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what a long strange trip it's been

 
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 11:03 am
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Default what a long strange trip it's been

Getting near the finish of an epic 25k road trip lasting for six months.

Car wise, cannot complain in fact I had zero breakdowns despite the massive inventory of tools I kept on board. As it turns out the only tooll I needed was the air gauge.

Much of that vehicular success is due to the tricks, tips & advice offered by you folks at this forum. I didn't embark eastward until I was 100 percent sure that I had fixed myself or hired out every preventive repair. And there were plenty but the thing I like least about poorly planned road trips is tow trucks & expensive repairs in Timbuktu. To drive a 15 year old PT cruiser that far without incident was impossible, said everyone who knew my plans.

The only hiccup was in late June. I was inorth of Syracuse NY, bound for Ontario canada, pulling into a parking lot to study the map for a second. I didn't turn off the ignition because it would take less than a minute. I had my foot on the brake and suddenly the car gave a little shiver and died. I immediately did the key dance and got no code. I turned the car back on and it started up as faithfully as ever. So the stall was just a fluke. Back to studying the map.

Another half minute later it shivered and died again. I didn't want a breakdown ever especially in Canada. There was an auto shop a block away so I drove there and asked the mechanics to see if there's anything they could find amiss with no codes. We all know there are plenty of parts in a PT that don't warrant fault codes. They looked it over top & below, they let it idle with and without standing on the brake but couldn't replicate the stall. Two guys spent a good half hour and when I went to the cashier expecting to pay at least $50, the bill was a mere $20. The stalling occurred a few more times over the next couple months but until I had a code it wasn't "fixable" from a shop perspective.

I also had no internet service for most of the trip so I didn't Google possible solutions. The first step in finding a solution is knowing the problem. Until yesterday the problem hadn't revealed itself. Yesterday while coming to a stop light the oil light came on and dinged. I videotaped it while driving surface streets to determine frequency. And every time I hit the brakes to stop the oil light came on and chimed.

What I found here suggests it could be the oil pressure sensor and it makes sense to fix that as it's the least expensive fix if that's the problem. I went to a dealership yesterday to find out if they have the part (they do) and how long to repair, and they charge a half hour. I could potentially do it myself but under medical restrictions not to exert myself because I am coming back with a bigger human body repair that was unexpected. So the closest dealer is booking out 2 weeks for even a half hour repair.

This morning I went to a non dealer repair facility and asked him how much to install same part and he asked how I knew what it needed. I said it doesn't matter, that's the part I want replaced so I needed an estimate for that. He said they have to do a diagnostic to find out what the problem really is. I told him there are no fault codes coming up so why should I pay them $100 to tell me there are no codes? He corrected me to say they charge $135 for their diagnostic, and they have ways of finding error codes that don't necessarily show up in the OBD tool.

Is that true?

He then said they start at $135 to "rip it apart" so they can write an estimate. I didn't bother to ask how much they charge to you it back together after they "rip it apart" but just on general principal I don't do business with shops who want to tear my car apart.

So does anyone know of a reputable shop near rancho Cordova CA where I can buy a service instead of getting my car ripped apart? Thanks in advance.

Oh and if anyone has a different idea of what could be wrong other than the sensor that's a cheap fix, please chime in! Unless it's the oil pump. That would be a bank breaker for me at this point. Traveling is expensive but "I've had the time of my life" as the song goes. So what if I end up hospitalized after the road trip ends, right? That just means I did it ALL!

Handheld device not recharging. ACKKK

Last edited by OldMiner; 12 Sep 2018 at 11:26 am. Reason: running out of juice
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 11:33 am
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

I am suggesting the reason they want to do the diagnostic is because some customers may come back later and complain that the repair did not fix the problem even if the customer asked them to replace a specific part expecting it to fix it.

If you take the Pt Cruiser somewhere else other than the dealer be careful to make sure they use the special tools that are required on some of these components when removing or replacing.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 12 Sep 2018 at 11:35 am.
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 12:03 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

That is a lot of miles to put on in such a short amount of time, with no major breakdowns.

If you have internet service, you can use the website RepairPal to search for a possible shop near you.

Did you already buy the switch from the dealership? Some shops will let you supply the parts, some won't.

When the oil pressure switch went out on my PT, the dealership wanted to do a diagnostic, which included checking the oil pressure that the pump was putting out. The pump checked out fine, within specs, and replacing the switch fixed the issue.
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMiner View Post
Getting near the finish of an epic 25k road trip lasting for six months.
WOW! That is one heck of a road trip! My wife and I have made a few "road trips" but, nothing like that. I'm sure you experienced more things and met more people than you can talk about. It would probably take days to hear the stories.

It's also sad that the dealer could find 30 minutes of a tech's time to help someone traveling and not able to wait 2 weeks for a simple repair. If you were in my neck of the woods, we would just pull it in my personal shop and get it taken care of.
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 04:56 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Thanks for the comforting story!

