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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 Fifty Two Q&A 1276 - 1300

1276. I have a 2001 LE PT with 139k miles. The automatic transmission suddenly started to make a whining noise during engine acceleration while driving and parked. It appears to come out of gear at times as though it is losing hydraulic pressure. The fluid is still bright red; there is no burnt smell and I cannot see any metal. I have never changed the filter or fluid, but will change tomorrow hoping it is an issue with the filter. Do you have any suggestions on what to look for? Thanks. – Mike, from Tennessee.

Your description sounds like the transmission has worn the clutches to a point that the TCM cannot adapt any further to compensate. The clutch volume index CVI may have reached its operational limit due to normally worn clutches. If you did not maintain the transmission with proper fluid and filter changes, I suspect that the pan magnet and filter are full of clutch material.  For comparison, consider traveling 140k miles without a change vs. changing the transmission fluid every 24-30K miles; 5 transmission flushes at a retail cost of $80 will cost $400 over 4 years, instead of $2400 for a new transmission due all at once. Maintenance is always a more cost effective method. Looks like a trip to the dealer may be in order for further diagnostics.

Follow up from owner - I dropped the transmission pan and there is some metal dust collected on the magnet. I think this may be just due to normal wear and tear as it is not much. I replaced the filter and fluid and it seems to be running and shifting normal again. I live on a 1200' mountain and it pulled it with ease. In the future, I'll pay attention to the maintenance on the transmission.

PTDIY Follow up - Keep in mind that the material clogging the filter is from the clutch friction plates. What's in the filter has worn off the clutches. The TCM can only modify the CVI enough to keep the clutch packs engaged until they are worn past the CVI index limits. After that, it's time for a new transmission or rebuild.

 

1277. I have a pre-owned 2001 BE PT with 78k miles. My problem is with the oil drain plug. The plug that is on there is not the OE plug. The threads may have been stripped out and an insert has been added. The plug has a gray plastic washer around the flange, which over time has deformed and split. What I get now is an annoying drip of oil on the floor below the plug. I have replaced the split washer with a modified nylon one, however it is not as tight around the threads as I would like it and I'm still experiencing the remnants of this hanging drip. Is there any other way I can seal this plug with another type of gasket (Possibly rubber captured by metal)? I need something with a firmer diameter so it will not compress and deform? Thank you. – Mike, from New Jersey.

A replacement drain plug with the correct rubber sealing gasket will probably resolve the issue and is available at any professional parts store. NAPA has over 30 different plugs available in their Balkamp product line.

 

1278. I have a 2001 LE PT with 33.4k miles. When I turn on the headlights only the high beams come on. I can't dim them down. I ran the self tests and checked the fuses, all were ok. All lights (emergency flashers, turn signals, both bulbs in headlight, fog lights) only work when the high beams are on? Is this a multifunction switch problem? If so, is it serviceable or can be it cleaned with WD40? – Diane, from Nebraska.

The most likely cause is a failing multifunction switch. They have become a common fault. There is no relay for the headlights, so the high current draw for the lights creates excessive heat. This leads to premature switch burnout. The Chrysler engineers missed using a simple relay to keep the high power out of the switch. The only relay used is to turn off the fog lamps when the high beams are selected. The switch can not be repaired, and cleaning won't help. You'll find an OE replacement guide in the Pit area.

 

1279. I have a 2002 TE PT with 60k miles. This problem has just started recently and I have been unable to find a cause. The problem occurs at different times. Sometimes when I start the car the speedometer will spike all the way over several times, and the car will start to stall. The speedometer then goes back to 0 MPH and the car will go back to normal idle conditions. The car will then operate normally. A similar problem also occurs while driving. When accelerating from a stop sign or light the speedometer will pike to around 30 to 40 mph, the engine will hesitate and then the speedometer goes back to normal and the car once again operates normally. The problem started out only happening once a week, it now happens everyday, several times a day. – Eric, from New York.

The output speed sensor may be faulty, or the related circuit from the sensor to the TCM. You need to watch the datastream with a scanner to view the sensor output to the TCM.

