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Ghost in the machine

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10 May 2016, 12:39 pm
Fresh Cruiser
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 1
Default Ghost in the machine / Random Overheating

Hello folks, I'm looking for a bit of direction with a Purple 2005 Pt Cruiser Turbo.

This is my daughters 2nd car. The 1st was a 2005 Purple Pt Cruiser non-turbo.

I worked on cars as a hobby and to save money for a lot of years but due to recent health issues, I seldom do it these days. So anyway, on to the issue.

She had been having problems with it randomly overheating and she thought it did it mostly going uphill but not always. She took it to a local garage and they told her it needed a thermostat. As she is a new mom-to-be, she has a shortage of funds and asked me if I would mind doing it. "Sure" I replied, "How hard can it be?".

I go to change it and I tell her she might as well get a temp sensor as well as we are already into it, we can change it out as well. This may be a good time to mention at this time I had thought the ECT was in front of the thermostat housing and not on it's backside since this was a turbo model.

Long story short, Once I got into it, I found the antifreeze was about worthless. I tested it and my gauge was below the lowest markings on its scale. I tested the pre-mixed 50/50 she had with her that she was adding to it once in a while and it was only good to about -5 (This was store-bought mixed). I replaced the ECT and in the process the little red clip broke off its plug I removed the broken red clip and ran a zip-tie through there and tied it to the housing mount of the thermostat. I replaced the thermostat and gasket and then drained the rad (More crap fluid) Refilled it with 100% non-mixed antifreeze to allow it to mix with the mostly water that remained in the block.
I burped and bled the system. Here is where the issue starts.

When I 1st started it up, there was a check engine light and the water icon in the dash was also lit. I let it run to warm up as I went to bleed the air out. I had replaced a bit more water that had drained out yet after warm up, the temp gauge was at COLD and the water icon was still on. If you turn the car off and right back on, The temp gauge would register to a normal running temp for a few seconds then drop back to COLD and the low water light would come back on. The fan was also running all the time from as soon as you started the car the 1st time and every time thereafter. I disconnect the battery for a few minutes and hooked it back up. The check engine and low water light are still on, The fan still run constantly but now the temp gauge will not move from the cold setting.

I left it run a bit and squeezed a rad hose under the hood and it felt that it had no pressure. I pulled the rad cap off and there was indeed no pressure. I can see the water moving and when you give it a bit of gas, you can see it get sucked down a bit as the throttle is applied.

By this time it was getting dark and I was cold tired and wet from the rain so I had to stop. I don't know if I got a bad sensor. messed up the plug on the sensor (It only goes on one way even without the clip in it.) or what. The fan is running all the time / dash reports no water. check engine light is on / temp gauge does not move / system seems to have no pressure built up.

EDIT - The only engine code I just got this morning was from using the key/odometer method was - P0118 Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Sensor Circuit High Voltage

Edit #2 This afternoon I checked the plug for the ECT and with the key on it does have 4.97 volts to pin 2 and pin 1 has continuity to ground. If I connect the old ECT to the plug and touch it to a engine ground and then start the car, the water gauge on the dash does not light up and the fan does not run. Hook it back up the the new ECT in the block and the water light lights back up and the fan runs on high instantly with the engine cold. Looks to me like the new ECT is a dud. How lucky am I to have gotten a defective sensor that is so hard to get to and replace?

EDIT #3 Replaced new ETC with old ETC everything works as it should now except for the temp goes up 1/2 ways and no higher and the fan is not running. Left it run a good while and even shut it off hot for a few minutes and restarted but no fan action at all. I know the fan was tripping on and running high with the bad ECT but now no fan at all. Looking to the relays and fuse next.

If anyone has any suggestions or sees where I missed something, please chime in.

Thank You
Ron- The Pt Whisperer

Last edited by PurpleTurbo05; 11 May 2016 at 10:12 am. Reason: new info
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11 May 2016, 09:36 pm
Regular Cruiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 177
Default Re: Ghost in the machine

Sucks you got a bad sensor out of the box. If I remember right a quick way to check if your fans are working is to kick on the AC and see if they start spinning but I'm not sure if they are on the same relay as just coming on from the temperature.

I don't think these cars have a temp gauge that reads the actual temperature, they're like the Jaguar I use to have, they start at cold go up to operating temp (halfway) and only go up higher if you're overheating or go back down when it cools off. So in other words its not an actual reading of the temperature of the motor just an indication of whether its cold, running temp, or overheating and about to blow up.

Don't worry about the little red clips they are just a locking mechanism for the connectors but you still have to depress the release tab to disconnect any sensor. I can't count how many of those little red things I've broken off on my car, I know none of my fuel injectors have them anymore lol
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 11 May 2016, 09:41 pm
Regular Cruiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 177
Default Re: Ghost in the machine

Also, what kind of coolant are you using? You should be using the Zerex G-05 or equivalent and I haven't found that premixed anywhere, definitely shouldn't be using green stuff. Something to do with HOAT and running different types of coolant damaging the cooling system or something.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 11 May 2016, 10:25 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,301
Default Re: Ghost in the machine / Random Overheating

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleTurbo05 View Post
Hello folks, I'm looking for a bit of direction with a Purple 2005 Pt Cruiser Turbo.

