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Abrupt Engine Failure??

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 17 Mar 2014, 07:34 am
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Default Abrupt Engine Failure??

My wife is currently driving at 2008 2.4L Turbo limited PT Cruiser with less than 25,000 miles. For all that time the car operated very well minus routine maintenance. The other day though she began having some weird issues that I have not been able to find through searching, but need to get this resolved as she is pregnant, due soon and really does not need that car stalling in the middle of traffic. We took it to a local Chrysler maintenance shed, but here is the kicker. We are stationed in Korea and they have no clue how to work on this car due to the Turbo. Very few vehicles have in here.

Twice now while my wife was reverse parking her car she turned the wheel all the way to the right and put the gear in reverse when her car wouldn't move, the brakes became firm, steering wheel locked and no other gear would work. It appeared to have stalled, but my wife swears the engine was still running. I will let the experts chew on that part. Putting the vehicle back in P and starting seemed to resolve the issue both times. This happened twice in a couple of weeks. One last symptom is that when starting the car there seems to be some sputter after initially starting for about 30 seconds. A little more vibration then usual also.

We have a family friend who is a little experienced with Chrysler and he thinks could be ignition coil, but is not sure.

Would appreciate any help in this matter.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 08:49 am
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Default Re: Abrupt Engine Failure??

I don't think ignition coil has anything to do with your problem. No engine lights? Might try a good fuel injector cleaner. Wont hurt if not the problem. Others may have some more thing to try. Steering getting hard is a sign of lose of rpm.

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Old 17 Mar 2014, 09:20 am
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Default Re: Abrupt Engine Failure??

I'm sort of leaning to your suspicion that the engine had died based on the events you/your wife described. My guess is if the key is turned to the start position as you said, the starter gear would grind loud and noticeable if the engine was still running. There was probably a bit of distracting excitement at the time so the tach pegging on 0 and any dash lights could have been overlooked.

The fact that you have a turbo equipped Cruiser version shouldn't matter for what is happening while your wife is attempting to back into a parking space. Any systems involved should be about the same as a non-turbo when out of boost. Turning the steering to full lock while standing does load the engine more than normal so a better "habit" is to only turn the steering wheel that far AFTER the car has begun rolling. But still, the engine shouldn't die. I would suggest a dirty, gunked up throttlebody and/or IAT as possible suspects. That can be a do-it-yourself with some spray cleaner made for that. Another long shot could be a cam sensor is starting to fail. Usually they give up all at once but sometimes they do a "dying quiver" for a long time before finally giving up.

Also have the PCM checked with a scan tool to see if there are any stored trouble codes that could point out problems. In the USA most auto parts stores will do the check for free. I hope it's something simple and you get it figured out quickly.
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Old 17 Mar 2014, 09:24 am
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Default Re: Abrupt Engine Failure??

I agree with Busted with his last statement. Your wife said she thought it was still running but you said the only way to get out of it was to restart it. So the engine must have been stopped. If the engine stalls, there so power to the steering or power brakes.

Turning the wheel all the way puts a strain on the engine which is supposed to be compensated by higher revs just like when the A/C is on. If that function isn't working, the strain might be causing a stall.

I believe the IAC (Idle Air Controller) has something to do with that and it can be cleaned and replaced pretty easily. It's located in back of the throttle body.

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Old 20 Mar 2014, 08:17 pm
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Default Re: Abrupt Engine Failure??

Do the key dance and check for codes.

How old are the plugs and wires? Have they ever been changed.

Yank the throttle body and remove the AIS motor and clean it, could be carboned up causing idle sag and stalling at low speed.

Also don't these have a Pressure switch on power steering pump which bumps up the idle at low speed when cranking the steering wheel like when backing up, that not working allows idle sag and stalling.

How does it run other wise on highway??

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