to a limited-slip differential (LSD). I understand how both work, but am curious. Thank you for any feedback that you can provide. - Hal, from Iowa.

LSD - A differential fitted with a mechanism that limits the speed and torque differences between its two outputs. Limited slip ensures that some torque is always distributed to both wheels, even when one is on very slippery pavement.

TC - An enhancement of an existing ABS system that prevents wheel spin while accelerating on wet or slick surfaces. It uses the same wheel speed sensors to monitor wheel speed during acceleration, but requires some additional control solenoids and a pump to apply braking pressure to control wheel spin. The traction control system brakes the drive wheel that's starting to spin to shift torque to the opposite drive wheel that still has traction. Most traction control systems only operate at speeds up to about 30 mph (PT - 35mph). Additional control strategies that some traction control systems use to limit wheel spin include reducing the throttle opening, upshifting the transmission, retarding spark timing and deactivating fuel injectors.

Q. All else being equal, which (if any) actually performs "best" in winter snow driving?

A. "Best" is subjective. I believe that braking the wheel speed gets more traction.


Q. Does the PT's version of TC cut engine power in addition to braking the spinning front wheel, or is it a braking system only?

A. Traction control only applies braking to the spinning wheel.


Q. What method does the PT use to reduce power (if it does at all) -- e.g. cutting spark, cutting fuel?

A. Traction control only works below 35mph.


Q. TC would appear to be rather inefficient, as it brakes a wheel that has power applied to it, thus wasting the power as heat during acceleration. LSD, however, makes use of all available engine power (I think). Is this correct?

A. You are correct. However, spinning both wheels in snow or rain is useless. Applying braking power to stop a spinning wheel gets the traction you need.


Q. Does TC use promote premature brake pad wear on the front wheels?

A. Traction control is used very infrequently and only pulses a wheel below 35mph. Brake wear will be negligible.


Q. How does the PT's TC respond if BOTH front wheels are spinning -- e.g. does it try to brake both, and thus leave you stuck (aside from hitting the TRAC OFF button)?

A. Brakes will be applied to both wheels. A spinning wheel will leave you stuck. A slow turning wheel will get traction.

I've tested TC at the track many times. A spinning wheel will give a much slower ET than applied braking during a launch.

 

1173. I have a 2002 PT with 18k miles. The remote will no longer lock or arm. It will however unlock when manually armed and locked. I have put new batteries in the remote since the problem began several weeks ago. - Joel, from Florida.

Test the RKE system with your spare FOB to rule out any potential problems with the primary FOB. If you don't have a secondary FOB, have your local dealer test the primary FOB with their equipment. If the primary FOB is functioning correctly you may have a failing RKE module. Owners report that a number of these modules have failed and been replaced.

 

1174. I have a 2002 BE PT with 16k miles. I've heard lots of rumors regarding the lower A arm bushing replacement. My very low miles PT apparently has tears on the top side of the A arm, seemingly showing the (metal, does not appear to be shinny?) area underneath. It seems this may be an area where water and salt may enter causing premature wear. I asked the dealer to check the bushings and he said they were OK. What I didn't ask is condition of the 'seals'. Hope you can clarify this mystery? And do those that say they have a bushing problem, only have the tear problem? Thanks in advance. - Larry, from Michigan.

I've seen many that are slightly torn, but not faulty, and others that have completely separated from the metal center sleeve and the outer control arm. Small cracks and tears are expected. Total separation is cause for replacement with an upgraded bushing available from Energy Suspension (They are the only upgrade that I know of at this time.).

 

1175. I have a 2001 LE PT with 62k miles. My driver side brake light went out (passenger side is fine). I tried replacing the lamp, but it did not help. I was wondering if there are two separate fuses for the left/right brake lights? - Chris, from Washington.

There's only one fuse for both left and right stop lamps. Power is from fuse #12 (15amp) in the underhood Power Distribution Center. If the passenger side lamp works and the driver side lamp does not, first ensure that the new bulb is good and installed correctly. The circuit runs from the fuse to the brake switch on the brake pedal, then directly to the lamps. If the new lamp tests OK, you'll have to trace it back through the circuit. Could be a wire, connector at the lamp, a ground, etc. Wiring schematics are available through the Pit area if you need them.

 



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