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Old 23 Nov 2019, 12:17 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 68
Default Hot Starts

My Wife's 2003 PT does not like to restart on hot days. A common scenario is she will park in a lot, shop for a while, go back to the car and be unable to restart. Several times this has happened when I was with her and I actually was able to restart by opening the hood in an attempt to cool the engine. Has anyone else had this problem and what did you do about it? Our go-to mechanics have been unable to find a cause. Help!
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Old 24 Nov 2019, 08:53 am
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 4,867
Default Re: Hot Starts

I'm not a mechanic, but it sounds like a heat separation in the control module. I used to have a Motorola 2-way radio in one of my delivery vans that would stop working when it got hot. I could receive, but not transmit. I started keeping a white box over it when it sat in the sun and that took care of it. It was just getting so hot, that it would lose a connection. Problem at the Motorola shop was that by the time the got it out and open, it cooled off and they couldn't find the problem. I eventually had them replace it, but they were NOT happy. If that was my PT, I'd go get one from a junkyard and try that. A replacement for an auto parts store will probably run you $350 or more! And that's just a rebuilt one. AFIK no new ones are available anywhere.
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Old 24 Nov 2019, 09:35 am
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Location: Arkansas
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Default Re: Hot Starts

If the engine cranks okay when hot but doesn't start, the problem may be the control module (PCM) as Chuzz advised. If the Check Engine Light doesn't come on and no trouble codes are thrown, this may be difficult to diagnose. Basically, it would need to be hooked to a shop-level diagnostic device while the car is warm and PCM is failing.

You could simply try another PCM to see if it fixes the problem, but that's a gamble. While a salvage PCM from many different Dodge/Chryslers from 2003 to 2005 will work, it has to be flashed with the programming specifically for your 2003 PT and your specific VIN number so it will work with the Sentry key system. If you decide to go that route, you may want to contact forum member "Myckee" by PM. He has a small business selling used PCM's and his price for a PCM flashed for your car will likely be more reasonable than anywhere else. He's also the best expert on PT Cruiser PCM's that I know of.

But understand that trying another PCM will be a gamble without diagnostics first. A trip to a local shop to confirm a failed PCM might be worth it if the mechanic knows what he is doing, or it might not. If me, I would get the price from Myckee first. That may help you decide.

As a disclaimer, it should be noted that while I am an ASE Certified Master Automotive Tech and an excellent lover, I primarily work as a Safety Engineer among other things and I haven't worked as a professional mechanic since I was young strapping lad with long sexy flowing hair before college. And even then, I mainly worked on big trucks and heavy equipment. Nowadays, I enjoy working on these funny looking little cars for fun and relaxation. And I help others when I can.
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