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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 Six - Q&A 126-150

126. I'm replacing the OEM exhaust system with the Borla cat back. I noticed that there is a grounding strap attached on the current muffler. Does this strap have to be reattached? Thank you - Sparkie, from the USA.

The service manual only makes reference to making sure it's connected. It's not covered in any electrical diagram or ground distribution schematic. It was put there for a reason. DC wouldn't spend $.01 if it didn't have to. I'd hook it back up. It'll only take a minute.

BTW - Ford has a TSB for AM radio static. It's caused by a bad ground at the Rear wheel bearing. Who'd have thought of that? It's these strange stories that leads me to believe the PT needs every ground cable it can get.

 

127. I'm having a serious problem with my 2001 Cruiser's engine stalling. It first occurred while I was driving at highway speed. The engine stuttered, then stopped completely. I guided it carefully off the road and just as suddenly it restarted (bump-start with manual transmission). It ran erratically until I pulled into a gas station, where after 15 minutes or so, it started easily and ran without a problem.

Two days ago I was approaching an intersection when it stalled once again. At the traffic light, the turn signals, other lights and parts of the electrical system (door locks and radio) were working, but the engine would not turnover; the starter would not make a sound. After abandoning the car (approx. 15-min.) to call for a tow, the car started normally and ran fine. I drove it to the dealer later that day, and they ran a diagnostics on it and found nothing awry. On the way home from the dealership it died at freeway speed again. Not once, but twice, with the car recovering both times from the stalls without coming to a complete stop. During the second of the two events, the MIL light came on and flashed for about a minute then went off.

Any ideas of what it could be or what course of action I should take? My father is a former auto mechanic and said Ford had a problem like this with a number of their vehicles where an engine computer chip was improperly insulated from engine heat and would automatically shut-down, only to return to normal after a cooling-off period. - Scott, from the USA.


Ford did have intermittent ignition modules in the mid-seventies. But, the motor would still turn over without any spark. If I had a nickel for every one I replaced. The only things that can cause both a stall and a no-crank condition are the ignition switch and Powertrain Control Module (PCM). (Refer to page 8W-21-2 of the 2001 service manual supplement; your dealer has this book).

The ignition switch is simple; an intermittent open circuit removes power from the PCM and won't allow a restart. The PCM controls starter relay operation along with the key. If the PCM is losing power or ground, both symptoms can occur.

I would start by performing a wiggle test. With the car at idle; wiggle the key in the switch. Now wiggle all the wiring to the PCM. Locate and test for loose ground wires. If all tests pass, I'd insist on an unlimited time test drive and diagnostic test. If the MIL came on even once, there is a code to read. From here, my guess is the PCM.

 

128. When I stop my 2002 PT Cruiser and shift (automatic) to neutral there is a strong thump from the transmission and again when I shift into park. The engine rpm does not seem excessive, about 800 at idle. What I feel more than hear is a forward/back action that is very sudden. Should I just accept this or could this lead to a problem? Thanks - Rick, from the USA.

My shift selection is flawless and silent. Since most dealerships have several PT's to sell, it should be simple to make a comparison. I would have the dealer check it out; even if they don't find anything, at least you have it documented, which would help if you experienced additional problems later on.

 

129. What are the K&N cone air filters? I am thinking about building your air intake mod, are there good and bad points to using their filters? - Dave, from the USA.

K&N Engineering, Inc. manufactures a popular line of air and oil filters for the automotive, motorcycle, marine and industrial markets. Here are a few links, which discuss the pros and cons of using their filters:

1. K&N Facts
2. K&N Negative Review
3. K&N Feedback

Many owners have made their own alternative intakes, or purchased aftermarket intakes, which utilize K&N filters. To my knowledge, there have been very few complaints. Generally, their products are highly regarded by consumers and professionals alike.

 

130. I'm looking into getting a cat-back dual exhaust system set up for my Euro PT Cruiser. I've found one that I'm interested in at JC Whitney, but am curious about the cut out in the rear bumper for extra exhaust tip. Any suggestions, tips or comments would be appreciated? Thanks. - Craig.

If you plan to install your cat-back system yourself you will have to cut a hole in the lower rear valence panel for the extra exhaust, and for the chrome trim cut-out flange. You'll actually need a pair of chrome trim cut-out flanges, one for the new hole and one for the existing OEM muffler hole.

