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PT Overheating, High Pressure

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 20 Sep 2016, 04:33 pm
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Default PT Overheating, High Pressure

I've got an 01 PT that's overheating. I've had it just over a year, bought it from a local dealer who bought it at the auto auction. Had just under 96k miles on it. Last summer it started overheating, but only up hills and extended highway speeds. Replaced thermostat and flushed radiator, got a lot of gunk out. Ran fine afterwards. Fast-forward to January. It had recently hit 100k miles and before I could have the timing belt changed, the tensioner broke. Had that replaced, didn't cross my mind to have the water pump replaced at the same time. It ran fine up until now. It's overheating, but this time more severe. It will get up to normal operating temp and stay there for a bit, then bam, temp starts climbing and won't go back down at all. Took it to a trustworthy guy who used to work on my old Malibu (RIP Lizzie). He pressure tested it for me, pressure is way high. He says it's either the water pump or head gasket. Unfortunately he hates PTs and refuses to work on it. I'm trying to find a garage around here with PT experience to hopefully gain some more insight on the issue. Sorry for the long post, but what I'm getting to, have any of you had similar issues? I've heard that head gasket leaks are common, is there something I could be on the lookout for to help determine whether it is or isn't the head gasket? Also, I know head gasket would be a very labor intensive job. What kind of price range am I looking at for a fair price? I really love this car and I would hate to write it off yet.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 20 Sep 2016, 04:55 pm
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Default Re: PT Overheating, High Pressure

Quote:
Originally Posted by danidarkheart View Post
I've got an 01 PT that's overheating. I've had it just over a year, bought it from a local dealer who bought it at the auto auction. Had just under 96k miles on it. Last summer it started overheating, but only up hills and extended highway speeds. Replaced thermostat and flushed radiator, got a lot of gunk out. Ran fine afterwards. Fast-forward to January. It had recently hit 100k miles and before I could have the timing belt changed, the tensioner broke. Had that replaced, didn't cross my mind to have the water pump replaced at the same time. It ran fine up until now. It's overheating, but this time more severe. It will get up to normal operating temp and stay there for a bit, then bam, temp starts climbing and won't go back down at all. Took it to a trustworthy guy who used to work on my old Malibu (RIP Lizzie). He pressure tested it for me, pressure is way high. He says it's either the water pump or head gasket. Unfortunately he hates PTs and refuses to work on it. I'm trying to find a garage around here with PT experience to hopefully gain some more insight on the issue. Sorry for the long post, but what I'm getting to, have any of you had similar issues? I've heard that head gasket leaks are common, is there something I could be on the lookout for to help determine whether it is or isn't the head gasket? Also, I know head gasket would be a very labor intensive job. What kind of price range am I looking at for a fair price? I really love this car and I would hate to write it off yet.
Sorry to hear of your problem. But.
Quote "started over heating last summer" no engine likes overheating, and the dirt you flushed from the cooling system may indicate the previous owner may have tried to seal the head gasket with headgasket sealant you pour into the coolant. To replace a headgasket requires diss-assembly of the timing components , intake, exhaust. The head gaskets are good, the common headgasket leaks are, IMO , from overheating which could be caused by thermostat, radiator cap, water pump, radiator clog and the two speed radiator cooling fan (they last about 100,000 miles).
Taking care of a vehicle is a religion all its own.
Thats why as you read on and get answers and suggestions, you will see
they work on their own cars which in the long run saves much $$$$$$$.
Now you have to ask is your PT Cruiser worth repairs you were quoted, plus, radiator cooling fan, plus, suspension repairs it probably needs. (LCA) other..
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 20 Sep 2016, 05:23 pm
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Default Re: PT Overheating, High Pressure

Quote:
Originally Posted by danidarkheart View Post
....Sorry for the long post, but what I'm getting to, have any of you had similar issues? I've heard that head gasket leaks are common, is there something I could be on the lookout for to help determine whether it is or isn't the head gasket? Also, I know head gasket would be a very labor intensive job. What kind of price range am I looking at for a fair price? I really love this car and I would hate to write it off yet.

If me, I would do a test to check for compression gas in the coolant. That is often a fairly definitive way to know if it is the head gasket for sure.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/l...0ooaAgrv8P8HAQ


If so, you then need to weigh the value of your PT again the cost of the head gasket job. The cost of that job will likely be vary similar to what you paid for the timing belt job. There's maybe a few of hours more work but less new parts required. I would estimate around $1,500, but it's going to vary a lot depending on what part of the country you are in. The value of your PT will vary too. When I am a very clean 2001 is going to bring around $2000. That's less than just a year ago. And if it's not real clean, it could be more like $1000 to $1500. So you need to do some soul searching.

