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The "Handy" Tune-Up

 
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Old 09 Nov 2013, 09:02 pm
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Default The "Handy" Tune-Up

Finally, it's time to do the tune-up on my little 2001 PT Cruiser Limited. The photos show what all was involved. This really is more of a photo essay than a how-to. But you may find some of it useful.

When I bought my little PT three weeks ago, everything looked pretty good as long as the vanity cover was in place.



But soon as I removed it, I started seeing things I didn't like. First of all the PCV hose was kinked and leaking. There was basically no vacuum on the crankcase and that may have been the source of an oil leak I haven't been able to track down.



I had to make a PCV hose out of two preformed hoses I already had. It's not pretty, but it will do until I can order the correct hose. There's none to be had at the local parts stores.



After I got the top part off the intake manifold off, I noticed that the plug wires may have already been changed. These are Mopar brand wires but they don't look like the little skinny ones I've seen on the salvage PT's I've taken parts off of. And they don't have the plastic wire-loom covers on them either.



Next, I removed the valve cover. It appears to have been leaking. This is likely due to pressure buildup resulting from the lack of positive crankcase ventilation. Also, I was planning to strip off the black paint and polish the valve cover to a mirror-like shine. I was very surprised when I discovered it was plastic.



I bought a Felpro valve cover gasket set. I like to used a thin coat of RTV to set the gaskets in place. These gaskets fit in a groove and they sometimes have a tendency to pop out before installation. Securing the gasket with RTV keeps them from doing this. Also, I was very surprised that the Felpro kit did not come with the little white chubby o-rings that go around the valve cover bolts. I coated the used ones with RTV before reusing.



One more bad thing I found was a broken bracket that supports the throttle body. With this broke, it puts a lot of strain on the plastic intake manifold. So I had to take a break and go to the salvage yard and pull a good bracket. I noticed that on one 2001 PT at the salvage yard, the bracket was broken just like mine. There must be some kind of design problem with these brackets.



When I installed the new bracket for the throttle body, I also installed a t-port in the upper heater hose so I could back-flush the cooling system.



I bought NKG Iridium plugs. The factory gap is set to 0.044' and they are right on the money. And that's good, because you will ruin these if you pry on the electrodes. The old plugs were Champions and they didn't look too terrible. It's always good to compare the old plugs with the new ones. You never know when there will be something odd about your new plugs. On these, it looks like NKG put the hex part up high enough. So no thin-walled socket was required.



It's always good to use anti-seize compound when working on an aluminum head. And I like to put a small piece of paper towel in with the spark plug to keep it from falling out when I stick it down the hole. I just have to make sure the paper towel doesn't stay down in the hole with the spark plug.



It seems to be much easier to install the spark plugs with the valve cover removed. The holes are only about half as deep this way.



It's always a good idea to put a little dab of RTV in all places where the valve colver gasket changes direction. You can see everywhere I put RTV in this photo.



Don't worry if you get RTV all over your engine. WD40, paper towels and Q-tips will get the RTV off easily if you get to it before it sets up.



I took a gamble on spark plug wires and I kind of lost. I found these wires on both Amazon and eBay. In this brand, the ones specifically made to fit the PT are only 7mm. But I found these that were 8mm. But after I got them, I realized why they were not for the PT. They have 90-degree boots on the coil ends. But other than that, they do fit on the coil. And since they are American made and fairly inexpensive, I just used them anyway. Plus, they're pretty and blue.



Here are the plug wires on the PT. They seem to work okay. After I got the intake manifold back on, I decided to have the outer wires looping out instead of looping in. You can see them on one of the final photos. Overall, they seem to clear the manifold about as well as the straight boot type.



While the top part of the intake manifold was off, it was a great time to install a new thermostat and upper radiator hose.



I'm very old-school. And one of the things the old-time mechanics did was to drill a small whole in the thermostat. This helps let out air pockets. And while it doesn't take the place of the bleed valve on the thermostat housing, it does make it possible to put coolant in the car when you don't have any tools. That's a real advantage when you're on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.



