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2002 PT Over heated multiple times

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 31 Dec 2017, 03:32 pm
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Default 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

My Daughter had an issue going to work wherein the car overheated. She had to get to work and being 9 months pregnant she had to make it there. She told me that it over heated, turned heater to high to alleviate heat on the engine then pulled over to let it cool off. She then started it up and continued to work. Upon leaving work she tried to make it home with topped off coolant and of course over heated it again and pulled over on the highway( I know against better judgment) and could not start it back up. Ok so we went to get the car at least off the highway and it wouldnt start. When I turned it over it sounded like the timing belt broke giving the sound of broken belt and or timing off as though it jumped timing from overheating. Had it towed home and after tearing into it I noticed the belt had not broken and was intact(tension and all). So my question at this point is can timing jump from multiple times overheating?! Top cover off, removed worn spark plugs( dry-no coolant on them). Hoping head gasket is not not blown and can get away with a water pump kit and reset timing. (belt is good) but will change out. Thanks for any help!
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Old 31 Dec 2017, 03:44 pm
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Smile Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

I would proceed directly to performing a compression test on the engine. Especially after multiple overheating conditions. Easy to do and informative.
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Old 31 Dec 2017, 03:48 pm
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Default Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

This is how the majority of PT Cruisers end up in the salvage yard.

The normal scenario goes like this. The electric radiator cooling fan fails. The car does okay for a while going down the highway, but starts to over in city driving and when going slow. The overheating causes the head gasket to fail. Depending on the severity, the engine loses compression due to the failed head gasket and the engine spins fast like it's out of time when trying to start it.

There's a high probability that this is what has happened to you daughter's car. A simple compression test, as already mentioned by Imakenocents, can confirm it.

Repair for this unusually includes replacement of the head gasket and radiator cooling fan. When doing a job like this, I always send the head to a machine shop to be checked out and rebuilt. This assures the head was not damaged during overheating and the resurfaced valves and new valve seals help extend the life of the engine. Since the timing belt will have to be removed during this job, it is a good idea to replace it along with the waterpump, timing belt tensioner and idler pulley unless all this has been done in the last 50,000 miles or so. Timing belts only last about 100,000 miles on these cars and tend to break sometime after that. Since most of the cost of this job is in labor, and because most of it has to be done during the head gasket job anyway, it's a good idea to have it done at the same time.

Once back together, make very sure the new radiator cooling fan is working. Usually, it is the fan itself that fails. But sometimes it is the fan relays or wiring.

NOTE: It should be noted that while I am an ASE Certified Master Automotive Tech and an excellent lover, 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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Old 01 Jan 2018, 05:37 pm
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Default Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post
This is how the majority of PT Cruisers end up in the salvage yard.

The normal scenario goes like this. The electric radiator cooling fan fails. The car does okay for a while going down the highway, but starts to over in city driving and when going slow. The overheating causes the head gasket to fail. Depending on the severity, the engine loses compression due to the failed head gasket and the engine spins fast like it's out of time when trying to start it.

There's a high probability that this is what has happened to you daughter's car. A simple compression test, as already mentioned by Imakenocents, can confirm it.

Repair for this unusually includes replacement of the head gasket and radiator cooling fan. When doing a job like this, I always send the head to a machine shop to be checked out and rebuilt. This assures the head was not damaged during overheating and the resurfaced valves and new valve seals help extend the life of the engine. Since the timing belt will have to be removed during this job, it is a good idea to replace it along with the waterpump, timing belt tensioner and idler pulley unless all this has been done in the last 50,000 miles or so. Timing belts only last about 100,000 miles on these cars and tend to break sometime after that. Since most of the cost of this job is in labor, and because most of it has to be done during the head gasket job anyway, it's a good idea to have it done at the same time.

Once back together, make very sure the new radiator cooling fan is working. Usually, it is the fan itself that fails. But sometimes it is the fan relays or wiring.

NOTE: It should be noted that while I am an ASE Certified Master Automotive Tech and an excellent lover, 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.
Ok so far I see no coolant or oil in each chamber. The radiator is toast(leaking however small at the bottom runners),confirmed timing is off enough to not start any car. Next will be the compression and leak down test. I will also check the fan motor for operation, then relay if fan is good. 2 stage or single on these fans?! Sorry I'm used to the 16V 1.8L and 12v VR6 VW's. Oh BTW this incident was all in one day.