Follow up from owner – I am now getting a check engine light. When checking, the code that comes up is P1193, indicating bad IAT voltage. I removed the Output Vehicle Speed Sensor. It appeared to be covered with a grey liquid substance. Upon further examination I believe it is metal shavings. I wiped the sensor off and put it back in. Upon starting the car the P1193 error has cleared. I road tested the car. The speedometer is still surging, but the accelerating/ driving is not affected. I suspect that more of the fillings are reattached to the sensor.

PTDIY follow up - Metal shavings in the output sensor area is a bad sign of an impending catastrophic failure. The sensor is a magnetic hall-effect sensor. It's a magnet.

 

1280. I have a 2004 GT (HO) PT with 13k miles. I can't seem to find a suitable chip for the GT Turbo. I have a VW with an APR chip that dramatically increased the power. I want to increase the GT Cruiser's in the same fashion. Thanks. - Rick, from Florida

The Mopar stage-1 upgrade would probably be the best choice for you. There's an OE installation guide in the Pit area you can review for additional information.

 

1281. I have a 2002 BE PT with 43k miles. The front power windows will not go down. They make the sound to go up, but they don't go down. Is there a fuse, or is it a window motor problem? How and can I fix this myself? Thanks. - Josh, Pennsylvania.

If the rear window's work from the dash mounted switch assembly, then the problem is a faulty Express Down Module. The Module / Switch assembly will probably have to be replaced. If you would like to DIY, a diagnostic and replacement guide is available through the Pit area on the site.

 

1282. Robert, from California wrote that his 2001 PT developed a popping noise in the front suspension at around 65k miles. The dealer replaced numerous parts including struts, motor mounts, transmission mount, sway bar bushings, etc., but the intermittent noise continued. He finally diagnosed the problem as a dry ball joint and replaced the factory plug with a zerk fitting and re-lubed the ball joint. The PT currently has 90k miles and the noise has not returned.

 

1283. We have a 2001 LE PT with 55k miles. When the fuel tank is full the fuel gauge does not register full. It is slightly below full. – Bob, from Canada.

There is a TSB for this issue, which affected some 2001 model year PT's built before March 22, 2000. If you would like to review the complete TSB, it's available in the Pit area on the site. (Unable to reply to by email -bounced back as undeliverable.)

 

1284. I have a 2001 BE PT with 52k miles. The plug to my passenger side head light looks as though it has melted. I cannot find a new plug or wire harness. The bulb is new, but does not work. - Cindy, from Washington.

It is part of a larger harness and can't be purchased separately. The easiest and most inexpensive solution would be to locate a replacement pigtail from a local salvage yard. I've not seen any lamp sockets melt with someone using OE bulbs. Higher wattage aftermarket lamps are a popular item, but can cause damage.

 

1285. I have a 2001 BE PT with 77.8k miles. My PT is overheating. It gets hot enough to boil the coolant. The A/C works perfectly as long as the car is moving, but cannot cool while it sits still. In a visual observation, I did not see the radiator fan spinning when I turned the A/C on full blowing. I believe this is the problem, but I am not sure. Can something like this be fixed with a fuse, or is this an electrical fan issue? Would the fan need to be replaced? Thanks. - Mariah, from Florida.

The low and high speed fan relays control the electric fan assembly. They are PCM controlled, based on the input from the engine temp sensor. They are disabled above 35mph, but should cycle normally at all other times. My 1st step in diagnosis would be to command the fans to run with a scanner. If they are inoperative, the power and ground circuits will be checked. It's a very simple circuit. Either the fan has failed, or the power/ground circuit is open, or the PCM control circuit is faulty. You'll find an OE replacement fan and diagnostic guide in the Pit area. If the fan is faulty make sure to review this topic in the Top 10 Issues List prior to replacement. It could save you a considerable amount of money in repairs.

