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my red PT

 
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Old 28 Feb 2020, 05:02 am
RickinPA's Avatar
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Default my red PT

So, I got a second PT. My first PT is an '01 silver Limited with a 5-speed manual, I had it since new. I got the itch for a "spare" car as our family's fleet is all getting to be "high miles". A spare car is handy in that if one of the other cars breaks down, the spare car gives you time to work on repairs and at our cars ages, repairs could take a little time. And, it could save money, that $800 bill for new wheel bearings could be, say, $200 if I had the time to do it myself.

So, introducing my "new" red PT:


Found on Craigslist, seems fairly clean but needs some TLC. I thought I'd start a narrative; the trials & tribulations, the joy and sorrow, the head scratching, and (hopefully) the relief and satisfaction of success.

The red PT was manufactured in December of 2000, my silver one in September of 2000. Since it is a December car, my wife decided to nickname it "Noel". Fine by me, if she bonds with the car, it makes it easier for me when things don't go as well as planned.

The red PT spent it's first 13 years in Michigan (I know, not the best source for a used car, but it seems in reasonable shape and beggars can't be choosers). It had a good record of regular maintenance, then changed hands, spent a few more years in MI then came east to PA. Ended up on Craig's List and fell into my hands.

I seem to have a penchant for cars that are a bit of a "shaggy dog", and this one's got some shag on it. But' I'm looking forward to the work and it will keep me occupied. So, here we go...

When I looked at the car the owner kept it running, explained the battery needed to charge (um, OK). When I purchased it, it needed a jump-pack charge to start it (um, OK). On the way home, I stopped to put a little gas in it, shut off the motor. My wife exclaimed "You shut it off!, um OK, it'll restart. It didn't. Had to jump it at the gas station, my wife was a good sport about it. Did I mention that it was lightly raining and the driver's side wiper arm was broken off? We got it home in one piece. Like I said, I'm in for the adventure!

First that battery. Took a look at it, it's a Walmart Value Power. These are a very inexpensive battery, and they do work, I'm currently running one in my silver PT. But this one is 3 years old and sat for a long time. It's probably sulfated, toast, time for replacement. Off to Walmart, they had a bunch in stock. Cleaned up the battery tray & terminals, installed the battery (with NOCO battery terminal protectors, I have a can of 100 of them I got from Woolco back in 1970 something or other when they went out of business).

A word about keys. Why do previous owners never have both original keys? This one came with one original key & keyfob and one Ilco Y160 aftermarket key. I thought I'd try starting it with the aftermarket key after I installed the battery in the red PT. Odd flashing on the security light. Starts and shuts off. The red PT doesn't recognize the Ilco key. Start the red PT with the OEM key, starts and runs fine.

Did you know aftermarket transponder keys may have a battery in them? I know that now. The Ilco key needed a CR1632 button battery. Installed a battery in the Ilco key, and now the red PT recognizes the Ilco key. Yeah! Two working keys, now we're in business.

Not so fast.... the airbag light (which wasn't on before) is now on. What could have gone wrong? Thinking about it, I suspect that as the battery voltage died off, the airbag system computer saw something funny and set a code. Sorting this one out will be a project for the near future.

Stay tuned...
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Old 28 Feb 2020, 04:03 pm
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Cool Re: my red PT

Sounds like a nice little project car that just needs some TLC.

How are the rockers and undercarriage? Any rust?
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Old 28 Feb 2020, 06:12 pm
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Default Re: my red PT

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcktpwrd View Post
Sounds like a nice little project car that just needs some TLC.

How are the rockers and undercarriage? Any rust?
Some rust, but I'd say manageable. The passenger side rocker has a little rust at the front bottom and rear bottom. The driver side is OK. Underside is fair, surface rust on front cross-member and rear suspension frame (I've seen this on my own PT), and the floor pan looks solid and rust free. The paint and interior are in very good shape for a car of its age. I'm anticipating some discrete patches that will not be very visible from above. That plus cleaning any accumulated debris and a good application of Fluid Film. I've become a believer in Fluid Film after using it on my own PT. Keeping after it with spring & fall inspections and applying it where needed seems to have done a good job checking rust development on my PT, and it's a daily driver here in PA.

