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2002 PT Cruiser Shudders

 
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Old 11 Apr 2009, 11:44 pm
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Default 2002 PT Cruiser Shudders

Hi. I have a 2002 PT Cruiser with 78,000 miles on it. It has the standard 4 cylinder engine with automatic trans. When the air conditioning is put on, and the car idling or running, it starts to shudder, and the RPM's drop. So far, it has not stalled, but it feels like it will. I put in Bosch Platium +4 spark plugs, new spark plug wires, a new MSD coil, new air filter, changed oil, checked ALL fuses (which were all good), checked all fluid levels -- everything looks good. The car has not been run hard, and is in excellent condition. Everything works fine.

Any idea on what could be causing the shuddering???

Thanks.
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Old 12 Apr 2009, 07:54 am
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Default Re: 2002 PT Cruiser Shudders

Found this on PT Do-It-Yourself.net

I have a 2005 TE PT with 50k miles. When the vehicle is at idle, the RPM's drop, and the engine shakes and shudders when the A/C compressor kicks on. It actually started doing it when we were using the heat in defrost mode, and now we are using the A/C, and it's happening with that too. The car idles perfectly otherwise. It's just when you hear the compressor clutch engage that the engine shakes. Is it a bad compressor, or could it be that the engine isn't properly increasing RPM's to handle the extra load? Jon, from Michigan.

Inspect the compressor for proper operation. It would be unusual on a relatively new PT, but not unheard of. If everything appears normal and the A/C is cooling, the compressor is probably ok. There's also a compressor clutch and relay in the A/C circuit which control compressor operation through the PCM, however if A/C operation appears ok they are probably also functioning correctly.

A common cause for engine shake/shutter is simply a low idle condition. The PCM adjusts engine idle speed through the idle air control valve to compensate for engine load, coolant temperature or barometric pressure changes based upon a variety of inputs, including the throttle position sensor, crankshaft position sensor, coolant temperature sensor, MAP sensor, vehicle speed sensor and various switch operations (brake, park/neutral, A/C).
When engine rpm is above idle speed, the IAC is used for off-idle dashpot and deceleration air flow control.

A/C compressor load control (also opens the passage slightly before the compressor is engaged so that the engine rpm does not dip down when the compressor engages). The compressor in the HVAC system operates during A/C and heat/defrost modes. During these modes, when the compressor operates, RPM should increase, not decrease.

Target idle is determined by gear position, ECT sensor, battery voltage, ambient/battery temperature sensor, VSS, TPS and MAP sensor.

There's nothing in you're description to suggest a specific cause without further diagnostics. The dealer can check the PCM for fault codes which do not show up with the self tests.
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Old 18 Apr 2009, 01:26 pm
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Default Re: 2002 PT Cruiser Shudders

Thank you for the quick reply and the depth of info provided. FYI, I have checked the PCM for any fault/diagnostic codes, nothing. The A/C seems to work fine, as does the heater. The air cleaner, PCV, oil, oil filter and all basics are all new. I have checked every vacuum hose and they have been replaced, or are o'k. Plugs, plug wires and coil are new.

It seems the issue is when the car is under load with the A/C compressor going. I had a thought that I wanted to run by you. Chrysler does not put a fuel filter per say on these cars, and more gas stations are using 10% fuel alternatives in their unleaded gas. Could this be having an impact on the fuel injectors, or in tank gas filter? The PT is my daughter's car and she only runs unleaded fuel. If the fuel flow has been impacted, and a load is put on the car, I would think it would sputter like this.

Not sure if this is a valid issue to pursue. Wanted to get your thoughts.

Thank you!!!!
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Old 18 Apr 2009, 02:52 pm
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Default Re: 2002 PT Cruiser Shudders

It can't hurt. I always run Chevron Techron in the gas tank a couple times a year. Supposed to dissolve deposits left over in the gas lines, injectors.

If it's really built up, a force fed injector cleaning at a garage might be your best bet.
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