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2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 14 May 2011, 08:03 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Unhappy 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

Hello everyone I'm new to the forums. It seems from reading around there are some very knowledgeable people here with the PT cruisers. In particular the user "Crewzin". I am looking for some advice on what I should do so here is my situation.

My dad has given me his 2003 PT Cruiser GT. Its in great condition other than it is running AWFUL. It is giving 3 codes: P0300, P0304, & P0340. We have tried new spark plugs and wires for the first 2 codes and have gotten a new crankshaft position sensor for the last code. When running it jumps and misses and pops mostly when your just idling and ran fine at highway speeds however now it runs bad all the time any speed. We believe the actual crankshaft pos sensor is ok just a problem with the wires going into it (either shorting out or loose) because you can wiggle them and that particular problem stops.

Ok so I took it to the dealership to have it checked out and this is what they done and what they told me. First they said until i get the engine running properly that the harness/wiring issues would be pointless to troubleshoot. His first reaction was that I either had a blown/leaking head gasket or it was down in the cylinder. He pulled the spark plug out of cylinder 4 and squirted in some oil and ran the engine. It come back to life and ran smooth until all the oil burnt out then got progressively worse again. He said that told him either the piston compression ring was cracked or being turbo the piston could have a small crack but wouldnt know until he pulled the head off. Needless to say from that point on would cost $1100 to $1300 to find that out based on what they charge. He actually then mentioned that I might be just as well off to find a salvage motor and just replace the whole thing.

The Pt is only worth about $5000-$6500 according to kelly blue book. If I have them fix that its gonna run close to $2000 with parts (estimating) and then that doesnt even fix the wiring issue im having and possible problem with turbo which i noticed is making a higher than usual whining sound.

Also on a side note: My dad run 87 octane all 100,000 miles when i know that the manual says 93 is required. Could this be why the engine has failed???

I have the capability to do the mechanic work at my dads shop for just cost of parts but would you think it would even be worth it to do all of that or just sell it for what I can get out of it like it is? Or part it out?

Any other ideas on what my problem(s) might be? Any info or help would greatly be appreciated. If i left out any details that might help feel free to ask and ill post back. Thanks again.
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Old 14 May 2011, 09:14 pm
Kawizx9r's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Salinas, CA
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

Welcome to the forum but it sucks to hear about the GT.

Do a compression test.

87 Octane is good if you're not going to boost, otherwise stick to 91.

Full synthetic oil only, mainly for the turbo. Non-synthetic oils burn quicker and can cause clogs in the oil lines feeding to the turbo.
Originally Posted by Chromenut View Post
Kawi is a friggin genius!
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Old 14 May 2011, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

Thanks for the welcome. The guy at the dealership done a compression test and said i was losing compression in cylinder 4. When he put the oil into the cylinder though he said the compression come back up to the normal range and the pt was running good.

As for the gas, if i ever get it running again i would stick to the 91 or 93 octane just because the owners manual says its required.

My dad also used plain non synthetic motor oil the entire time he had it. Is it possible that if the line to the turbo clogged up it could have burnt up the turbo? Is that why it was making such a loud whining noise? However it has quit now and there is a faint burnt smell, is it possible for the turbo to burn up? I thought turbo just ran off of exhaust fumes?

Also i would definetly switch to fully synthetic oil if it ever runs again. Thanks for the info. Anyone else that wants to chime in if they have any good ideas please feel free. I'm curious to see what "Crewzin" thinks about it as well. thanks again
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Old 14 May 2011, 11:03 pm
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Location: Mooresville, NC
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

From what he's said and from what he did in regards to squirting oil on the 4th cyl, I would have to agree that you're going down on that cylinder. Means a head-off job, with likely need to do a ring job. Also may be some scoring to the walls which means a possible bore job. Could get expensive quickly, whether you do the work or pay to have it done. Personally, I'm going to keep running my GT motor until the block cracks. I'll just keep on rebuilding it until I can no longer do it. Hard to replace. You may be lucky and find a good junk yard motor in a wrecked PT, and if so I'd go that route.
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Old 16 May 2011, 05:02 am
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Posts: 27,758
Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

