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Ghost in the machine.

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Old 10 May 2018, 03:28 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Peculiar, MO
Posts: 8
Default Ghost in the machine.

My 2005 PT Cruiser with over 250,000 miles has been working well since the dealer replaced the transmission control modules, transmission and main computer last October.

Once the weather started getting warn I noticed my temp gauge was reading at half instead of just below half and I'd hear gurgling when I parked it. Checked the fuses, relays, fan (both high and low), replaced thermostat and radiator cap. No change but temperature has stayed at half for weeks. No coolant leaking under car.

Yesterday I was drive at 75 for 20 minutes in 85 degree weather when the PT downshifted from OD to 3rd and the check engine light started flashing. Backed off and within a minute all was good again. Sorry, did not notice what the temp was but was able to keep driving another 20 minutes to an appointment. NO gurgling when I parked.

Left after about 2 hours to drive home. Was exiting the freeway when the oil light came on then started flashing and beeping. Temp was almost to red. Drove about two blocks until I could get to a parting lot and oil light went out so drove another two blocks home. Gurgled when I parked.

This morning checked oil which was withing limits. Checked coolant and it was a little low. Checked for codes and had P0300 and P0302. Topped off coolant and let PT idle. Had A/C on so high fan was on. Turned off A/C and fan stopped. Temp climbed and low fan came on and cycled. Temp gauge went to half like before. Not sure I want to drive it any distance.

Anyone ever run into something this strange?

BTY - never got a straight answer on the original trans problem from the dealer but I do know they had to fix some ground wires on the inside of the driver fender.
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Old 10 May 2018, 03:57 pm
Handy_Cruiser's Avatar
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 10,551
Default Re: Ghost in the machine.

Flush radiator and cooling system thoroughly, then replace thermostat. See if that works.

Also, be aware that the radiator fan can sometime periodically fail.

Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 10 May 2018 at 04:00 pm.
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Old 10 May 2018, 04:16 pm
Obsessed Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 7,475
Default Re: Ghost in the machine.

I would suggest first doing an engine coolant pressure test. You need to make sure your coolant system is completely sealed.

I would suggest checking the ground wires again on the drivers side fender in case one of them came loose.
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Old 11 May 2018, 10:27 am
rsrocket1's Avatar
Fanatic Cruiser
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 769
Default Re: Ghost in the machine.

On my 09 Base PT, 195F is the normal operating temperature and it is a needle's width below the half way mark.

Here is an unscientific comparison of OBD2 temperature readings and the dial gauge.
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Old 13 May 2018, 03:50 pm
Fresh Cruiser
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Peculiar, MO
Posts: 8
Default Re: Ghost in the machine.

Thanks for the replies. Will try them and see what happens.

Would the strange oil light and downshift probably be a lose ground wire?
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Old 14 May 2018, 04:12 am
Senior Cruiser
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,266
Default Re: Ghost in the machine.

Norm; when the engine overheats the motor oil gets thinner. And the oil pressure drops, causing the oil light to flicker or stay on. With a high mileage engine I'd go with a 10w30 viscosity, or even a 15w40 diesel oil for the summertime only.

When the engine overheats the trans heat sensor sends a message to the computer. If the temp goes higher than a certain temp, the computer changes the 'shift schedule'. Which [I'm assuming] means that it drops out of O.D. and goes into third gear converter lockup mode. This would help cool the engine and the trans at the same time.

When the cooling system is working properly, the coolant is right up to the radiator cap when checked on a cold engine. There is a procedure to get the air out of the system.

The 302 misfire must be investigated, as it is at least a contributor to the overheating issue.
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downshift, gurgling, high temp, oil light

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