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Helllo...and HELP!!!

 
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Old 17 May 2014, 01:17 pm
JDB JDB is offline
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Default Helllo...and HELP!!! RESOLVED!!!

Hello to all from a newbie. Not to the Cruiser or to wrenching...just to the PT Forum. ;~)

I...my wife has an 06 PT Cruiser we bought new and that she absolutely loves, which means I now have a big problem. ;~)

It's a NON turbo Touring Edition with auto tranny and 160,000 miles on it. A while back the check engine light came on and it began stumbling under acceleration. It also got so that it would not up shift to the next gear at more than about 1/4 throttle before I got a chance to check it.

Something that she never stepped on it hard enough to notice, by the way. LOL

So...I did the "key dance" to get the codes and found the problem to be plugs. I replaced the plugs and wires while I was at it, started it, took it for a test and all was well. It accelerate smoothly and even shifted under heavy acceleration as it should have. She drove it a few times, the check engine light went out and all was well.

About a week or so later, we got in it to go somewhere and I noticed it was surging under acceleration. We got onto the interstate and up to speed, 70 MPH or so, for about 5 miles and the car began to sputter and slow down to the point that I thought it had died and pulled over to the emergency lane. It hadn't so we did a U-turn to get another vehicle. The car actually ran fine back to the house.

SO...I did the key dance again and this time there were NO CODES that showed up. So she continued to drive it with no more problems, until a couple weeks ago she complained again so I test drove it.

It seemed to be surging and stuttering at any constant speed. It accelerated well and normally, but surges at a constant throttle position and idled rough. And the problem of not up shifting under heavy acceleration had returned.

As long as you baby it, it stumbled, but shifted normally. Push it and it accelerates well, but sounds like it will sling the hamsters right off their treadmills before it would shift, but the miss goes away as far as I can tell.

SO. Again I do the key dance and STILL no codes.

LOOOONG story short. I got advised that the strainer in the fuel pump was likely the culprit. So I took the pump out, inspected and cleaned everything I could while I waited for the new one I ordered to arrive.

It helped. It started and idled perfectly and stuttering went away,but it was replaced by a slow surging under part throttle. And just like before, it accelerated well at full throttle but will NOT upshift at more than a part throttle of about a quarter. And STILL no fault codes.

The new pump just arrived and I just knew this was the cure since my cleaning the old one changed the symptoms. WRONG!

Exactly the same. HELP!!!

Sorry for the long first post guys. Just thought that I should give the whole history since it IS my first post on the Cruiser Forum. And there's a good reason for that. It's been a GREAT little car for my wife and I haven't needed help up till now.

Now in a few months when she says she's buying a new car and I inherit this one...I'll be posting progress pics of this car as I fit it with a 318 in it. Cause I'm an old school Mopar gear head. LOL

Anyway, thanks for any help. I'll shut up and listen now.

FIXED!!!

Ok guys, just wanted to update you guys on the problem all ya guys tried to help with. It turns out that the ol' backwoods transmission tech who drove it about 2 minutes and claimed it was a catalytic convert...was RIGHT! LOL

Just as I had gotten the old one out and was about to gut it and see if it helped, the one I ordered came in 3 days early. COOL, huh?

Anyway, I stuck it on and the thing runs better than it has in a couple years. My wife said, "GOOD, so that means I get to keep her for another 150,000 miles?" CRAP...there goes my dream of a rear wheel drive 318 PT Cruiser any time soon. ;~)

At any rate I actually inspected the old one after I got the car running. I'll try to post a couple pics tomorrow. It LOOKS like there all these little nodules of zinc or lead or something all over the face of the honeycomb. It looks like it could be clogging up at least a 1/3rd or so of the holes.

No wonder she didn't want to run. Don't matter how much air you can pull into your lungs...if you can't let it out, breathing can be a REAL problem.

Anyway, I think I remember reading something about some injector cleaners being zinc based and it damages cat converters. I'm guessing that's what happened. She has always run injector cleaner through it. And since I didn't know to look out for zinc, she may have run something that was bad for it. At any rate, that would explain it.

Just wanted to update everyone in case someone else hits this no code hell I've been going through for the last month. By the way, if anyone in the distant future does a search and digs this out of the archives, read all the post below. I tried EVERYTHING to find the problem and was still left with the instinct of an old school transmission guy to give the solution. My 50 years building hot rods told me I was wasting time and money. I did NOT think it was gonna fix it.

Oh well, ol wrencher with 40 years experience one, old shade tree mechanic...ZERO! LOL

Thanks for the help guys!

Last edited by JDB; 04 Jun 2014 at 10:53 pm. Reason: Update problem solution.
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Old 17 May 2014, 01:57 pm
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDB View Post
Hello to all from a newbie. Not to the Cruiser or to wrenching...just to the PT Forum.

