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1993 Dodge caravan, 1949 Dodge truck, 1991 swb chevrolet truck
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's possible I may buy a used car for my wife .... Locally is a 2003 for $800 seems it needs a fuel pump .... While if I search on FaceBook there is another for $1k

Car Vehicle Vehicle registration plate Wheel Automotive tail & brake light


Pt cruiser ran fine then one day wouldn’t start it’s in great condition hauled it to a shop and bought a new car need it gone ... Asking $1k
Almost seems like a scam and still could be ....

Then there is another one. $1500 Runs and drives but randomly stops shifting and goes into limp mode… may need new pcm… may be a bad connection. Tired of messing with it.
Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Car Vehicle



Yeah is not my style either, but still it seems pretty cheap. And as you go down the list of PT Cruiser they generally sell for pretty cheap.

Almost reminds me of the Volkswagen back in the 60's-70's where they were good cars but they needed special attention to keep them running.
They sold for a really cheap price used.

Is a pt cruiser something the average guy can keep running dependable at the home garage?
 

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The MAJOR pain in the neck on the PT Cruiser is the timing belt, water pump replacement. It's not a job for the feint of heart. It takes the proper tools, and a lot of up and down with the engine. You'll want to replace the center motor mount and bolt at the same time as the belt and water pump. In addition, a lot of guys replace the cam and crank seals too. Garages will charge anywhere from $800 to as much as possible for this job. That sounds to me like what's happened to the vert. Ask both sellers if the timing belt and water pump have ever been changed. If they say not or don't know, I'd walk from them both. And that crap on the black one can be removed or covered. The verts are nice looking, but have a lot of quirks.
 
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Virginia Gentleman
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Though I've never owned one, Chuzz is spot on. From what I've read here on Allpar, the timing belt/water pump change is a major pain and/or a major expense.

Just my opinion, but I believe the PCM failures are due to the heat in such a small engine compartment.

In my eye, it's more trouble than it's worth.

Yes, there those here that love them, but the PT was never my cup of tea. I should've kept the '90 Acclaim I once had. It looked horrible, but it was sound mechanically and was much easier to service.
 

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KOG
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I've never understood the appeal of the PT. You can run a Caravan for the same money and you get much more room and a V6.
 
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Virginia Gentleman
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I've never understood the appeal of the PT. You can run a Caravan for the same money and you get much more room and a V6.
And considering the PT fuel mileage really isn't much better than a V6-powered minivan, the minivan is a no-brainer. We loved our '00 T&C Ltd AWD despite it predating stow-n-go - the seats could be removed if needed. The only real complaints I had was it tended to eat brakes (seemed to need replacement every 25K-30K miles though it was up to 40K on the last set before trading) and the Nivomats are pricy if they need to be replaced.
 

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1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
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My dad was enamored with the body style. Light Almond pearl metallic & leather. Loaded.
It is Neon-based, which isn't a bad thing. Just that it is an older design & heavy (safe) for its size.
Don't expect more than 22 mpg around town. Maybe 28 highway.

It shines for utility. The backseat folds up into a 'suitcase' with a handle that can be removed through the rear doors, leaving a large expanse of flat floor.
Mechanically pretty simple. Lots of parts still. The PT will still have fans years from now. Rust-free Texas or California is nice.
A car that appealed to both young & old alike. It was affordable & cool to see & be seen.
 

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Either you love it or you hate it. The people I have known have had mixed experiences. One made it to 200k another failed before that due to a head gasket. They have the rough ride from a neon but not the handling, fuel economy, or the acceleration. I found it awkward and uncomfortable.

When it comes to Chrysler vehicles, there are some that are safer bets like the RS minivans, the pre 05 Dakotas, pre 05 Grand Cherokees,
XJ Cherokees, Charger with either 3.5 or 3.6, etc. The PT Cruisers are a bit more of a gamble in my opinion with not only ultradrive transmission but a Neon based engine with hit or miss head gaskets (still not as big a risk as a an intrepid or stratus with a 2.7). Getting a PT Cruiser, I would expect to require more TLC, more maintenance/repairs, low 20s mpg, on a car who's sole purpose is to look like a 30s car. It has functional space from this design. It depends on do you have the budget to repair it IF it breaks? Are you willing for this to be a labor of love for this car? Is this a dream car for her? Etc.
 

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You can say a minivan is superior, but try fitting a minivan into a tight parking space.
Very true if the person has to park in tight spaces. But if the person is considering this vs other vehicles of this size there might be others that are more reliable, more fuel efficient, and just better cars.
 

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Very true if the person has to park in tight spaces. But if the person is considering this vs other vehicles of this size there might be others that are more reliable, more fuel efficient, and just better cars.
Not really. The PT was pretty reliable overall, had by far the best packaging in its class (cars sold in America, that is), and is rather enjoyable to drive especially with the manual transmission. Fuel efficiency was its weak point but when GM did the SSR, they did no better! Apparently before Daimler overrode them, they had a version which reached Chrysler standards for safety but was more fuel efficient. The main issue seemed to be the extra steel needed for five star safety ratings.
 

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Not really. The PT was pretty reliable overall, had by far the best packaging in its class (cars sold in America, that is), and is rather enjoyable to drive especially with the manual transmission. Fuel efficiency was its weak point but when GM did the SSR, they did no better! Apparently before Daimler overrode them, they had a version which reached Chrysler standards for safety but was more fuel efficient. The main issue seemed to be the extra steel needed for five star safety ratings.
The HHR was rated with 4 speed auto or 5 speed manual transmissions of 28 mpg with either the 2.2 or the 2.4 and vs the PT Cruiser only was rated at 24 for the automatic and 26 for the manual for highway mileage.