The Carfax on the red PT showed 13 years under the first owner with regular maintenance. That plus the low mileage makes me think it was a fair weather car for the first owner. Then it seems to have become a daily driver.
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Old 29 Feb 2020, 11:23 am
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Default Re: my red PT

Saturday morning's adventure:

Took some decorations off the interior. Considering it was below freezing, they came off OK.

Had to repair the cooling system reservoir hose, it was split at the thermostat housing. I had bought hose to replace the whole length. Started the work, but reconsidered replacing the whole length. Considering the cold, I didn't want to risk damaging the reservoir nipple. I'll just splice in a new piece at the thermostat housing. Didn't have a barbed splice of the right size. Off to the hardware store. Told the young fellow I needed to splice this hose. He toddles us off to the electrical section for splice connectors. I gently tell him those are electrical splices and head off to the plumbing section, find something that looks good, head to the register. Wanted to tell the young man to study his stock, but I held my tongue. Back at the red PT, "I thought they would work, they're the wrong size!". Back to the hardware store for more barbed splices. Glad I held my tongue, the young fellow was amicable as he rung up my second purchase and he wished me luck. Back at the red PT, I spliced in the new piece, topped up the system, ran 'er up, and all is good.

While working on the above, I painted my Franken-wiper-arm. Pictures to come. I just need to warm up and have lunch, it's chilly out there.
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Old 29 Feb 2020, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: my red PT

Intermission, time for an advertisement.

Boraxo, that's the stuff, yeah.
So, a little while ago a buddy at work brought in an antique soap dispenser he was refurbishing. It had Boraxo in it. One whiff took me right back to junior high school shop class, in the early 1970s. And it still works! And it's still available!


Get some today. Seriously, it's good stuff. If you're not familiar with it, it's a granular, off-white, coarse powder, with an unusual, but not unpleasant smell. Somewhat gritty while washing your hands, but it sure does clean off the grime.

Last edited by RickinPA; 29 Feb 2020 at 12:09 pm.
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Old 29 Feb 2020, 03:10 pm
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Default Re: my red PT

Saturday afternoon matinee:

PSA: DO NOT open your hood with the windshield wiper raised off the windshield. Seems the previous owner did, and the results were not pretty. The arm fractured clean into two pieces at the fixed part of the arm (sorry no pics of that). I repaired it as best I could to keep things going untill I can scrounge one at a salvage yard in the spring.

Here's Frankin-wiper-arm before I painted it:


Here's Frankin-wiper-arm painted and installed:

That shoiuld hold 'till spring. And it's not too noticable.

Then there was the RR tire, a bit low, and the seller said it had a nail in it. It didn't. It was a bead leak. Getting it off was fun. I think the wheel was last installed on the car by a gorilla with a Harbor Freight Earthquake impact gun and a bad attitude. Had to use a breaker bar. Fortunately all the studs made it through OK. (Note to self, check all the other lug nuts before having a flat out on the road.)

Scraped the rust off the shock mount under the wheel well while I had the tire off. The metal is a little lumpy, but not too bad for a 20 year old car. Gave it a good shot of Fluid Film.

Light snow flurries out there, so that may be all for today... unless I get another itch to work on it.
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File Type: jpg frakin wiper unpainted.jpg (81.6 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg frankin wiper painted.jpg (89.4 KB, 63 views)
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Old 01 Mar 2020, 06:18 pm
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Default Re: my red PT

Sunday's adventure:

Stopped by an auto parts store to pick up a few things. If you ever need a PCV hose (the pre-molded, curly one for normally aspirated engines) Auto Zone offers a Dorman replacement. I didn't find it at other auto parts stores.

