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2004 ltd overheating

 
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  • 3 Post By JoeX
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12 Jun 2016, 10:49 am
Fresh Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Default 2004 ltd overheating

Hi all...I have a 2004 ltd with 152K mls and it has been overheating off & on for about 9 months ( I bought the car in '07 w/13K mls). I live near Chicago, in northwest IN. so when the weather was colder it wasn't as big an issue, but now summer is here and I'm back to dealing w/the same problem. Over the past year to try & solve it, I've had the evap system, thermostat, timing belt, map sensor, bought a plug & play pcm, new plugs & wires, new water pump about 2 yrs ago (that's incidental as it was overheating, but they replaced water pump then and prob solved then),fans are working. No one can seem to figure it out.

My question is: does anyone recommend a reputable repair shop - even if it's a dealership - that they feel comfortable recommending in northwest IN?

I'm a woman who knows relatively nothing about cars, although I have gotten quite an education this past year and I feel I am at the mercy of the repair shop, as an example:
*I took Roxy (yes, I named her Roxy. She's flaming red..she had to be named Roxy) to a local repair shop to have the coolant system bled since my brother had just replaced the thermostat for me, but couldn't get the valve thingy to open to bleed the coolant system and he didn't want to break it off w/the tools he had...that's why I actually took it in to this shop, just asked them if they could bleed the system, they said 'sure'. Then I got a call telling me that I had a bad valve cover leaking oil all over the engine, and it was implied that that was the reason it may be overheating. I said I hadn't noticed any oil leaks...he said it may be burning off before it could hit the ground below the car & noticed. So I ok'd the repair @ $327. When I went to pick the car up, it was overheating even quicker than before they touched it. They apparently spent all day trying to 'burp' the radiator
"using 5 gallons of coolant". I, of course, was hoping the new thermostat & burping, and now a new valve cover, would solve the problem. Clearly, it did not and I'm out $345 (with labor and making them give me back the thermostat my brother had just put in because THEY had put in another new thermostat "thinking my brother had put the first one in wrong"...sheesh. I was w/my brother when he put it in, they pretty much only go in one way lining up the notch ).

My original goal was just to get the car repaired enough to trade it off, but now that I've put THIS much $ into Roxy, and if I can get her to a reputable mechanic, it's cheaper than a car payment at this point. But my head tells me I put too much into her, but my gut tells me I may also be "this close" to solving it. I've researched...could be bad head gasket? I dunno. Don't know when to quit and trader her in. I'd like to at least find a reputable mechanic who can diagnose it properly so to make an informed decision about when to pull the plug on Roxy.

Grateful for any suggestions, recommendations for mechanics, OR info on local PT car clubs that may have useful connections...anything at this point. Thanks in advance!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 12 Jun 2016, 11:13 am
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: SW PA
Posts: 1,336
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedKruiser View Post
Hi all...I have a 2004 ltd with 152K mls and it has been overheating off & on for about 9 months ( I bought the car in '07 w/13K mls). I live near Chicago, in northwest IN. so when the weather was colder it wasn't as big an issue, but now summer is here and I'm back to dealing w/the same problem. Over the past year to try & solve it, I've had the evap system, thermostat, timing belt, map sensor, bought a plug & play pcm, new plugs & wires, new water pump about 2 yrs ago (that's incidental as it was overheating, but they replaced water pump then and prob solved then),fans are working. No one can seem to figure it out.

My question is: does anyone recommend a reputable repair shop - even if it's a dealership - that they feel comfortable recommending in northwest IN?

I'm a woman who knows relatively nothing about cars, although I have gotten quite an education this past year and I feel I am at the mercy of the repair shop, as an example:
*I took Roxy (yes, I named her Roxy. She's flaming red..she had to be named Roxy) to a local repair shop to have the coolant system bled since my brother had just replaced the thermostat for me, but couldn't get the valve thingy to open to bleed the coolant system and he didn't want to break it off w/the tools he had...that's why I actually took it in to this shop, just asked them if they could bleed the system, they said 'sure'. Then I got a call telling me that I had a bad valve cover leaking oil all over the engine, and it was implied that that was the reason it may be overheating. I said I hadn't noticed any oil leaks...he said it may be burning off before it could hit the ground below the car & noticed. So I ok'd the repair @ $327. When I went to pick the car up, it was overheating even quicker than before they touched it. They apparently spent all day trying to 'burp' the radiator
"using 5 gallons of coolant". I, of course, was hoping the new thermostat & burping, and now a new valve cover, would solve the problem. Clearly, it did not and I'm out $345 (with labor and making them give me back the thermostat my brother had just put in because THEY had put in another new thermostat "thinking my brother had put the first one in wrong"...sheesh. I was w/my brother when he put it in, they pretty much only go in one way lining up the notch ).

My original goal was just to get the car repaired enough to trade it off, but now that I've put THIS much $ into Roxy, and if I can get her to a reputable mechanic, it's cheaper than a car payment at this point. But my head tells me I put too much into her, but my gut tells me I may also be "this close" to solving it. I've researched...could be bad head gasket? I dunno. Don't know when to quit and trader her in. I'd like to at least find a reputable mechanic who can diagnose it properly so to make an informed decision about when to pull the plug on Roxy.

