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2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01 Feb 2014, 02:57 pm
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Location: Turvey, Bedfordshire, England
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Question 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

Hi everyone, well I have spent the afternoon scanning through the posts to see if I can find hints and tips of how to sort a heating problem on my lovely (yes I love it!) PT Cruiser.

Here's what happened: I'm on my way to work. Its cold and horrid. Straight run, no traffic. Heater is lovely. Radio isnt on. Suddenly, heater starts blowing cold air. No strange noises, no warning lights, no change in temperature gauge, no loss of power - just cold. 3 miles further on I slow down for a junction, and the engine cuts. Engine temperature gauge rises, and engine wont restart. Popped the hood, and engine is hot - steam rising, but as its early morning and dark, I cant tell where the steam is coming from. I'm approx 1/4 mile from work, and 30 mins early. So I leave the hood up for 20 mins - try engine again, it starts. I check the manual - bit of accelerator to stop engine cutting, fan kicks in and temperature gauge falls to 1/4, foot off accelerator, engine idles, so I drop the hood and drive to work. No hard driving from me.

Lunch time I check the car in daylight. Coolant bottle is as dry as the Sahara, and engine oil low. Hmm. I drive 3 miles to local garage for oil and coolant. Fill up the coolant, and top up the oil (engine is warm!) and no heater inside the car.

I drive back to work, finish my shift before the 11 mile drive home. No traffic, but windscreen not clearing in the cold through no heater. 2 miles from home, engine cuts as I slow for a junction. Wont restart. Open the hood, leave the car for 15 mins, engine starts and I drive the final part of my journey with hazard lamps flashing. Engine cuts outside house as I back off the power.

Come daylight, I check the coolant. Its good. The oil is good. No emulsifying on either. But I cant get the radiator cap off - it turns, spring releases, but then wont move. In the centre of the radiator cap there is a brass washer type fitting with a bronze/brass centre stud - this is firm when the radiator cap is tight, but moves a little when the cap is 1/4 turned to release the spring. After a short drive of approx 8 miles the engine cuts as I slow for a junction, popping the hood shows 'steam' rising - its coming from the oil filler cap.

Some forum posts suggest that when the engine heats, the system pulls in coolant from the tank, but if the tank is empty or damaged, the system pulls air into the radiator and the engine overheats. As the coolant tank was empty - it isnt now - it is possible that the radiator may have pulled air in as described in the forum posts. I suspect then that there may be a vacuum, and no doubt when I can get the radiator cap off that the vacuum may be addressed.

Hopefully someone has had radiator cap issues before - similar to this and may have advice for me (other than regularly checking the coolant tank) on how to release the radiator cap initially and then what to look for.

I'd really welcome any comments to help get what I believe is a super car back on the road sooner rather than later!

Thank you
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Old 01 Feb 2014, 03:17 pm
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Default Re: 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turveycruiser View Post
when the engine heats, the system pulls in coolant from the tank, but if the tank is empty or damaged, the system pulls air into the radiator and the engine overheats. As the coolant tank was empty - it isnt now - it is possible that the radiator may have pulled air in as described in the forum posts.
Just a clarification - when engine heats, coolant expands and flows into cooalnt bottle, when engine cools, it pulls coolant back from bottle. With an empty bottle, there is air in your radiator.

Cap has to be lined up properly to come off - pull up while turning it back and forth.
With cap off, you'll see coolant is not up to top of radiator - fill it to the brim, start car and keep filling until coolant stays full. Replace cap.
Keep an eye on the coolant bottle level - I use a "dipstick" as it is a bit hard to see the level, but there needs to be several inches of coolant in the bottle at all times (higher when it's hot).

If I were you, I'd buy a new radiator cap - not a big investment, and might be the problem.

Any coolant dripping on the ground?
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"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
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'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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Old 02 Feb 2014, 06:32 am
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Location: Turvey, Bedfordshire, England
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Smile Re: 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

Huge thanks Quicksilverdon!
I had sprayed the rad cap with trusty WD40 and left it overnight. Cap came off straight away this morning! No signs of emulsification in the cap, though a bit miscoloured and stiff.
You were absolutely correct in that there would be no coolant to the brim of the cap, I topped it up several times before starting the engine (which was a bit reluctant today). Kept topping up the radiator as the bubbles kept popping up. All in all, took approx 2 litres of water. Hopefully I have been a lucky boy with no lasting damage.
Oil a little low so off to get some more, then I'll take it for a local run and see how I get on.
'Cabin' heater though is still blowing cold air - but I think thats least of my worries at the moment.
I've not had the car long and its not the first car I've had - but it is the first I havent been able to get the radiator cap off! Hopefully its not going to turn into one of those enthusiasts cars!
Many thanks once again for taking the time to answer my query, and I'll let you know how I get on.
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Old 02 Feb 2014, 09:39 am
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Default Re: 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

Now you need to keep an eye on the coolant - I'd periodically take the rad cap off when cool and ensure coolant is up to the brim - and monior the coolant bottle.

One more tip - there are 2 lines on the coolant bottle - one "hot" (upper) and and "cold" (lower) as long as you are above the lower line, you're fine - if you add to the hot line when it's cold, it'll push coolant out. Use distilled water and Zerex G05.

If coolant disappears, you need to determine where it's going - the cap, if defective, won't maintain pressure and that is easiest/cheapest to replace.
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"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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Old 02 Feb 2014, 10:06 am
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Unhappy Re: 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

Well its been an experience so far....
Topped the radiator up with engine running, as described, quite a bit of air came out. As the engine warmed up a bit, I decided it perhaps wasnt the best thing to be doing with the rad cap off and the water heating. So I switched off the engine, and kept drip feeding the rad with water & coolant. Occasional bubbles popping out so looked as if the air was coming out gradually.
Once I figured the air bubbles had stopped, I restarted the engine (bit reluctant again) checked the rad coolant level as being unchanged and popped the rad cap back on.
Left the engine idling, and after about 20 mins tried the hot air setting on the heater - still cold.
Left the engine idling - and after approx another 15 mins, steam all over the place, and hot coolant coming from the front of the car - probably base of radiator. Switch engine off sharpish!
Once everything has cooled down I'll check and see what the rad coolant is like, the overflow bottle hasnt changed level at all.
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Old 02 Feb 2014, 10:50 am
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Unhappy Re: 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

Hmmmm, not good.
Squeezed the Radiator top pipe a bit and found air bubbles coming from the radiator filler cap area. Kept pulling coolant in whilst carefully squeezing the pipe, plenty of air bubbles. When the air bubbles stopped, I had a nice stream of collant coming from the bottom of the radiator!
Had a quick look at the radiator cap before going inside for a cuppa, found bits of debris. I'm working on the assumption then that the radiator itself is not in the best condition. And thats where I think my next port of call is. Busy weekend ahead next week then, and in the meantime, transport to work will be my trusty FZR Yamaha! (In the wet, cold and rubbish weather that we have over here in February!)
Many thanks for your help so far. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 02 Feb 2014, 02:07 pm
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Default Re: 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

How many miles? Has water pump& timing belt been replaced? Should be done around 100,000 miles.
Make certain it is radiator and not water pump or hoses.
At least it doesn't seem like a head gasket...
__________________
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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Old 02 Feb 2014, 02:09 pm
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Default Re: 2001 2.0l Petrol PT Cruiser Overheating

And Turvey - that's near Topsy, right?

We always hear of Topsy-Turvey.....
__________________
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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