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2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 24 Sep 2009, 09:39 am
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Default 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

Bought this 2001 Limited PT Cruiser with 64,000 miles on it about month a go.
Haven't noticed any problems, until this morning.

Tried to back it out of my parking space and I noticed it wouldn't reverse.

Moved the shifter back to Park, then reverse again and it seemed to catch with a slight jerk.
(At first I thought I just wasn't engaging the shift knob correctly).

As I put the car into Drive, nothing happened. Stepped on the gas, engine revved, but no forward progress. It was like the car was in Neutral or something. After a few seconds it jumped into drive with a lurch and a heavy jerk.
After that I just moved it back into my parking space (with same problems) and took another car I own to work instead.

I'm pretty bummed about this and it feels like this will be an expensive repair.
If this sounds familiar to anyone or if anyone's heard of this type of problem, please share. Any help or guidance is greatly appreciated.
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 10:00 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

I would say the previous owner never had the transaxle flushed or even the minimal of care. The auto tranny on these and the mini-vans are a weak link. You might have already run into a sever problem but a possible flush might help. It will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 as it takes 16 quarts to flush the whole system and a machine to do it. Make sure whoever does it uses ONLY ATF+4 transaxle fluid. Good luck.

Also, since you only bought it a month ago you should have some sort of warranty unless it was a private sale or one of those used car lots that the warranty expires as soon as you drive ff the lot.
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 24 Sep 2009 at 10:03 am.
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 10:13 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

Thanks for the tip CREWZIN.

It was a private sale, so there is no warranty.

$150 isn't too bad, if it fixes the problem. It's a good starting point I suppose.

I'm just afraid, it's already in the "severe" arena of problems...
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 10:28 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

Well, unless you know the exact history of a used car, you have no idea how it was maintained, if at all. When I bought my Vette used, it was driven by a builder who had a standing order for a new Vette every 2 years as soon as they hit the dealers. He did nothing to the car for 2 years, including change the oil no matter how many miles. Only time it saw a dealer is when it came in and when it went back in for a trade for the new one (unless of course something broke). When I saw it, I could hardly tell what color it was (dirty) but had it checked out completely by a shop that specialized in Corvettes. The only thing it needed was the electric antenna because it had sat in the down position for 2 years. Apparently he never used the radio.

What I'm trying to get at is you never know how a used car was treated and with all the flooded cars hitting the market and the way some states don't show a salvaged title, it's buyer beware. Even if you have to pay someone to take the car halfway apart to inspect it, it may be worth it in the end.
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 10:34 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

From what I have read on other forums, even 30K transmission service intervals is probably not going to save that weak link. Owners manual states 60K or 48K and even then only if in extreme service.

At 64K on yours, it ain't the fluid - it's the tranny - IMHO.

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Old 24 Sep 2009, 11:33 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

Low on tranny fluid? Maybe the previous owner dumped and refilled, and didn't check the level after cycling gears. I made that mistake on the first car I ever changed tranny fluid on - my moms 79 firebird. Put in reverse and it would just sit there then randomly - wham, its in gear.

COurse you could be leaking fluid too - which would have the same effect.

Flush and fill will fix this if thats the case. I would absolutely do that if she ran low - no telling what kind of bubbles are in the valve body.
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 11:46 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

Thanks for all the input everybody!

I don't believe I'm low on tranny fluid, but I didn't have time to check (had to leave for work).

I've read on a couple of other forums that a "soft part" in the transmission usually causes this type of problem. A "ring" or "seal" of some sort. Somewhere in $1000 range to fix.

I'm going to opt for the flush and fill first and hope that solves it.
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 11:49 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

Shouldn't be $1000 to rebuild it, I wouldn't think. Well the parts are several hundred, and the labor is always a killer.

Anybody know if the PCM shows a code when the clutches finally wear out?
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 12:08 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

I dought if the codes get that pacific. There might be a tranny code saying something wrong but you'd need a scanner to narrow it down to being the clutches, if that would even show it.
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Old 24 Sep 2009, 03:22 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Cruiser hesitates and jerks into reverse/drive

Could it be as simple as shift cable bushings? Another area to check.
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