Sometimes the flanges are included with the muffler systems purchase and other times they must be purchased separately. Use the paper template, which is included with your flange purchase, to determine the placement on the plastic valence, then cut the hole using a fine tooth saw. The plastic valence is thin and easy to work with. Then use a file and sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges, and install the flange with the supplied screws. On the driverside you shouldn't have to cut anything, just install the flange. Make sure to follow the muffler manufactuers clearance specifications when hanging the new pipes - you don't want them in close proximity to the valence, since the hot pipes may damage the plastic. Chrome trim cut-out flanges are available online at Wyckoff Chrysler and PTTunning.com. If the paper cut-out template is not included with your flange, we have one available for download in the guide section.

 

131. What should I use as tie down points to haul my PT Cruiser on a flat bed trailer? Thanks - Marvin

Pages 0-8, 9 of the service manual cover towing. They do not specify a tie down location other than to refrain from using any steering, suspension, or bumper/fascia. A towing company 'should' be trained to determine the best locations.

 

132. I recently purchased an "early" 2001 used PT Cruiser. It is a base model automatic and some options. Is it possible to install a 4-window switch on the dash in place of my existing 2-window switch? Thank you. - Rick, from the USA.

The front early build window switch has 8 pins, the normal build has 14. The rear early has 8, the normal has 16 (8 in each switch). The only way to update is to replace the entire harness along with the switches. You would splice into the window motor wires or rewire the entire system. In addition, you must have the wiring manual in the service manual supplement. The normal build wiring is not in the regular service manual. It could be a complex modification depending on your electronic skills; personally I don't recommend this update.

Background - When the PT's were first released the early 2001models had one set of power window switches on the dash, which controlled the front windows, and one set of power window switches on the rear of the center console, which controlled the rear windows. Many PT owners disliked this arrangement and felt it presented a driving hazard - in order for the driver to control the rear windows he would have to reach back behind the rear console to operate the switches. Apparently, enough people complained to DC; by mid-year the 2001 model had been modified and now included an additional set of window switches on the dash. Now the driver could control all the windows from the dash, and the passengers in the rear could control the rear windows using the original switches on the rear console.

 

133. I am experiencing an intermittent turn signal problem; cycling the hazard blinkers seems to temporarily cure the problem. My local DC dealer has never heard of this problem and is unable to duplicate the failure so will not attempt to fix. Any ideas on what the problem might be? Thanks. - Jeff

The turn signal problem has been fixed many times by replacing the multifunction switch, commonly called the stalk. This is a common problem according to the forums.

 

134. I am having a problem with the front driver side power window switch. About 25% of the time it takes 2-5 presses to get the window to roll down from any position but never fails to roll up. Thanks - Jeff, from the USA.

The window switch has two contacts for "down." The normal push & hold and the express down. If neither position on the switch are working properly the window always goes up, and the passenger window is flawless, then you should have a bad switch. Power and ground is supplied to all switches through the same circuit. The possibility of a defective window motor that works only in one direction is miniscule.

 

135. Just a little more torque if you please. So far I've installed the K&N filter in the OEM factory air box and Borla dual exhausts. Will it help to insulate the OEM air box and also to flush/cut the tube where it enters the box? In addition, l wondered if it would help to mate the air intake tube to the hole in the fenderwell, since the underhood temperatures are so high? Is their sufficient volume available on the other side of that hole? I also have that drone at 3000-3500 rpm's; would installing another performance muffler in line take that down to tolerable or should I replace the Borla with stock? Thanks - Ercel, from the USA/

You must make your own decision based on cost and time invested. There should be plenty of air available from the fenderwell. Remember the 2.4L can't ingest more than 267cfm at redline.

You may try a resonator glasspack muffler midpipe. This can reduce the raspy sound of many small motors. It may, or may not remove the drone you hear. You must have a 5-speed. The auto transmission runs at a much lower rpm while cruising. See our Intake Temperature Study in the Special Report section of the Pit area.

 

136. I changed the OEM fog light bulbs to yellow halogen headlight bulbs, which are 100 watts. As could be expected, these bulbs produce more heat, and the fog light lenses get hotter than normal, especially when the car is not moving. The new bulbs are #9005, which I ordered by mistake and cannot return, so I would like to use them if I can. Is there much danger of the plastic lenses being damaged or of wiring being melted? Would using these bulbs violate the warranty terms? - Robert, from the USA.

I would certainly deny a warranty claim. You've doubled the temperature, taking it well beyond the designed limits of the plastic lens. You've doubled the current draw beyond the design of the wiring and more importantly, the relay/switch contacts. Brighter is not always better.

 

137. I plan to purchase a 2002 PT cruiser within the next month, and wondered about its crash worthiness. Do you know how the PT stands up in a crash?

Crash test results and FAQ's are available for the 2001-2004 PT Cruiser in the Pit area, Special Report section, along with rating for the head restraints, and fuel economy.