Before I put the new thermostat in, I flushed the cooling system with no thermostat in the car. My phone was about to go dead at that time and it seems the photos I thought I took didn't really take. But in summary, I used a flush kit and a garden hose to flush the engine while running. Then I drained it all, installed the new thermostat, and put in a gallon of nice green full-strength Prestone antifreeze and then topped it off with about half a gallon of distilled water. That appears to be all the coolant the PT holds.

The rest of the photos are below. These are all the photos I could put in one post.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 09 Nov 2013 at 09:18 pm.
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Old 09 Nov 2013, 09:03 pm
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

And here is the engine back to together. You can see the blue spark plug wires on each side of the upper intake manifold. I also used "Mean Green" (a 409-like cleaner) to clean the oil staining from the yellow and white plastic parts. I'm leaving the vanity cover off for a while to let everything dry and so I can inspect the engine for leaks after driving it.



And one more thing. While at the salvage yard getting the throttle body bracket, I found a rubber hood seal in good condition. Mine was a bit tattered, so I installed that too.


All this took longer than I thought. I was just about a full day of adventure. But my little red PT is running great now and I can find no more oil leaks. As soon as my cold air intake stuff comes in, I hope to have the engine work completed.
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Old 09 Nov 2013, 09:38 pm
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

Good job.
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Old 09 Nov 2013, 09:52 pm
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

Haven't heard of drilling a hole in a thermostat - what is the point of that?
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Old 09 Nov 2013, 10:23 pm
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by quicksilverdon View Post
Haven't heard of drilling a hole in a thermostat - what is the point of that?
Handy, great job on the procedure and recording of the process. WELL DONE.

I've added a pic of the factory PCV hose below. It is a dealer specific item.

I might have replaced the oil pressure sensor and the temp sensor while I had their specific areas exposed, (especially the the TB body bracket) but that's just me.

QSD, the hole in the t-stat trick has been around forever. I used a 9/64" bit on mine. As handy said, it helps release any air that would get trapped under the t-stat during the filling process or just "adding some" to your coolant system.

PLEASE CLICK BELOW.

Jerry
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 132.05 PCV hose.jpg (30.6 KB, 57 views)

Last edited by wwpptc; 09 Nov 2013 at 11:21 pm.
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Old 09 Nov 2013, 10:45 pm
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

What did u gap too?
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Old 03 Dec 2013, 08:16 pm
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

We should use HOAT antifreeze versus the regular green coolant, correct?
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Old 03 Dec 2013, 09:01 pm
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Cool Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjackson23 View Post
We should use HOAT antifreeze versus the regular green coolant, correct?
Supposedly,as long as the system is flushed well first,you can use either HOAT,or Ethylene Glycol.....The problem is when the two are mixed together,they have a tendency to 'congeil' when mixed together.
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Old 04 Dec 2013, 12:02 am
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

Quote:
Originally Posted by randyincctx View Post
Supposedly,as long as the system is flushed well first,you can use either HOAT,or Ethylene Glycol.....The problem is when the two are mixed together,they have a tendency to 'congeil' when mixed together.
Most HOAT is ethylene glycol too. It just has different additives than transitional antifreeze. But the HOAT terminology is now outdated. Most antifreeze sold today is compatible with both traditional antifreeze with silicate additive and Dexcool. And Dexcool is is outdated technology.

Modern Prestone extended life antifreeze is good for all major brands of vehicles and no flushing is required for compatibility. And it is recommended by Chrysler. I have an email from Prestone stating that very thing and I posted it it in another thread. This "no mix" problem is mostly a thing of the past unless you still use Dexcool (as is no longer necessary) and then try to top it off with some old silicate antifreeze or some no-name antifreeze from a truck stop or dollar store.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 04 Dec 2013 at 12:09 am.
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Old 04 Dec 2013, 08:20 am
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Default Re: The "Handy" Tune-Up

You really trust that coolant flush thing staying on there? Forever?
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