...I'll be posting progress pics of this car as I fit it with a 318 in it. Cause I'm an old school Mopar gear head. LOL

Anyway, thanks for any help. I'll shut up and listen now.
Wow - It reads like you've tried almost everything.

I'll sure be interested in seeing the progress on dropping a 318 in your Cruiser. That will, I believe, be a monumental task.

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will get some good advice here. There are lots of PT Cruiser gear heads on this forum.
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Old 17 May 2014, 02:10 pm
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

Throttle position sensor? Just a guess
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Old 17 May 2014, 02:25 pm
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

Welcome to the forum.

Two thoughts here. One, if your going to be ripping the 2.4 out and replacing it, why spend the time throwing parts at it to fix the stumbling?

Two, If you still going to be using it for awhile before the swap, then yes, you'll want to find out what's wrong.

You changed the plugs and that helped at one time, how about the plugs wires? They go bad also and might not throw a code. Not everything throws a fault code as I was told along time ago that the codes only show up when it has something to do with the emissions warranty that the dealer might have to change. Don't know if that's correct or not. Also, sometimes the key dance doesn't always show the stored codes so it's a good start but you might want to have it checked out with a scanner.
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Old 17 May 2014, 06:33 pm
JDB JDB is offline
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by harrym View Post
Wow - It reads like you've tried almost everything.

I'll sure be interested in seeing the progress on dropping a 318 in your Cruiser. That will, I believe, be a monumental task.

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will get some good advice here. There are lots of PT Cruiser gear heads on this forum.
LOL...well, apparently I haven't tried enough things Harrym. LOL

And thanks for the welcome. Yep, should be a cool project. I've loved the old throw back panel wagon body style since it first came out. The only reason I didn't fall in love with the thing like my wife has is because they never offered it with a V6. If they had...they'd probably still be making them and my wife and I would BOTH have one. ;~)

A 318 should scratch that itch just fine though.

Of course, by the time I get through puttin' a drive shaft tunnel and rear end in it and finding a front end that will take a V8 that will exchange with the thing...it may be an itch I wish I hadn't had. LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by PT_Patriot View Post
Throttle position sensor? Just a guess
Yeah...I'm suspect of that as well Patriot. The thing has never thrown a code to make me suspect it. It just SEEMS a likely suspect. But I kind of hate to continue throwing stuff on it unless someone has had a similar no fault code failure of a TPS that would warrant it.

That's what happened with the fuel pump. I was advised by a Mopar guy that he had had a similar thing happen and it was the strainer in the fuel pump collapsing. And of course, the fuel pump won't normally throw a code if it's whacked. So I thought it was worth the try.

But you may be right. I may get back around to the TPS.

Anyway, thanks for letting me know I'm not crazy for suspecting it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CREWZIN View Post
Welcome to the forum.

Two thoughts here. One, if your going to be ripping the 2.4 out and replacing it, why spend the time throwing parts at it to fix the stumbling?

Two, If you still going to be using it for awhile before the swap, then yes, you'll want to find out what's wrong.

You changed the plugs and that helped at one time, how about the plugs wires? They go bad also and might not throw a code. Not everything throws a fault code as I was told along time ago that the codes only show up when it has something to do with the emissions warranty that the dealer might have to change. Don't know if that's correct or not. Also, sometimes the key dance doesn't always show the stored codes so it's a good start but you might want to have it checked out with a scanner.
Yeah, my wife wants to keep driving it for several more months before she replaces it, Crewzin. So I'm pretty much GOING to fix the thing. Happy wife, happy life. LOL

And yep, changed the plugs AND wires. I learned a long time ago that if you have to unbolt something to do ANYthing on a car...replace everything behind it you can. Saves a LOT of time, money and knuckle skin. ;~)

But that does bring up a point. This started a couple weeks after I changed the plugs and wires...which DID fix the original problem. I'm going to get a can of starting fluid and check the intake manifold and vacuum lines...just to make sure I don't have a vacuum leak that's messing with the fuel pressure regulator of something else that won't throw a code.

Experience tells me that a vacuum leaks don't normally effect performance under acceleration, only at idle, but with this fuel injected stuff...I'm not that sure how it interacts with the injector system and computer control module. So I STILL have that to check.

If that fails...I'm going to do as you suggest and take it somewhere where they can hook a scanner up to it. GRRRR!!!

I haven't take a car to a mechanic...dealer of otherwise since the mid 70s. This will break my string...and maybe hurt my pride a little! ;~0

Anyway, thanks for the great responses guys. If you think of anything else, please let me know. That's why I'm here. I need someone to bounce ideas off of and from the post I've read on here since this started, this seemed a good place to come.