 

138. I was under the car and noticed that the lower ball joints have grease around the outside of the rubber joints. Is this normal or does it indicate some type of problem? If this is normal, how do you know when they go bad? Thanks for your help. - Sparkie, from the USA.

The ball joints are pre-filled with a predetermined amount of grease. Then the grease zerks are broken off to prevent overfilling, common in quickie lubes. They claim the ball joints are permanently greased and non-serviceable, which is not realistic. They will certainly last through the warranty, but lifetime service is something a ball joint can't give. Ask your service manager. The answer will be entertaining if nothing else.

 

139. We just purchased a new 2002 TE PT with manual transmission. As I drove it off the lot it warmed up, and at a stoplight I noticed at idle that it had a slight miss. The tachometer would go up and down a little, and the car would shake just a little, like it had a bad plug. I took it back to the dealer a day later and they said there was nothing was wrong with it. I called and asked them to start it up, and I would be there in 10 minutes; when I arrived they noticed that it didn't idle well, but they said all PT's do this. I had them start up another manual Cruiser and it did the same thing. Now I am not very happy with this new car; do you know what the problem might be? They say it's computer related, but they don't have a fix for it. - Steve & Barb, from the USA.

There have been numerous forum discussions about the shake. At this time, no one has found a cure. I suppose that if you feel they sold you a defective vehicle, and have already admitted that they can't fix it, they should accept a return and refund. I don't know what other choice you have at this point.

 

140. I own a 2001 LE PT with 16" stock wheels. I would like to purchase a set of locking wheel lug nuts, can you tell me what size the OEM lugs nuts are? Thanks. - Bill, from the USA.

The standard lugs nuts on the 16" wheels are 12 X1.5, with a 19-mm head size. Mopar carries a set of locking lug nuts, which are identical in size to the OEM Cruiser nuts. Some owners have purchased an after market variety through PepBoys for a little less money, but their lug nuts are somewhat larger than the standard Cruiser lug nuts. If you purchase the PepBoys set be prepared to carry around two different sized lug nut wrenches; one for the OEM Cruiser nuts and the other for the after market locking lug nuts.

 

141. I live on Long Island and my radio reception is lousy on my LE PT. I've installed a signal amplifier but it hasn't helped. It only makes the AM reception worse. I'm on the verge of throwing out the radio. Do you have any suggestions? - Christopher

Since the 1950s, everyone has known that AM reception does not penetrate tunnels, buildings, nor pass under electrical wires. I'm not at all surprised that inter-city AM reception stinks. In NYC the FM stations must overrun each other. What you need is selectivity, not sensitivity (signal booster). The selectivity specs of a radio are not adjustable. You should test drive another PT to see your radio or the environment is the concern. If your radio or antenna is faulty it should be a warranty replacement. An FM antenna should be 31 inches tall tuned to 1/4 wave, an AM antenna should be as long as possible.

 

142. My LE PT is 8 months old with 12000 miles and experienced a minor brake problem. The brake warning light and the alert went on occasionally. It would occur at the take off, after stopping at the first traffic light of every trip. It seems like as the brake temperature rises, the problem goes away. The dealer discovered that the break fluid was low. My concern is the possible root cause of the low brake fluid level. Is it a common PT problem? Your professional opinion is appreciated. - Wing, from the USA.

Brake fluid should never be low unless you have a leak or the pads are completely worn. It's a sealed system. If it's low, it's going somewhere (unless it was not filled properly when it was built). The only other time you will notice a drop in fluid level is when the brake pads wear; they need more caliper piston travel to apply stopping pressure. The calipers will therefore hold more fluid, making the level seem low. When you replace the pads the fluid will be pushed back into the master cylinder and the level will again be full. Once again, it's a sealed system.

 

143. I've been having a problem with the reception/noise on my after market stereo. I installed an amp, and made sure the radio and amp grounds were connected in the same place. I have also bought anew radio/CD head unit but the problem still exists. Even though the buzzing is better I still here it on AM only. I have disconnected the antenna and the problem goes away. Should I replace the antenna or buy an isolator, or what do you suggest? Thanks. - Steve, from the USA.

AM by nature has noise. If yours varies with engine speed, look for a ground loop. If it varies with vehicle speed, look for a static build-up. Before investing in an isolator, try making a jumper out of a paper clip. Wrap it around the center antenna pin and insert it into the radio plug. This will open the ground path to find out if an isolator is needed.

 

144. I just have a simple question, is there a way to make the rear windows go all the way down? I heard that it is just a pin that needs to be removed. Thanks. - Josh, from the USA.

The glass will hit the doorframe. Just look at the swooping metal at the rear of the door. It's only 4" of window; that's not too offensive.