I was also looking for one of those voltmeters you plug into a power port. I have an Inova 3721 battery & charging system monitor in my first PT and I like it. I wish the PTs came from the factory with a voltmeter, but you can't have everything. The guy at the last auto parts store started blowing smoke about how that was "old technology" and took me over to see OBD scanners and started explaining how "they do so much more" (I'm thinking: yeah bud, they're $200 plus OBD scanners). I thanked him for his time and moved along.

Oh, I also picked up two cans of Fluid Film.

Back to the red PT.

The spare was totally out of air. Why don't people check the air in their spare? Pumped it up to 60 psi. The I loosened and retourqued all the over-tight lug nuts (one at a time, in the proper pattern).

The red PT had a bunch of quirky stickers on it, a couple on the rear hatch and a bunch on the doors, gears and a few small dragonflys. (I know, I know, but I'm not gonna let some stickers keep me from buying a car, each to their own.) My daughter said it looked like steampunk. Anyway the stickers are not my cup of tea, so off they come. I have to mention, my wife liked the stickers. So here's what ended up working, and please forgive me if I sinned with the paint, it did seem to survive the process, and remember it's not a show car, just a daily driver that I promise to keep as neat and tidy as possible. They're vinyl stickers, so I warmed them carefully with a hot air gun, until they were nice and warm to the touch. This softened the stiff vinyl and helped to release the adhesive. They peeled right off. Unfortunately, the adhesive remained on the red PT's paint. I tried removing the adhesive with vegetable oil, it kind of worked, but was way too slow. So I shifted to an adhesive remover I've used with success in the past, good old Ronsonol lighter fluid. The adhesive came right off (well almost right off, it did take a little rubbing). Forgive me if I wasn't suppose to use that, but it did work, and it didn't appear to damage the paint. A little polishing compound, and it was almost like the stickers were never there (there is a little paint fade around the sticker area). I am hoping with the first decent wash and wax those stickers will be history. Back to my wife. She like the stickers. She was not amused seeing me remove them, I was instantly in Dutch with her.
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Last edited by RickinPA; 01 Mar 2020 at 06:22 pm.
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Old 02 Mar 2020, 09:06 am
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Default Re: my red PT

Happy wife, happy life. That should be every married mans motto. I'm coming up on 32 years in exactly one month. That's half my life.
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Old 03 Mar 2020, 05:57 pm
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Default Re: my red PT

chuzz, I'm pretty laid back regarding my wife and she is too regarding me, coming up on 34 years here, but I just couldn't tolerate those stickers. Funny thing, today I noticed a small dragonfly sticker on the compass / temperature overhead console, I'll leave that one.

Last night took it out for a drive, no issues. Stopped by the new local auto parts store, browsed, and bought a can of Techron injector cleaner for later.

This morning took it to work. As I start it, the CEL flickers funny, hmm. Got a block from home *chime* the CEL come on. Continue to work. The guys at work were enthusiastic regarding the red PT's shape (interior and exterior). They had some scan gauges and we checked the codes. A P0551 power steering pressure switch (check, have the replacement in-hand). A P1684 battery to PCM disconnect (check, just installed a new battery). A P1685 invalid SKIM key (check, see resolved Ilco key problem), And a P0455 large evap leak (hmm that's a new one, I'll check the gas cap and go over the system, it's a 20 year old car so I wouldn't be surprised if it had a bad hose somewhere).

I think tonight I'll go Internet shopping for a new code scanner, all I have right now is a cheapie two-button and that's not cutting it anymore. Looking for a scanner that does OBD, ABS and SRS code check and light reset, also ABS brake bleeding. I need to be able to dig into that air bag light, I'm beginning to suspect it will need a clockspring.
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Old 03 Mar 2020, 07:28 pm
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Cool Re: my red PT

gas cap usually throws a small evap leak code... but it could be the culprit and they are cheap enough to just replace, especially if its the original...

I had that 455 code in my car. Was a chewed upon vapor line near the gas tank, damn squirrels! The area was cut out and replaced with a piece of rubber hose and a couple clamps...

click the link for a pic https://photos.app.goo.gl/xsxfnNzxmHNtxf1QA
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Last edited by rcktpwrd; 03 Mar 2020 at 07:31 pm.
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