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So, I have a dead PT Cruiser in my driveway...

 
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Old 26 Mar 2011, 10:43 am
tpm tpm is offline
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Default So, I have a dead PT Cruiser in my driveway...

Hello everyone,
This is my first post. I am a 21 year old college student with a severely limited vehicular knowledge. I have had a 2001 "Limited Edition" PT Cruiser since about 16 years old, and through this time I have always had someone to fix my car problems -- but I think those small fixes have probably done more bad than good. The only fluids I have ever seen be put into it are off-brand, extra cheap versions. Anyway, let me get to it...

There was a blizzard in 2009 that I got stranded in. My car overheated (ironic) and the battery died. I took it into a shop and paid ~$600 for them to replace the water pump and do whatever else they could do. It functioned correctly (as far as I could tell) until about 6 months ago when the car started to overheat when I had the air conditioner on. I paid ~$300 total for different people to tell me "oh, it is this" -- such as a "dirty radiator that must be power flushed for $150" -- to no avail. I drove without the AC because it would not overheat in that case. Soon after this, the car would begin to shake violently upon acceleration and the engine would die at stops. I gave up around October or so and have just been car pooling, riding the bus, or just finding kind people to drive me to my destinations.

It is getting increasingly hard to keep up these dependent modes of transportation, so I decided to start looking online for the answers... and here I am! First off, just coming here for 5 minutes revealed to me that the overheating issue must be the fans, due to the fact that it will not overheat if the AC is off... and that should have been the first thing we looked at. Could have saved some money in that case, it seems.

The most important issue is the situation with the transmission (I assume that it is the transmission, in any case). Why would it shake violently when I accelerate, and then completely die at the next stop? I don't want to take this to a mechanic and be told something about needing to power flush my radiator again for a thousand dollars, so this is why I am posing the question here. I know for a fact that the transmission fluid used regularly in it in the past year was not ATF+4, so I can only assume that this is one of the major issues. What are the steps I need to take to get this fixed adequately? Can I do this myself ( )? Can I just completely flush the transmission fluid and replace it?

Thanks in advance for all the responses.
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Old 26 Mar 2011, 10:54 am
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Riverside CA.
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Default Re: So, I have a dead PT Cruiser in my driveway...

Where do you live? I can only recommend my trusted mechanic, as I would not venture into my guess work.

My '06 had a shutter that seemed was caused by the transmission, but it after replacing a couple motor tensioners the problem was gone.

Your AC needs work and likely has a leak causing all the fluid which also lubricates the system to not do its job. To much load at idle especially, and the fan may not be turning on when the AC is switched on. This may or may not be cheap, but since the car has been sitting for some time you will likely be charged for a refill before a mechanic can even start to look for the problem.

I am not a mechanic and this is just more spit balling. Hope it helps.
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2006 Base. No mods yet. Purchased 2/2011 and in need of some TLC.
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Old 26 Mar 2011, 12:20 pm
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Default Re: So, I have a dead PT Cruiser in my driveway...

Do keydance for codes.
Do a visual underhood.
Coolant
Oil
Trans fluid
leaks
etc

If it's overheating, turn up the heater.

Read your owner's manual if you can't accomplish this.
Download a 'FSM' and read it. It has step-by- steps for repair AND troubleshooting

Google: ptcruiserworkshopmanual.pdf
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