AF: Turbo PT Cruiser "Replace the Timing Belt" Blues | Allpar Forums
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Turbo PT Cruiser "Replace the Timing Belt" Blues

Discussion in 'PT Cruiser' started by Don Paul Jones, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Don Paul Jones

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes:
    5
    04 PT Black Touring Turbo, inherited about 7 years ago when my father passed away. Had 40k when I got it and now has 47k. I had it body worked and painted had some small dings. I put about 1k a year on it as it's our second car and only use it when I go trap shooting or store. The car looks like new. Guess that's why I put up with it.

    When I got the car I asked my son-in-law (Mechanic for The Bus Company) to change all the fluids (trans, engine, coolant) and fan belts and radiator belts. This was 7 years ago.

    So now I felt the car is nearing 16 yrs old. Now the PCM when out, replace it with one from Mckyeee and he added the Mopar Stage 1 programming to it. Highly recommend Mckyeee for a replacement PCM if needed. I was having the P0032/P0038 and couldn't get rid of it and car would stall out whenever it felt like it. Mckyeee right off the bat told me it was probably the PCM and he was absolutely right.

    I then changed the O2 sensors, IAT, MAP, Crank Sensor, Cam Sensor, Plugs and Wires (NGK Iridium IV and NGK wires). Figured change all I can outside the engine to hope to make it last till it's time for me to go, then my son-in-law can blow it up or whatever.

    Now I'm in the process of changing the timing belt, tensioner, idler and water pump. Now this is where you want to have Chrysler engineers hanged.

    1) To get to the PS Pump. Had to removed the battery, air filter box and radiator fan. Still had to fight around one of the inboard AC lines to get to the bolt nearest the engine.

    2) Had to remove the A/C lines from the dryer/accumulator to gain room for the upper torque mount strut bracket. Since I removed the line I might as well change the dryer/accumulator and the liquid a/c line (with the orifice) since it will be a horror to have to get to later when everything is back. Had to drop the alternator out to get to the bolt holding the dryer/accumulator to the fender well. The bolts holding the a/c line to the dryer/accumulator for some reason are behind the lines next to the firewall. Nice place Chrysler, couldn't have put the allen bolts in front. My son-in-law recommend I change the dryer/accumulator and liquid line hose before he recharges the A/C when this horrid job is completed.

    3) The horrid cast iron engine mount bracket that also supports the PS was another good one. Had to put a jack under the left side of the engine (looking at the engine) and also one under the trans. Had to remove the trans mounting bolts to get the right side of the engine to go down when jacking the left side up to get that "great designed" bracket out. Tried every which way before decided on lowering the trans.

    Chrysler I feel designed this car to run for 5 years or 100k and then junk them. I always thought that dodge/Chrysler cars were good made cars. This car seems to be not designed for engine repair. After all this i'm retiring from fixing this car, I'm 66 and had enough.
     
  2. 06PTElectricBlue

    06PTElectricBlue Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2019
    Messages:
    233
    Likes:
    191
    Are you already done with the job?

    I don't see it mentioned in your post, but IMO while the area was torn apart, it would have been a good idea to change the center motor mount and with a new bolt, both cam seals and the crank seal, in addition to the other timing belt parts that you did.

    With replacing all of those, your PT should be good for quite some time at the rate that you drive it. :cool:
     
    chuzz likes this.
  3. Don Paul Jones

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes:
    5

    06PTElectricBlue,

    I removed the center mount, checked it out, looked fine. I did the Portogee race mount mod. I filled the cavity of the mount with SIKA Construction Sealant. What a poor designed mount. I also did the fill in on the Upper and Lower Strut Mounts. Now I don't worry about them and this doesn't make any more vibration to the car as some people perceive.
    I see where they sell mounts that have a solid circular bushing in each end of the Strut Mounts, same concept on what I did.

    The cam and crank seals looked fine. I change my oil and filter consistently and believe that's why all my cars never had an oil leak. Clean oil saves the wear on seals.
     
  4. dana44

    Ad-Free Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    19,887
    Likes:
    1,540
    I did the timing belt change myself several years ago and it was a slow process, and a couple years later I watched a guy change one in less than two hours, so it is a matter of the learning curve of doing the job. Front engine cars are horrible, and it really doesn't matter what brand it is, room and ease in maintenance was not on the agenda when designed, that's for sure.
     
  5. djsamuel

    Level 2 Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,913
    Likes:
    836
    Exactly right! The first time I did it, I was at it for two full days. Now I can get it done within 3 or 4 hours unless I take care of something else "while I'm in there". :D

    Now that is for non-turbo. I'm not sure how much worse a turbo is; I can only imagine.
     
  6. Panterasr9

    Panterasr9 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    168
    Likes:
    99
    Truly one of the most brutal cars to work on. So little room to work, not one of my favorites to work on.
     
  7. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
    Level III Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20,649
    Likes:
    3,948
    Access from the top is limited due to the retro hood styling. Access from inside the wheel wells and underneath is spacious.
    A floor jack to raise and lower the engine slightly allows access to what you need.
    PT is basically a PL (Neon) with the 2.4L.
    My first timing belt was a learning curve. After you learn the best tools and techniques for the job, it is much quicker and easier. My first one I had to take back apart because it was a tooth off.
     
    djsamuel likes this.
  8. george w

    Level III Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    1,107
    Likes:
    43
    Maybe as a mechanic doing the timing belts on a regular basis may allow your experience to determine the best and fastest way to do this. Certainly the Motor City Mechanic ( YouTube ) has no problems doing PTs. But doing it the first time as a DIY pretty much is enough to never want to do it again, much less having to do enough of them to get good at it ! I almost agree with Don Paul though that these must have been designed not to last very long, I think the target must have been 100K miles or 10 years whichever comes first. Not long enough for a car being sold in the 21st century. Way too many components seem to give out between 100 and 150K.

