The following is a compilation of Q&A's submitted by enthusiasts and answered by Ask Motor-Mike and Ed.
Part Forty Eight Q&A 1176 - 1200
1176. I have a 2001 TE PT with 87k miles. The engine started knocking 2 days ago, so I took the PT to a local DC dealer. They said that I need a new engine; the bearings for the camshaft are shot. Any idea how I can get a good engine that would possibly last more than 87k miles? I owe $7,800 on the car and the dealer said a new engine would cost $6,500 with no guarantee that it would last 80k miles. I really liked my car and treated it good, but I'm not very happy at the moment. Thank you. - Dwayne, from Colorado.
Normally, cam bearings don't just fail by 87K miles. Something has been done to cause premature engine wear. Properly built and maintained PT engines will go for several hundred thousand miles. We've had many owners with over 100k miles contact us and state that they haven't experienced any significant issues with their PT's. Did the dealer indicate why they thought the bearing failed at such a low mileage?
Follow up from owner - The dealership said, the bearings looked like they were oil deprived. I take the car to a Havoline shop every 3-4k miles and have them use synthetic oil. About 80% of my mileage are highway miles. I found a place on the Internet called NECO Engines that sell remanufactured engines. They claim they can install one in the PT for $4,300 with a 100k/5-year warranty. Investing $6,500 into a car that I owe $7,000 on, and in the end will only be valued at $8,000 is a tough decision. The dealership did not think it would be a good investment to replace the engine. $4,300 is much easier to swallow with a longer warranty. I just do not know if they can be 'trusted'. I appreciate your feedback.
PTDIY follow up - Were not familiar with the company that you mentioned, however Mike indicated that you should be able to rebuild it for $1-2K. I would shop around a bit more before making a decision.
1177. I have a 2002 LE 2.0L PT with 89k miles. The MIL indicator came on and I took the PT to a DC dealer. They said they could not find anything wrong and it must have just tripped. They reset it and said it was ok. A week later, the MIL light came back on again. Is there anyway I can reset the MIL to see if it stays off before I take it back to the Dealer? This intermittent issue could become quite expensive until it completely fails. I tried running the self diagnostic test and it showed "no fault". - Simon, from the U.K.
If the MIL comes on, you have codes stored in memory. If it stays on constantly, you should be able to read them on the odometer (although that might not be available in the export versions). If the MIL blinks a few times and goes out, there are codes stored as 'pending' codes. A scanner must be used to access those codes. Many inexpensive scan tools don't access pending codes.
Follow up from owner - I have just tried self-test B and got P0551 then P1684. I moved the car before I ran the test and this was the first time (since Thursday) the MIL was out when the engine was running. Thank you, your web site has been very helpful in finding out how to get the codes.
1178. I have a 2001 LE PT with 75k miles and manual transmission. I am planning to install a DynoMax muffler on my PT. Can I expect to hear that uncomfortable 3000rpm drone as described in other entries, if I retain the factory resonator and piping? - Steve, from Canada.
There is no resonator in the OE exhaust design. Yes, the drone will be very pronounced. To reduce the noise, you may want to consider adding a resonator.
1179. We have a 2001 TE PT with 60k miles. We discovered water in the left and right taillight housing. We first noticed the problem after running the PT through a car wash. Water actually gathered in the taillights and caused the bulbs to burst. Upon replacing the bulbs, we noticed water and rust on the sockets. After replacing the bulbs and reassembling and re-seating taillight covers, we noticed water condensation inside taillight covers. This seems to be a safety issue - I'm surprised there are no recalls. Please help. Thanks. - Robert, from Massachusetts.
Although this is a common problem with poorly designed early generation aftermarket APC taillights, we haven't received any complaints for the OE tail lamp assembly. Water in both tail lamp assemblies would be extremely unlikely and suggests an installation or defect issue. Unless the tail lamps were submerged in water the only likely area of entry for water would be through each assembly cover where it attaches to the sheet metal opening in the vehicle. Ensure that the covers are installed correctly and snugly over the sheet metal opening. Unfortunately, they can't be sealed more thoroughly, since this the only way to access the lamps. Condensation would indicate that the interior of the tail lamp assembly is still moist, or water has entered the assembly after the repair. You may have to remove the entire unit to thoroughly dry it out. A hair drier set to warm or hot air might be helpful during this process. Some owners who have installed APC lamps have drilled small holes in the lower part of the cover to add in drainage and reduce condensation, but I wouldn't recommend it with the OE lamps. According to the IPB the tail lamp bulb sockets can be ordered separately. You might want to replace them if the originals have rusted. Verify the P/N with the parts department vendor before ordering - P/N 4805 206AA SOCKET, Tail Lamp (1 ea). If the problem persists have your local dealer inspect the lamp assemblies for an installation problem or defect. Hopefully they can address it without replacing each unit. You might also consider hand washing the PT; automatic car washes are hard on the paint. :) See the Pit area for the tail lamp unit removal guide, if you need one.
