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One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 14 Jun 2016, 07:50 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Default One problem after the next with my '09 Cruiser

Hey everyone. I hope I'm posting this in the correct spot. I'm not sure what outcome I'm looking for by sharing my story, I suppose just to see if anyone has had similar issues or repairs they've had to deal with.

So I just dropped 2,000 dollars at the mechanic on my PT. It wasn't easy to come up with, but for the long term, it seemed much better than getting into a car payment. I don't know much about cars, but this is the basic rundown of what they replaced and fixed.

--Water pump and timing belt
--Brand new radiator
--Some air conditioning hose that was leaking
--Airbag light was on because of some seatbelt sensor

I will admit if I had tackled these issues over time I wouldn't have had to deal with the 2,000 dollars all at once. The airbag light had been on for awhile, and i knew the air hose was leaking. But even if I had handled those earlier, I still would have had around 1,300 dollars in repairs. What forced me into the shop was the overheating issues from the radiator and water pump.

So I managed to find the money to fix it and it drives like it's brand new. And then it begins to randomly not start for me. The problem is that this definitely started the week before I originally took it to the mechanic. Nothing the mechanic did caused this because it happened three times before I took it in. And they never spoke with me before looking at it (we dropped it off overnight), so they only looked at the overheating issues, and I never had a chance to explain the not-starting issue. And every time it failed to start, I only had to wait ten minutes or so before it would. I mentioned it when we picked up the car, and our mechanic said to bring it in if it did it again.

Well a few days into me having it back it did it again. At this point it's been at least seven times that it has not started and then started like ten or twenty minutes later. But the seventh time I got stuck at a gas station for over an hour. So it goes back to the mechanic and he investigates and says it's the TIPM module. And this repair is supposed to cost around 1,100 dollars. And apparently these things fail and have to be replaced so often the parts fly off the shelves?

This car is only 7 years old and has 70,000 miles on it. We've already spent half of it's value repairing it, and now this TIPM module is putting us over that mark. It just seems ridiculous to me that this much stuff is going wrong with it at this point. Does anyone have experience in getting the TIPM replaced for cheaper than 1000 bucks? Or getting Chrysler to assume any responsibility for putting cheaply made and troublesome parts in their vehicles? I love my car and getting rid of it isn't an option anyway, because I can't afford a car payment and I might be moving and leaving it at home soon anyway. The only way to really do this is to suffer through this repair, but I was just wondering if anyone out there had any better options or suggestions. Thank you to any one that can help out with some advice!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 14 Jun 2016, 08:15 pm
rckstein's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,518
Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Welcome to the forum

Sorry to hear you're having trouble with your PT, they really are fun cars to drive when everything works right

Intermittent electrical problems are the hardest to troubleshoot because the problem has to actually exist for the tech to find the possible issues. I hope you get everything worked out.

Last edited by rckstein; 14 Jun 2016 at 08:18 pm.
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Old 14 Jun 2016, 09:16 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,481
Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear you are having problems with your PT Cruiser.

The TIPM is a common problem for some electrical problems that comes up. Some members have had to wait weeks for a new TIPM that are back ordered by the dealer.

I would suggest doing some more diagnosing before buying a new TIPM. Its very hard to determine if the TIPM is the problem with all the modules and sensors tied to it.

This thread below is good reading on members being told the problem is the TIPM and it turns out the TIPM was not the problem and even if the problem is blowing the fuse on the thread below the whole point is that trying to find the root cause of a problem is not easy and sometimes they are just throwing parts at it until it fixes the problem. This member spend $3400 dollars and still had the problem.

Also if you do authorize a new TIPM I would suggest you have them prove to you (Including the dealers) that the TIPM is brand new and not a rebuilt or re manufactured.

2006 PT Cruiser Help! (TIPM? WCM?)
If at First You Don't Succeed - Try, Try Again
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Old 15 Jun 2016, 02:59 am
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Thank you two for your replies!

Oh man, the stories in that thread seem like such nightmares. I'm already paranoid, and I fear all the reading I've done up on this TIPM--what it can do when it malfunctions and also the costs to repair--is only making me more paranoid. It's just so much worse because I just dropped 2,000 bucks and it runs like new and now this is happening. I'm scared to sink another 1,100 into it only to have it mess up again.

Our mechanic has been my mom's mechanic for like 20 years. He has always been pretty reliable and trustworthy. He was the one that told us that the original radiator was a cheap part from China, and he seems to know a lot about individual parts and manufacturers. His wife called at first saying that maybe they could find a used TIPM, but then when we spoke again she said she had spoken with him and he said it had to be a new one because the old one was a piece of crap. He also had the names of who produced the original TIPM and who produces the new one. He also said the supplier he would get it from just got 12 in and that the supplier said they would probably be gone by the end of the week because they're in such high demand.

I'm still so worried I'm gonna pour another 1,100 into this thing and still have problems. Does anyone know why the TIPM was only recalled on certain Dodge/Chrysler vehicles? Because those models started having trouble earlier on? Or had more severe trouble with it? Cause at this point my car has had no symptoms except not starting. None of the electrical stuff has been acting wacky. There has been some fan or something in the engine that doesn't shut off right away when I shut off the vehicle, and seems to run for awhile afterward. I was wondering if that was a symptom.