    Terrific cars when new and a fantastic packaging job, too bad it was clearly not designed to last between 150 and 200K which would have made all the difference. At that mileage target everything wearing out at the same time is more acceptable as a useful life. Expensive services required at 100K, like the timing belt service, just kills the resale on these cars. And it's not just the timing belt service cost. Why, ?, because at that mileage once a mechanic gets into the timing belt repair or under the car he's going to find that the car will need a whole lot more: water pump, seals, mounts, belts, hoses, tune up parts, gaskets, suspension parts for sure and probably a few more things "while you're at it "That takes the $ 1000 timing belt job and makes it's a $ 2500. job. That's why they're worth so little now. It's really too bad.
    If you really like the PT and you have one that's crossed 100K miles my suggestion is to wait for the first major failure and retire the car. Keep it for parts or sell it off. Find another with low miles, ( it will probably be cheaper than any major repair bill ) buy it and drive it up to the first major repair.

    It would be cool to figure out how to put a Prius drive train in a PT.
     
  9. Don Paul Jones

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes:
    5
    Aloha George,

    You're so right. My Black Touring Turbo PT which I inherited is cherry, the funny thing is I built a hot rod vw years ago and I put a 40 ford grill kit and it was black also and looks very similar to my PT. Guess that's why I have kept it so far, but patience only goes so far. The resale on these cars is nothing. I still have full coverage insurance on it, for what? Motor City Mechanic ( YouTube ), and I watched every PT cruiser video is working on a N/A, which has ton's of room compared to a turbo. The turbo has the intercooler piping one on each side of the radiator that makes PS, Rad Fan, Radiator, A/C and Lines a killer to get off and on. My arms are so blood bruised from working on this car it pathetic, but i'm retired and don't have much to do.

    I have a 2006 Nissan Frontier 4 cylinder automatic and it has been so reliable I will never get rid of it. Had a 1983 Nissan Hardbody 5 speed, put on 250k and then sold it and it was perfect running, no oil leaks or burning, original tires went 105k and the second set (Bridgestone) went to the 250k when I sold it and they still had a lot of meat. I always change oil and filter every 3 months no matter what. I also service all the fluids, brake, trans, coolant, PS, etc. religiously. I never take my car to anyone to wrench, only me and my diesel mechanic son-in-law I trust.

    Although the PT looks cool, fun to drive, don't want to get into a accident with it, but Chrysler cars are made very poorly. Maybe because they were all built in Mexico.
     
  10. george w

    Level III Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    1,107
    Likes:
    43
    I can't say I agree that they were made poorly as, having bought the car brand new, the fit and finish and the assembly quality was quite good. I think the Mexicans did a great job in putting the car together and the body engineers did a good job. The problem IMO was using parts in the mechanical and drive train systems that were either under engineered or simply were cost engineered so tightly to compromise longevity.
    I understand how tightly and cleverly packaged these cars are. Chrysler had to know that service replacement of the normally consumable under hood parts was going to be difficult when the time came for service. As I had stated earlier this would not be an issue if it were not for all these small parts and components did not fail so early.
    A 100K mile car was what was expected in the 50's through the 80s. Ceratinly by the turn of the century it's expected that a new car, any new car, should give between 150K and 200K miles without requiring expensive services for routine systems. Chrysler was very late to the game in this period because these issues prevailed all across the model lines. All the Chrysler cars from Neons to NewYorkers were all prone these issues. They simply broke or wore out too soon.

    I believe this is no longer true. I believe the current product line, at least the models engineered here, are up to current industry standards. I've had excellent service from a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee that I owned until this past Feburary. Over 160K miles and only routine service was ever required. The only parts the car required in that period was a thermostat and a HID headlight bulb. A really excellent product, enough so that I purchased a new 2019 GC to replace it. My only issue with the new Jeep is that the brake calipers seem to surface rust very quickly. This looks quite unsightly through it's beautiful alloy wheels. Why design beautiful, open spoke alloy wheels only to put ugly brake components in plain sight ?
     
  11. PtPooter

    PtPooter Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2019
    Messages:
    101
    Likes:
    20
    Well, I put mine on road at 161000 miles, now almost 167000 since June, but replaced about all that was mentioned.

    Runs good as my daily driver.

    It clunks on downshifts, replaced all 3 motor mounts and transmission mounts, must be lower control arms as mentioned here, I'm not too worried about it, unless it chews up my new tires.

    Also, I should have replaced tensioner pully for A/C and power steering, since it got cold (for Phoenix area) it's squeaking, but I'm lazy now.

    It's a squeaker and a clunker, but it's actually pretty reliable, maybe soon I'll address those issues.

    Put mobile one oil and oil filter in.

    If you can do your own wrenching, a PT is worth keeping.
     
    djsamuel likes this.
  12. GLHS60

    GLHS60 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,809
    Likes:
    594
    Hey Dana, are you comparing a PT to a Corvair??

    LOL, J.K. I knew what you meant...I think..

    Thanks
    Randy

     
  13. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
    Level III Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Messages:
    20,649
    Likes:
    3,948
    PTPooter, there is a TSB # 21-008-08 that addresses harsh upshifts and downshifts on a 2007 41TE.
    It is a TCM software update. Have them perform a quicklearn after the flash.
     

Share This Page

Loading...
 We are not affiliated with FCA. We make no claims regarding validity or accuracy of information or advice. Copyright © VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.