1180. I have a 2001 LE PT with 62k miles. I am currently having problems with my engine over-heating. The temperature gauge will remain at normal temp ONLY if I keep the heater "ON". As soon as I turn the heater off, the temperature gauge starts to go up. I can drive in the highway with the heater OFF, and temperature gauge will remain normal, but as soon as I stop at a light or stay idle, the gauge goes up again. Now, if I keep the heater "ON" all the time, the temperature gauge remains normal whether I am highway driving, or stop and go driving. I think I might have a fan issue, but do not want to spend $279 for an OE replacement, if it may not even be the problem. What do you advise? - Rick, from New Jersey.
The entire cooling system needs to be diagnosed. A faulty temp sensor, fan motor, fan relay, or clogged radiator may be the cause. You must test each part of the system prior to throwing parts at it. When was the cooling system last flushed? If the fan motor is failing see the Top 10 Issues List for less expensive options before replacing the OE radiator module.
1181. I have a 2001 LE PT with 46k miles. The air bag system light came on and will not go off, and the horn and cruise control feature no longer work. Are these problems related to each other; how do I go about fixing the problem? I have checked the fuses under the dash and they seem fine, but have not checked the others, would one bad fuse on one of these three components affect the other two? Please help. - Michael, from Georgia.
The most likely cause is the clockspring inside the steering wheel. A number of these have failed and been replaced. DC has issued TSB's for each model year relating to clockspring issues. The ABS light tells us that diagnostic codes need to be read with a scanner to help locate the circuit fault. If you like, you can review the clockspring TSB's in the Pit area for complete information.
Follow up from owner - Thanks for the advice, I took it to the dealer, that is exactly what it was, the part was $95, $79 to tell me what I already told them, and then labor on top of that, overall it was $246 and some change. Problems seem to be fixed.
1182. I have a 2002 LE PT with 71k miles. I was driving down the road one day with my windows up, when all of a sudden I started coughing hard. Next thing I knew, the driver side compartment area was full of smoke and I couldn't breathe or see much. I rolled down the windows and was finally was able to pull over. A mechanic I know looked at it and said it had caught fire. I took it to the dealer, but they said because my warranty was up it would cost me approximately $300 to replace, even though it could have killed me. What do I do? - Alexis, from Arizona.
I'm glad to hear that you weren't hurt as a result of this incident. Yours is the first report of an issue like this, but I'm not clear what you're asking "What do I do?" You are well beyond your warranty period; if a part simply failed, it is reasonable that the dealer expected you to pay for the repair. If you're not happy with the way the dealer resolved the problem contact DC customer assistance at 1-800-992-1997.
If you're more concerned with the safety aspect then the repair bill it would be helpful to try and determine what actually caused the fire. Did the dealer indicate that the seat heater simply failed, was defective or that it was improperly installed? Gather as much information as you can then contact DC customer assistance and or NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). You can lodge a complaint with the NHTSA if you suspect a defect or safety problem with your car.
1183. I have a 2002 LE PT with 49k miles. I replaced the front brake pads at around 24k miles. The dealer changed the pads, turned the rotors and de-glazed the rear brakes. The rear brakes sound like they're grinding - like metal to metal. The dealer said I still have 75% of rear pads left. They cleaned the brakes, which stopped the noise for a short while. Each time I go over a little bump in the road, or drive through a gravel parking lot, at very slow speeds, I feel a looseness that feels like the front wheels might be about to fall off. Any help would be appreciated. - Ceissia, from Texas.
The metallurgy of the rear drums is the most likely cause of noise. The composition of materials in the brake shoes is another issue. There are upgraded shoe products available in the aftermarket. Hopefully, they didn't install the Mopar value line pads as replacement pads on the front. They're a lower grade pad then the OE pad. You may want to review the brake guide in the Pit area for recommended aftermarket brake components. The suspension could use a close inspection of the lower control arm bushings. Many have been found to separate from the center pin and control arm bore.
