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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 Nine - Q&A 201 - 225

201. I'm pretty mechanically un-inclined, so I'd like to know exactly what the air intake modification does for the car. What is the purpose of it? To get more air, or what? I would be very interested in adding something to give me a little extra oomph. And my wife might not mind so much if it doesn't cost a couple hundred dollars. Thank you. - Tim, from Germany.

The intake frees up the restriction in the air flow, thus giving a little more available power and a lot louder sound. The OEM air intake tract has a 33% restriction at the venturi inside the plastic air box. Imagine blocking off 1/3 of your mouth. When you walk, there is no noticeable difference, but when you run you can't get enough air, therefore you will run poorly.


202. I am trying to get the best mpg from my PT. What I want to know is what is the best hi performance plugs and wires (LiveWire) I can purchase for the PT? I have already modified the air intake using one of the alternate intake modifications on the site. - Don, from the USA.

The only hi performance plugs that are currently available for the PT is the Champions double platinum plug. The wires will have to be your individual choice. My personal opinion is that wires will not increase mpg enough to justify the cost.

Let's do the math - let's say the wires give you an additional 1/4 mpg. The tank holds about 16gal. You could get an additional 4 miles per tank. You get about 360 miles from a full tank at 22.5mpg. The wires cost about the same as 2 tanks. So, 2 tanks = 720 miles, @ 4 miles per tank it will take 180 tanks to justify the new wires. 180 tanks will be 64,800 miles. If I pay $30 and it takes 65,000 miles to break even, is that a benefit?


203. One of the first modifications I made to my 2002 LE PT was to replace the OEM 16" wheels and tires with 17" wheels and high performance tires. I choose the Mille Miglia 11-2 wheels in a chrome finish, size 17" by 8". I selected tires that I was familiar with and offered great handling: Bridgestone Potenza RE730, in 235/45ZR17. The Tire Rack provided both, mounted and balanced, to my door.

I quickly replaced each of the OEM wheels and tires with the new ones, which I hand-torqued to 100 ft-lbs. While testing them out everything initially seemed fine until I noticed two things: an intermittent wobble in the steering at high speeds (50-80 MPH) and a very quiet scraping sound in the rear when applying soft brakes just before coming to a stop. I could not find any parts rubbing or dragging visibly.

After a few days of scratching my head and considering whether to call Tire Rack, I removed one of the rear wheels and noticed a very thin toothed washer on one of the 5 lug bolts. It apparently holds a plate in place until the wheels are mounted. This very thin washer had made a slight depression in the back side of the aftermarket wheels. When I re-inspected the back side of the stock LE wheels, I found that they were recessed around each bolt hole opening on the back side, while the aftermarket wheels were flat in the same space.

A few more hours of head scratching led me to suspect that the slight offset at one of 5 lug bolts on each wheel might in fact cause the steering wobble, and would vary depending on how "in phase" the 4 wheels were. I removed each of the wheels, unthreaded the washer, and then replaced the wheels. Thankfully, the wobble is gone!

As an unexpected side effect, the scraping sound during light braking disappeared as well. I don't really have a satisfactory explanation here, unless the brake rotor was being pulled slightly out of round and the caliper was sliding as the wobble spot passed.

If your aftermarket wheels are not recessed in back around each lug hole be sure and remove the washers before installing your wheels. Provided by Alan Gant.


204. This morning I attempted to change spark plugs. Your installation guide is very helpful, however I had to abandon the project. I couldn't disconnect two of the electrical connections. The two are the IAC and the TPS on the back of the Throttle Body. I can't see or feel any locking tabs. I didn't want to force the connectors. Are their locking tabs on these two connectors and where are they? Thank you. - Nello, from the USA/

Rather than risk any damage to the connectors, try to loosen the intake manifold and suspend it above the valve cover. I did this with a bungee cord to the hood latch. The plastic intake only weighs about 1 pound.


205. I'm finding the door-open chime very annoying, especially when I want to listen to the stereo with the front doors open. Is there a simple way to disable it? Thanks. - Steve, from the USA.

What you're actually hearing is the "Key-In Ignition" reminder. It's controlled by the chime module that is part of the instrument cluster/body control module. There is no way to disable it. The same circuit/switch is used by the Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) module. Unhooking the wire will cause the RKE module to malfunction, possibly setting a code in the body module.


206. I own a 2001 LE PT. My windows inside the car fog up badly, mainly when it sits at night. I have checked the inside of the car for leaks and found none. What could be the problem? Thank you. - Larry

When the car is shut off, the HVAC system parks the blend door and fresh-air door in the vent position. This allows outside air to be vented inside the Cruiser. That's just the way it was designed.