Thanks,

JD
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Old 22 May 2014, 12:46 pm
JDB JDB is offline
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

Bump for feedback,

Ok, guys...I FINALLY got it on a diagnosis machine. He did all the standing checks, used his little tablet to play with the idle, check ALL the systems and told me what I already suspect. I had unhooked the battery. the AC needed servicing and there were NO CODES. LOL

So, he and his computer took a test drive. Again, NO engine codes. He said there is nothing wrong with the engine at all, but the way it was acting made him suspect it's a transmission problem.

So he stopped and reset it to quick learn and drove it again...checking and recording ALL systems data points. The ONLY code he got at all for ANYthing that seemed out of place was that it SAYS that the overdrive clutch is engaged all the time...what????

Anyway, he said that all he could think of was that MAYbe the overdrive clutches have stuck together from carbon build up or something. Kind of like the clutch packs in Ford rear ends tend to do and cause that infamous clunk going around corners. You know, the one that mechanics since the 90's have been telling Ford owners that their rearend was whacked and then just putting a 10 dollar bottle of Friction Ease in it and charging 800 bucks? LOL

So anyway, he sent me up the road to a friend who has 45 years experience in transmission repair.

By the way, the mechanic spent an hour an a half tinkering with the little Cruiser and didn't charge me a DIME. And I TRIED to get him to let me pay him for his time. He said, "Nope, I don't charge if I can't fix it." Cool to find principled mechanics these days. ;~)

Well...I went over to the transmission shop and the owner took 'er for a drive. He came back and said, "Their ain't SHITE wrong with that transmission." He's kind of a surly ol' boy and shite ain't the exact word he used, but you get the point. LOL

Anyway, he said I've seen this with a LOT of different cars and it's the catalytic converter. WHICH, I've gotta say is something I've suspected from the start. He didn't even bother hooking it up to his computer. He said flat out, replace the converter and it will run like a Deere. As in John Deere of course. Did I mention I'm in a rural area?

At any rate, I asked if it wasn't not throwing a code because the O2 sensor on the converter was working fine and it was just a software conflict between the actual air flow and the computed air flow that's causing all these symptoms. To which he said, "Yep, I've seen it a bunch." Then he repeated, "Replace the converter and it'll run like a Deere."

A question for you guys. Does that make sense to you? As I said, I've suspected the converter from the beginning, but this computer stuff is WAY above my pay grade. I didn't and STILL DON'T have a clue how all this computer stuff interacts and what symptoms can be induced by the computer module because of faulty readings and sensor conflicts.

What say you? I hate to pay 300 bucks for a converter and end up with a trashed transmission to deal with anyway. Ya know?
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Old 22 May 2014, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

I'm still thinking it might be an intake manifold leak. Did you replace the upper intake gaskets when you did the plugs and wires?

There have been very few reports on this forum or others of PT catalytic converters stopping up unless the PT has had a blown head gasket in the past. However, bad gas or bad gas additives that are specific to your area might cause this to happen. I would check the intake manifold for cracks and bad gaskets first.
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Old 22 May 2014, 03:26 pm
JDB JDB is offline
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post
I'm still thinking it might be an intake manifold leak. Did you replace the upper intake gaskets when you did the plugs and wires?

There have been very few reports on this forum or others of PT catalytic converters stopping up unless the PT has had a blown head gasket in the past. However, bad gas or bad gas additives that are specific to your area might cause this to happen. I would check the intake manifold for cracks and bad gaskets first.
Yep, I agree Handy. I've been pretty suspicious of a vacuum leak as well since that was the only thing that changed before the problems started. Thing is though, it ran perfectly for a couple weeks after I worked on it and then started acting up. And then today, the ASE mechanic that put it on his computer said flatly that there is nothing wrong with the engine it's self.

So...I don't know?

I've thought all along that it FELT like an air in or air out problem. Either an intake leak or restricted exhaust. So since this transmission guy said flatly that it was the catalytic converter...when he could have BSed me, because the ASE mechanic said the overdrive clutch was on all the time and I might have bought it...and he didn't, kind of makes me inclined to believe it's so.

Not to mention that I've suspected the cat converter all along.

I know I HATE having to depend on other mechanics for stuff I've done for my self for more than 50 years. DANG it...I HATE computers!!! LOL

No I don't. I hate automotive engineers! LOL
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Old 22 May 2014, 08:10 pm
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

Idle Air Controller? It's bolted into the throttle body and may need a good cleaning...
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Old 22 May 2014, 11:29 pm
JDB JDB is offline
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Default Re: Helllo...and HELP!!!

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Originally Posted by quicksilverdon View Post
Idle Air Controller? It's bolted into the throttle body and may need a good cleaning...
Would that cause the part throttle surging and slow acceleration, Silver? By it's name, it sounds like it would only effect the idle performance and the little car idles PERFECTLY.
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