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Rose's 2004, No More

 
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 12:17 am
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Join Date: Jun 2017
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Cool Rose's 2004, No More

Might be a bit of an introduction, but this is definately a project. It's one of those projects that just happens to come along and not one I ever thought I would be doing. I've got a cousin I work with, Rose, and my cruiser was once hers.


*This isn't a picture of my car, but it may as well be... Somewhere I have pics I took, asking the wife what she thought of it.

One day I heard her asking the maintenance guy at work to look at her car, it had been towed to the parking lot when it died on her way there. He came back that it needed a new transmission. After a couple of days, I see that the car is still out in the parking lot so I bug her about what she is planning to do with it, to which she responds that they were going to junk it. I've got a teenage daughter who should be getting her license, and I thought this car would be the perfect one for her to have her first accident in so I told her to hold that thought, I may want it.

I head up to my desk and hop online and do a bit of research, watching a couple of videos and downloading the shop manual to read up on how to swap out transmissions. Deciding that it was something that I could probably handle, I start calling around to the local junkyards looking for a transmission. Nobody had one, but could get it for about 400 bucks. Heading back downstairs to Rose's desk, I ask her what she wants for the cruiser, to which she came back with 500... it was a little higher than I was hoping, but still. I take the keys out to the car and it starts right up. Put it in gear and it sounds like a someone is shaking a bucket of gravel... not something as simple as a bad sensor which is what I was secretly hoping for, but I left with the same conclusion as the maintenance guy, transmission.

Fast forward about a year and a half and I am finally ready to get my hands dirty tearing into the car. Again, I call around to the junk yards but this time the cheapest transmission I could find was 750, considerably more than I was expecting. Looking online, a rebuild kit could be had for about 200 bucks. The question was, whether or not I am 500 dollars smart enough to rebuild a transmission, to which I had my doubts. I figure either way, the old transmission has to come out, whether I am rebuilding it or replacing it. So there was no reason not to take it out and open it up and decide then what my chances were of success. In the meantime, I do some piddly stuff like replacing the battery, gear shifter (since mine was missing the button), spark plugs, air filter, defog the headlights, etc...

Starting from the top of the engine, I start stripping everything off like I am going to be taking out the transmission. Raising the car up on jacks and taking the front driver side tire off, I notice a sound very similar to the bucket of gravel sound I had heard in the parking lot. But it wasn't coming from the transmission, it was coming from the tire, or rather the axle at the tire. That's when I noticed that wen I rotated the tire, the axle didn't turn with it. Holy crap, the transmission might just be good afterall. Tearing into the axle boot, I found that the little cage, that holds the bearings and the half axle in place at the tire had literally shattered, I am sure it has a name, but I don't know it. The bits of metal and bearings being spun around freely by the axle while in gear was the crux of Rose's problems. $60 bucks would have gotten her back on the road that same day.

I finally manage to get the axle pulled, which shouldn't have, but somehow turned into a real nightmare. That was hands down the best locking washer I have ever encountered. However, in the end, it was no match for the riding lawnmower and a bit of cable. Get the new axle installed and everything more or less put back together and fire it up. Pulling out of the drive, I notice a loud popping sound whenever I turn. Back underneath the car, and I find that the driver side strut spring has snapped clean through in two different places. Back to the auto store I go and since I am way ahead at this point, I decide to just go ahead and replace both struts and since I was replacing the spring on one anyway, I would splurge and just buy both sets new and not worry about losing a finger over one old spring.

That took care of the loud popping sound when I turn, but the ride is still not quite what I was expecting out of it. Just for fun, I decide to go ahead and change out the rear shocks as well, figure the struts are the expensive part and I had already done those, may as well even out the ride. Then it's down to the tire shop for some new rubber. The tires didn't look that great, had gone flat a couple of times while it was sitting, and after sitting so long weren't quite round anymore so I went ahead and replaced all 4. At which point, I learn all about the infamous PT Cruiser Watts link and that mine shouldn't wiggle like it does. Add that to the list of things that have now been replaced, that was one of the jobs that I had to buy tools to do it. But all in all, short of an alignment and a tick to the engine that bugs the shit out of me, the Cruiser was deemed road worthy and the keys were handed over to the wife.

And today, about a week since handing over the keys...
P0344 error. So now, I am torn between running to autozone and grabbing either the duralast or dorman versions, as I despise the local Chrysler dealer and I really don't want to wait to have something shipped to me... I know, I read it, buy the Chrysler part... but I really don't want to. Has anyone had any good luck with either brand, or more importantly, bad luck with either brand.