1184. I have a 2002 LE PT with 32k miles. It's been about -50 here in Ottawa and my PT won't start. I needed a boost, and called service. He could not open the hood. We both tried to pull at the latch and tug at the hood, but it must be frozen solid. - Judy, from Canada.
At this point, there is no help, other than warmer temperatures. Once you get it opened, be sure to coat the latch assembly with silicone lube or spray grease. This will help keep the water from freezing the latch. (If the PT is garaged you might try using (under safe operating conditions) a hair dryer on the hot setting to thaw the latch, however be careful not to force it open - you could damage the cable and or latch mechanism.)
1185. I have a 2003 TE PT with 12k miles. The trip odometer keeps resetting itself back to zero. I have seen a few other posts on your site mentioning the same problem, but there doesn't seem to be any word from Chrylser. I have spoken with a few other 2003 owners and they have the same problem. It may be fine for a week, days...or maybe hours. It appears to be related to the cold weather, since I don't notice it happening in the warm weather, but then again I don't drive the PT as much in the summer. I'd like to see if there was some sort of "fix" before my dealer starts "playing around" with the car. Have you heard any more on the subject since the posts I have seen? - Bruce, from New York.
Several owners have reported a problem with the odometer automatically resetting itself to zero, however no one has determined the exact cause or fix for the issue. Forum posts by owners' have suggested that a poor ground or static discharge is creating the problem. A few owners have reported success with thoroughly cleaning the OE grounding strap connections between the negative battery terminal and vehicle body. Other owners report replacing the OE clamps and grounding wires with beefier aftermarket parts and or a heavier ground wire. All of these repairs have met with mixed results. In some instances the repair was effective and in other instances it had no affect. DC has been investigating the issue and has determined that replacing the instrument cluster will not resolve the problem, however thus far they haven't come up with a fix.
1186. I have a 2001 TE PT with 60k miles. At first my interior door locks would click 20 or more times each time I drove the car. This lasted 2 weeks, but there was no movement of lock knobs, then it stopped. Now I can't automatically lock the doors from inside or outside...it's dead. I ran the diagnostic tests, but no faults were present. Two good mechanics said they were stumped...one replaced a fuse, and the other said he couldn't communicate with the PT's PCM on this issue. There are no other electrical issues except that a few window switches aren't lit and my odometer isn't as bright as it should be. I have a portable CD player, which I connect to AC/DC outlet, and started using around the time of my lock failure. Thanks. - Glenn, from Vermont.
You will need to have it diagnosed and verified, but the most likely cause is a faulty REKM. The second is a faulty door switch. A professional scanner can access the body controls and see the door switch status. See the Top 10 Issues List in the Pit area for more information on the RKE module.
1187. I have a 2002 BE PT with 32k miles. Yesterday I took my PT to the dealership to have a tune-up. I was previously informed that it consisted only of replacement of the OE spark plugs at this point. Anyway, they said it would take approximately and 1-1.5 hours to complete due to the plenum that has to be removed in order to access the spark plugs. After completion my car was sputtering noticeably at idle. When I brought it in that morning these problems weren't evident. I quickly brought this to the attention of the manager, who initially told me he didn't feel anything, but then relented and said he'd have one of the technicians take a look at it. They hooked it up to a handheld DRB scan tool and said it should idle at 800rpm, and that just beyond 800rpm it would show any fluctuations, with a 10% plus or minus fluctuation. Well it got as low as 798 and as high as 825, and once at 889. He wanted to tell me that this sputtering/aggressive vibration was indicative of this type of car and was normal. And that maybe because the plugs were changed I expected something else. He noted that he could get a new car (manual) (mine is automatic) and it too would perform the same way. I informed him that I drove this car on a daily basis, and would have noticed this problem if it existed prior to the plug change. I'm scheduled to return later in the month so they can thoroughly (pretend to look at it) inspect it. Could it be that the spark plugs are not gapped properly or maybe the plenum is not seated properly? Oh they also mentioned that I had some oil pan leaks which was reduced to seepage - though minimal, but recommended a transmission flush and replace oil pan gasket. I don't recall in the manual any reference to flushing the transmission, only drain and replacing the fluid at 48000 miles. Any assistance you could provide would greatly be appreciated. Thank you. - Ms. Simmons, from Florida.
The intake manifold gaskets are reusable, so that's not an issue. They may have created a vacuum leak during the removal. They may have the plugs gapped wrong, or even installed the wrong ones. It may be a faulty plug. Let them rework it and cure the fault.