What I would do is perform the compression gas test myself first. And then if I knew it was the head gasket for sure, I'd then price the job at several local shops if I couldn't do it myself. Then I'd decide if the car is worth it or if I should go find a another PT in better condition to buy.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 20 Sep 2016 at 05:33 pm.
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Old 20 Sep 2016, 06:32 pm
danidarkheart's Avatar
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Location: West Virginia
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Default Re: PT Overheating, High Pressure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post
If me, I would do a test to check for compression gas in the coolant. That is often a fairly definitive way to know if it is the head gasket for sure.

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/l...0ooaAgrv8P8HAQ


If so, you then need to weigh the value of your PT again the cost of the head gasket job. The cost of that job will likely be vary similar to what you paid for the timing belt job. There's maybe a few of hours more work but less new parts required. I would estimate around $1,500, but it's going to vary a lot depending on what part of the country you are in. The value of your PT will vary too. When I am a very clean 2001 is going to bring around $2000. That's less than just a year ago. And if it's not real clean, it could be more like $1000 to $1500. So you need to do some soul searching.

What I would do is perform the compression gas test myself first. And then if I knew it was the head gasket for sure, I'd then price the job at several local shops if I couldn't do it myself. Then I'd decide if the car is worth it or if I should go find a another PT in better condition to buy.

Other than the engine, this car is super clean. Spotless leather interior, practically rust free (I live in WV so that's a feat on it's own.) If it were in worse shape I would have already written it off. The timing belt job only cost me $400. The mechanic was highly recommend by my BF's family. I'm going to talk to him tomorrow and see what he thinks. If it is the head gasket I seriously doubt I'll get such a great price. He complained last time that he is going to charge double next time he works on a Cruiser.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 20 Sep 2016, 06:48 pm
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Default Re: PT Overheating, High Pressure

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeX View Post
Sorry to hear of your problem. But.
Quote "started over heating last summer" no engine likes overheating, and the dirt you flushed from the cooling system may indicate the previous owner may have tried to seal the head gasket with headgasket sealant you pour into the coolant. To replace a headgasket requires diss-assembly of the timing components , intake, exhaust. The head gaskets are good, the common headgasket leaks are, IMO , from overheating which could be caused by thermostat, radiator cap, water pump, radiator clog and the two speed radiator cooling fan (they last about 100,000 miles).
Taking care of a vehicle is a religion all its own.
Thats why as you read on and get answers and suggestions, you will see
they work on their own cars which in the long run saves much $$$$$$$.
Now you have to ask is your PT Cruiser worth repairs you were quoted, plus, radiator cooling fan, plus, suspension repairs it probably needs. (LCA) other..
I'm quite aware that cars do not like to overheat. That's why I tackled the problem the first time with the thermostat / radiator flush. It's possible that the previous owner may not have properly maintained the car, but when I bought it just over a year ago, it was extremely clean and rust free, which while I understand you can never really know, it seemed like it was pretty well maintained and cared for. I drove a Malibu for eight years, retired it with almost 250k miles on it and it never let me down. I am by no means a mechanic but I understand a little bit about car maintenance and I do what I can myself. I've never dealt with a possible head gasket leak on my own and I know I don't have the energy nor the experience to tackle that myself. I feel like because I'm a woman people assume I know nothing about cars. Maybe the estrogen blocks the automotive part of the brain?? Who knows. I do like to know what I'm possibly dealing with / what I can expect to pay before I go talking to mechanics I don't know because believe it or not I have had mechanics try to rip me off.
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Old 20 Sep 2016, 08:17 pm
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Default Re: PT Overheating, High Pressure

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Originally Posted by danidarkheart View Post
Maybe the estrogen blocks the automotive part of the brain?? Who knows. I do like to know what I'm possibly dealing with / what I can expect to pay before I go talking to mechanics I don't know because believe it or not I have had mechanics try to rip me off.
Oh don't sweat that! The real "rip off artist" aren't sexist! They'll rip off "anyone" regardless of sex or color!

What you do is "ask" others first ... "which you are doing" and then you can make a better informed choice. On the Tahoe/Yukon Forum ... we had a member who said he was "quoted" $1000, for Coil Pack "R&R" on his "Tahoe" ... $330 to change one, which he did and ... seven more to go! Coil packs are 25 to 50 dollars each and right on top of the motor!! Swapping them out ... is not a $1000 job!!! He got it done for $550 at another shop that "guaranteed" there work.



