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Potential New Owner with Questions

 
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 12:18 pm
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Default Potential New Owner with Questions

As mentioned in the title, I am considering the purchase of a used, higher mileage PT Cruiser as a daily driver for a 70 mile per day commute.

I really like the idea of a PT in place of a boring Civic or something, even with the MPG trade off but had some questions about the PT I was hoping some could assist with.

1. I prefer the looks of the GEN 1, not to mention they are generally less expensive, but are any model years more problematic? If so what years and what should I be looking for when shopping?

2. I am leaning towards a Touring or GT for the added HP and Turbo. Can anyone relate real world MPG experiences with easy driving in these models?

3. Do any models come with a trip computer that calculates MPG? May sound like a silly request, but its kind of important to me.

4. Whats the reliability track record of the PT? I plan to really put the miles on the car but I drive easy and take care of my vehicles (my last daily driver was sold with 390k miles on it and running perfectly) but I want to make sure that the PT is up to some serious highway miles.

5. Any other buying advice would be most appreciated. I hope to join your ranks very soon!
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

I also prefer the first gen looks, but bought an '06 to get the trade off of more power vs looks. The other thing I really like in the pre-'06 models are the front seats with arm rests.

now to answer some of your questions:

1. 2001, 2005, 2006, & 2010 models appear to have the most issues. If you're going first gen, my suggestion would be 2004 model.

2. Touring edition has what is nicknamed the "turbo lite", not the HP of the GT. The touring edition however has a more comfortable interior, in my opinion. However, you can make the GT meet that, but the ride will be different. The GT is what every GT is, the sports version. My opinion, I'd go for the GT, but that's me, I love the speed. As to MPG, when I drive like a 'normal' human I actually get better mpg than an NA model PT. Currently I run about 17mpg city, 24 mpg highway. This is due to the fact that I'm a maniac, self-confessed. When I drive easy, I can get 20mpg city, 28mpg highway. I've tested that reality several times - shifting as softly as possible by listening to the BOV. The less excess boost released via the BOV, the more economical you are shifting. Mind you, that's with a manual tranny, I don't think the auto gets as good of mpg.

3. I'm not sure about the base model, but the Touring and GT do. Well, put it this way, I think they do. Mine does but it's an '06 GT.

4. COMPLETELY, TOTALLY 100% BASED ON HOW WELL MAINTAINED THE RIDE IS! My PT GT is around 56k miles on it. I've had an error code ONE TIME. I bought this PT new, it was the dealership owner's wife's car and had 194 miles on it. I run nothing but the best: best synth oil, best filters, best fuel, etc. I'm getting ready to swap all belts and hoses. Taking my hoses to SS wrapped as they'll last a lifetime. The maintenance schedule states that you need to replace the belts at 100k, well I'll do that along with the water pump, but in my experience, at 50k I usually replace EVERYTHING that wears. To me it's well worth the expense. Now my GT has been on at least a dozen race tracks on the east coast, including both drag strips and road courses. I've wrecked it and ripped the front end off. And yet the only issues I've had were a dead battery and a blown clutch (to be expected with the power it's putting out). It's been on the dyno for at minimum 8 hours over the past 5 years, it's running nothing but custom tunes, and yet it's been fabulous in regards to holding up and running well. One thing I do notice - these PT's are incredibly temperamental when it comes to things like dirty oil, fouled plugs, dirty air filter, etc. You MUST maintain those regularly!

5. If the PT is near, or passed 100k miles, you need to make sure the previous owner replace the drive belt and water pump. This is a MUST at 100k. It's well documented and proven to be a MUST DO. I would take the PT to a place that will let you put it up on a rack. Do the push/pull on the front wheels - you need to see if there is any play in the front end, this will direct you to either idler arm, tie rod, or bearing issues. If it's a turbo, you really need to check over the engine very carefully including the hoses/tubes going to/from the IC. Check the air filter box, see if it's full of oil - the PT has a "make up" airline that comes off the crank to the airbox - federal laws require that excess oil pressure off the crank case be passed back into the system and not discharged into the environment. The turbos tend to push a lot of oil out that pipe. If it's got an auto-tranny, you need to take it for a spin and get a good feel for the shift pattern - if it's at 100k or more, check to see if the owner has had the transmission solenoid pack replaced. That's something not often spoken of, but after around 75k many of the turbo models with an automatic start having problems with their tranny.

That's all I can think of off top of my head.
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 12:51 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

good write up not much else a person can say I do think all the PTs come with the MPG read out i knwo my 06 does

I dont actually think a car with over 1000,000 is nota good choice for a daily driver when you are putting on a lot of miles but like you said they are pretty cheap and the maintance isnt that bad
keep in mind in a week you will add 350 miles
1400 a month
16800 a year
it dosent seem like much but it adds up quickly
and that is just to work so any other driving will add to that

IF it were me id try to find some thing with 70,000-80,000 hope the TB was changed and have a good time driving her
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruserdad1976 View Post
IF it were me id try to find some thing with 70,000-80,000 hope the TB was changed and have a good time driving her
Me, I'd say 60 to 70k. Those at 80k are rapidly approaching the need for belt and water pump...
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

@chargerrich - what area are you located in? If you're in the southeast I can possibly direct you to some good buys on PT's.
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 01:07 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

I located in the Kansas City area

I think the GT would be my first choice with perhaps Touring being a second option although I would prefer a 5 speed and not an automatic.

One last question, does anyone know what year the PT gained an AUX jack in the stereo for my iPhone? I have no desire to add a new head unit and want to stay with a stock setup.
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 01:37 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

I love my 5 speed. The only issue I have with the tranny in the touring edition is that some of them run the T350 manual tranny versus the G288 that's in the GT. That Getrag tranny is solid as a rock. The clutch on both is only rated at 250hp at the crank, so kind of weak, but the G288 tranny is a work of art - iron art!...lol
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 01:44 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

Well i think that cements the GT for me then... now all I have to do is find one
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 02:43 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

id for sure go with a 5 speed i ahve a na auto and it is pretty much been castrated its a cool car but for the mpg its not what it could be

and chrom i agree with the 60-70 even staying around 50 is great but thay will be a lot higher
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Old 08 Mar 2012, 03:03 pm
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Default Re: Potential New Owner with Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by cruserdad1976 View Post
good write up not much else a person can say I do think all the PTs come with the MPG read out i knwo my 06 does
My '05 Touring doesn't have an MPG readout - neither does my son's '03 Limited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chargerrich
I located in the Kansas City area
Good luck - my son lives in Kansas City and we looked all over town for a Cruiser for him - quite a few in "fair" shape but he finally settled on one that has turned out to be a goodun', fer sure. Prices a little above the national average for PTs in KC, too.
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