The transmission flush is their way of draining the fluid without removing the pan or installing a new filter. It's an expensive way to cut corners and make more profit. Under the severe usage maintenance schedule (B) it is not necessary to change the fluid and filter until 48k miles.
The oil pan gasket may require a second opinion, however I wouldn't worry about it if there aren't oil drops on the garage floor.
1188. I have a 2001 BE PT with 50k miles. I was involved in an accident and told my PT had a bent rear axle. Does this constitute a "totaled" car? What is the process of replacing a real axle? - Shirley, from Arkansas.
I don't think a bent straight axle would make a PT totaled without substantial damage in other areas. There is no 'axle' as in rear wheel drive cars. There is only a straight mount with spindles on each end. The WATTS linkage provides the suspension, along with the springs and shocks. Replacing the entire rear rolling assembly would not be very difficult. (Unable to reply via email - invalid email address.)
1189. We have a 2001 LE PT with 50k miles. Back in January 02, with 8k miles, I installed a Whipple Supercharger. Since the installation I have had significant detonation at 3/4 throttle or more, misfires at idle, and significant low load surging. For the last 40k miles I have tried to diagnose the problems, with the help of Whipple, and have not found a solution. I have replaced the OE MAP, 2 ignition coils, TPS sensor, re-gapped and replaced the plugs, added new wires, and 3 EGR assemblies. Other than ordering Whipples new Piggyback ECU at a cost of $1000 and the bypass kit at $450, Whipple offers no assistance. I have read that you have installed several systems without issues and hope you can help. I have monitored the A/F from idle to full throttle and find that I am consistently rich (11.4 - 12.2). I believe this is a timing issue that may have not been addressed in the early kits. Your input is greatly appreciated. - Brian, from Georgia.
As you have discovered the replaced parts all work fine. There have been no common faults in the Chrysler MAP sensors, ignition coils, or TPS sensors. They would trigger a diagnostic code for the respective circuit if there were a fault. The EGR's that have required replacement all triggered codes P0401 and P0403 for a control solenoid failure. The problem is entirely in the Whipple system, and always has been. If Whipple told you to throw Chrysler parts at it in hopes of a better running Whipple, they didn't do a correct job of engineering the supercharger or customer service. They know there are problems in their controls. They need to stand behind the ones they sold, as they quietly pull production and hope to quietly be forgotten. They made a buttload of profit and want to sneak away after distributing a product that can only be deemed a complete failure. Although many Whipple owners are still around, none of them work as they were promised. Everyone has decided to just live with the faults after spending way too much on the investment.
1190. I have a 2001 LE PT with 63k miles. I am experiencing low mpg, hesitation, rough idle and lots of exhaust clouding. All of this has occurred in the last month. It first started with the antifreeze being very low. Took almost a gallon of 50/50 to bring back to normal. No leaks or smell of burnt fluid, but hesitation and rough idle till it warms up fully. Hesitation at highway speeds and temperature gauge moves constantly between half line and 3/8 line. DTC fault codes P0401, P0403, P1494 and P1684. Service at the dealer says it maybe a loose EGR hose and a leak detection pump. What is a leak detection pump? Due to twice a year 3000 mile round trips, and daily commute of 50 mile round trip I change the oil every 3000 miles using Valvoline 10-30w full synthetic. I try and check all the fluids, but cant figure out the cloudy catch can on the antifreeze. On trips I can get anywhere from 28-30 mpg's, or at least 300 miles between fill ups with 1/4 left on the gauge. All in all I love the car. These problems started a week after I got back from the last trip. Thank you. - Jeremy, from New York.
P0401 (M) EGR System Failure - Required change in air/fuel ration not detected during diagnostic test.
P0403 (M) EGR Solenoid Circuit - An open or shorted condition detected in the EGR solenoid control circuit.
The EGR and solenoid must be replaced. They are a popular failure in the winter. It seems the moist air freezes inside the solenoid, causing the diaphragm to rupture. This will cure both the P0401 and P0403 codes. You'll need a SM, or the procedure is available through the Pit area on the site.
P1494 (M) Leak Detection Pump Sw or Mechanical Fault - Incorrect input state detected for the Leak Detection Pump (LDP) pressure switch.
You may want to get the LDP code diagnosed via the diagnostic manual procedures. It could be the pump or circuits. The leak detection pump is part of the emissions control system and used to detect leaks in early model year PT's. If it's the pump, you will have to drop the fuel tank to access the LDP for replacement. A guide is available thorough the Pit area on the site.
