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looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or no?

 
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  • 2 Post By mr42ndstblvd
  • 3 Post By Handy_Cruiser
  • 2 Post By Fk5
  • 1 Post By RVC

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05 Oct 2017, 06:55 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 19
Default looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or no?

i see pt cruisers ranging from as little as 300 dollars to as much as 5k

ive got my eye on a 03 on craiglist right now for 800.
supposed to run and drive real good.

the owner claims they recently paid to have a shop do the timing belt and water pump so thats a plus.

even if the belt would break i have full confidence that i could swap the timing belt in a weekend.

the car im looking at is pretty worse for were int he piant deparment.
seems like to me its a solid car.

the reason there selling is they need money and its got a noise coming from the ball joints/ tie rods


i feel like this is the right car for my budget right now and it gets me back in a pt
heres the pics

https://imgur.com/a/Zaept

if they still have it next week im going to call and try to buy it.
as i wont have money till payday.
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Old 05 Oct 2017, 07:01 pm
Young Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: New Haven, MI
Posts: 98
Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

It doesn't look too bad. Suspension work on these cars is relatively easy and inexpensive. I'm rebuilding the suspension on the one I just bought. Rockauto is a good place to order parts from. Check the rocker panels as they tend to rot out on the PT.
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Old 05 Oct 2017, 07:14 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 19
Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

around where i live rotted pts are not very common even though i opwned one..... hahah

my first pt has cancer on the rocker panels.

i ended up just gutting the rusty material and sanding to bare metal then using spray on rust inhibator/primer. then i made some panels out of plastic sheet to cover the gaping holes.... more visual than anything.

on this car if i end up with it i plan to just service it and get it in top shape and just drive it.

theres a 01 5 speed i have my eye on for 500 nucks but it has tranny issues :/ witch i wouldnt mind but i dont have a truck or trailer to tow it to where i could work on it and replace the trans.

i could probably get away with doing a timing belt where i live but if i start janking a transmission out there could be a hefty fine for breaching my contract.

the only thing im not diggin on the 03 is ive heard they use different electric fans and there hard to come by....

but i aboustley need another pt in my life.
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Old 05 Oct 2017, 07:36 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,308
Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

I recommend buying a 2005 Pt Cruiser. Some members will recommend a 2004 Pt Cruiser so you can do some research as to which year would be best for you.
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Old 06 Oct 2017, 09:30 am
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 98
Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

I'd do it. The worst job is done. I paid $500 for mine, did the timing belt and water pump myself, and that alone puts mine right in the neighborhood of the one you're looking at just for the kit. I also needed a radiator, lower hose, and also redid the bushings, replaced the lower control arms, and the nearly white headlights. All I have left is the rear window motor eventually and to still sort out that damn stumble.
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Old 06 Oct 2017, 09:46 am
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Location: Colesville, MD
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Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr42ndstblvd View Post
around where i live rotted pts are not very common even though i opwned one..... hahah

my first pt has cancer on the rocker panels.

i ended up just gutting the rusty material and sanding to bare metal then using spray on rust inhibator/primer. then i made some panels out of plastic sheet to cover the gaping holes.... more visual than anything.

on this car if i end up with it i plan to just service it and get it in top shape and just drive it.

theres a 01 5 speed i have my eye on for 500 nucks but it has tranny issues :/ witch i wouldnt mind but i dont have a truck or trailer to tow it to where i could work on it and replace the trans.

i could probably get away with doing a timing belt where i live but if i start janking a transmission out there could be a hefty fine for breaching my contract.

the only thing im not diggin on the 03 is ive heard they use different electric fans and there hard to come by....

but i aboustley need another pt in my life.
I thought the expensive cooling fan was turbo only? I'm pretty sure that NA cars don't have that issue. I am also sure that when you are talking about cars in this price range year is nearly irrelevant in comparison to condition. A nice '01 or '03 is going to treat you better than a beater '05 or '10. The different model years have way more in common than apart.
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Old 06 Oct 2017, 09:55 am
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 10,325
Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr42ndstblvd View Post
i see pt cruisers ranging from as little as 300 dollars to as much as 5k

ive got my eye on a 03 on craiglist right now for 800.
supposed to run and drive real good.

the owner claims they recently paid to have a shop do the timing belt and water pump so thats a plus.

even if the belt would break i have full confidence that i could swap the timing belt in a weekend.

the car im looking at is pretty worse for were int he piant deparment.
seems like to me its a solid car.

the reason there selling is they need money and its got a noise coming from the ball joints/ tie rods


i feel like this is the right car for my budget right now and it gets me back in a pt
heres the pics

https://imgur.com/a/Zaept

if they still have it next week im going to call and try to buy it.
as i wont have money till payday.

That might be a good deal since the timing belt has already been done. Here's what I would do.

1. Take the car for a long test drive. Try to determine if the suspension noise happens when going over bumps and pot holes. If so, it's likely the rear bushings on the front lower control arms. This is a common problem that's fairly easy to fix. Moog even makes a redesigned control arm bushing to prevent this from happening again.

2. After driving the car for twenty minutes or so, stop and check some stuff out. Does the engine have much blow-by? Does the temp gauge needle stay right in the center of the dial while the car sits and idles for a while? Can you hear the radiator fan come when the AC is off and the car idling for a while? Does it come on with the AC on? Does the oil look translucent and brown or is it black and smelly? Have the spark plug wires been replaced? (it will likely need some if not). Does the car idle smoothly or is it rough while idling? It there any sign of past over-heating? Is the Check Engine Light On?

3. It's very hard to check for timing belt replacement unless you remove the top timing belt dust cover on the right side of the engine. However, you can inspect that area very closely for signs of past work. If the belt has been changed, you will likely see something to indicate that work.

4. Look for valve cover leaks. These are very common on PT's that still have the original gasket.

5. Rock the back of the car up and down and listen for squeaks. That's the sign of bad bushings in the rear.

6. You should have two gray Sentry Keys and two fobs. If you have one fob, you can program others. But if you don't have both Sentry Keys, you cannot program more keys yourself. Do the fobs lock and unlock all doors?

7. Is there a wind noise while going down the road. A PT with good door seals does not have much wind noise.

8. After driving for twenty minutes, will the car climb steep hills easily? Does the engine feel sluggish while running about 40 mph in overdrive? Is there any smoke during start up or while driving?

9. Does the steering wheel squeak when turning? It there a whine from the power steering pump? Are there leaks under the car?

10. Does the transmission shift smoothly in all situations? If not, walk away.

NOTE that what you are buying is a 2003 Base model. For just a little more money you can likely find a Limited model with many more options. And you might even find a turbo PT for just a little more. If you are a car enthusiast, you will eventually want more than a Base model. However, if you just want a really useful little car for not much money, this might be perfect.

There's more, but this should get you started.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 06 Oct 2017 at 10:04 am.
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Old 06 Oct 2017, 10:14 am
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Colesville, MD
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Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

Interesting wheel choice. I think those are off of an earlier minivan. I should have a set that I used to run on LeBaron GTS turbo 5 door. I got them for $125 with tires back in the day.
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Old 06 Oct 2017, 05:56 pm
RVC RVC is offline
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Default Re: looking to buy an 03 pt cruiser for 800$ runs and drives needs work good buy or

Good write-up Handy. Appears my car fits in all your categories.

RVC
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