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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.

Human body Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


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:
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Rim Gas Automotive wheel system


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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
That's a great idea! I'll give that a try. I caught the original pack-rat with a regular rat-trap, but there's another one that's been lurking around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
Have you felt the need for 3.0 bar MAP and TIP sensors or a fuel return line yet?


Jerry
No on the return line (925cc injectors). Yes on the 3bar MAP & TIP.

I ran the iridiums in the SRT4 until I had issues running higher boost on race gas.

If they don't work for me in the PT I'll chase down the same plugs in a non-iridium version. Hopefully they're still being manufactured (or a similar one is). IIRC it was a PITA to find 2 step colder plugs in a non iridium. I had to go to a specialty "import" parts store back in 2005.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Looks like I'll be picking up a MYCKEE Stage I ECU anyway...

I got the piggy-back wired in and now the SKIM isn't working. Started up, then died after a second or two; did that a few times (I didn't count) and now it won't even crank.

Hopefully MYCKEE responds shortly; I am trying to get this car running as I am in the process of moving to a new house. Trying to load a lowered PT that isn't running onto a flatbed trailer is not something I want to do this week...

I already pulled the SKIM out of the car, so when the new ECU shows up the SKIS won't activate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Got the PCM from MYCKEE today (thanks for the quick turn around!) and it started right up.

Interesting thing, I was getting the "no bus" message in the odometer window and figured it was related to the SKIM failing. I was still getting the "no bus" message with the new PCM and the DiabloSport still gave me the "incompatible" message (it took a loooong time, so I suspect it was timing out). As a matter of ruling out easy things, I pulled the radio out that I had just wired in before having the SKIM issues and put the stock radio back in: no more "no bus" message and the Diablo Sport connected and I was able to make a backup of the tune!

I don't know which one it was, but apparently if you wire in the brown (which the wiring adapter kit I got said it was for a "mute") and/or the blue w/ white stripe (amplifier turn on) it will cause issues with the bus! What made me suspect it is that the radio kept enabling and disabling an "attenuate mode" while the DiabloSport was trying to connect. After disconnecting both (since I don't think these cars have a factory amp to "turn on") and reinstalling the new radio, the "no bus" message stayed gone.

So lesson learned... if someone else gets the "no bus" message, the first thing I might ask is did you install (or have installed) a new radio before this happened?

I also wonder, now, if that is what caused the SKIM to fail in the first place as well, as the radio was probably sending out a signal that effectively was "jamming" the bus with noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Stock thermostat.

The 3 gauges I have are an electronic Autometer Boost (vac - 30psi w/ peak and warn), an AEM Uego Wideband AFR and the Snow Performance controller.

I also have a GFB Boost controller that is a square box (yet to be mounted)
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
It's a Precision Turbo waste Gate.

I have seen the nitro boost juice, I've never tried it, however. As it is I know I am getting close to the limits of the stock engine.

I may, sometime in the future build the engine and if I do, I'll do some transmission upgrades as well, add a new fuel system with a RRFPR and a larger turbo. See how close to 500whp I can get on premium gas. (500 is "easy" on race gas).

Next, however, is body work and paint. Hopefully I can get my hands on a PTeazer front fascia/grill.
 
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