The Natural Vacuum Leak Detection (NVLD) system is the next generation evaporative leak detection system that will first be used on vehicles equipped with the Next Generation Controller (NGC) starting in 2002 M.Y (2003 PT's-Present). This new system replaces the leak detection pump as the method of evaporative system leak detection. This is to detect a leak equivalent to a 0.0209 (0.5mm) hole. This system has the capability to detect holes of this size very dependably.
P1684 Battery Loss In The Last 50 Starts - The code indicates system readiness.
1191. A Q&A mentions that brake drums manufactured in Mexico tend to be noisy. How do I determine if I have a brake drum manufactured in Mexico; are there any P/N's to check? Thank You. - Rogelio, from Texas.
All domestic (U.S.) PT's are built in DC's Toluca, Mexico assembly plant, which is where the drums are manufactured.
1192. I have a 2001 TE PT with 106k miles. When locking the drivers' door the automatic door lock makes a buzzing sound. This only happens when locking. The noise seems to be coming from just under the door pull near the keyhole. Any Ideas? Thanks. - Art, from Massachusetts.
It may be the door lock motor. I would remove the door trim panel to inspect the lock motor, and test the current draw compared to another door lock. If you don't have a SM see the door trim panel and door latch guides in the Pit area if you need help.
1193. I have a 2004 BE PT with 18k miles. What is the best way to raise the vehicle and place it on 4 jack stands? - Chris, from Illinois.
The owner/service manuals are somewhat ambiguous with regard to this process. They do not outline a simple consumer procedure for lifting the vehicle. And who knows what they (DC) were thinking when they composed this information. I suspect, in the case of the service manual, the presumption is that a professional mechanic is working on the vehicle and they have lifts, therefore that is the preferred lifting method. In the case of the owner manual, DC probably does not address it directly because they don't want their customers performing maintenance with the OE scissors jack. Perhaps, from their perspective it's a potential liability issue. They expect the consumer to lift one side of the vehicle or the other using the OE jack, for changing a flat tire, but not both sides at the same time (instability) or for performing routine maintenance.
You might check with your local dealer for their preferred method. Or with the vehicle positioned on a level, dry and solid surface, you could place a floor jack at the lifting point, lift the vehicle, place the jack stand as close as a possible to the lifting point, and lower the floor jack. Repeat for all 4 corners. I would lift the front first, then the rear, and chock each set of wheels opposite the lifting point. (Four lifting points are shown in the owners' manual. There are visible frame contact points, just ahead of the front doors and behind the rear doors.)
1194. I have a 2002 DC PT with 53k miles. The driver's side heated seat is not working. When I press the switch to High the LED flashes once, but stays off. When I press the switch to Low the LED flashes slowly for about 30 seconds, then turns off. The seat does not heat in either position. Do you think I have a faulty switch? Thanks. - Tim, from the USA.
No, I don't believe that it's the switch. The heated seat system is capable of performing some self-diagnostics. The failure modes are reported to the occupant via flashing of the heated seat switch Light-Emitting Diode (LED) indicators. Flashing LED indicators on the driver side switch indicate that a fault exists in the driver side portion of the system. The LED indicators will flash at a rate of approximately one-half second on, and one-half second off for a duration of one minute. This process will repeat each time an attempt is made to turn the system on with the heated seat switches until the problem has been corrected. When the switch is set to the High position and no flashing occurs, and to the Low position and flashing occurs, this indicates the following failure - NTC Sensor Value Out of Range.
The heated seat system includes two seat heating elements in each front seat; one for the seat cushion and the other for the seat back. All models use two carbon fiber mesh heating elements for each seat that are connected in parallel with the Heated Seat Module (HSM). The temperature sensor is a Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) thermistor. One temperature sensor is used for each seat, and located on the seat cushion heating element for all models. The heated seat elements and the temperature sensor cannot be adjusted or repaired and, if faulty or damaged a new service part must be installed.
Additional information about system, testing and or replacing the heating elements and NTC seat sensor are available through the Pit area on the site.
1195. I have a 2003 LE PT with 26k miles. I'm in the military in the United Kingdom, but my PT is a domestic model. My radio tunes in 200khz steps vs. 100khz steps, i.e. 97.1, 97.3 etc. Is there a way to change the tuning steps to 97.1, 97.2 etc. so it will work better in UK and Europe? - Robin, from the U.K.
