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Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 31 Dec 2014, 08:56 pm
Regular Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 106
Default Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

Hello all. It's been a while since I've posted on the forum. The PT had been running like a champ for a while. However, I've got a problem I just can't solve.

I've got a 2003 Non-Turbo with 135,000 miles. About a month ago, the fuel gauge dropped from about half-tank to empty. After turning off the engine and back on again, the needle went back to half way. This happened a few more times, and I assumed that the fuel sending unit was acting up. One day, after it sat for a few days, the Cruiser didn't start up at all. It tried to start, but just sputtered. I assumed that the fuel pump had failed, since the sending unit was acting up. Up for the challenge, I dropped the tank and replaced the fuel pump.

Unfortunately, after the replacement, the car still wouldn't start. There are no codes, and weren't any before disconnecting the battery cable for the repair. Things I've looked at:

1. I checked the spark on the no. 1 plug and it was good
2. Removed the camshaft position sensor and verified the cam was turning, so the timing belt is working (I replaced it myself at 105,000 miles, thanks in large part to the forum help!)
3. Checked the pressure at the schrader valve on the fuel rail (55psi, within spec)
4. Even though I didn't get any code about the camshaft sensor, I purchased an aftermarket sensor (I know, I know), and it acted exactly the same.
5. Of course, this has all taken it's toll on the battery and I've tried starting while jumpered to another vehicle, and it just won't start. It gets close, but acts like it's not getting fuel or something.

Could this be a starter issue? Crankshaft position sensor? Fuel injector? I'm getting 55psi at the fuel rail, but could the injectors be clogged?

Has anyone tried using starter fluid with the PT Cruiser?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. You guys have been awesome in the past, so thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
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Old 31 Dec 2014, 09:25 pm
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Felton, Delaware
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Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

Remove tubing to throttle body and spray starting fluid into throttle body - if the engine catches, you prove spark is okay.
I would doubt all 4 injectors would clog - it should sputter along on whatever injectors are unclogged/unstuck.
Bad gas is possible - try some gas treatment/injector cleaner - shouldn't hurt.
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Old 31 Dec 2014, 09:38 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 106
Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

Thanks. I'll pick up some starting fluid tomorrow and see if that does the trick.

I forgot to mention that I put a bottle of Techron in the tank after I changed the fuel pump and before I put the 5 gallons of gas back in that I had syphoned out before dropping the tank. The plastic gas can that I stored it in was clean, so I don't think the gas got contaminated at all.

I also forgot to mention that I read the same voltage at the starter as I did at the battery, so I don't think it's a connection issue to the starter.
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Old 31 Dec 2014, 10:01 pm
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

If engine is cranking at good speed, starter is okay.
The starting fluid isn't a cure, will just indicate if spark is good or not.
__________________
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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Old 01 Jan 2015, 12:00 am
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,289
Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

I would suggest checking the crankshaft sensor and wires going to the crankshaft sensor around to the back of the engine. Check the connector at the crankshaft sensor and make sure it has not melted the wires together near the crankshaft connector. You might have spark but it might be a weak spark.
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Old 01 Jan 2015, 04:28 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Detroit, MI
Posts: 106
Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

So the PT Cruiser is back up and running! I tried some starter fluid and it came really close to wanting to start, but just wouldn't do it.

So I tried something that I really feel like an idiot not trying in the first place. I had my girlfriend turn the key while I banged on the starter. It took a few times, but it eventually fired right up. I let it run for a few minutes, turned it off and tried it again, and it's back to new. I guess the real test will be to let it sit overnight in the freezing temps and try it again tomorrow morning.

I was so fixated on the fuel pump repair being the issue that I guess I didn't think it could be the starter. So does this mean the starter is going bad? It starts right up without hesitation now.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions.
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Old 01 Jan 2015, 04:49 pm
quicksilverdon's Avatar
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Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry2011 View Post
So the PT Cruiser is back up and running! I tried some starter fluid and it came really close to wanting to start, but just wouldn't do it.

So I tried something that I really feel like an idiot not trying in the first place. I had my girlfriend turn the key while I banged on the starter. It took a few times, but it eventually fired right up. I let it run for a few minutes, turned it off and tried it again, and it's back to new. I guess the real test will be to let it sit overnight in the freezing temps and try it again tomorrow morning.

I was so fixated on the fuel pump repair being the issue that I guess I didn't think it could be the starter. So does this mean the starter is going bad? It starts right up without hesitation now.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions.
While I am glad you are back up and running, I don't get the banging on the starter - that's done when starter solenoid is stuck and engine isn't being turned over by starter, and if you say it came close to starting, clearly the starter was "doing it's thing".
__________________
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life,
nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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Old 01 Jan 2015, 05:21 pm
Busted_PT's Avatar
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Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

If the starter was rolling the motor over. I would be checking the connection on the small wires for a good connection.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 01 Jan 2015, 05:46 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,289
Default Re: Pt Cruiser turns over but won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry2011 View Post
So the PT Cruiser is back up and running! I tried some starter fluid and it came really close to wanting to start, but just wouldn't do it.

So I tried something that I really feel like an idiot not trying in the first place. I had my girlfriend turn the key while I banged on the starter. It took a few times, but it eventually fired right up. I let it run for a few minutes, turned it off and tried it again, and it's back to new. I guess the real test will be to let it sit overnight in the freezing temps and try it again tomorrow morning.

I was so fixated on the fuel pump repair being the issue that I guess I didn't think it could be the starter. So does this mean the starter is going bad? It starts right up without hesitation now.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions.
I would suggest that if the battery and starter is okay in freezing temperatures to do the following suggestions.

I would suggest that if it happens again and you have checked the crankcase sensor and wiring then I would suggest looking into TSB 18-026-03 REV. A.

Long Crank No Start condition

http://www.ertyu.org/steven_nikkel/n.../18-026-03.pdf
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