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2001 PT w/ transmission issues

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Old 07 Sep 2011, 07:37 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 10
Default 2001 PT w/ transmission issues

I have a 2001 PT Cruiser with the automatic transmission.
It has 115,000 miles and I don't believe it has ever been serviced (came with my amazing wife).
Recently it has started having a few issues.
1. When shifting into drive, it doesn't always engage right away... slight delay.
2. When starting from a stop, it doesn't always seem like it is in 1st gear right away, but stutters, then finds the right gear.

There have been no error codes.

I took it to a transmission specialist today, he also found no error codes, but experienced the same stuttering and strange shifting I experienced.
Here were his recommendations:
1. Replace timing belt, water pump (still original, and overdue), along with spark plugs, filters, etc.
2. Pull transmission and tear into it to find out what is wrong.

I agree about #1, but am a bit skeptical about #2.

He quoted $800 for #1 if we do it at the same time as #2. #2 is entirely based on what he finds... said it's typically around $1800.


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Old 09 Sep 2011, 12:46 am
mdfrodolives's Avatar
Senior Cruiser
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,313
Default Re: 2001 PT w/ transmission issues

I have to wonder why a "transmission specialist" is messing with timing belts, spark plugs, etc.

That being said, I'd take the PT to the dealer (it won't cost a lot more than this "specialist") and have him drop the transmission pan and change the fluid, using ATF+4 only; the transmission filter and "O" ring; and possibly do a "Quick Learn" on that baby. Then see if you have a big transmission problem--or just a transmission maintenance problem.

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Old 09 Sep 2011, 02:25 am
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Mooresville, NC
Posts: 5,324
Default Re: 2001 PT w/ transmission issues

If you're like me, you find a local mechanic who has his collective stuff together and is Chrysler certified. He does all the work that I can't do, which is seldom. As to the tranny issues, I'd take it in steps.

First, I agree with changing the belt and pump, and if t'were me, I'd also replace all the hoses you can reach, it's about time for that.

Secondly, I'd first get someone to do what MRFrodo says above, change the tranny filter, clean out what they can, and refill ONLY with ATF-4. Now as he also states, you'll need to do a bit of driving afterwords and make sure the tranny has set up properly.

After a few days of driving, if this hasn't fixed your issues, I'd suggest looking into maybe having the solenoid assembly, mounted down on the driver's side towards the front of the tranny, checked out. I'm not sure what kind of servicing can be done on it, but it's critical to proper shifting of the automatic transaxle.
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Old 09 Sep 2011, 04:00 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 394
Default Re: 2001 PT w/ transmission issues

Trannies are trannies. Typically there are about 5 things that can be done without a rebuild. Filter change/pan drop, Ensure the TCC is working, Ensure the solenoid pack is working, check valve body for clogs and for proper operation, Ensure its mounted correctly. Once all of thats done, its rebuild time. Once they pull the pump and get armpit deep in planetary gears it only pays to have all the clutches/steels replaced, and to clean everything up inside. It'll be something like 8 hours of labor and parts. $1800 is a little steep but not exceedingly so.

A junkyard transmission costs about $100 (maybe $200) if you can find one. From the salvage parts store it might be $350. R/R tranny is about 3 hours of labor. Just saying.
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