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Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

 
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Old 10 May 2009, 12:49 pm
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Default Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

Hi You All, I would like to tap on your experience. I'm from Singapore where American cars are rare and a PT cruiser is something you see once a year on the road. I've always loved the looks of it and today I was finally able to get close to buying one at nearly half the price of a brand new one. Its a 2007 model with 44,000kms (about 28,000miles) and its an automatic 2.4 non-turbo. Here's the link. Used Chrysler PT Cruiser Car for Sale from Singapore, Hua Yang Credit - sgCarMart

Anyway, I test drove the above car today and found several issues I need clarification on. The salesman at the used car dealer left the engine to warm up while I looked at it. While driving after the engine had been warmed up for 10minutes, I noticed a strange drivetrain or engine vibration that you would not expect from a car with 28000miles. On moderate acceleration in 1st and second gear, the car would shake between 2500 to 3500rpm. I don't know how best to describle this vibration - its something in between the feeling of the vibration you get from a powerful FWD car (like a Golf GTI) spinning tires as it moves off and the feeling you get when you are driving an underpowered car up a steep ramp and its about to stall. Steering wheel is slightly off centre to the right (by about 10-15 degrees) when driving straight. Unfortunately I didn't get to "feel" this vibe in 3rd gear as we reached cruising speed by then. Car feels tight overall. This vibration is my most important concern so please help with your feedback on what it could be. Is this normal?

The other thing I noticed was condensation/water droplets in the left rear lamp cluster, which to me would be indicative of an accident. On the right rear lamp cluster, the gap between the bumper and the bottom of the lamp has some black tacky substance that you can get at if you use your finger nails to dig.

Thanks.
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Old 10 May 2009, 01:53 pm
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

Welcome to the forum.

No, it's not normal for the PT to shake or have a vibration but it does sound like the plugs or wires are past their limit and breaking up. It's a major cause of hesitation, stutter, and ruff idle. If you can do the work yourself, it's an hour job following the instruction on this forum and the cost of 4 spark plugs and a new set of wires.

The other things you describe with the tail lights do sound like it's been hit in the rear. The lights are sealed except to where the bulbs go in and they have a rubber gasket to make it almost water proof so air is getting inside which means the seal is broken somewhere around the light. It should also be a tight seal between the bumper and bottom of the light so the fascia might have been replaced or repaired.

P.S. I almost flipped when I saw the price of that cruiser $47,000 But I guess your dollar isn't exactly equal to ours. For a little less than that price I'd sell you mine (perfect shape) and even deliver it to you in person.

Last edited by CREWZIN; 10 May 2009 at 01:57 pm.
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Old 10 May 2009, 04:12 pm
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

Hi Crewzin, thank you. Do you mean that all I have to do is change those 4 spark plugs and the 4 cables from the distributor to the plugs and the vibrations and dragging feeling will go away? Well, that sounds easy enough, even for someone like me to do. And maybe while at it, I could throw in a set of low resistance grounding cables. And here I was thinking that its an "accident car" with a possible engine mount/internal balancing issue or an O2 sensor malfunction...

The US$ is about 1.47 times the SG$ at the moment so that still makes it US$32k which is more than what it cost brand new in the US even when they were changing hands for a couple of grands more. Its because we have a 100% tax on the value of the car (and on the shipping into the country) and a further 20% customs tax on that. Then we have a 7% Goods and Services tax on top of all that. Not to mention a "virtual" Certificate of Entitlement, which is sort of a permit that you have to bid on an auction for. For this 2007 car, it was about $14,000 back then. It allows you to use a car for 10 years, thereafter, you have to bid for another one to use the car for another 10 years, or you have to deregister the car for export. All these, in the name of controlling congestion and vehicle numbers on the road. Oh, and there is a road tax based on the capacity of the engine. Its about another $2k a year for a 2.4litre engine. Takes the fun out of driving and car ownership, but makes a $4k custom chameleon paint job (with flames) seem worthwhile.
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Old 10 May 2009, 04:15 pm
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

The vibration.. does it come through the steering wheel? Does it happen under moderate to hard acceleration? If so then it's the cv axles. It's a common issue and new axles may or may not fix it. It's not a serious issue just kin of annoying. As for the taillight... may or may not have been wrecked. Not seeing the black stuff you see it's kinds hard to diagnose. Condensation in the tailight is also not that big of an issue. It could be as simple as the gasket where the bulb plugs in leaked a little or the light may have a crack somewhere.
The biggest telltale of an accident will be in the paint. Unless the repair is top notch you may see a difference in the color, texture or small scratches under the paint.
From what you describe I don't see any issues that would prevent me from buying it.
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Old 10 May 2009, 04:23 pm
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

Oh, and I just found a 2006 model that appears to have a different front bumper and rear tail lamp cluster from the 2007 model. Does this look right? Or is one of the cars fitted with aftermarket parts? Going by the pics, I would say the silver 2006 model has a nicer front bumper (air dam) than the white 2007. 2006 PT: Used Chrysler PT Cruiser Car for Sale from Singapore, Republic Auto - sgCarMart
2007 PT: Used Chrysler PT Cruiser Car for Sale from Singapore, Hua Yang Credit - sgCarMart
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Old 10 May 2009, 04:38 pm
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

Quote:
Originally Posted by slartyblarfast View Post
The vibration.. does it come through the steering wheel? Does it happen under moderate to hard acceleration? If so then it's the cv axles. It's a common issue and new axles may or may not fix it. It's not a serious issue just kin of annoying...From what you describe I don't see any issues that would prevent me from buying it.
Yes, it comes through the steering too. And definitely under moderate to hard acceleration. I didn't feel it during very gradual acceleration or after the car reached cruising speed. Also, it was definitely within the 2500-3500 rpm range during acceleration in 1st and 2nd gears. The vibration feels almost like a powerful FWD burning the front tires as it moves off, or a normal FWD car encountering tire slippage when accelerating hard on a wet road. Does this make sense. I'm sorry I can't be more descriptive as I took it for a 5minute test drive only.

I don't see any issues that would prevent me from buying it either. I love the car and can't afford a new one. In fact, wifey wants a mini van for the business and here I am trying to convince her that the PT is just the car she's looking for as it would give us more street cred than a goods vehicle and yet the rear seats fold and remove to give 76 cubic feet of goods carrying capacity, hahaha.
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Old 10 May 2009, 06:53 pm
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

That other PT Cruiser that your looking at should be a 2005 cruiser, not 2006. The 2001 to 2005 cruiser had the egg shaped grill down to the bottom. In 2006 they changed to the grill you were first looking at.
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Old 11 May 2009, 03:36 am
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

That makes sense as we do get old stock that's always 1 model year behind. So the 2007 I was looking at is probably a 2006 by manufacture date. I'll have to check out that 2005 model as it has lower mileage.
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Old 11 May 2009, 08:24 am
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

Drivers door there is a label that will tell you the month & year it was built.
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Old 30 May 2010, 04:37 pm
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Default Re: Newbie Question on Engine/Drivetrain Vibrations

Hi I wondered if there were updates/solutions related to this thread. I have a 2001 2.4 manual, which has vibration from 45 - 60 Mph. The vibration occurs in the body (not the steering wheel) and is definitely vehicle-speed related, not engine-rpm related. Also, it is most prominent when under moderate or heavy acceleration, and can be reduced noticeably by letting off the throttle, or for that matter shifting into neutral. Does this sound like CV axles gone bad? And if so, how do I tell for sure which one, or is it best to change them both anyway?
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