207. Are the back drum brakes self adjusting when you back up, do they adjust themselves?

From the service manual - the rear wheel drum brakes are a two-shoe, internal-expanding type with an automatic adjuster screw. The automatic adjuster screw is actuated each time the brakes are applied. The automatic adjuster screw is located directly below the wheel cylinder.


208. I purchased a used PT LE, with 2000 miles (23454km) on it, this past December. I just had a problem with the front fog light switch melting in. To avoid additional damage I disconnected the positive terminal on the battery. After contacting a local dealer (4-day wait for servicing), I opened the switch box and removed the burnt contact switch for the fog lights. After reconnecting the positive battery terminal the central locking system failed, and most annoyingly, the horns beep randomly every 5 to 20 minutes with a sound similar to locking the doors with the key fob. Configuring the locking system with the ignition on/off procedure and lock/unlock button or fob doesn't work. I would like to get rid of the alarming horn until I can get serviced. Thank you. - Jo, from Belgium.

To temporarily remedy the problem, prior to a permanent repair, remove the horn relay from the Power Distribution Center under the hood.


209. I've seen your answers to the squeaking problems with the front brakes and have changed them, however within two weeks they have begun to squeak again. Any ideas? Thanks. - Dave, from the USA.

There are many factors that contribute to noise. Were the rotors replaced or turned? Were the rotors given a non-directional finish? A normal brake lathe cannot give a non-directional finish. Were the pads de-glazed? Were the pads "broken in" after several abrupt stops? As you can see, there are many variables, including the brand and quality level of the pads.


210. I would like to remove the cover over the throttle body on my 2001 PT so I can paint it a different color. I don't see any screws or bolts to remove it. How do you take it off? - Don, from the USA.

The engine "dress-up" modesty cover (plastic cover stamped "DOHC 16V") snaps onto (3) rubber catches, which are attached to the intake plenum. It can be pulled up and off with a little effort. Make sure to press it down securely at all three mounting points during re-installation. If a corner is left partially unsnapped and you close the hood, you will damage your hood with a reverse ding.


211. I recently purchased a power antenna from Raceandstreet. It has the PAT option, which allows the antenna to go up and down with the radio being turned on and off. It includes a separate relay to perform this. I installed everything and it only operated when the ignition was turned on and off. I rechecked everything, but now, not only does the antenna still not function properly, my power door locks and overhead lights do not work. The dash indicates "no fuse," yet they all look OK. My antenna came with an in-line fuse also, but the instructions I have make no mention of using it or where it goes. - Jeremy, from the USA.

I would suggest rechecking fuse #18; it sounds like it may be blown.


212. I purchased my 02 LE PT with all options in Jan 02. In terms of quality and reliability what can I expect from the suppliers that provide major components for PT? - Jason, from Canada.

I'm sure all the parts makers are long time Chrysler suppliers. I wouldn't worry about parts quality. Walter P. Chrysler and the Dodge brothers have started out with a mission to produce affordable, high quality transportation. I think they've succeeded.


213. Can an open air intake and a intake block that's placed between the intake manifold and the throttle body, which creates a hurricane effect with the air taken in from the open air intake system, be too much power, air etc? I hear conflicting reports, are there more negative effects than positive ones? - Ronald, from the USA.

Any hurricane/tornado object placed inside the intake tract will only create a restriction. The claims of power improvement are pure snake oil. An open and unrestricted air intake will add a little power.


214. Is it possible to just take of the headlight cover, instead of the entire headlight? Thank you. - Daybo, from the USA.

The headlight assembly is a one-piece unit. The bulb is replaced through an access door in the wheel well area behind the headlight.


215. I installed a Helix Power Tower Block, which goes in between the engine and the throttle body. Then I installed an open air intake. Now the car chokes in park when I press the accelerator. So I took out the power tower and the intake out and put everything back the way it was, and it still chokes (engine revs up and down, when before it would rev normally). What can I do to correct this problem? - Rolando, from the USA.

Unless you did permanent damage during your install, I assume you mean that you cannot rev the motor past 3500rpm in neutral. This is a safety feature built into the PCM. All PTs have a rev limiter to keep you from over revving the motor. When the gear selector is in the 'park' or 'neutral' position, the drivetrain is in neutral and the limiter will still cut the fuel supply above 3500rpm. There is no way around it. If this isn't the case a trip to the dealer service may be in order.


216. I'm interested in purchasing a PT Cruiser. On occasion I would like to pull my lightweight motorcycle trailer (400 lbs.) with two race bikes. The total weight would be approaching the 1000 lb. limit. Am I asking too much for this motor? Are there modifications that can be done to enhance the load capacity? -Ted, from the USA.