With the 5 past PT Cruisers I have had, I have made MANY trips from Okieland to the East and Left Coasts, with narry a problem also.
One trip to Myrtle Beach I was hanging up in limp mode after being there. And even after getting back it was a real PITA to figure it out.
Was coded as the Tranny sensor. Turned out to be a loose wire on the tranny sensor connector. (after replacing the sensor twice)
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 05:21 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
I am suggesting the reason they want to do the diagnostic is because some customers may come back later and complain that the repair did not fix the problem even if the customer asked them to replace a specific part expecting it to fix it.

If you take the Pt Cruiser somewhere else other than the dealer be careful to make sure they use the special tools that are required on some of these components when removing or replacing.
I am definitely learning from this forum which repairs I can take on myself and which to farm out to a dealer (I consider them the "specialists") and which to throw to a general practitioner. After looking at the forum yesterday I wanted a specialist because they have the tools and what looks like "cleanup on aisle 9" whereas a GP wouldnt notice or care. But being traveling I would settle for a GP in the interest of time. Because like you say, it has been my experience that when using a shop instead of diy it's non dealers that give me trouble getting warranty repair, and I've never had warranty problems at a dealership b because I've never had an OEM part fail and never had shoddy dealership work (just lucky!). Since my device wasn't working and I couldn't consult back here I found another dealer about 15 miles away and they charged more than the first dealer but got me back on the road with more confidence than the non dealer. The problem has resolved but if it returns I will suspect the oil pump. I've had good luck so far, it just needs to hold tight for another few weeks!
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 05:25 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Quote:
Originally Posted by rckstein View Post
That is a lot of miles to put on in such a short amount of time, with no major breakdowns.

If you have internet service, you can use the website RepairPal to search for a possible shop near you.

Did you already buy the switch from the dealership? Some shops will let you supply the parts, some won't.

When the oil pressure switch went out on my PT, the dealership wanted to do a diagnostic, which included checking the oil pressure that the pump was putting out. The pump checked out fine, within specs, and replacing the switch fixed the issue.
I had enough juice to find another dealer & got it rolling again. 😁

See above reply about the particulars. Normally I love repeating myself but low juice still I am gonna have the pressure checked tho in a few days when I get to a better stopping place. Too hot here for me!
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 05:37 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Quote:
Originally Posted by VsandFords View Post
WOW! That is one heck of a road trip! My wife and I have made a few "road trips" but, nothing like that. I'm sure you experienced more things and met more people than you can talk about. It would probably take days to hear the stories.

It's also sad that the dealer could find 30 minutes of a tech's time to help someone traveling and not able to wait 2 weeks for a simple repair. If you were in my neck of the woods, we would just pull it in my personal shop and get it taken care of.
This car has become my Savior and if it could talk it would say "good god I'm not a 4x4, stop driving down those vertical hills" what goes down must come up! Yes too many stories to tell and too much to type! I deliberately stayed away from the deep south trying to avoid extreme heat and humidity only to find its worse than those 7 states I avoided.. If I had thought about it ahead of time it would have been fun just to meet you and other members here who have a lot of PT lore to share. And ice and tools. 😀
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 05:48 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Quote:
Originally Posted by soonercruiser View Post
Thanks for the comforting story!

With the 5 past PT Cruisers I have had, I have made MANY trips from Okieland to the East and Left Coasts, with narry a problem also.
One trip to Myrtle Beach I was hanging up in limp mode after being there. And even after getting back it was a real PITA to figure it out.
Was coded as the Tranny sensor. Turned out to be a loose wire on the tranny sensor connector. (after replacing the sensor twice)
I expected so many problems! I took most of what people said to pack as essential then I added even more stuff. I had to build a special shelf in the back to accommodate them. As departure date neared I ran out of time to document all this prep. But I will probably post the shelf at some point because I didn't see anything online here or elsewhere that fit the bill so I invented it. Necessity is truly the mother of invention! I can't remember how to post pics but if I can figure that out I might post the modifications I made to the interior. It was home base for so long I don't know if I will deconstruct it or not.

Now you make me want 4 more cruisers.
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Old 12 Sep 2018, 05:53 pm
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Default Re: what a long strange trip it's been

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldMiner View Post
I am definitely learning from this forum which repairs I can take on myself and which to farm out to a dealer (I consider them the "specialists") and which to throw to a general practitioner. After looking at the forum yesterday I wanted a specialist because they have the tools and what looks like "cleanup on aisle 9" whereas a GP wouldnt notice or care. But being traveling I would settle for a GP in the interest of time. Because like you say, it has been my experience that when using a shop instead of diy it's non dealers that give me trouble getting warranty repair, and I've never had warranty problems at a dealership b because I've never had an OEM part fail and never had shoddy dealership work (just lucky!). Since my device wasn't working and I couldn't consult back here I found another dealer about 15 miles away and they charged more than the first dealer but got me back on the road with more confidence than the non dealer. The problem has resolved but if it returns I will suspect the oil pump. I've had good luck so far, it just needs to hold tight for another few weeks!
Glad to hear that you can continue your travels

Another advantage of having it done at a dealership, especially if you're traveling, is that if you have a problem with the work later, even though you may no longer be near the dealership that did the original work, you would stand a better chance of having your local dealership help you out with any warranty work involved with the out of state repair. Also, you could always contact Chrysler Customer Assistance if needed since their dealerships would be involved, and they could be helpful.
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