A few other things left to do...
When I pulled the transmissions dipstick tube, I couldn't get it back in with the o-ring on it. At the time, I still thought the transmission might be jacked, so I really was just trying to get something in that hole so I could fire it up. But it needs readdressed now that it is in use. I have kept an eye out for fluid and check the transmission fluid level everyday and it doesn't seem to have lost any because of the missing o-ring. That was actually my first thought when the wife called, it had finally ran low on transmission fluid and she was going to burn it up trying to get home. But no, transmission fluid was still full, that's when I pulled out the error reader to find out what codes had been thrown.

I had also bought a couple of transmission sensors and a new filter. The output speed sensor was put in, the input sensor and the filter I never got to, since I never actually had the transmisson out of the car and the input sensor is damn hard to get to under the hoses.

The air conditioner doesn't work. Rose says they replaced all of it pretty much and that it just needs a seal. Uh huh, right, what dealer mechanic would replace parts of the air conditioner and not address any seals at the time... So I have no idea what she is talking about on that one, all I know is that the wife isn't happy that the air doesn't work.

And that one vent missing the center knob bugs me to no end as well as a couple other little interior pieces missing... speaking of which, is there supposed to be a drawer under both seats or just one?

But at this point, I am officially $1600 in, including tools. I think my ratchets all expired, I broke 2 different ones during this project so far... Anyway, hopefully another 50 and I am at least back on the road again with it.
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 12:28 am
rckstein's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

Welcome to the forum

That is quite a yarn about your PT

The Gen1 PT's only have a drawer under the passenger seat, but you can do as this member recently did and add another drawer under the drivers seat:

Easy driver's seat drawer install on SOOO BIG
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Last edited by rckstein; 21 Jun 2017 at 01:02 am.
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 12:56 am
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 07:36 am
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

SOOO BIG and I welcome to the Forum. I agree, the driver's seat is begging for a drawer underneath. It is as easy as the how to shows.

Happy PTin', ptprice
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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, P250/55 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" 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 W/ Dual Under Seat Storage Drawers and 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.
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 09:14 am
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

Welcome to the forum from Texas.

You are not the first one to buy a Cruiser thinking it needed a transmission. Great that you found the axle before buying a transmission. It would probably be a pain trying to return it.
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 11:00 am
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

Welcome to the forum. Love that color. That's almost the same color as my Grand Caravan. Sounds like you've about got it whipped. And I have two of those a/c vents if you need one. Just PM me.
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 12:26 pm
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

Welcome to the forum

I always have loved this color PT. A neighbor has one of these and I alway give um a
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Old 21 Jun 2017, 01:08 pm
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPT View Post
Welcome to the forum

I always have loved this color PT. A neighbor has one of these and I alway give um a
On my phone I can only hope that's a thumbs up. Lol 😂. Good deal if yours is as nice as that picture. 😊
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This is a great read from one of our own! Badglas
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Old 26 Jun 2017, 09:59 pm
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Indiana
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Default Re: Rose's 2004, No More

Quote:
Originally Posted by rckstein View Post
Welcome to the forum
...
The Gen1 PT's only have a drawer under the passenger seat, but you can do as this member recently did and add another drawer under the drivers seat:
...
I guess the good news, at least I'm not missing something that I am supposed to have. But a second drawer in there sure does make a whole lot of sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VsandFords View Post
You are not the first one to buy a Cruiser thinking it needed a transmission. Great that you found the axle before buying a transmission.
If it wouldn't have gone up in price from when I was first considering it to when I was ready to start on it, I would have already had it ordered and in hand before I ever took out a wrench. Lucky for me I'm cheap

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuzz View Post
...And I have two of those a/c vents if you need one...
I may hit you up sometime about one of those, but for now it's just going on my junkyard scavenger hunt. I don't have the shelf in the back, plus this drawer business, or owners manual... I'm looking forward to the hunt, I haven't gotten to go play in the junkyard in years. I'm trying to convince the wife to come to, it will be just like yard sales, but there won't be any other people getting in your way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
..Good deal if yours is as nice as that picture...
Not quite, but for a 13 year old car, I really couldn't ask for more. This is the worse of the two sides as far as damage goes.



I have gotten the camshaft position sensor swapped out. I am just waiting for the wife to get in and start driving it again. I think limp mode kind of freaked her out, or at the very least dampened her Cruisin spirit. From a hundred miles away there's not much I could do for her but tell her to enjoy the nice leisurely drive home
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