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In mid 2019, I bought a 2005 PT Cruiser Limited Turbo, with a salvage title but only a little over 40k miles on the clock. It was obviously hit in the drivers front, but none of the actual structure was damaged (no signs of buckling or "repairs"). Indeed the only visible indications are a repaired bumper (the metal bumper under the bumper cover), and the mismatched "hand painted to match" front fender.

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My plan was originally to just drive the car as a daily driver, maybe do a few simple upgrades (take control of boost away from the ECU, K&N Intake, exhaust, etc.) but otherwise mostly leave it alone. Having owned a couple of Neon SRT-4's, I am fairly familiar with the platform.

Then last year happened.

As my job switched from 4 days a week commute (one day Work From Home) to full time WFH last March, my car sat. My wife did drive it on occasion, but apparently not often enough. She came back with it one day after having just left with it and said that it wasn't running right. Sure enough, I the CEL is on and when I pulled the codes it indicated Cam Sensor malfunction; popped the hood as I still had a spare sensor from one of my old SRT-4's and discovered that a pack-rat decided the engine bay made a great home, built a nest, crapped all over everything and chewed on the wiring harness a bit (luckily only the Cam Position sensor and a O2 sensor). I seriously thought about selling it as is and letting it become someone else's headache.

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Instead I decided to just fix the wiring (a 3 wire repair + a new O2 sensor) and clean all of the crap (literal and figurative) out of the engine bay. As it turned out, there was branches, leaves, cactus pedals, bird feathers, dog crap (lots of dog crap, Ms. Packrat was infatuated with it apparently) buried in and around pretty much the whole engine bay requiring that (thanks to the PT-Cruiser's tight engine bay) I disassemble a lot of things just to get the shop vac into some of the places; a process that lasted throughout the build (just last weekend I found yet more food shoved in a hole). It was during the disassembly of all of this that I decided if I'm going through this much trouble, I'm going to do some upgrades.

I laid out a plan for the PT Cruiser: An AGP Turbo upgrade with the supporting goodies with a target of around 400whp. I forget what the actual turbo is (it's what Kevin @ AGP talked me into as I trust him completely with these cars),it's some sort of T3 w/ a .48ar turbine housing and a billet wheel on the compressor side. Upgraded fuel system (Walbro 255 pump, injectors & a tune), upgraded turbo piping (allowing for a Blow-Off-Valve & Water Injection), upgraded intercooler, 4" intake and 3" custom exhaust (As it turns out, nobody seems to be making a decent exhaust, so I built my own). I may also put my painting skills to the test and eventually give it a fresh coat of paint (and lose the flames -- I'm not a fan). If I do that I'll be looking for body kits to improve the style and hopefully get a full-height (not interrupted by the bumper) grill.

5/22/2021:
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(continued...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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Around August, I lost my make-shift garage:
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This did a little damage to the car, nothing too major, but stuff I'll have to take care of during the body/paint phase.

Removed the balance shaft assembly:
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AGP Engine mounts (these are for an SRT-4, but fit the PT as well)
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AGP Turbo installed:
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I turned the fuse box sideways to give me more room for the 4" intake tube and filter (more on that later):
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Water/Methanol Injection by Snow Performance:
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(Continued)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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Here you can see by turning the fuse box, it gave me enough room for the 4" intake pipe.
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Boost gauge, Water Injection control and AEM Uego Wideband A/F gauge:
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This was Wednesday (11/17) morning:
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I found out that the Diablo Sport tuner doesn't work with the Limited (only the GT!) so I ordered a piggyback controller to do the tuning with; hopefully it will be here today so I can get it wired in this weekend and start tuning it. With the water/meth injection I am shooting for 24psi boost on 91 octane; should be just north of 400whp (even with the auto trans) based on previous experience with the SRT-4 (which did 440 with a similar turbo and build at 24psi).
 

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View attachment 83670

View attachment 83671

Here you can see by turning the fuse box, it gave me enough room for the 4" intake pipe.
View attachment 83672

Boost gauge, Water Injection control and AEM Uego Wideband A/F gauge:
View attachment 83673

This was Wednesday (11/17) morning:
View attachment 83674

I found out that the Diablo Sport tuner doesn't work with the Limited (only the GT!) so I ordered a piggyback controller to do the tuning with; hopefully it will be here today so I can get it wired in this weekend and start tuning it. With the water/meth injection I am shooting for 24psi boost on 91 octane; should be just north of 400whp (even with the auto trans) based on previous experience with the SRT-4 (which did 440 with a similar turbo and build at 24psi).


I'm late with this, but if you had gotten a "STAGE 1" up grade from MYCKEE here on this site, you could have used the DS controller. I'm sure that you already know that the DS is really easy to work with. Did you order the AEM stand-alone?

One of my friends bought a MEGA-SQUIRT and quickly discovered that you have to be a nuclear physicist/rocket scientist to install it. He eventually got it right and it worked just as advertised.

Did you tap and plug the whole during the Balance shaft removal?

I see you were lucky enough to get the triple gauge pod on the PT ;)

I see you're using solid engine mounts. If your PT is an ATX you're going to get a LOT of vibration carried into the cabin, mainly the steering wheel. If you're like most performance oriented owners, that doesn't matter.


Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm late with this, but if you had gotten a "STAGE 1" up grade from MYCKEE here on this site, you could have used the DS controller. I'm sure that you already know that the DS is really easy to work with. Did you order the AEM stand-alone?
That would have been nice to know beforehand. Would the "Stage 1" ECU work with the Auto (since the Auto ECU has a 4th connector)?