 

1286. I have a pre-owned 2001 BE PT with 76k miles. Yesterday I tried to open my locked doors with my keyless FOB. The doors would not immediately open. After a couple of pushes on the button, the doors finally opened. I figured that the batteries in the unit might need replacement. I purchased new batteries and opened up the unit to replace them. I closed the case and tried to use the unit again. The locks would not open. When they finally did, they would not lock. I keep pressing the unlock switch and they will not open. I have now noticed that the red LED flashes quickly for the 16 seconds as stated in the owner manual. After it stops, the LED flashes quickly. It used to flash slowly. I purchased the car used 2 weeks ago and all has worked fine until this evening. Could the keyless entry unit be going bad? If it is, how can I get a replacement? Thank you. - Mark, from New Jersey.

All PT's come with 2 remotes, make sure you try it with both transmitters. If you experience the same results the RKE Module is likely to be the fault. The RKEM is a dealer only part; it can't be purchased elsewhere. Check with a few of your local DC dealers; it's not uncommon to see some variations in price. You'll find more information on the RKE Module in the Top 10 Issues List and the RKE System Guide in the Pit area. The system guide includes some diagnostic tests, and a RKE replacement procedure, however you would need a DRB scan tool in order to DIY.

 

1287. I have a 2005 Platinum Turbo (LO) PT with 21k miles. I need to add refrigerant to the air conditioning system, but cannot locate the low pressure hose/valve that I am supposed to hook up the refrigerant to. – Dennis, from Ohio.

The SM references a low side service port located on the liquid line near the accumulator and a high side service port located on the discharge line near the compressor. Unfortunately, the PT A/C system does use a sight glass to check or charge the system. To avoid overcharging they recommend evacuating the system completely before filling it. Care must be taken not overcharge the refrigerant system, as excessive compressor head pressure can cause noise and system failure. That said, if the refrigerant system is low on a new PT with only 21k miles, there may be another issue to consider. A leak at any line fitting or component seal is likely. A review of the fittings, lines and components for oily residue is an indication of the leak location. Given the model year and mileage, this issue would be covered under the warranty. OE diagnostics and procedures are available in the OE SM or through the Pit area on the site.

 

1288. We have a 2002 TE PT with 82k miles. We brought the PT in for regular maintenance and the dealer indicated that they lower control arm needed to be replaced. Is this a repairable component on the PT or must it be replaced when faulty? Thank you. – Darren, from Iowa.

That would depend on the issue. There is one lower control arm on each side of the vehicle. Each lower control arm is a stamped steel unit using rubber isolated pivot bushings to isolate it from the front suspension crossmember and frame of the vehicle. The lower control arm supports the lower end of the steering knuckle and allows for the up and down movement of the suspension during the jounce and rebound travel. The lower control arm ball joint connects the arm to the steering knuckle. The ball joint is a pivotal joint on the lower control arm that allows the knuckle to move up and down, and turn with ease.

The control arms are inspected for signs of damage from contact with the ground or road debris. If they show any sign of damage, they are checked for distortion. If damaged, the lower control arm stamping is serviced only as a complete component. If ok, the only serviceable components of the lower control arm are: the ball joint, the ball joint grease seal and the lower control arm rear isolator bushing.

We haven't received many reports from domestic PT owners regarding faulty lower control arms, but there have been some complaints regarding worn OE bushing. The bushings appear to be a more significant issue on export PT's, then domestically, given the number of forum posts by owners in the UK and Australia.

Some owners have reported good results using replacement aftermarket polyurethane bushings, which are advertised to improve suspension performance and outlast the softer OE bushing.