1000lbs with the already overweight Cruiser is about the limit for a 2.4L engine. The 5-speed would be my choice over the horsepower eating automatic transmission. You will need every available pony.


217. What is the proper torque (inch lbs.) for the engine oil pan drain plug? - William, from the USA.

The oil drain plug bolt should be 28 N-m, 20 ft/lbs. or 240 in/lbs. The correct torque for the oil pan to block bolts is 105 in/lbs.


218. I just installed a set of after market bucket seats in our 2002 PT (didn't care for the OEM seats) and found out the side air bags are in the seats and not in the side as I thought! Now the airbag light is on; besides reinstalling the old seats, is there any way to turn out the light? - Doug, from the USA.

No. There are airbag simulators are used for diagnosis, but I doubt you'll find them for the side seat airbags. You may want to try calling the seat manufacturer tech support services to discuss this issue and to determine how it will affect the performance/safety of the seat in the event of an accident.


219. Would I destroy my engine/transmission if I installed nitrous oxide on my cruiser? - Austin, from the USA.

Properly installed Nitrous Oxide, at safe levels, should be acceptable. The problem is that most power hungry drivers want to add more hp than they should, or they selectively forget about the need for more fuel to compensate for the laughing gas. You will need more fuel, and that's not easily done without a comprehensive install kit. In the end, it's your choice and your responsibility. See the NOS installation guide in the Pit area.


220. I've noticed that under a good bit of acceleration the brake warning light lights up; any idea as to the cause of that? - Austin, from the USA.

The brake fluid is low and must be filled to the proper level ASAP. If it's low, you either have worn brake pads or a leak. It's a sealed system.


221. I purchased a 2001 PT IR and currently have 12k miles on it. It developed an engine miss that the service department at the dealership could not diagnosis. After 20 miles on the road with the recorder hooked up, the misfire didn't present itself. It was returned to the service bay, and left running in park for about five minutes, and then began to miss. The recorder indicated misfire on plug 3, which he replaced, and the problem was solved. It was determined that the plug had a manufacturing defect that eventually failed intermittently, causing it to short out. All was covered under the warranty, including an overnight loaner vehicle. - Joe, from the USA.

Mike suggested that the owner request replacement of all 4 plugs to limit the possibility of additional plug failure.


222. I own a 2001 LE PT and was recently driving on the freeway during a very heavy rainstorm at speeds around 50-55mph. When I exited the freeway and came to a stop at the light I noticed the engine was running quite rough. It felt like the engine was running on three cylinders! I quickly turned off the engine and then restarted. The problem disappeared, but this is the second time this has happened in a heavy rainstorm. Do you have any ideas what might be happening? Thank you. - Christine, from Washington.

Chrysler's PCM isn't very good at recording misfire data, so your (CEL) Check Engine Light may not be triggered even during an obvious misfire. This can be very difficult to find. It could be water seeping into the spark plug wells due to a bad sealing ring on the plug wires, or the spark plug to coil pack connections. Or the alternator could be getting wet and not make enough voltage for the ignition. The alternator is down low, behind the wheel. That's exactly where heavy rain could soak it.


223. I recently converted my PT to a sedan delivery, and want to change the 6-button dash mounted window control. The center console mounted 2-button switch, which is used to control the rear windows looks like it might fit. How could I swap and wire the 2-button switch into the dash position to control the front windows. I don't need the lockout, but would like to keep the light-up feature and auto down if possible. - John, from Canada.

That can't be done. The express down module is part of the switch assembly. The rear switches do not have the correct connections to work the front windows. You may look into ordering a replacement 2-switch panel that was originally installed in the early production PT's prior to 7-24-01. I cannot tell if they will plug in, but you may have a better chance than modifying the rear switches.


224. I purchased a 2002 BE PT, without all the bells and whistles, but would like to install a lighted passenger side visor mirror. After removing the original visor, will I be able to fish out the harness for the lighted mirror? Can I assume that all PT's have the same accessory wiring even if the accessory is not installed at the factory? So all I would have to do is buy the passenger side visor assembly with lighted mirror? Thanks for the help. - George, from the USA.

The service manual indicates that there are no diagrams of the visor wiring, but the connector should be at the right front corner of the headliner


225. I would like to install the dash auxiliary power outlet (option) on my 2002 PT. Do I have to replace the (bezel) plate with rear defogger and rear wiper switches? Is the "power plug" already there? Thanks. - Bill, from the USA.

The power outlet is not serviced separately; it's part of the bezel. However, the wiring should be already behind the plate.


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