Sorry to say, but from the information I can find, they use a completely different radio model in the export versions of the PT. You may want to check with a local DC dealer; you might be able to swap an U.K. radio if the connectors match up in the rear.
1196. I have a 2001 LE PT with 29k miles. I can not find a schematic for the oxygen sensor, to determine which wire is the signal wire, so I can install my air fuel meter. - Travis, from Arkansas.
The information is on page 8W-80-36 of the 2001 service manual. I believe it is dark green with black stripe. It better be a 2001 PT, because the 2002 and later use a DC bias voltage on the signal lead. They are not compatible with air/fuel gauges. See the Pit area for additional information.
1197. I have a 2002 TE PT with 34k miles. I have smelling occasional whiffs of sulfur from the exhaust. It's not a heavy odor, just an occasional whiff. The car receives regular service, including the 30k one recently. No hard use and no codes showing. Is it just a load of bad gas, or is there a more serious explanation? - David, from New Jersey.
Try another brand of fuel to see if the odor changes or stops. This may be normal for your regional winter blend of fuel. The smell of rotten eggs, a continuous burning sulfur like smell, can also indicate a problem with the catalytic converter or other emission control devices. We have received reports of a few catalytic converter failures. You may want to have it checked out if the fuel change yields no change. Don't delay diagnosis and repair.
1198. We have a 2002 LE PT with 35k miles. While having the battery serviced and area corrosion cleaned up, the mechanic showed me that "ends" of the shifter cables, which were basically gone! The cables were not securely attached. He had to replace the entire cable assembly since "service units" are not sold. According to DC they sell "tons of these cables". I have checked numerous sites and haven't found any comments on this subject. Was I ripped off? Thanks. - Mel, from Florida.
They are nearly correct. They sell tons of cables, although not many PT's are 5-speed transmissions. They only sell it as an entire cable. The bushings are available from the aftermarket. I think Energy Suspension sells them. I'm not 100% sure of the brand name.
PT DIY follow up - Greg Edwards experienced a similar issue with his PT and reported difficulty in locating aftermarket replacement bushing. He developed an inexpensive fix for this problem which you can review here.
1199. I have a 2003 TE PT with 21k miles. I start my PT, back up in my driveway about 100'; when I take my foot off the accelerator to cover the brake at the end of the driveway, the car stalls and the fuel injector floods out. This problem has occurred four times since December 2004.I had to have fuel injector service when the car was only 2 months old and had less than 3000 miles on it. I did not use the car much at all last winter. I took the car to the dealer on Feb.14. They ran diagnostics and could not find any computer codes of the event happening. The last time the car did this I called and had it towed to the dealer where they still are not able to find a thing wrong. I am getting a bit frustrated. Any thoughts? - Walter, from Michigan.
I'm not sure how you know all 4 fuel injectors flood the cylinders. They will stop flowing fuel the instant the ASD relay shuts down in a stall condition. There is no choke. The cold air enrichment is controlled by the PCM via the idle air control motor. If it's clogged or faulty, the car may stall.
1200. I have a 2001 LE with 15k miles. One rainy day after driving approximately 3 miles the power steering died as I turned left into a parking lot from a complete stop. It seemed to have some assist if I revved the engine. I took it to a shop, where I was told the power steering pump needed to be replaced, but it would take 3 days to get the pump. I drove the car home that night and let it sit. The next day I drove it to work, without power assist. At lunch I got in car to take it to the shop. I drove about 100 yards turned left and nearly drove off the road as the power assist suddenly returned. I took it to the shop where they said "just drive it and see if it happens again". After a week, I still have power steering, but now I can hear the PS groan and feel it in the steering wheel. It may be a separate problem, but about a month ago I heard a "thunk" that has gotten progressively worse. I took it to a shop and they couldn't hear or feel anything, and the front end seemed tight. Now the "thunk" is loud enough that my wife can hear it as I hit a bump, mainly with the right tire. There is no unusual tire tread wear. It can be felt through the steering wheel. Thanks. - Phillip, from Missouri.
If the pump was spinning and not making terrible noises while the assist was dead, I would look more closely at the PS rack & pinion assembly. If the pump was spinning quietly, it should have been pumping fluid into the rack and back to the pump. At that point, it would be the rack that wasn't allowing the fluid to assist in turning the vehicle. The pump only connects to the steering wheel via 2 fluid hoses. It's the rack that bolts directly to the steering shaft. Any clunking noise over bumps would require a close look at the control arm bushings. They have been a popular fault.
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