 

1289. I have a 2003 TE PT with 37.7k miles. I was in an accident and the radiator had to be replaced, along with the water pump. I picked up the repaired PT, drove it for 12 miles, at which point it overheated, and I returned to the shop. The shop stated that they were unable to duplicate the overheating problem and insisted that I take the vehicle. I drove the PT another 15 miles and it started to overheat again. They continued to refuse to check for overheating damage and claimed once again they were unable to duplicate (Chrysler 5 Star Dealership) the problem. I refused to accept car without further testing and had it towed to another 5 star dealership. They were able to duplicate the problem by driving it approximately 15 miles. They resurfaced the heads, replaced valves, etc. Two weeks later I had the oil changed. They pressure checked the radiator cap and it failed. They replaced the OE radiator cap with an CST radiator cap. Seven days later, while driving, the PT overheated to a raging boil and I had it towed again to the dealer. They are claiming that they are not going to warranty the work and correct the damage because of the cap. Has anyone else replaced a cap with a aftermarket cap and had their warrant voided? I contacted the MFG to insure that correct aftermarket was used, they sent me the specs and it is the correct cap. – Cindy, from California.

Generally speaking, the use of an aftermarket part does not in itself void the warranty, but if the dealership can show that the subsequent damage occurred because of the aftermarket part, they can void the warranty.

That being said, if you can show that the aftermarket thermostat has the same specifications as the OE model and was functioning correctly when the PT overheated, you may be able to convince DC to cover the costs. I would follow up with DC customer assistance for help. Have all your information available, speak calmly, but be firm and persistent. If the rep indicates that they can't help, thank them and ask to speak with their supervisor, and if need be, so on, and so on up the food chain. I don't want to second guess the dealership, but it wouldn't be the first time a dealership was unable to diagnose the exact cause of an issue. The aftermarket thermostat may have been viewed as a convenient out for them. You mentioned resurfacing the heads and replacing the valves. We have received a few reports from owners regarding difficult to diagnose over-heating problems, which turned out to be warped or cracked heads. You can read about some of the issues here.

 

1290. I have a 2001 TE PT with 50k miles. I cannot shift into any gear with the engine turned on, but can shift with the engine turned off. I ran the vehicle self tests, which resulted in no faults. I also noticed that when in gear with the clutch fully depressed, the car will move. – Art, from Nevada.

I would closely inspect the clutch master and slave cylinder operation. It sounds like the clutch is not releasing and the engine is constantly turning the transmission input shaft.

 

1291. I have a 2001 LE PT with 53k miles. My PT is making a clunking sound when I drive over bumps. I have narrowed it down to the bell crank, which can easily be moved back and forth. I am having trouble finding a replacement part since I am in the military overseas and can't go to a dealer. Can the bearing be replaced? Do you know where I can purchase OE parts over the internet? Thanks. – Jeff, stationed in Great Britain.

According to the OE SM; the cast iron bell crank has a non-serviceable sealed-for-life bearing mounted in the center of it through which it is fastened to the axle.

I would think that you could special order parts through a local DC dealer in Great Britain. The only OE parts/dealer that we are aware of who ships to some destinations outside the US is Wyckoff Chrysler. You might want to contact them. See the PT DIY Club page for the link and part discounts.

 

1292. I have a 2004 BE PT with 6k miles and a manual transmission. When accelerating, as I run up through 3rd gear around 4,000 RPM the vehicle will start to vibrate / shudder. There is no vibration in the steering wheel, just vibration from the whole front of the car. When I let up on the gas the vibration stops. When I re-apply the gas it vibrates again. It also does it in 4th gear, but not quite as noticeable. It has done this since new. Tire rotation had no effect. Before I take it to the dealer I would like to know what this could be, is it a common problem? Thanks. – Robert, from California.

A few owners have reported vibration issues, which were usually related to suspension or tire/wheel components. Your description of a speed sensitive vibration suggests several possibilities: Tire imbalance; Wheel to axle mounting errors; Radial or lateral runout of the rim, tire or assembly; Worn, damaged or loose wheel bearings; Radial force variation of the tire sidewall; Severely worn, damaged or defective tire, and Loose tie rod end jam nut. There have also been issues for some owners with faulty OE Goodyear tires and or rims. You can read more about each of these issues in the Pit area on the site.

 

1293. I purchased a new 2005 BE PT without A/C. Of course the salesman said I can add factory A/C for about $1200. The service manager says it is not possible, and would not even consider it. He indicated that DC does not offer a kit. Has anyone done this yet? Any help would be greatly be appreciated. Thank you. – Larry from California.

