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05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

 
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  • 2 Post By rob302
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 04:28 pm
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Default 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

After a week of partyin' with my son Pricie during my trip up to watch the Martinsville Sprint Cup NASCAR race. (Go Danica), Pricie's 05 PT Vert has developed a condition called "the head lights are dimming". The consensus from AutoZone was the MFS switch. At first consideration, Pricie's brother Steve agreed.

While driving down to Greensboro in Pricie's PT for my return flight I discovered the head lights only dim at idle. They're bright as can be above idle. Low beam and high. I'm now more inclined to suspect the voltage regulator.

As I've returned to Florida before they tore it apart it's gonna be in the hands of the younger generation. Knowledgeable as they are, all opinions gratefully accepted.

Now being from the stone age when I knew where to find a voltage regulator, and futz with it. My second, third and forth and fifth question is where the hell it is it? How do you get at it? How do you replace it? How much?

Happy PTin', ptprice
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SOOO BIG 2005 PT CRUISER, LIMITED EDITION, SIGNATURE SERIES
Custom Cool Vanilla White, 3 Coats. 2.4 DOHC 16V SMPI Eng. Vanity Cover, 4 Spd. Auto Trans. 2.6 Overall Top Gear, Lock-up Torque Converter. Aluminum Chrome Clad 16" X 6" Wheels, P205/55 R16 Cooper Touring tires, Touring Suspension. Chrome Package; Side Spears, Grills, Fuel Filler Door, Door Locks, Handles, PRND3-1 Bezel, Silver/Chrome Shift Ball/Knob, Bright Spoke Leather Tilt Steering Wheel. Chrome Tail Lights, 3/8" Belt Trim. Cruise Control, Power Mirrors, A/C, Deep Tinted Sun Screen Glass, Power Moon Roof, Fog and Back-Up Lights, Rear Spoiler, Variable Front Wipers W/Washers, Rear Wiper/Washer, Key less Entry, Replacement 2001 Dark Taupe Grey Suede/Leather Trim Seats, Dual Under Seat Storage Drawers, Drivers Side Power Seat Height Adjust. Full Length Console, Locking Glove Box, Overhead Temperature/Compass Console, Rear Shelf Panel, AM/FM CD GPS Navigation Radio, 6 Premium Speakers, Back up Camera/ 7" Monitor.

Last edited by ptprice; 03 Nov 2017 at 08:14 pm.
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 04:38 pm
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Location: Darien, IL | Forest Park, IL
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Default Re: 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

voltage drop is very real and a failing switch would do it.

10.5V : 510 lumens
11.0V : 597 lumens
11.5V : 695 lumens
12.0V : 803 lumens
12.5V : 923 lumens
12.8V : 1000 lumens 13.0V : 1054 lumens
13.5V : 1198 lumens
14.0V : 1356 lumens
14.5V : 1528 lumens

after having the battery load tested and eliminating that from the picture, i would measure voltage with a multimeter at the battery, at the alternator, and at the bulb.

first thing i would suspect is the battery and ground cabling, seconded by connector C103 under the dash. when mine melted, i soldered around it and the lights were amazingly brighter than ever.

batteries do tend to fail this time of year... i'd guess this would ultimately be the solution
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 04:39 pm
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Default Re: 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

Has a battery load test been done?

Has the grounds been checked going to the PCM as shown below? The group of wires get corroded and sometimes you can't see it until you take it apart.

Does the dash lights dim as well as the headlights? If they do then as Rob302 suggested in the above post check the C103 connector.

Ground Wires.jpg
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 03 Nov 2017 at 04:44 pm.
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 04:40 pm
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Default Re: 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

to answer your question, the voltage regulator is the PCM.....but the battery is there to help balance the difference between idle and cruising voltage. sounds like you'll be needing one.
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 05:42 pm
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Default Re: 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

All grounds, belt and connections still looked good. Pricie's PT it's garage kept and he babies it. Battery checks out, so does out put. Terminals are clean. I'll pass on the comments on the thread to my boys.. Thanks. Any how toos?

