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2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

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Old 26 Aug 2015, 08:13 am
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Default 2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

Sorry if this doesn't make sense. It's my 1st post on here so thank you for looking at it and hopefuly offering some help.

I have a 2008 PT Cruiser that I bought used a year ago. The battery light was coming on and staying on. It did that for over a month and I assumed it was the alternator because I had recently replaced the battery. Two night ago, I was driving home and the engine light came on as I was pulling to a stop at a red light (no weird noises or anything) and then stalled. I didn't know it had stalled until I tried to accelerate, that's how quiet it was. I thought that the bad alternator was to blame and the battery was drained. I still had power for the radio, lights, etc. though. I pushed it into a lot, an AutoZone actually. The next day I pulled the battery and had AutoZone load test and charge it thinking I could get it started to drive the three miles to the mechanic. No such luck. I've purchased an alternator and the shop had said they would install it for $200. I had it towed and was happy to get out for the cost of the alternator and $200. The shop hasn't moved the car and it's still in the same spot it was when it was dropped off in their lot. I dropped by there to get a few things out of the car and they called me back to the office and said that the timing belt was broken. How would they know that without moving the car? Also, does this sound like a timing belt issue or an alternator? The battery light is what makes me think alternator. He's ying it will be anywhere from $850 (if valves are good) to $1900 (if the valves aren't good). Does the PT have a non-interference engine? What should I expect? Any other thought are appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 26 Aug 2015, 08:19 am
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Default Re: 2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

Also, I forgot to mention that it tries to turn over. Sounds like it will catch but not quite. I also had AutoZone pull the engine code for me and it was for the CamShaft position sensor ( I can't remember the code #).
Thanks again!
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Old 26 Aug 2015, 08:32 am
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Default Re: 2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

You didn't say how many miles the car has on it it whether the car was cranking, engine turning over, but not starting, or starting and dying.
The timing belt in PT engines has a life span of approximately 90-120k miles or more. The factory recommended replacement schedule is 90-100K. Most folks replace it, and of course the tensioners and water pump, when the belt fails rather than as a matter of scheduled maintenance.
If, when you reinstalled the charged battery and the engine cranked but failed to fire and run, it may be the belt failed. This has nothing to do with the alternator failure other than coincedence. There is an inspection plug in the front of the timing belt cover on the passenger side of the engine room about three inches down the front. Remove that plug and you can see the bottom of the cam drive gears one on either side. Have someone crank the car and observe if the gears move. If they don't move, the belt is bad. The engine is a non-interference design and would likely not harm the valves unless the failure occurred at high RPMs.
Hope it is handled honestly and repaired correctly by the shop you are using.
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Old 26 Aug 2015, 08:35 am
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Default Re: 2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

I would suggest you take the camshaft sensor off and try turning the engine over. See if the camshaft moves. If it moves then check the camshaft wiring and connector. If it looks good replace the camshaft sensor.

Always fix the problem when your engine light comes on.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 26 Aug 2015 at 08:39 am.
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Old 26 Aug 2015, 08:39 am
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Default Re: 2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

Sorry, it has close to 130K and the car was turning over but wouldn't catch.
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Old 26 Aug 2015, 12:55 pm
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Default Re: 2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

The car will still turn over with a broken timing belt. The starter is still engaging the flywheel and spinning the crankshaft and pistons. The problem is that with a broken timing belt, the crankshaft is no longer connected to the camshafts and no matter how hot your battery is, your car is NEVER going to start. Pop that inspection plug and have someone crank it while you observe the camshafts. If you don't see them turning, then the timing belt is broken. If you see the cams spinning, then the shop is lying to you and most likely you need the cam position sensor changed. Don't let them touch it if they're lying to you about the belt.

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Old 01 Sep 2015, 11:16 am
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Default Re: 2008 PT Cruiser - Battery Light - Alternator, Timing Belt?

First of all I am sorry to hear about your problem I just went through this nightmare myself and I still am to a certain degree. If you do need to change the belt make sure the techs know what they are doing!
I can't stress this enough believe me, my 06 touring / 80k was at two shops after 2 1/2 weeks at the first shop I requested it be towed to a mechanic of my choice.
He discovered the center mount bolt was cut off and shaved to a point at the end also the mounting plate was stripped ( Gee now I wonder the engine was shaking )

Anyway I have the photos and he will back me up in court if needed. I have contacted the 1st shop and included the photos however they insist on inspecting the car. I in formed the manager that it is the center bolt/mount it cannot be inspected without disassembly which is not happening. I had an appointment on Saturday however I decided to DIY the PCM instead of wasting my time there Good luck and find a mechanic that you know and trust.
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alternator, battery light, help quick, noninterference engine, timing belt

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