The A/C is standard equipment on all PT editions, except for the entry level base edition, where it is optional. Yours is the first request that we have received regarding the addition of an A/C to the PT. The OE SM dedicates 3 chapters to the A/C and its related systems for maintenance and repair. Unfortunately it does not provide instructions for adding an A/C system to a PT that previously didn't include one, nor does it indicate if any of the related components are available in PT's that do not include the A/C option. The only A/C components that you would probably find in place would be components that are used by both the A/C and heater systems. In later year models DC enacted some cost saving measures by eliminating wiring harnesses for optional equipment absent from the vehicle. I would suggest that you physically check the HVAC system to determine what wiring is in place to support the A/C system. The OE parts manual indicates that components of the A/C system are available separately, but not sold as an optional kit. The installation of an option like this would be complex and expensive, and much higher than the quoted cost of $1200 for just the major A/C system components that are needed. These parts alone would consist of the recirculation door and actuator, evaporator core, compressor, condenser, accumulator, etc. And assuming that you could find a shop to install the system, the labor and PCM reprogramming costs would be substantial. In most cases the addition of OE optional equipment is most affordable when ordered at the time of sale and added to the vehicle during manufacturing.

Follow up from owner - I have inspected the vehicle and found the compressor and dryer wiring harnesses in place, and the mounting bracket for the compressor, plus the A/C relay and fuse. As a side note my 2005 does have a wiring harness that includes wiring for other options like fog lights, optional power outlet at dash, etc.  I will be happy to pass on what I find as I add air to this PT.

 

1294. I have a PT with 42k miles. I recently bought some tires at a local Tire plus outlet and they offered a free alignment with the purchase. The mechanic said he was unable to align the car because I needed a camber kit installed on my right front tire. I told them to replace it if I needed the kit. A week later I visited the local DC dealer and was told that I probably did not need the camber kit installed. They also checked my alignment and said it was way out of specs. Is the camber kit really necessary? - Armand, from Florida.

Camber is the inward or outward tilt of the tire/wheel assembly. This angle is measured from a true vertical line, i.e. perpendicular to the ground. A tire/wheel assembly that is tilted outward at the top is considered to have positive camber. While a tire/wheel assembly tilted inward at the top, displays negative camber. For a zero setting, the tire/wheel assembly is in the exact vertical position or perpendicular to the ground.

Camber outside or to the extreme limits of the specification will cause tire wear on the inside or outside of the tires. Unequal camber can cause your car to pull to one side. When you change your vehicle's height (tires, rims, shocks, springs, etc.) you can expect to change your vehicle's suspension geometry as well. Camber kits are used to bring your vehicle back to OE specifications when parts like this are added.

Front and rear camber settings on the PT are determined at the time the vehicle is designed, and by the location of the vehicle's suspension components. This is referred to as Net Build. The result is no required adjustment of camber after the vehicle is built or when servicing the suspension components. Thus, when performing a wheel alignment, camber is not normally considered an adjustable angle. Camber should be checked to ensure that it meets vehicle specifications. If the front camber is found not to meet alignment specifications, it can be adjusted using an available camber adjustment bolt package. The camber adjustment bolt package contains new bolts and nuts for attaching the strut clevis bracket to the steering knuckle. The bolts contained in the package are slightly undersize allowing for movement between the strut clevis bracket and the steering knuckle. The movement allowed by the undersize bolts provide approximately two degrees of camber adjustment per side of the vehicle. Before installing a camber adjustment bolt package on a vehicle found to be outside the specifications, inspect the suspension components for any signs of damage or bending. The rear camber can be changed when necessary through the use of specially designed shims. In 1994 all Chryslers used rear shims, today only the PT and front wheel drive minivans use rear shims. (Unable to respond – invalid email address.)

 

1295. I have a 2001 LE PT with 51k miles. I am receiving the “no fuse” error flashing on my display. I'm convinced I blew the IOD fuse located in the power distribution center box. How do I get the fuse out to test it? The plastic pull tabs pull the fuse out, but it does not come completely free. Thank you. – Harper, from Nevada.

