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PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12 Jan 2013, 10:26 pm
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Default PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

Hey-
My 2007 PT Cruiser will not start.

I had started my car, and was looking up directions on my phone while parked and idling when it suddenly died. Now it cranks but will not start.

I checked several threads on this forum and eventually learned of the 'key dance'. I kept doing it wrong, and when I finally did it right I only saw the error code flash for a second because I jammed the engine off right away accidentally.

I'm pretty sure I saw P03XX flash. But my eyes may have deceived me as the last engine codes I troubleshooted this summer were P030X cylinder misfires (different vehicle).

Now, when I do the 'key dance' it shows dashes ("- - - - - -") and after a moment the 'done' text.

I don't want to rely on the error code I glimpsed, as it was a split second and maybe I was momentarily dyslexic , but I've since tried to start the car and it doesn't flag the error code again? So I guess that's another symptom to consider. Is there a way to retrieve the error code? (It's odd that it reset - I never removed the battery or anything. Is it true that codes reset after 50 starts? That could be true as I had done many starts attempting the key dance.)

So what is wrong with my engine?

Symptoms:
  • Car turns over; won't start
  • Car stalled initially while running
  • Repeated attempts to start the car won't flag a fresh error code (after the code was reset)

This thread, where the user had a near-identical experience as mine, suggests the Camshaft Position Sensor.

Given that I don't have a reliable error code, what other potential parts could have failed? What can I do at home to troubleshoot?

I just had the alternator and battery replaced this fall, and would love to be able to troubleshoot the precise cause and service it myself if at all possible to save $$.

(Also: If I keep trying to start the engine, could I eventually get the error code back? For the moment, I'm letting it sit so I don't use up my battery juice)
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Old 13 Jan 2013, 09:11 am
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Default Re: PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

You haven't said what you mileage is so here's an easy thing to do to see if the timing belt has gone south.

You need two people. Take off the Camshaft Position Sensor. Keep an eye on the round magnet inside the hole where the sensor was as someone turns over the engine to try and start it. Does the magnet turn when the engine turns over? if not, the timing belt has broken. At least you can rule that out before trying other things.

Not sure about your fault code but even if it's a P03.. code, that should stop the car from starting.
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 13 Jan 2013 at 09:13 am.
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Old 13 Jan 2013, 01:34 pm
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Default Re: PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

Quote:
Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
You haven't said what you mileage is so here's an easy thing to do to see if the timing belt has gone south.

You need two people. Take off the Camshaft Position Sensor. Keep an eye on the round magnet inside the hole where the sensor was as someone turns over the engine to try and start it. Does the magnet turn when the engine turns over? if not, the timing belt has broken. At least you can rule that out before trying other things.

Not sure about your fault code but even if it's a P03.. code, that should stop the car from starting.
Mileage is ~113K. So I guess it's probable it is the timing belt...



That's the round magnet, yeah?

I won't have someone to help me until later but I did stick a piece of paper on there (which adhered with the oil slick) and turned the engine ... paper didn't move anywhere. Did a few times -- but I'll check again later when my friend can watch it to make sure it isn't turning.

Patrick
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Old 13 Jan 2013, 02:49 pm
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Default Re: PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

That magnet is attached to the end of the front Camshaft. If the belt broke, neither Camshaft will move and the magnet won't move either.
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Old 13 Jan 2013, 03:38 pm
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Default Re: PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

Lots of info here to do the job. Changed my first belt on my pt. Read about it here some much that it didn't seem like the first one.
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 10:38 am
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Default Re: PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

Confirmed that the magnet was not spinning while turning the engine.

I am to travel this coming weekend, so I will at least call and get estimates to see if anywhere can turn it around quickly... though I can get a ride so maybe I'll also explore replacing it myself.

I have a 5 mile commute, so bike/bus are an option in the mean-time ... would certainly prefer to be servicing a timing belt in the summer weather rather than in Michigan snows =p

Any arguments for going with a dealership for a timing belt versus another mechanic? I'll make sure to ask when I call for estimates if they've done a PT Cruiser belt before.

Thanks all
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 10:51 am
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Default Re: PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

An additional question: Anything other than the belt/tensioner/water pump that makes sense to replace together?
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Old 14 Jan 2013, 12:17 pm
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Default Re: PT Cruiser starts, idles for 2 min, stalls, then will not start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
Lots of info here to do the job. Changed my first belt on my pt. Read about it here some much that it didn't seem like the first one.
Got a few estimates. Dealership quoted $1,364 parts and labor. Auto shop "A" quoted 6.6 hrs labor/$515 and auto shop "B" quoted 9 hrs labor/$585 (both excluding parts). So ~$80 or ~$65 /hr labor rates I guess.

"A" seemed more competent over the phone. "B" said they would have to bring it and check for any engine damage, and when I said that I was under the impression it was non-interference he asked the "chrysler guru" mechanic of the shop whom responded it was interference. "B" had to call me back with the estimate, so twenty minutes later I got that and he had also checked some official Chrysler document which also reported my 2007 PT as an interference engine.

Anyway, so I guess I would assume that it is technically an "interference" engine given the potential for valve damage -- but in practice, much gentler / non-interference?

If I could get it in writing around $500-$600 for labor, I would probably go with "A" -- but "B" seems to allow more time for labor and has the lower rate so that might be a better choice anyway. Both said they had worked on PTs before.

I'm not in a rush to get it fixed, and will begin reading up on the DIY belt replacement threads to see if its something I think I can handle.

Is there any way to test the valves for damage before I replace the timing belt or have it towed to a mechanic?

Patrick

Last edited by enviroPT; 14 Jan 2013 at 12:21 pm.
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