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2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

 
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Old 04 May 2012, 10:37 pm
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Default 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

First of all, I apologize for my lack of know-how.
This is the first car I've seriously cared for, though I've never been very mechanical by nature. But, I'm willing to learn!

Anyway. I bought a used PT Cruiser, 2003, Touring Edition (Whatever that means) about 2.5 years ago.

It's got about 90K on it, a 2.4L 4 Cyl DOHC 16V SMPI engine, and is a 5-speed manual.

I live in Seattle, where it's hilly and wet. My clutch seems to be acting up these past four months.
a) About four days ago it was *very* difficult to get into 1st and 2nd, and the difficultly switching gears decreased as I went up in number. I.e. getting into 5th not hard at all. When I say difficult, I mean sticking, stuttering, acting like it's going to stall.
b) That stopped today, but now it takes a LOT of effort to get into first. The noise is more smooth, like there's less friction. It takes *longer* to actually get into gear. It's particular to first and second gear, again. More pronounced. Its to the point that its making me nervous.
c) For the past year, during warmer days, the stick shifter (whats the correct word for that?) is squeaky and it's actually physically difficult to get the shifter into the 1st position. What does the squeakiness mean? Is this related to the clutch problems? Is it just too wet?

Today specifically it almost seems as if its going into the wrong gears when I shift. Is that possible?

Is there a possible simple solution to this? Any resources? Additionally, there's been an intermittent engine light on and off since I owned the thing...

Again my apologies for my lack of lingo.

Thank you for any help or advice!

Sincerely,
Ken
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Old 05 May 2012, 01:21 am
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Looking through some other posts here...
I should add:
I'm definitely a clutch "glazer" as described in another post. I don't even know what a flywheel is, but...
I'm just not sure as to the difference between different noises and different chugs or slips, or what have you...
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Old 05 May 2012, 01:27 am
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Have u looked into the clutch cable? might be getting stiff and not as smooth as it was...just an idea..thats where i would start....good luck
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Old 05 May 2012, 04:33 am
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by padavich View Post
Have u looked into the clutch cable? might be getting stiff and not as smooth as it was...just an idea..thats where i would start....good luck
Pt clutches are hydralic they dont have cables. only cable is the shifter cable from the trany to the shifter
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Old 05 May 2012, 06:29 am
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbsr05pt View Post
Pt clutches are hydralic they dont have cables. only cable is the shifter cable from the trany to the shifter
Quote:
Originally Posted by padavich View Post
Have u looked into the clutch cable? might be getting stiff and not as smooth as it was...just an idea..thats where i would start....good luck
As was said above, there are no traditional style clutch cables on a PT.

Jerry
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Old 06 May 2012, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Yeah, I wouldn't even know where to find a clutch cable if there *was* one.

Anyway, still driving the car, it's still chugging at 1st and 2nd predominantly, and I'm still nervous about it.

I do have some more *perhaps* relevant info:

I checked the codes... didn't know I could do it myself!
This is what came up:
P 0551 Power Steering Pressure Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
P 0325 PCM Knock Sensor Circuit
P 0522 Engine Oil Pressure Sensor/Switch Circuit Low Voltage

Of course, I have no idea what any of those indicate in layman's terms.
Additionally, my manual transmission appears to be the NV T350, for whatever that's worth...

Thanks again for any feedback!
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Old 07 May 2012, 05:36 pm
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

First, order some 'Booger Bushings' from Jeff ball direct or on e-bay, they're $20-25 shipped.

It also sounds like you have a dragging clutch, but install the shift cable bushing first to repair the obvious.

There's a how-to, perhaps in the links in my sig, but I'm sure Chrome made it.
It very straightforward, but not fun to swap out bushings.
Afterwards you'll just say 'wow' when you feel the shifter.

Jeff's direct site used to be 'Booger Racing' if you prefer that.

look for clutch leaks, there's an underdash adjustment, or the dic could have come apart.
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Old 12 May 2012, 11:48 pm
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Okay...
Thanks to the above.
I'm gonna order the bearings. I saw a Chromenaut post in another thread that showed pics on how to do it in '06 PT Cruiser. The pics didn't look applicable to my '03 Pt Cruiser, but I could be mis-remembering. Would I go by the same instructions in that post?

Additionally: just drove my PT today for the first time in about 50 hours. Longest duration I've gone in quite a while. But! When I first started it up, it was nearly impossible to shift into 1st. I had to sit and rev the engine for a bit, intermittently. After ten minutes of "warming" the engine i was finally able to shift into reserve and then, which much difficulty, FINALLY was able to shift into 1st. Ugh!

Doing some more reading and have a couple more questions. I get my oil changed at Jiffy Lube. I got it changed actually about 14 days before the problems started. Is there a possible connection?

Can I trust that if they check that a fluid has been checked, I can believe it? How can I personally check my transmission fluid to be sure (I didn't see anything in the users guide)? I mean: the way the shifter SQUEAKS *some* kind of lubrication has to be missing, no?

Also, what exactly is the connection between brake fluid and a clutch hydraulic system? How do I check the brake fluid?

Thanks again for all the help!!

And oh yeah: any special tools I'll need to access and change the bearings?
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Old 13 May 2012, 10:57 pm
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Bushings are very straightforward, I'm sure you can follow Chrome's instruction with minimal deviation.
I use a pliers to press the bushing over the post, squeezing from bottom of lever to top of bushing.
These transmissions (non-turbo) have been the same sine 1993 and are very good.
LOTS of problems with hydraulic clutch system reported here. You might wish to search. I have the old cable clutch, and my PT was a slushbox, so only know what's reported here and whats elementary.

You'll love the boogers.
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Old 16 May 2012, 05:08 pm
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Default Re: 2003 Pt Cruiser -TE Clutch problems, I think.

Thanks, UptownSport. I was exacted as the bushing are to be here by Friday.

Now: NEW PROBLEM.
Driving today, noticing acceleration very slow, especially on an incline, of which they are many around these parts.

On the highway I try shifting into 5th, but it's like the car is stuck in whatever gear it's in, or no gear at all?

At this point it wont accelerate at all. Someone used an applicable analogy, like the "car is starving for gas," despite a half-full tank.

I was able to get off the highway, and with the help of strangers able to shove the car into a parking lot.

So: is it that the transmission won't accelerate (I mean, I can "hear" the power when I foot the pedal) or that the gear isn't shifting at all? Or both?
Considering this newer problem in the context of the other ones documented above, I mean.

HELP! (And thanks.)

Last edited by randomzombie; 16 May 2012 at 05:11 pm.
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