Last edited by Markeys1; 01 Jan 2018 at 05:41 pm.
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Old 01 Jan 2018, 06:10 pm
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Smile Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

You may have discovered at least part of your issue with the coolant leak plus no doubt a pressure issue as well in the cooling system with that leak. I believe the fan on your pt is two speed, low and high. Someone else I'm sure will chime in if that is incorrect. You may b onto the source of your overheat but that compression and leak down check will tell the tale when it comes to how much your wallet weighs. Unless of course u do the work yourself if you r so inclined. I also would change water pump, thermostat, radiator cap and any items on the front passenger side of that motor if it comes to that.
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Old 01 Jan 2018, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeys1 View Post
Ok so far I see no coolant or oil in each chamber. The radiator is toast(leaking however small at the bottom runners),confirmed timing is off enough to not start any car. Next will be the compression and leak down test. I will also check the fan motor for operation, then relay if fan is good. 2 stage or single on these fans?! Sorry I'm used to the 16V 1.8L and 12v VR6 VW's. Oh BTW this incident was all in one day.
When you do the engine compression check I would suggest you do both the wet and dry engine compression check.
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Old 01 Jan 2018, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

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Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
When you do the engine compression check I would suggest you do both the wet and dry engine compression check.
How does the wet test work?!
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Old 02 Jan 2018, 02:09 am
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Default Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

First do the dry engine compression test with all the spark plugs out. Record what you get for each cylinder.

Then try squirting a little 30 weight motor oil into each cylinder through the spark plug hole and do the engine compression test again with all spark plugs out. The oil temporarily seals the rings so if there is a big difference in compression the rings might have been heat damaged.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 02 Jan 2018 at 02:18 am.
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Old 02 Jan 2018, 11:08 am
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Default Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markeys1 View Post
Ok so far I see no coolant or oil in each chamber. The radiator is toast(leaking however small at the bottom runners),confirmed timing is off enough to not start any car. Next will be the compression and leak down test. I will also check the fan motor for operation, then relay if fan is good. 2 stage or single on these fans?! Sorry I'm used to the 16V 1.8L and 12v VR6 VW's. Oh BTW this incident was all in one day.
Okay, so it's possible that the overheating was just due to a leaking radiator. But you will want to check out cooling fan function anyway. Except for the 2003 GT, all other PT's have a two speed fan. There's several threads on this forum that describe how to perform a function test for this.

Next, how did you confirm the timing was off? The best way is to pull the upper dust cover on the timing belt. That will expose the timing sprockets. Then get #1 cyl. all the way to the top on the compression stroke and see if the timing marks on the sprockets line up.

It's less probable that your daughter has experience both overheating and an unrelated timing belt failure at the same time. But sure, it can happen. In this case, the compression test will be less definitive.

Doing a "wet compression test" is going to be of very limited value at this time. That's normally done to help differentiate between low compression due to bad piston rings or low compression due to leaking or damaged valves. For your specific problem as described, compression will be leaking from the head gasket or compression will be lower due retarded valve timing. So a wet test is not going to tell you much.

Doing a simple dry compression test will likely help tell the story. With a failed head gasket, you will often see one or more cyl. with almost no compression. But with a slipped timing belt, you may see a reduction in compression on all cyl. or just two cyl. will have more compression than the other two. And to complicate matters, you could have a some degree of both of these problems at the same time.

If me, I'd pull the dust cover on the timing sprockets and check the timing marks as describe. That will tell the story on the timing belt. Then I'd do the dry compression test. Between those two, you will like know what is going on.
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Old 02 Jan 2018, 11:34 am
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Default Re: 2002 PT Over heated multiple times

I would suggest a full diagnose by doing both the dry and wet engine compression test. I would hate for you to do all the expenses and time of repairing the engine only to find out your engine compression is still low due to the piston rings not working properly. Some mechanics like to take a chance but I prefer to know exactly what needs to be done then have to do it twice. It doesn't take that much more time so I don't understand why someone would not recommend to do this.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 02 Jan 2018 at 11:37 am.
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