The IOD fuse (#18, 20amp, in PDC) is the only one that will cause the cluster to display "no fuse". When removing or installing the IOD fuse, it is important that the ignition switch be in the Off position. To remove the fuse, pull it straight up until you it locks into the first detent (listen for the locking sound), then pinch the two "arms" just below the very top of the fuse/latch, which will release the fuse. For additional information please review the IOD Fuse System guide in the Pit area.

 

1296. I have a 2003 LE PT with 42k miles. I noticed a squeal at start-up (especially in cold weather) over a year ago and thought it was an idler pulley. The dealership checked it out, re-tensioned the belt (I think), and the noise stopped. In the past month, a squeal has returned, but it does not go away when the engine warms up. I checked around with a stethoscope and localized the sound to the A/C compressor clutch. The squeal is present at all engine speeds, whether or not the A/C is running, and does get noticeably louder when the compressor clutch engages at idle. It is loudest when the engine revs above ~3000rpm. Is this a common problem (Bulletin or Warranty issue)? Assuming that the problem is in the clutch bearing, is it possible to replace the clutch without disconnecting the compressor from the refrigerant hoses? – Martin, from Michigan.

We have received very few owner reports regarding issues with the compressor clutch, and DC has not released any TSB's related to this issue. As you know the clutch is attached to the compressor. The compressor cannot be repaired. If faulty or damaged, the entire compressor unit must be replaced. The compressor clutch, pulley, clutch coil and the high pressure cut out switch are available for service replacement. The compressor may be removed from the mounting bracket and repositioned without disconnecting the refrigerant lines or discharging the refrigerant system. Discharging is not necessary if servicing the compressor clutch or clutch coil. The SM includes the removal procedure for the compressor and a diagnostic for A/C noise, both of which are also available through the Pit area on the site.

Follow up from owner - It cost me $140 for new belts, but the noise is gone. The part of the A/C belt that I could see looked OK, but the technician said it was cracked/chipped.Thanks again for your help.

 

1297. I have a 2002 LE PT with 21k miles. This afternoon I lowered the driverside window and now it won't close. When I flick the up/down switch on the dash I can hear the window motor run, but there is no window movement. We haven't experienced any issues with the windows before. Thanks. – Armand, from Michigan.

It sounds like a window regulator issue.

Follow up from owner – We brought it to the dealer and they determined that it was a broken window regulator. The part ($80) and labor were $245. Not an inexpensive fix. Thanks again for your help.

 

1298. We have a 2002 TE PT with 47k miles. I purchased an aftermarket battery cover and other engine bay parts to spruce it up a bit shortly after we purchased the car. The battery is a little harder to access with the aftermarket battery cover in place, so I haven't checked the OE maintenance free battery in more than a year. I was performing other work on the PT, which required me to disconnect the negative battery cable. I was very surprised to see a good deal of corrosion on the connectors and battery posts. – Phil, from New Jersey.

I experienced a similar issue when changing the OE plugs for the first time on my 2001 PT. I removed my aftermarket battery cover and the posts/cables were heavily corroded. I tried cleaning them up with what I had on hand (WD40 and wire brush), but they were pretty badly corroded and after an hour didn't look much better. I reassembled everything and didn't get back to them until about 3 weeks later. Not surprisingly, corrosion had already started to reform, but this time I was a little better prepared. I found two spray-on products called CRC Battery Cleaner and CRC Battery Terminal Protector at my local auto part store that worked well. You simply remove the negative and positive cable from each (always remove the negative cable first and reinstall it last – with the ignition turned off.) battery post and spray the cleaner on each part; it thoroughly dissolves the corrosion, with minimum effort using a wire brush. It's especially effective with the small nooks inside the cable connectors, which are hard to access/clean. Don't forget to place a heavy cloth under the area that you are spraying to keep the cleaner residue and corrosion off the engine bay parts. Reapply if necessary with intermittent rinsing with water. Rather than soaking the engine bay with a hose, fill a small plastic bowl with water and dunk the connector into it, while changing the water often. You cold also use a water spray bottle, but keep the cloth in place while rinsing to protect the engine bay. Apply the CRC Battery Terminal Protector to finish up.

