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2001 PT Performance Enhancements

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 26 Sep 2017, 01:35 pm
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Default 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

I have a 2001 PT Cruiser, everything stock. I have some trouble with overheating, so I was wondering if anyone had some tips on how to increase cooling effectiveness or increase fan rpm.

I was also wondering if there are any simple performance enhancements that I can do cheaply (performance ECU chips, spark plugs, wires, thermostat, etc.). The gas pedal feels like a boat throttle in it's current state, it's real soft. Also, if there is anything I can do to increase gas mileage?

Anyone have tips?
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Old 26 Sep 2017, 01:43 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

You really should solve you heating issue first.


Increasing the coolant volume by much will have little effect on these engines. The cooling systems changed in and around the 90"s. Unlike previous years when supper large capacity radiators did help control coolant temperatures.

If after you first get to the level of normal coolant operating temperatures you can easily install and wire up a auxiliary fan in front of the AC condensor which will greatly improve your control over the coolant temperatures.
On a PT Cruiser operating coolant temperature control it is mainly about air in and around the engine and radiator.


Adding Perfromance PT CRUISER parts
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Last edited by NitroPT; 26 Sep 2017 at 01:45 pm.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 26 Sep 2017, 01:54 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwapLink View Post
I have a 2001 PT Cruiser, everything stock. I have some trouble with overheating, so I was wondering if anyone had some tips on how to increase cooling effectiveness or increase fan rpm.

I was also wondering if there are any simple performance enhancements that I can do cheaply (performance ECU chips, spark plugs, wires, thermostat, etc.). The gas pedal feels like a boat throttle in it's current state, it's real soft. Also, if there is anything I can do to increase gas mileage?

Anyone have tips?

Your problem is extremely common with PT Cruisers. And I don't have good news for you. Most PT Cruisers end up in salvage yards for one reason. The cooling fan fails and causes the engine to overheat. And after that initial overheating, the head gasket is blown. From then on, car has overheating problems even if the radiator fan is replaced. This can also effect power, greatly.

A stock PT Cruiser in good condition has no heating problems during normal driving even in a hot Arkansas summer. And a healthy NA PT engine will feel fairly peppy except maybe when traveling slow in overdrive or when loaded down with passengers or stuff.

The first thing you want to do is assure the radiator fan is working properly on both settings. Read this thread:

How to test my radiator fan?

If the fan is working correctly and the engine still overheats, you will want to do a chemical test for combustion gas in the coolant. It's better than a pressure test and is pretty definitive at confirming a bad head gasket on a PT.

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/l.../75500/4414186

https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-75500-C.../dp/B0007ZDRUI

It should be noted that while I am an ASE Certified Master Automotive Tech, I primarily work as a Safety Engineer among other things and I haven't worked as a professional mechanic since I was young strapping lad with long sexy flowing hair before college. And even then, I mainly worked on big trucks and heavy equipment. Nowadays, I enjoy working on these funny looking little cars for fun and relaxation. And I help others when I can.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 26 Sep 2017 at 01:59 pm.
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Old 26 Sep 2017, 02:15 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

Welcome to the forum from Texas.

Please go to the new members section and start a thread introducing yourself and tell us more about your Cruiser.

I also have a 2001. Nitro and Handy are both correct about the cooling. When I bought mine with 93,000 miles, I had to replace the cooling fan before rolling it out of the shop. As Handy stated about Arkansas heat, here in Texas it is as bad or worse. I've had no problems with overheating, even on the days over 100 degrees.
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Old 26 Sep 2017, 11:31 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post
Your problem is extremely common with PT Cruisers. And I don't have good news for you. Most PT Cruisers end up in salvage yards for one reason. The cooling fan fails and causes the engine to overheat. And after that initial overheating, the head gasket is blown. From then on, car has overheating problems even if the radiator fan is replaced. This can also effect power, greatly.

A stock PT Cruiser in good condition has no heating problems during normal driving even in a hot Arkansas summer. And a healthy NA PT engine will feel fairly peppy except maybe when traveling slow in overdrive or when loaded down with passengers or stuff.

The first thing you want to do is assure the radiator fan is working properly on both settings. Read this thread:

How to test my radiator fan?

If the fan is working correctly and the engine still overheats, you will want to do a chemical test for combustion gas in the coolant. It's better than a pressure test and is pretty definitive at confirming a bad head gasket on a PT.