I bought a piggy back unit from Split Second that will allow me to modify the MAP voltage that the ECU sees based on incoming MAP, RPM and TPS values. This is the same way I tuned my first SRT-4 (491hp/502ftlb @ wheels).

I've used two different stand-alones in the past, the engine part is easy, figuring out what to do with the trans would be another thing to sort out. (Short of pulling it and re-building it without the electronics -- not sure that's even possible).

Did you tap and plug the whole during the Balance shaft removal?
Yep.

I see you were lucky enough to get the triple gauge pod on the PT ;)
Got it from Modern Performance: ProParts A-Pillar Overlay Triple Guage Pod

I see you're using solid engine mounts. If your PT is an ATX you're going to get a LOT of vibration carried into the cabin, mainly the steering wheel. If you're like most performance oriented owners, that doesn't matter.
Heh, you should have rode in my SRT-4 with really solid engine mounts. It'd give you a foot massage as you rode in the car.

The PT may not be as smooth as stock, but it doesn't vibrate that bad.
 

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Yes, MYCKEE'S STAGE 1 pcm will work with the atx.

I'm sure that you are aware that the atx will be the weakest link in the chain for your build. Their are several companies out there (Transgo and Alto for example are just two) that have hi-po parts for our 41te. If AGP doesn't have anything for your atx, let me know and I'll get you a parts list and some contact info.

Your biggest problem with the 41TE is the hub and number of clutch pads in yje pack(not enough) when shifting into 4th as you pass through the 1/4.

Their are ways to lock out 4th so it won't come into play in the 1/4 but you probably wouldn't have it engaged when you're tooling along on the interstate and you have the urge to merge. More than one of our 12 second members from over at THE CREW took out the clutch pack as they kicked back into 4th while full throttle. Doesn't happen often but it has happened. Keep in mind this only happened to the really hi -po CREW members.


Jerry
 

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If AGP or you have made, haven't replaced the bottom charge pipe (turbo to intercooler) with a hard pipe I would seriously do that. It prevents the ballooning and subsequent lose of h/p and response time off the line. You gain a good bit of throttle response by replacing the stock pipe.

If AGP doesn't have a replacement then go to NeedsWings at the link below. They are a well known co. and ALL of their products are top of the line.

NeedsWings Performance Products. PT Cruiser Turbo 03-07

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If AGP or you have made, haven't replaced the bottom charge pipe (turbo to intercooler) with a hard pipe I would seriously do that. It prevents the ballooning and subsequent lose of h/p and response time off the line. You gain a good bit of throttle response by replacing the stock pipe.
I used the AGP one for the SRT-4... it was about 1/2" too long so I trimmed it down and used a double clamp since I lost the beaded edge when I cut it.
 

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Sounding great so far! :D

Hope you don't mind all of my questions but they might stir a PERFORMANCE interest in some of our fellow members, plus I'm nosey.

Are you running an AGP throttle body? A 55, 58 or 60? Your stock PT ATX tb is 53.

What plugs and wires are you using?


Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sounding great so far! :D

Hope you don't mind all of my questions but they might stir a PERFORMANCE interest in some of our fellow members, plus I'm nosey.

Are you running an AGP throttle body? A 55, 58 or 60? Your stock PT ATX tb is 53.

What plugs and wires are you using?


Jerry
No worries, being that I am more of a performance guy, I am happy to help.

Just running the stock TB; the main goal isn't to really race the car, just shame a few Corvettes & Mustangs at the stop light. :D

I picked up new plug wires and a new coil; plugs are NGK LZTR7AIX-13 gapped to .028"
 

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By the way, the next time you talk to Kevin, ask him if he was there around 2003 2004 and if he remembers the green PT test mule that they made good use of. All of their new STUFF was installed and tested on that PT.

A friend of mine over at THE CREW called 2step bought it from them several years later when they thought the performance market for the PT was drying up. It was a monster on the street and the quarter mile.

The only thing he did to it was turn it into a two-tone green PT.
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He still owns it today


Jerry
 

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Welcome to Allpar and thanks for sharing all of the cool mods you've done to your PT. That just makes me miss my 03 GT all the more. I hope to get another PT Cruiser one day, but don't know when that'll happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
By the way, the next time you talk to Kevin, ask him if he was there around 2003 2004 and if he remembers the green PT test mule that they made good use of. All of their new STUFF was installed and tested on that PT.

A friend of mine over at THE CREW called 2step bought it from them several years later when they thought the performance market for the PT was drying up. It was a monster on the street and the quarter mile.

The only thing he did to it was turn it into a two-tone green PT.

He still owns it today


Jerry
Yes, in fact when I was there picking up the go-fast-goodies from them this summer Ben, Kevin and I discussed that car. I was actually at the dyno tuning my SRT-4 when they were there tuning the PT back then. IIRC it made just over 400 at the wheels that day. The PT Cruiser market never really took off for them and they ended up losing money (never recapped the R&D costs).

It looks like he did more than just make it two tone; that grill and those bumpers weren't on it when it was AGP's car; at least not that I remember.
 

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Big fan of the PT Cruiser and what can be done with them.

An old farmer that had lots of different animals, both domesticated and wild, told me, and I have been using for decades now, is to mix a cup of plaster of parris (dry) with a cup of corn meal. Put a bunch into a jar lid alongside another lid with water, place it where you know the pack rat (in your case) will walk by. They will eat it. It will kill them by making a lump in their stomach and dehydrate them (since they can't throw up), and they will die. They will not smell when they do, and at the same time, anything else eating them will not be poisoned. You can see marks in the plaster/corn meal, you can add to it, keep the water available. It is a year long thing from the looks of your pictures that it would be beneficial, and inexpensive, compared to traps, glue pads, and horrible poisons.
 
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