 

145. I am going to be adding an after market supercharger and exhaust to my 2002 PT. I have an automatic transmission, how much HP to the wheels can the PT automatic transmission take? Thank you for your time. - Jonathan, from the USA.

In my opinion the 41TE transmission is both the weakest link in the PT design, and the best reason for an extended warranty. That being said, the same transmission is coupled to the V-6s in the Caravans. They produce considerably more power than the 2.4L PT engine. I have not seen a maximum safe horsepower rating for the automatic transmission.

 

146. Whenever I clean my windows I'm left with spotting and streaks. Can you recommend an effective way to clean them? Thanks. - Lyle, from the USA.

In many areas of the country the water that we use contains minerals, which will leave a deposit on the car or window, if left to dry naturally. Once the spots stand for a while, they will attach to and harden on your glass. If this occurs you will need a mild acid to help remove them. Car care professionals suggest using a 50/50 solution of distilled white vinegar and bottled water to safely remove light spotting. Many car enthusiasts use this a similar technique to clean their windows as part of their normal detailing procedure; a mild solution of vinegar and water, applied to the glass with a spray bottle, then wipe the glass dry with newspaper. The newsprint ink works as a polishing agent.

Ordinary household glass cleaners contain ammonia, and although they are fairly effective at cleaning windshields they tend to leave streaks. Professional glass cleaners that contain no ammonia are also available.

My friend, Jack Ashley came up with another window cleaning solution, which is supposed to be effective in eliminating streaking. In a spray bottle combine 8 ounces of each: water, rubbing alcohol and vinegar. Spray it on and dry with clean paper or cotton towels.

 

147. Winter is almost upon us, and we have received several requests for a short term storage procedure for the Cruiser. Mike and I have done a little research and put together a list of safeguards you may want to consider to ensure that your PT looks good and is in good working order once it's taken out of storage.

Review the Short Term Vehicle Storage Special Report in the Pit area.

 

148. My 2002 PT Cruiser is 4 months old and has 2200 miles. Three weeks ago the battery would not turn over so I had it jumped and drove it to the nearest dealer. They replaced the battery and 5 days later the same thing happened. I had it towed to the dealership, they jumped it and kept it overnight, but couldn't find any problems. I drove it for 4 days and once again it will not start. Tomorrow I will have it towed in again and suggest that there is something wrong with the charging system. I purchased the car from a dealer in another town. What should I do next? I work at night and need reliable transportation. Thank you. - Judy, from the USA.

All Chrysler dealers are required to have a Midtronics battery tester. This device will determine the condition of the charging system. It is very reliable and idiot proof (I mean technician proof). If the charging system is OK and the battery is functioning properly, I would look for a current drain when the car is turned off. This is called "parasitic drain" or "dark current." All new cars have sophisticated computers that draw a constant current to retain memory. In the old days all you had was a clock. The maximum "dark current" specification is in the service manual. Any draw above spec will require diagnosis to find a defective part or module.

 

149. Do you know if the Kleen-Wheels dust shields that are sold through Wyckoff Chrysler bad for the rotors on my PT? A service advisor told me that the vents weren't large enough to cool the brakes. Thanks so much for your help. - Teresa, from the USA.

I've used the Kleen-Wheels dust shields on my PT for over 7,000 miles. I've checked and rechecked the brake rotor temperature looking for a marked increase and found none. The brakes have absolutely no signs of premature wear and finally the rims are kept much cleaner. Many technicians and service writers have given me a hard time about these, but I thought I'd try them. I'm satisfied with the results. (I tried the cheap wheel covers, but they won't fit the contour of the PT wheels and they rub on the brake caliper. They won't fit.)

Kleen-Wheels dust shields are available at Wyckoff Chrysler at a discount to DIY Club members. See the DIY club page for details.

 

150. My buddy and I elected to install the Windshield Washer Lights using the fog lights as an electrical source. I believe the lights blew out. My buddy put his VOM on the fog light lead and it read 13 volts. When I contacted the APC supplier, they confirmed that they had similar problems connecting to fog lights and suggested that I pick another power source. - Bill, from the USA.

More power going to the fog lights? That's nonsense, you have 12 volts available throughout the car. That's all. The device will only draw the power it needs to function. If too many devices are on a single circuit, the fuse will blow. A normal 12-volt car battery will sit idle between 12.6 and 13.2 volts. The charging system will generate a regulated maximum of about 14.7 volts. This is normal. You will find the same voltage at the input of all lighting, computer modules, etc.... The exact same voltage will go to the fog lights as will go to the rest of the car. I'd push for a technical response from this "person" who believes there is more power at certain places in a 12-volt system.

 



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