Pricie's also lucked out and got a estimate from a trusted mechanic just down the street from where he lives to replace the timing belt and accessories. Kit and all for $600. He'll do the mounts too for just the cost.
Happy PTin', ptprice
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SOOO BIG 2005 PT CRUISER, LIMITED EDITION, SIGNATURE SERIES
Custom Cool Vanilla White, 3 Coats. 2.4 DOHC 16V SMPI Eng. Vanity Cover, 4 Spd. Auto Trans. 2.6 Overall Top Gear, Lock-up Torque Converter. Aluminum Chrome Clad 16" X 6" Wheels, P205/55 R16 Cooper Touring tires, Touring Suspension. Chrome Package; Side Spears, Grills, Fuel Filler Door, Door Locks, Handles, PRND3-1 Bezel, Silver/Chrome Shift Ball/Knob, Bright Spoke Leather Tilt Steering Wheel. Chrome Tail Lights, 3/8" Belt Trim. Cruise Control, Power Mirrors, A/C, Deep Tinted Sun Screen Glass, Power Moon Roof, Fog and Back-Up Lights, Rear Spoiler, Variable Front Wipers W/Washers, Rear Wiper/Washer, Key less Entry, Replacement 2001 Dark Taupe Grey Suede/Leather Trim Seats, Dual Under Seat Storage Drawers, Drivers Side Power Seat Height Adjust. Full Length Console, Locking Glove Box, Overhead Temperature/Compass Console, Rear Shelf Panel, AM/FM CD GPS Navigation Radio, 6 Premium Speakers, Back up Camera/ 7" Monitor.

Last edited by ptprice; 03 Nov 2017 at 08:23 pm.
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 06:42 pm
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Default Re: 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptprice View Post
I'm assuming all grounds and connections are still good as it's a garage kept car he babies. They've been appraised of the first comments on the thread. Thanks. Any how toos?

Pricie's also lucked out and got a estimate from a trusted mechanic just down the street from where he lives to replace the timing belt and accessories. Kit and all for $600. He'll do the mounts too for just the cost.
Happy PTin', ptprice
Don't count on it.

Also you should fix all problems with the Pt Cruiser before you have the timing belt replaced otherwise if something goes wrong you can't say there wasn't anything wrong with it before they worked on it.
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 06:58 pm
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Default Re: 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptprice View Post
I'm assuming all grounds and connections are still good as it's a garage kept car he babies. They've been appraised of the first comments on the thread. Thanks. Any how toos?
Find all your earth connections, undo them, clean with emery paper including washers, clean the threads with a wire brush, smear of vaseline or battery grease and remake.


Alternator?
You should have around 13.5 - 14 volts on the battery terminals at tickover.
If not ....
Have you checked the alternator belt for play? They don't always squeal and tell you they need adjusting....
If you have got that kind of voltage, then it's likely to be switch or wiring related.
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Old 03 Nov 2017, 07:14 pm
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Default Re: 05 PT. Vert. head lights dim at idle. It's SOOO BIG's cousin

I'm having a similar problem on an '08, with new multifunction switch (last month - see my previous posts for that nightmare lol). The headlights, dash lights, analog clock and radio display all flutter. Mostly at idle, but they also do this throughout the RPM range.

Note that on the 06 and up, the MFS doesn't carry any heavy current, it's 4 thin wires that tell the computer what switches are on and off...

Yesterday I plugged in my bluetooth ELM-327 adapter and had my girlfriend monitor the voltages on my phone (Torque Lite) while we drove around (rain, headlights on, both wipers intermittent, heater on low, radio on low). While it fluctuated a lot, it never skewed below 13.6V or above 14.4. Amazing what a visual difference that 0.8 volts makes though... technically that range is considered acceptable, but should be constant, not fluctuating between the low and high ranges.

This also rules out the MFS anyway as the car's voltage is fluctuating, not just the lights (I have yet to do a daytime, everything-off voltage test with the Torque app but expect similar, if slightly less noticeable, results).

I'm used to lights getting dim at idle in gear in most cars, but it seems different here. My first thought of course is alternator, which leads me to a question (that may show my age lol): what happened to the "alternator rebuild kits" they used to sell (same for starters)? Apparently (searching various parts chains) they just don't sell them anymore.

I'm not adverse to opening it up and replacing the diodes and other components (no noise or obvious strain from the pulley etc)... rather than pay almost $200 for a reman alternator with a "lifetime" warranty...

I'm near 100% sure it's not a grounding issue, and it's definitely related to RPM though it jumps at odd ranges. Idle is obvious, but for example when I accelerate from 35 to 40 it's bright, when I let off the gas (RPM dropping to say 1200) it dims again but then "corrects" itself. If that makes sense. Both voltage meters in the torque app show about the same behavior (one is the actual voltage measured at the OBDII port, the other is I presume at the PCM)...

So should I just go with occam's razor and just replace the alternator? Or can anyone point to a place I can buy a rebuild kit if they even make those anymore?

For reference:

2008 PT Base Auto
New (Duralast) MFS
< 1 Year Old Battery (replaced last winter, proper grease and connections)
No other symptoms (cranks right up) other than the ~0.8V variance that is visibly noticeable on the road ahead as well as all over the dash. Ground wires noted above have been cleaned and are solid, last year when I rebuilt the top of the motor...

If I had $200 lying around right now I'd have already just replaced it... just looking for an alternative before it goes completely, which will most likely happen at the most inopportune location, at night, with no cell service, and a hail storm, during a zombie apocalypse
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