Back on pointe .... someone will point it out but when the T-Belt was done ... the water pump should have been changed?? Because ... to change the Water Pump ... you have to ... remove the Timing Belt! So ... that kinda speaks to the "quality of service" you got.

But as was stated ... a dealer is usually between $1500 and $2000 dollars for a Timing Belt/Water Pump job. If your "lucky and ask around" you maybe able to find an independent shop that can do it for roughly a little less than half that price. And they should guarantee there work for at least a year.

Couldn't hurt to get the kit "Handy_Cruiser" linked to ... getting it fixed before it badly overheats is preferable. If it overheats badly badly enough it could warp the head. A rebuilt head seems to be about $275 to $300 dollars or they can usually refurb yours if required, machine shop which would be about uh ...$275 to $300 plus ... I don't know another $200 for labor??

Now if it's at the dealer and it does "need" a head (and I'm not saying it does) that would be bad!!! Dealers don't do rebuilt "anything!" I can't even imagine what they would charge for a new head???

And ... in your guy's defense?? I have no idea why he did not change the Water Pump, while he was in there?? But the T-Belt has held up so he does know his stuff?? He just needs to learn to make some better choices for his clients. Welcome aboard.
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Old 21 Sep 2016, 09:35 pm
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Default Re: PT Overheating, High Pressure

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Originally Posted by Chip18sw View Post
And ... in your guy's defense?? I have no idea why he did not change the Water Pump, while he was in there?? But the T-Belt has held up so he does know his stuff?? He just needs to learn to make some better choices for his clients. Welcome aboard.
I'm not sure why he didn't change the water pump either, and to be honest at the time it didn't cross my mind. I do have a warranty on the timing belt he installed and so far haven't had an issue with it.

The first mechanic I took it to who says it's either the water pump or head gasket only pressure tested it. He doesn't work on Cruisers, flat out refuses, but because he used to work miracles on my old Malibu he was willing to look at it for me. I spoke to another mechanic today who thinks it could be the radiator. He's going to look at it Monday. Radiator was my first instinct. I figured that the flush last summer didn't get everything and it developed another clog.

As far as overheating badly enough to warp the head, I haven't been driving it since it started acting up. The second the temp started to rise above normal, I was just a few miles from home and did what I could to keep the temp low as possible to hobble it home. (Running the heat full blast on a 90 degree day = not as bad as I would have expected) It's never actually hit the red line, and while I know that even running hot is not good for your engine, I would never drive with it flat out overheating so hopefully my risk of head damage is pretty low.

I'm just so frustrated with this car right now... Unrelated, anybody know what the current insurance payout is on an 01 PT Cruiser that unfortunately happens to catch fire??? I kid of course...
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Old 21 Sep 2016, 11:37 pm
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Default Re: PT Overheating, High Pressure

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Originally Posted by danidarkheart View Post
As far as overheating badly enough to warp the head, I haven't been driving it since it started acting up. The second the temp started to rise above normal, I was just a few miles from home and did what I could to keep the temp low as possible to hobble it home. (Running the heat full blast on a 90 degree day = not as bad as I would have expected) It's never actually hit the red line, and while I know that even running hot is not good for your engine, I would never drive with it flat out overheating so hopefully my risk of head damage is pretty low.
Well ... your smarter than me, in that regard ... I'm one for three, Porsche got away with it, head gasket only, my little Toyota Mini Truck and our PT ... not so much. But I'm pretty good at fixing them "after the fact."


Moving on ... you don't need to guest, yes it could be the Radiator causing the overheating??? But "you" can check that have a look here:


Doing that will let you know if you have Head Gasket problem.

And "you" can rent "this" from an automotive store:
http://www.autozone.com/loan-a-tools...ester-adapters

"If" the water pump is leaking ... that's how you find it. And it would best if the motor were "Cold" before pressure testing it.

But ... if the water pump is leaking ... it "will" get antifreeze on the Timing Belt and Anti Freeze "Will" destroy a Timing Belt and that is why, they (WP) gets changed when you do a Timing Belt job. (Porsche 944 notwithstanding T Belt every 35000 mile on those guys!) But you don't want a new belt and an old water pump. If the water pump goes ... it takes out the timing belt!

The guy "screwed up" he put himself in a postion to say "Well it's not "The Timing Belt" it's the "Water Pump!"

$400 bucks would have been a great deal had he done the job right the first time! $400 x 2 .... well that would have been a fair price to do the job correctly the first time.

The guy that "refuses" to work on "PT's" ... LOL ... well he's got good sense! Doing work on that engine in that compartment is notoriously difficult!! I looked up "Changing an Alternator in a PT Cruiser??" It started with "Jack Stands" and went downhill from there.
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