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$1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12 Jul 2010, 07:43 am
shmexymedic's Avatar
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Location: Oklahoma
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Unhappy $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

Ok so where do I start? Well I bought my 02 crusier almost a year ago. Just under 100K. Long story short, the car idled REALLY rough and kept running really hot, and it overheated twice so I took it into the shop. First they found the fan was hardwired and it fried it. So we replaced that. $350 down the drain because a week later it overheated again. So they broke it down and gave me the lovely news that the head may be cracked. So they sent it to the machine shop and it wasnt cracked but something about 2 valves bent or something (hubby knows the details) I was told that water was going where it didnt belong. OK so replaced the head, while at it they replaced 2 motor mounts and I believe some kind of belt... surpentine belt perhaps? I can find out for sure.

Good news was after replacing the fan and head, etc... over $2000 later... it ran beautifully! No rough idle, sat idling for 2 hours and temp was perfect, AC ice cold, and i was so happy to have my adorable car back. That was on Friday.

Today, over 100 miles from home, hubby was taking it to school for his extremely important clinicals, and it stalled out on him. He said he was making a turn and no warning it simply died. OMG, what the heck! So now it is being towed back to the same mechanic. I am just wondering what all he needs to be making sure is in place after replacing the "whole upper engine" as I think he once put it to me.

Suggestions, questions, or similiar situations anyone??? Thanks a bunch.
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Old 12 Jul 2010, 09:41 am
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

First step is to see what error code:
How to retrieve fault codes.
Most likely it's electrical.
Did they replace the timing belt? That's important at 100,000 miles, and since they did the head, they should have - if they didn't, get a new mechanic. They should also have replaced the water pump at the same time, since the pump is cheap comapred to the labor - same labor that's need to do the belt.
pull the codes and Google them...
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Old 12 Jul 2010, 09:54 am
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

New Mechanic might help.
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Old 12 Jul 2010, 09:55 am
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

Hey their shmexymedic,

I am so sorry to hear about all your ongoing problems!

As for the overheating, If a fan motor go's, or anything else within the Cooling System like a radiator leak, bad hose, leaking Coolant Tank, all the way down to even something as small as a small rubber Gasket on the inside a Radiator Cap which can cause any PT to really heat up in a hurry. Unfortunately, once the Engine gets yeah so hot that the needle on your gauge hits the read line, the engine light starts blinking, and the audible alarm starts beeping repeatedly at you, the engine is at a critical point where it so hot, that it will cause permanent damage, and in short order can cause the engine to seize in which the engine is so hot that parts literally weld themselves together internally.

Sadly, it sounds like when your engine overheated, it must have been really hot before you got to a safe place to stop which caused the bent valves, and ultimately letting water get into places it shouldn't have been, and where they had originally feared for a cracked head as well. So all of those problems weren't caused by several mechanical issues going wrong with the engine, but rather a direct result of the engine getting too hot, and not being able to shut down before causing all of the internal damage. Sad that it happened like that, but I would bet that that may well be the case their.

Depending on mileage, my guess as to the belt, and so on, might be that they went ahead and replaced the Timing Belt, and possibly the Water Pump while they had everything apart which might have been a smart move saving you quite a bit of money in the long run since the engine was already apart, thus saving you quite a bit of money should you have been close to being due. The Timing Belt is a well known part to wear out, and usually needs to be replaced somewhere around the 80,000 - 100,000 roughly. So like I was saying, If your Timing Belt needed, or was due to be replaced, and your Mechanic did it while he was at fixing the damage from overheating, he most likely saved you several hundred dollars easy.

As for dying in the street without any warning, that one you got me on. It could be anything. Maybe something he had apart was just loose and a bump caused it to come dis-connected or something simple like that.

Again, I am sorry to here about all your bad experiences with your PT! Once you run into so much money, time, and frustration, its really easy to start thinking its just a bad car, things keep breaking down all the time on it, and maybe Chrysler just made a poor product, but once you step away from everything, at least based off of what you had told me in your initial Post above, it sounds at least to me, that it just might have come down to more than likely something very small and trivial, perhaps an overlooked maintenance issue or something, which ultimately caused your Engine to overheat, and quickly snowballed into a series of unfortunate events leading major disaster. Like I say, it is very unfortunate, and sad that things came out like that, but sometimes, things just happen that are out of our control.

Anyways, that is just my thoughts for what it is worth.

I hope everything works out, and nothing is majorly wrong with your PT once it gets back to your Mechanic.

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Old 12 Jul 2010, 10:14 am
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

ok, just picked up the husband at the shop and snagged the codes...

P340, P401, and P1391 ... gonna look them up now. I also got a copy of the work order from the work they did and it says they replaced the timing belt but no mention of a water pump. The reason I am taking it back to the same mechanic is because he said that if this problem is related then he will not charge me. Candyman, you were exactly right about the overheating and the burnt up valves and such. I agree it was a huge snowball effect there. Now I am just worried that this new thing is going to damage more stuff while we try to figure it out. I am gonna go look up those codes now.

Last edited by shmexymedic; 12 Jul 2010 at 10:22 am. Reason: added more info.
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Old 12 Jul 2010, 12:09 pm
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

P0340 Camshaft Position (CMP) Sensor Circuit
P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Flow Insufficient
P1391 Wheel Speed Sensor 1 - G - Sensor Circuit Performance

Error Codes
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Old 12 Jul 2010, 01:10 pm
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

If your going to replace sensors, get mopar sensors not aftermarket from parts store

I would replace the cam and crank sensor and the distance sensor. Sounds like you have an issue with the EGR too.

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Old 12 Jul 2010, 03:37 pm
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

Find a new mechanic. First off, valves have absolutely nothing to do with water. If the valves were bent/burnt, it would not be allowing water where it doesn't belong. The water jackets are no where near the valves, and the valves never touch water.

Secondly, valves can be replaced. There's no reason you should have needed a new head if it wasn't cracked or warped.

Your "mechanic" charged you for a head replacement when all it should have needed was a couple new valves. A lot of extra expense for nothing.
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Old 12 Jul 2010, 04:03 pm
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

Well the option of getting a new mechanic is out of the question at the moment because they are the ones that did the $1700 work and I told them they will get it right or else! He also covered the $280 towing bill from this morning too. I have told him to use Mopar parts at this point. I havent heard back yet if they have figured it out or not. I read the codes myself but I am not sure he knew the "trick" or not. Does their little machine they use to read codes use the same numbers?

As for the head being replaced and the whole water thing and stuff. All I know is that it was idling really rough and he said that water was getting in. It went to a machine shop for testing and he told my husband it wasnt cracked but the valves were burnt.

the itemized list of what i paid for is as follows:
towing 65.00
hose clamp 6.30
head gasket 130.40
head bolt set 38.70
power steering fluid 4.38
prime wire .79
?? PEX 5.48
thermostat 6.61
motor mount 61.12
timing belt 34.54
spark plugs 8.75
hose 17.71
antifreeze 13.18
total: 1102.53

labor: 565.00
tax: 104.74
total: 1772.27

mr. mechanic also mentioned that PT's have aluminum heads and are extremely fragile to heat. ugh... now i am worried that since it wasnt cracked that i was ripped off.
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Old 12 Jul 2010, 04:39 pm
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Default Re: $1700 in repairs and it just died.. AGAIN!

I just added up all the parts you listed and it comes to $331.84. Unless you left of a very expensive part, He ripped you off for $770.69.The prices listed look reasonable, And the labor looks about right.
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