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/l.../75500/4414186

https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-75500-C.../dp/B0007ZDRUI

It should be noted that while I am an ASE Certified Master Automotive Tech, I primarily work as a Safety Engineer among other things and I haven't worked as a professional mechanic since I was young strapping lad with long sexy flowing hair before college. And even then, I mainly worked on big trucks and heavy equipment. Nowadays, I enjoy working on these funny looking little cars for fun and relaxation. And I help others when I can.
Thank you for the reply Handy_Cruiser, I turned it on real quick with the AC and hood open and I definitely heard the fan running. I can check both speeds with the connector later. My dad says it has overheated every so often ever since he bought it. (Ordered in August 2000 and Delivered April 2001, very early production.) I was wondering if it might be a manufacturing flaw? At one point in the last 16 years, there was a part that broke inside the radiator itself (fixed), but not the fan. I have also heard I might need to boil the radiator or something? My dad has never driven it overheated, we crank the heat up inside the cabin to blow heat off the engine and open the windows. If it gets too hot, we pull over and turn it off. It has never gotten to the red line on the temp gauge, but has gotten close.
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Last edited by SwapLink; 26 Sep 2017 at 11:36 pm.
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Old 26 Sep 2017, 11:37 pm
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Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPT View Post
You really should solve you heating issue first.


Increasing the coolant volume by much will have little effect on these engines. The cooling systems changed in and around the 90"s. Unlike previous years when supper large capacity radiators did help control coolant temperatures.

If after you first get to the level of normal coolant operating temperatures you can easily install and wire up a auxiliary fan in front of the AC condensor which will greatly improve your control over the coolant temperatures.
On a PT Cruiser operating coolant temperature control it is mainly about air in and around the engine and radiator.


Adding Perfromance PT CRUISER parts
Thank you for the reply NitroPT, how would I go about installing an auxilary fan? Is it like an extra fan in addition to the radiator fan?

Last edited by SwapLink; 26 Sep 2017 at 11:42 pm.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 26 Sep 2017, 11:54 pm
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwapLink View Post
Thank you for the reply Handy_Cruiser, I turned it on real quick with the AC and hood open and I definitely heard the fan running. I can check both speeds with the connector later. My dad says it has overheated every so often ever since he bought it. (Ordered in August 2000 and Delivered April 2001, very early production.) I was wondering if it might be a manufacturing flaw? At one point in the last 16 years, there was a part that broke inside the radiator itself (fixed), but not the fan. I have also heard I might need to boil the radiator or something? My dad has never driven it overheated, we crank the heat up inside the cabin to blow heat off the engine and open the windows. If it gets too hot, we pull over and turn it off. It has never gotten to the red line on the temp gauge, but has gotten close.
That's what can be done with older (all metal) radiators. The plastic radiators used in todays cars are basically a throw away item when they need to be replaced.

You shouldn't have to do any of that. If you've had to do that, then something is not working properly. As previously mentioned, if everything is working correctly, the PT's cooling system is adequately designed to maintain a correct temperature, without the need to install a secondary fan.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 27 Sep 2017, 07:33 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwapLink View Post
Thank you for the reply Handy_Cruiser, I turned it on real quick with the AC and hood open and I definitely heard the fan running. I can check both speeds with the connector later. My dad says it has overheated every so often ever since he bought it. (Ordered in August 2000 and Delivered April 2001, very early production.) I was wondering if it might be a manufacturing flaw? At one point in the last 16 years, there was a part that broke inside the radiator itself (fixed), but not the fan. I have also heard I might need to boil the radiator or something? My dad has never driven it overheated, we crank the heat up inside the cabin to blow heat off the engine and open the windows. If it gets too hot, we pull over and turn it off. It has never gotten to the red line on the temp gauge, but has gotten close.
There's all kinds of unlikely things that could cause what you are describing. However, since you've ruled out the fan and because it cools back down, one of the most common things that would cause this is a stopped up radiator.

The original orange Duracool HOAT antifreeze that came in many PT's was not compatible with the old green antifreeze. If mixed together, it could form a sludge that may clog the cooling system over time. Often, this would cause the car to overheat at cruising speed but then cool when idling. I've also seen the Duracool form a brown sludge simply because it was old and had never been changed.

On the other hand, a head gasket that's only slightly failed will often do nothing until the engine is heat soaked and under load. Then it will start letting some amount of combustion gas leak into the cooling system. This displaces the coolant causing coolant loss and overflow. The engine then overheats due to coolant loose and/or "hot spots" in the engine where there are air pockets in the water jacket due to combustion gas.

One other thing to consider is that the coolant temperature sensor could be faulty simply giving a higher than actual reading. If this happened, there would be no other signs of overheated except for a high gauge reading. This seems less likely in your case. But it's worth mentioning.
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 27 Sep 2017 at 07:35 am.
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Old 27 Sep 2017, 08:39 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

just PM me..
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 27 Sep 2017 at 02:41 pm.
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Old 27 Sep 2017, 10:18 am
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Default Re: 2001 PT Performance Enhancements

I am driving my 2001 PT LE in 105 Deg. in Arizona and it is fine. No overheating. One more thing to check. The thermostat. Mine was shut closed, would not open when heated to 200 Deg.
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Last edited by Overdrive; 27 Sep 2017 at 10:25 am.
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