 

1299. This summer I am planning to tow a 700Lb trailer for about 3000 miles behind my 2001 PT LE 5-speed. My question would be, is there any advantage from a engine performance and/or fuel economy perspective to use a higher grade fuel such as a 91 or 94 octane or am I just wasting my money? I understand the manual states that regular fuel is recommended but under heavy load and hot summer conditions could this change? Thanks. - Steve, from Canada.

The PT owners and service manuals aren't much help here; they make no reference to using a higher octane fuel in the 2.4L non aspirated engine under any conditions.

Octane is nothing more than the measurement of a fuel's ability to resist engine "knocking" caused by detonation of the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber. Contrary to popular thinking, high-octane fuel does not contain more power than regular-grade fuel. The myth that premium-octane fuel contains more power probably came about because vehicle manufacturers typically require the use of premium-grade fuel in high-horsepower engines. However, it is not the fuel that provides the added power, but rather the engine's "state-of-tune" which involves a number of mechanical factors including compression ratio and valve timing. When these variables are tuned to produce greater power, the chance of detonation also increases, thus requiring premium fuel.

Towing a 700 lb trailer may not be an issue in itself, given the PT's rated maximum trailer load of 1000 lb, however cumulative conditions may warrant consideration when selecting an octane according to other automobile manufacturers and service technicians. Factors such as extremely hot weather, changes in altitude or prolonged hard driving conditions (towing a heavy load) may cause overheating. As the engine overheats detonation (spark knock) will occur. The engine will ping and start to lose power under load as the combination of heat and pressure exceed the octane rating of the fuel. Mild or occasional detonation can occur in almost any engine and usually causes no harm. But prolonged or heavy detonation can be very damaging. If the detonation problem persists, the hammer-like blows may damage the rings, pistons or rod bearings or a blown head gasket. Heat makes aluminum swell almost three times faster than cast iron. The resulting stress can distort the head and make it swell in areas that are hottest like those between exhaust valves in adjoining cylinders, and areas that have restricted coolant flow like the narrow area that separates the cylinders.

The engine utilizes a knock sensor to eliminate this problem under most circumstances. When the knock sensor detects a knock in one of the cylinders, it sends an input signal to the PCM. In response, the PCM retards ignition timing for all cylinders by a scheduled amount. However under certain extraordinary conditions the knock sensor may not be able to make adequate adjustments, which may result in some engine ping or knock.

What you may want to consider is using regular 87 octane fuel when you begin your trip. If at some point you start to experience overheating followed by pinging or knocking switch over to the next highest octane fuel and test for results. If the pinging ceases, continue to use the higher octane fuel while towing the trailer under the current driving conditions, and switch back to regular octane when not towing the trailer. If you don't experience any pinging or knocking don't waste your money on higher octane fuel that will provide no benefit to your engine or driving experience. (Bounced back as undeliverable – invalid email address.)

 

1300. I have a 2003 TE PT with 13k miles. I read about replacing the lower control arm OE rubber bushing with polyurethane bushings a few weeks ago, but heard there might be an issue with not maintaining them correctly. Thanks. – Jack, from Arizona.

According to some polyurethane bushings manufacturers their products are designed for a performance like ride, but may squeak if not properly lubricated. They advise users to use a lubricant that will not wash away. Once the lubricant is washed out or contaminated from road grime premature wear on the bushings can occur. OE rubber bushings are designed for more of a factory like ride and do not need to be lubricated, but will not provide you with that "tight" suspension feel. Polyurethane bushing can be lubricated with Slick 50 grease or spray lube, Anti-Seeze lube, or Moly graph based wheel bearing grease. You can also use silicone spray lubricant, which will provide an easy, but temporary relief from squeaks.

 



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