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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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Discussion Starter #1
So a friend of mine is at a crossroads. He's past 100,000 miles on his '02 PT Cruiser, hasn't had the timing belt done, needs motor mounts, and it has been suggested to do camshaft seals.

The heartache for them is that the vehicle feels like it doesn't want to get out of its' own way. We worked on it last week because his oil pressure sending unit was leaking (and dinging in the passenger compartment) and I test-drove it because he was covered in muck, and it literally felt weak. I had a similar engine in my Stratus and while the PT is a little heavier than the Stratus, I wouldn't expect his PT to perform as weakly. Honestly it reminded me of when I switched my Cordoba from Lean Burn ignition to Electronic, but didn't change the lean burn distributor a vacuum advance distributor, and literally had no get up and go.

I've suggested that the sluggishness could be the result of having slipped a tooth on the timing belt, but since the vehicle is literally weak they're hesitant to spend the better part of $1000 for the timing belt and associated pulleys and water pump. But, he knows that if they trade it in, in the condition that it's in, they'll essentially be giving it to the dealer.

As for the motor mounts, we discovered that when we took a front wheel off, and the whole engine assembly rocked forward while breaking the lug nuts loose.

Any suggestions? I've got a quote from a shop that I trust for about $1000 for the timing belt and associated, but without the engine mounts...
 

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Radioactive
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5,347 Posts
I was recently in a simmilar situation... I had $3000 of work to get done immediately, and had tires, brakes, suspension components within the next 4 - 6 months.

Look at the going forward costs, and then look at what a replacement will be.

For me, the choice was obvious.
 

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Registered
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8,047 Posts
What about an obstructed exhaust, Tannon? Maybe a catalytic converter stopping up?
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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8,808 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Could be a cat, I haven't really dug into it. He said it's always been doggish, but if it's slowly gotten worse over time then he simply might not have noticed how bad it got. Another buddy of mine used to have a PT, and I had intended for him to try driving it, but I haven't managed to get the two of them together to see.

When we did the oil pressure sender he did most of the dirty work, I fetched and retrieved tools, reached stuff from above, and the like. I did get under, but only once to help spot the sensor initially. It was really oily under there, but that's not a surprise given that when the sender failed it leaked through.
 

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Premium Member
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20,080 Posts
Is it possible the engine has run low on oil and the camshafts themselves have become eaten thus not having the proper flow through the valves? What about a compression test to see how that is doing? This was the year the computer learned how a person drives and runs accordingly, I can still tell when someone else drives my PT Cruiser ('02, too), so possibly the driver himself is driving her soft and thus she runs soft. Any codes by chance?
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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8,808 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
No codes, we checked with my Innova code reader. They switch off drivers, so if it learns then it's well possible that it has learned to be wimpy.

I considered a compression test, but given the nature of the intake and the disassembly required just getting to the spark plugs I haven't suggested it.

I don't know the oil change history, so I don't know if the cams are worn or not.
 

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Premium Member
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Well, when was the last time the plugs were changed? It is a 35K mile change, recommend plug wires every other time. Gaskets are rubber O-rings and are reusable, just vaseline them up after you clean them, they are pretty durable. If they haven't been changed past the 45K range they tend to expand the gap. Still runs, just not so strong, might be an issue. It's about an hour job. TB hose off, bolt under TB, one on the back side to the EGR tube (careful of gasket Oring in there), bolts along the front of the manifold , all are in the 8, 19, 12 and 13mm size, simply take a crescent wrench (10 inch or larger) and wedge the jaws between the webbing on the underside of the intake and the other end on the valve cover and it pretty much stays out of the way while changing the plugs.
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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8,808 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The cooling fan had failed a few months back, he had the fan, thermostat, plugs, and wires changed at that time.

It had gotten hot enough to eject coolant through the overflow bottle, but didn't seem to run any different after that repair.
 

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Registered
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2,978 Posts
The engine mounts are probably the upper and lower mounts, not the center. They are not really difficult to change, so they may be able to save some money changing them himself. I found changing that oil pressure switch more of a pain than the mounts. I'd take a look at the possibility of something in particular causing the low acceleration. My PT is at 254,000 miles and is really about the same as new in terms of acceleration. It could be a blockage in the converter. Mine finally went bad, and I have the replacement sitting in the garage. It isn't running bad, but in my case, I am getting the CEL and code.
 
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