Grateful for any suggestions, recommendations for mechanics, OR info on local PT car clubs that may have useful connections...anything at this point. Thanks in advance!
The cooling fans last about 100,000 miles, if Roxys hasn't been replaced already its due. When they go bad (the brushes get worn) and for a while they will run then next time they will not. They can drive you crazy because it may decide to run when you check it. Make sure to check it as the temp gauge just goes past the middle of the gauge, it must be running. If the cooling fan has already been replaced check the wiring harness connector to the fan, sometimes the pins make a bad connection and amp draw causes heat damaging the connection causing the fan not to run.
Rockauto.com has fans for around $100. don't get skinned for $400...
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 12 Jun 2016, 11:46 am
Obsessed Cruiser
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,298
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

Welcome to the forum

Sorry to see you are having problems trying to fix your PT Cruiser.

We need more information about your issue.

Does the engine overheat at high speeds on the highway or just low speeds?

Does it lose coolant?

Do you hear bubbling sounds after it starts to overheat?

Do you know if the head gasket has been replaced on your PT Cruiser?
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 12 Jun 2016, 12:47 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 4,689
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

Try a new radiator cap and check the hose running from the filler neck to the overflow jug for cracks or tears.You're being taken advantage of simply because you're an uninformed female. You need to report that garage to the Better Business Bureau. They ripped you off.
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Last edited by chuzz; 12 Jun 2016 at 12:51 pm.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 15 Jun 2016, 05:06 pm
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

Thanx for pointing me to the fan issue JoeX...my brother was thinking that may be it, and I will def check into the source you listed for a new one!

To ptcruisersteve ?'s"
Does the engine overheat at high speeds on the highway or just low speeds? It was overheating only at sustained high speeds (I have an hour long commute, so I'd get a halfway there, driving 70mph, and the temp gage would start rising). Now it overheats even a slower speeds (30-35mph), but only once I've traveled about 4.5-5mls. I then turn on the heater to cool it down...on the really hot days I'm sweating like a whore in church by the time I get home! lol

Does it lose coolant?

I do notice coolant loss, especially when the temps are 80 degrees or higher...I have to make sure to check the reservoir.

Do you hear bubbling sounds after it starts to overheat?

I do not hear the bubbling, but again, I'm usuallly going 70-80mph depending on traffic pattern. What I do start to notice is a burning plastic smell, so that's why JoeX's comment about the fan resonated - I've heard the fans, or parts of them, are made of plastic.

Do you know if the head gasket has been replaced on your PT Cruiser?

And no, the head gasket hasn't been replaced. Asked my brother if I had a blown gasket or cracked the block and he looked at the oil and said no because he has done both of those in cars and said that when you do either, the oil will look like chocolate milk...mine looked normal: dark brown and clean.

And finally to Chuzz...I do have a new radiator cap. Haven't checked the hose or overflow jug for cracks...will do that though.

Thank you all for your replies...much appreciated!

Last edited by RedKruiser; 15 Jun 2016 at 05:18 pm. Reason: the spelling police go off in my head
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 15 Jun 2016, 05:25 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,298
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

I would suggest you first do a coolant pressure test. You need to make sure your coolant system is sealed properly to keep it from overheating.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 15 Jun 2016, 05:43 pm
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 4,328
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

If your overheating at 70mph, I wouldn't think it's the fan...JMO

You would usually only hear the bubbling after you shut the car off.
I would do as "ptcruisersteve" suggested about the coolant pressure test.
You need to get this checked soon, before you end up blowing the head gasket from overheating all the time...again JMO
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Old 16 Jun 2016, 01:13 pm
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Liberty MO
Posts: 91
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedKruiser View Post
Do you know if the head gasket has been replaced on your PT Cruiser?

And no, the head gasket hasn't been replaced. Asked my brother if I had a blown gasket or cracked the block and he looked at the oil and said no because he has done both of those in cars and said that when you do either, the oil will look like chocolate milk...mine looked normal: dark brown and clean.
Sadly PT Cruiser head gasket failure seldom manifests as milky oil. Rather it is detected through compression testing (also might point to valve sealing issues) or bubbling through the cooling system. That sad, always:

1) Compression test early in the diagnostic process, and

2) Combustion leak test (https://www.amazon.com/UVIEW-560000-...+leak+detector) shortly there after.

Both are very useful when trying to figure out why your PT continues to overheat AND looses coolant. The compression stroke (160-170 psi) simply blows past the head gasket into the water jacket, and bubbles out past the radiator cap (16 psi).

Also important to note, simply throwing in a new gasket and crossing one's fingers is a fool's error. When the head is off, take it to a reputable machine shop and get whatever work they recommend done. Any corners you cut will continue to haunt.

My 3 cents.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 18 Jun 2016, 11:18 am
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Posts: 3
Default Re: 2004 ltd overheating

Thanks again ptcruisersteve, LionPt, and RCSnyder all your suggestions...I will do a coolant pressure test, and address the fan issue. Hopefully, between the two it will lead me in the right direction. I will report back on the results!
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