Blegh this sucks. I have no idea what to do here. I wish I could sit on it longer but I can scrounge up the money now to fix it now. It just means I'll spend the summer broke and in debt to a family member. Part of me wishes I could wait around on it because I have another family vehicle I can borrow (not entirely on my schedule though), and then I could drive the PT occasionally and risk getting stuck, but that just seems stupid and dangerous too. Does this TIPM mess with safety features in PT's too, or was that just in the recalled vehicles?

Sorry for all the crazy questions, I have no clue if anyone can answer them lol. I'm just bummed out and at a loss at what to do here.
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Old 15 Jun 2016, 06:31 am
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Lake Wales, FL
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Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Look at it realistically. You need a dependable vehicle and it's a thousand more dollars to get it there. Then, you owe someone three grand. OR, you trade it in for a new vehicle. NOW, you still owe someone else two grand, you have a high car payment for the next five to seven years and you have to provide full coverage insurance. So, you can owe 3 grand and drive confident, or you can owe $25-30,000 plus the two grand. What do you want to do? Me, I'd borrow the additional grand and fix the PT.

Aspire to inspire before you expire.
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Old 15 Jun 2016, 07:48 am
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 427
Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Before i dropped that kind of cash...I'd make it clear to the mechanic, you are not paying to have the component replaced, you are paying them to fix the no start problem. Any return visits for the same problem should be free of charge. Unless of course, he states upfront that he is not entirely sure it will correct the problem. To me, thats the checks and balance system to ensure you are spending your money with confidence and the shop is taking responsability for their diagnosis. Find out his confidence level on wether or not this will fix your problem before spending the money and what the next step is, if it doesn't correct the problem.
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Old 15 Jun 2016, 08:01 am
Cool Cruiser
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 427
Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Also, about dropping additional money into this car, i'm with Chuzz. I wouldn't spend too much time pondering car's value vs repair costs. I would look at the alternative. Right now you got a car with a solid motor with only 70K on it and all your major prevenative maintenance done for the next 100K. If you decide to get rid of the car for another of the same value, you are probably looking at one with close or over a 100K, an unknown maintenance history and probably costly 100K scheduled maintenance over due. Realisticly, other than the radiator cost, the money spent thus far, was for scheduled maintenance (granted earlier than it should have been) and should be expected on any car with a timing belt and that kind of mileage. Just my 2 cents!
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Old 15 Jun 2016, 01:49 pm
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Location: Massachusetts
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Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

I would definitely get a second opinion on it being the TIPM being the problem.
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Old 17 Jun 2016, 01:05 pm
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Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 76
Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Hearing you have had overheating problems makes me nervous.

While with its previous owner, My PT had overheating issues around 143k. The dealer installed a new timing belt, water pump, radiator fan and a few other parts. $2,500 later the car ran great... UNTIL...

At around 155k, and after I bought it, the car began overheating. I first took it to a shop that threw parts and 'snake oil' at the problem without resolving it. The second shop quickly recognized the head gasket had failed - glad I got a second opinion. I was told the prior overheating likely weakened the head gasket at 143k causing the gasket to fail ~12k later.

So $2,000, ~11k miles, and 1.5 years later my PT runs great even in hot AZ summers and I am really enjoying the car.

I do wish you the best and understand, at least a little, the tough decisions you are having to make. To keep things in perspective I remind myself that the car has only cost me $168/mo., including other normal/minor repairs, and I am not in debt to someone else via a car payment And every month I own the car without issue is another month that cost decreases
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Stock 2002 Limited "Legacy" Edition 166k - been in the family since purchased new in 2001. Keeping the legacy alive.
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Old 12 Jul 2016, 04:05 pm
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Default Re: One problem after the next with my 09' Cruiser

Alrighty folks, unfortunately i'm bringing this back up to the top.

Firstly thank you everyone for your replies. I appreciated the logic behind fixing the car vs getting a new one. It made sense to me too. It still almost does.


My car is now back in the shop for a fourth time. We fixed the TIPM and things were great--for a week and a half. Then it did the same thing it did before, refused to start. We took it back to the mechanic and he said it was the line that runs from the TIPM to the starter. Not sure what that's called--is it the PCM or whatever? Anyway, he repaired that for $225, he said a new one would have been another costly repair.

Well three days into having it back and it OVERHEATS on my way to work! I live in AZ, so it's already a bad situation for the car to be in. We take it back to the mechanic and he said the head gasket is failing. He said they "tested" it at the end of may when we replaced the radiator/water pump/timing belt, and that it tested fine then, and now it's not. I'm not sure what he's talking about. Did he "test" it with a machine, or could he physically see it with his own two eyes once they took apart the engine? Because until last week, it hadn't overheated since we took it to them in May. So I don't really understand how they couldn't tell it needed to be done IN MAY. Is this just misdiagnosis and negligence on their part, or was there really no way for them to know?

I'm at a loss for what to do. They are saying it would be an upwards of $1000 repair. They don't want me to fix it again. They didn't want me to the last time either. They're also not trying to sell me a car or buy mine from me. They are definitely fed up with my car because I think they know it's reflecting badly on them, but can these many things randomly go wrong in the span of two months? I mean I believe they can, but like I said I don't understand why they couldn't diagnose the head gasket in May when we replaced the water pump and radiator.

BennyC, if you're still around I would be interested to hear your take on this since you've had the same issue and you live in AZ too! Was just the head gasket repair $2000? If I can get this thing to run great from this point onward I want to fix it. I'm just terrified of what else could go wrong!
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