This is my daughters 2nd car. The 1st was a 2005 Purple Pt Cruiser non-turbo.

I worked on cars as a hobby and to save money for a lot of years but due to recent health issues, I seldom do it these days. So anyway, on to the issue.

She had been having problems with it randomly overheating and she thought it did it mostly going uphill but not always. She took it to a local garage and they told her it needed a thermostat. As she is a new mom-to-be, she has a shortage of funds and asked me if I would mind doing it. "Sure" I replied, "How hard can it be?".

I go to change it and I tell her she might as well get a temp sensor as well as we are already into it, we can change it out as well. This may be a good time to mention at this time I had thought the ECT was in front of the thermostat housing and not on it's backside since this was a turbo model.

Long story short, Once I got into it, I found the antifreeze was about worthless. I tested it and my gauge was below the lowest markings on its scale. I tested the pre-mixed 50/50 she had with her that she was adding to it once in a while and it was only good to about -5 (This was store-bought mixed). I replaced the ECT and in the process the little red clip broke off its plug I removed the broken red clip and ran a zip-tie through there and tied it to the housing mount of the thermostat. I replaced the thermostat and gasket and then drained the rad (More crap fluid) Refilled it with 100% non-mixed antifreeze to allow it to mix with the mostly water that remained in the block.
I burped and bled the system. Here is where the issue starts.

When I 1st started it up, there was a check engine light and the water icon in the dash was also lit. I let it run to warm up as I went to bleed the air out. I had replaced a bit more water that had drained out yet after warm up, the temp gauge was at COLD and the water icon was still on. If you turn the car off and right back on, The temp gauge would register to a normal running temp for a few seconds then drop back to COLD and the low water light would come back on. The fan was also running all the time from as soon as you started the car the 1st time and every time thereafter. I disconnect the battery for a few minutes and hooked it back up. The check engine and low water light are still on, The fan still run constantly but now the temp gauge will not move from the cold setting.

I left it run a bit and squeezed a rad hose under the hood and it felt that it had no pressure. I pulled the rad cap off and there was indeed no pressure. I can see the water moving and when you give it a bit of gas, you can see it get sucked down a bit as the throttle is applied.

By this time it was getting dark and I was cold tired and wet from the rain so I had to stop. I don't know if I got a bad sensor. messed up the plug on the sensor (It only goes on one way even without the clip in it.) or what. The fan is running all the time / dash reports no water. check engine light is on / temp gauge does not move / system seems to have no pressure built up.

EDIT - The only engine code I just got this morning was from using the key/odometer method was - P0118 Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Sensor Circuit High Voltage

Edit #2 This afternoon I checked the plug for the ECT and with the key on it does have 4.97 volts to pin 2 and pin 1 has continuity to ground. If I connect the old ECT to the plug and touch it to a engine ground and then start the car, the water gauge on the dash does not light up and the fan does not run. Hook it back up the the new ECT in the block and the water light lights back up and the fan runs on high instantly with the engine cold. Looks to me like the new ECT is a dud. How lucky am I to have gotten a defective sensor that is so hard to get to and replace?

EDIT #3 Replaced new ETC with old ETC everything works as it should now except for the temp goes up 1/2 ways and no higher and the fan is not running. Left it run a good while and even shut it off hot for a few minutes and restarted but no fan action at all. I know the fan was tripping on and running high with the bad ECT but now no fan at all. Looking to the relays and fuse next.

If anyone has any suggestions or sees where I missed something, please chime in.

Thank You
Ron- The Pt Whisperer
I would suggest you do a coolant compression check to make sure your coolant system is not leaking and holding pressure. We have to remember the engine is overheating.

Check your radiator cap to make sure its working properly and holding pressure.

I would suggest you check the radiator fan. There are two speeds on the fan and you need to manually check to make sure both fans are working properly.

If both fans are working properly take the low speed relay out, start the engine and see if the high speed fan automatically kicks in. If it does it tells you the radiator fan circuit is good.

If you had let coolant come out of the thermostat housing when the engine was warming up I would checking to see if any of the coolant got on the A/C connectors. I always take out coolant before burping the radiator to keep coolant from overflowing.

You need to make sure you find out why its overheating before driving the Pt Cruiser.

Post back when you have an update. We are here to help you!
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 11 May 2016 at 10:28 pm.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 12 May 2016, 07:33 am
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Colesville, MD
Posts: 1,828
Default Re: Ghost in the machine

Ah, the joys of fatherhood!

When you say the temp gauge only goes up to halfway, that could be normal. There is a pretty large range where it stays at the middle mark. I would follow Steve's suggestions. I would start by finding out where the coolant is going.

I have an '03 and about two years ago, my radiator and hoses started going and I have consistently ended up with coolant leaks. Age-wise, that car is probably in this ballpark. When I had a slow coolant leak, there were times it would seem low and be fine, and other times it seemed almost full and would start running hot. I think that came from air pockets.

Next I would get on trying to find out what is up with the fans.
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