Agree with Chromenut and the mechanic on the head job. Could be as simple as a ring job but you never know till you pull it apart. It's up to you whether you want to spend that kind of money. On the CKP sensor, they go bad, simple as that and don't forget the under hood temps of the Turbo engine play heck on everything including the wiring harnesses. If wiggling the wires correct the problem you have no choice but to replace the harness and to be on the safe side the sensor also. If your hearing other noises from the Turbo, it's probably because synthetic wasn't used and proper procedures weren't taking when shutting down. More expense. Again, no body can tell you if it's worth it to fix everything, entirely up to you.
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Old 16 May 2011, 12:45 pm
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Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA.
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

You can buy a whole engine on ebay for $800-$1,200. I have seen new crate engines for around $1,500. If you can do the work at your dad's shop I think you could get many years of service from the car.
'03 Inferno Red GT, 5 speed, STAGE 1, Mopar BOV, Plastic Intake, Modified Upper and Lower Airbox, Custom Airbox-to-turbo pipe, Borla dual exhaust, Maddog Short Shifter, Drilled/Slotter Rotors, Ceramic Pads, chrome wheels, chrome door spears, AMP chrome fuel door, PT Cruiser 3rd light diffuser, H&R Springs, Rear Sway Bar added, MGW chrome door lock pulls, Blane's hood struts, Custom license plate mount, some interior dress up stuff...more to come
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Old 16 May 2011, 02:05 pm
cruserdad1976's Avatar
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

have to agree to me if the car is clear and free then its worth putting some cash into when you get all done you know what you have and if you did it right it should last a nother 100,000
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Old 16 May 2011, 03:52 pm
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

It's impossible to always stay out of boost so running 87 for 100k probably took it's toll. Also using dino oil together with regular gas was probably worst case senario. Your father should have never had the car if he couldn't take care of it properly. I can't believe your dad has a shop and still treats a turbo car like that. Then again, most people don't care as the problems are for the next owners. I would replace the engine or rebuild it. The car is definitely worth it. Then I wouldn't let my dad touch it again.
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Old 16 May 2011, 07:22 pm
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

Thanks for all the info everybody! Its given me alot to think about and look into. I think I am going to tear into the engine and get a more detailed look at it and if its just a ring job then all is good, then great and fix the other minor problems and treat the engine much better than it has been treated. If it is major problems when i get into it though and looks like its gonna be more time and money than its worth then i will look into getting a whole new crate engine OR just sell it as is and get what I can for it. My limit of what I would be willing to put into it though is $2000 so if after pricing out which path I decide to take is more than that I'm just gonna get rid of it.

2004GTMAN--> Our shop is just our own personal one. My dad used to be a mechanic when he was younger so he is VERY knowledgeable on older cars. However on cars nowadays with the computer systems ect. he doesn't know much about that. He is also of the frame of mind that ohh 87 and reg oil are good enough and made it run fine and it had plenty enough power. Nevermind the manual said you shouldn't do that. He never reads the manual LOL.

Thanks again everyone I appreciate the info. I will keep yall posted on what I find out when I tear into it and I'm sure I will have many more questions to come.
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Old 22 May 2011, 07:19 pm
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Default Re: 2003 PT GT too far gone? or fixable???

UPDATE: So I went and picked up a Haynes manual. After some reading i seen just how much is involved in tearing it down just to get the pistons out to check the rings. Then in addition to that there are MANY things that it recommends when you tear down that far that you should go ahead and replace and/or have checked out before re-using them. So just from the expense of trying to fix the one problem and having to "possibly" replace other things as i find them and then getting it all back together and THEN that ends up not totally fixing my problem could get very expensive quick and waste alot of time and money if I end up having to tear it down once again for another problem.

Another option would be to do a total engine overhaul. Which would involve tearing it completely down and replacing many things that the Haynes manual lists. I havent sat down and priced this out but I would imagine it would probably get into the 1000+ range.

So that all got me to thinking if im going to have to tear it down anyways and for not much more money why not just get a new crate long block engine and how much would that run me. Well after some searching so far its lookiing like $2200 with around $200 credit back with the core charge. Then I checked what the Kelly Blue Book would be with my PT and a new engine with 0 miles. Turns out the value went up about $2800. So basically the engine pays for itself!!!

I believe I have found the option I'm going with. But I still have a question. I havent been able to tell so far but does that new long block engine come with the turbo on it? From reading the turbo section in the haynes manual im gonna bet the turbo on the PT now has been ran after it has clogged up which I figure has ruined it but maybe not if i get lucky.

The only other problem to figure out after those 2 would be the wiring issue with the PCM and Crankshaft pos sensor.

Hollar at yall later!!
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