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New 01' PT Cruiser-What to check first?

Discussion in 'PT Cruiser' started by Hawley-01PTCruiser, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. Hawley-01PTCruiser

    Hawley-01PTCruiser Member

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    Yesterday I bought a 2001 PT Cruiser Limited with 40k miles. It appears to be in good shape (exterior/interior) and the engine doesn't have any strange sounds. The seller was quite old and hadn't driven it much. He only had the oil change paper (Aug 2016) to give me. So I don't have any mechanical history.
    My question is: What should my husband and I look at first (mechanically)? This is our first Chrysler.
    I did go through the maintenance schedule and we're double-checking everything on the list up to 40k miles. We did pull the VIN history and there seem to have been a number of recalls since 2001. Does anyone know if there's a database that shows whether the recall work was done?
    Thanks,
    Linda
     
  2. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather Level III Supporter

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    At that age, even with the low mileage, I'd consider changing the water pump and timing belt. Then things like the other belts and hoses. Check the age of the tires even if the tread is good.

    As for recalls, open ones will show here:
    Official Mopar Site | Recall Information
     
    Hawley01PTCruiser and Doug D like this.
  3. Hawley01PTCruiser

    Hawley01PTCruiser New Member

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    Thank for you your quick response. That link for the recall info was a gem! I checked and all the recalls have already been checked on the car. Now I can breathe a bit. We're getting a quote now on the timing belt, water pump, and tensioners.
    Anyone know how to post a vehicle pic on my profile?
    Thanks,
    Linda
     
  4. AllanC

    AllanC Active Member

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    To this list I would check and flush the cooling system, brake system and the automatic transmission fluid. Brake fluid will absorb moisture even when sitting unused. Unless replaced on a regular schedule engine coolant depletes the anti-corrosion additives. Does the heater work properly? Corrosion can cause a plugged heater core and/or radiator core.
     
    Hawley01PTCruiser likes this.
  5. CudaPete

    CudaPete Active Member Ad-Free Member

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    Original copper plugs were only god for 30K. Change with Platinum and be done with it.
     
    Hawley01PTCruiser likes this.
  6. Hawley01PTCruiser

    Hawley01PTCruiser New Member

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    Thanks for all the extra items; I've added them to the list. We got quotes from three shops based on replacing the timing belt, water pump, and tensioners. The first was from our regular mechanic: at least $1,200. The second quote was from the local dealer service dept: $1,040 firm. The third quote was from a small mechanic shop locally who's done extensive work on PT Cruisers and at least six of my friends use; his quote was $550. We went with him because of his experience, how much our friends trust his work, and his price.
    Thanks again for your advice.
    One other question I have for you guys. The manual says to put SAE Grade 5W-30 regular oil in the PT Cruiser, but we always use synthetic on our cars. Isn't synthetic better for an engine's longevity?
    Thanks,
    Linda
     
  7. Hawley01PTCruiser

    Hawley01PTCruiser New Member

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    Do you mean spark plugs?
    Thanks,
    Linda
     
  8. CudaPete

    CudaPete Active Member Ad-Free Member

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    Yes, spark plugs. It is a PIA to change them because you have to remove the intake manifold. Put Platinum plugs in and don't have to do it again. I had them in my 01 and they worked fine.
     
    Hawley01PTCruiser likes this.
  9. Hawley01PTCruiser

    Hawley01PTCruiser New Member

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    I get it. It's easier to change the spark plugs while the engine is out.
    Thanks,
    Linda
     
  10. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    You can probably use synthetic as long as it is SAE 5W-30 and meets or exceeds the specs listed in the owner's manual. That said I've used conventional motor oil in all my vehicles with most logging over 200,000 miles (one went over 300,000) and no engine problems attributed to using conventional oil. I only had one engine failure and that was a blown head gasket at 273,000 miles on a '86 GTS. Oil usage has been within industry standard. Today's conventional oils are much improved.

    My current vehicles are a '06 Ram 1500 (234K miles) and a '10 Journey SXT (111K miles). I have used conventional oil with both and no engine problems. YMMV.
     
    Hawley01PTCruiser likes this.
  11. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator Level III Supporter

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    I would only go with what the owners manual suggests.
    I believe that a quality API-certified, SE rating 5W-30 should be best all around. Synthetic oils are probably fine, although I have seen increased oil consumption on some cars using synthetics.
    This is the service manual. See chapter 0 for recommended lubricants and maintenance schedules (large 51 mb file):
    http://oskin.ru/pub/chrysler-dodge/manuals/Service Manuals/2001_PT_PTCruiser/01PTE.PDF
    Some owners will have no issues with using platinum spark plugs. The intake plenum has to be removed for a spark plug/plug wire change.
    The factory recommended spark plug is still a 30K mile Champion (copper plus) RE16MC.
    I have had some driveability issues with platinum plugs where going back to copper plugs fixed the issue.
     
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  12. djsamuel

    djsamuel Active Member Level 2 Supporter

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    Use synthetic 5W30 in my 04 PT with no issues; started around 70,000 miles. Took the engine to 345,000 miles before rebuilding it. Now at 362,500 and still running synthetic.
     
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  13. chuzz

    chuzz Active Member

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    As you can see in my avatar, I have a PT Cruiser. Mine has the 2.4 turbo, so spark plug changes are easy due to the intake design. I run the copper Champions in mine simply because it just doesn't run right with a platinum plug in it. That may be different for the N/A engines like yours, but I figure the engineers put the copper core plugs in there for a reason, and that's good enough for me to stay with them. If you have a guy that's willing to to a timing belt, water pump and tensioners for $550, then you got a HECK of a deal. You will want him to take a look at the center motor mount whiles he's in there. If it's the least bit cracked, go ahead and replace it, because if it ever breaks on you and needs replacing, it will cost just as much as doing the timing belt/water pump job because all of the same things have to come out of the car. I wouldn't do it for someone else that cheaply and just wonder where you live. He could make a fortune here in FL where I am because there are PT Cruisers all over the place.
     
    djsamuel likes this.
  14. Hawley01PTCruiser

    Hawley01PTCruiser New Member

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    She goes into the shop on Monday, so I'm grateful for all the timely comments. I would have never known about the motor mount or plugs without your help, so I thank you. In Eastern WA the cost of living is lower, so a talented mechanic can be found to be reasonably priced. Thanks again!
    Linda
     
  15. Hawley01PTCruiser

    Hawley01PTCruiser New Member

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    Thanks for the electronic manual! What a gem that is.
     
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