That's one of the few decisions Daimler made that I agree with. Having seen people go through extreme car wrecks, and I've seen how important the extra protection really is worth. The Neon engine just wasn't that efficient for whatever reason. The PT Cruiser got the same fuel mileage as the Caravan when equipped with the the same powertrain. What highlights the inefficiency of this powertrain is the fact that the Caravan in the final years of the 3.3l V6 powered version had about the same highway mileage. Hypothetically, a PT Cruiser might have received similar fuel economy with the 3.3 as the Neon engine.

Reliability between the HHR and PT Cruiser is a toss up, other vehicles in the compact crossover class like the scion xB would be better. All the cars that have a retro styling (VW Beetle, Fiat 500, Mini Cooper, PT Cruiser, HHR, etc.) are mediocre on reliability.
 

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I’m not an engineer, but I think making the 2.4 a high reving DOHC motor instead of a SOHC that might have been more suited with more low end torque curve for heavier vehicles like the PT and the base minivans.
 

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Very true if the person has to park in tight spaces. But if the person is considering this vs other vehicles of this size there might be others that are more reliable, more fuel efficient, and just better cars.
When it came to parking I would take the Minivan over the PT anyday. The steering rack on the PT was one of the biggest short comings and made it unwieldy in tight spaces.
 

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I think the GM Ecotec engines were DOHC as well so I am not sure SOHC would have solved the problems. The compression ratio was 10.0 for the GM vs 9.4 so that would help along with the 2.4 ecotec having vvt from my limited understanding but I doubt that represented all the difference.
 

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1993 Dodge caravan, 1949 Dodge truck, 1991 swb chevrolet truck
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I really do appreciate the replies. I guessing the engine needs to be removed for belt & water pump replacement? Labor intensive.
I know on my caravan the timing chain could not be replaced with the engine installed.
When I tore down the caravan engine with 187k miles & a rod through the block, the timing chain was in surprisingly good shape.
A belt is different, not only do they wear with use but also just with age.

I see that the belt would need to be changed on a schedule & not on a as needed basis .... not sure whats up with the water pump though?
What mileage does the belt need replaced or more important does it fail?

So My wife 1993 Caravan is a forever vehicle for us. It was her mothers. We have memories with it. The van is in excellent mechanical condition. 35k on rebuilt trans, brakes, axles. 200 miles on fuel pump, tires, struts, shocks ..... I just need to get a engine together & I have one I want to repair for it.

My interest in the PT is simply convenience.
I own 3 vehicles, one is a project, one is a 1991 Chevy short bed step side 350/5spd manual in excellent condition. The other is the Caravan I need to get a engine for ....
My truck is very dependable, just difficult relying on one vehicle & I would like to take my time with the Caravan engine.
So a cheap car we can use as a backup would be convenient while I build the motor for the caravan.

There is a PT local for sale that has some hail damage ... dings in the fenders etc. They say it will run if you add fuel to it, They can not fix it & I think I could buy it for about $500.
Could be a few different issues with it, most likely it needs a new fuel pump. Naturally it will need much maintenance. Just wondering what I would be getting into buying a older PT.
 

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My wife loved her PT, was reliable for her and fit 5 (mostly grandkids) and still had room for the picnic stuff or groceries.was easy for her to drive in heavy traffic. Lost it to a full size pickup that never stopped while she waited for a red light. Smashed the rear and drove her into the carin front of her hard enough to push the front fenders back making opening the front doors hard (had to bend fenders to open the front doors. Not a single part of the body framework was bent. Every door worked perfectly.
 

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I guessing the engine needs to be removed for belt & water pump replacement? Labor intensive.
I don't think the engine has to be removed to change the timing belt and water pump, but yes, it is labor intensive. While the belt should be changed according a schedule, it's often recommended to change the water pump while you are in there.

As with any older vehicle that has a lot of accumulated miles, it probably will need some maintenance and repairs - some that may have been neglected or postponed due to cost, etc.

As pointed out, the timing belt/water pump just happens to be one of the most expensive repairs/maintenance items.

If it were me, I would look for a "cheap" vehicle that is easier to maintain. PT's don't fall in that category for me. They may be inexpensive to buy, but maintenance is another story.
 

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I think the GM Ecotec engines were DOHC as well so I am not sure SOHC would have solved the problems. The compression ratio was 10.0 for the GM vs 9.4 so that would help along with the 2.4 ecotec having vvt from my limited understanding but I doubt that represented all the difference.
While you may not be sure, I can point to the 2.0 Neon motor which was offered in both SOHC and DOHC versions. The SOHC reached peak torque and HP at lower RPMs, beneficial for heavier vehicles, especially with automatic transmissions.
 

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The good news is a broken timing belt does not damage the PT engine. If you don’t mind tinkering, you’ve found some decent deals.
 

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1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
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The 'once every 100K mile timing belt' shouldn't be a deal-breaker. Access on top is tight because of the narrow hood style, but access through the RF wheel opening and from underneath is plentiful.

The 2.4L was not particularly torquey or economical but served as a reliable, old-school (iron block, aluminum head) base engine in many vehicles since the mid-90's.
With turbocharging and intercooler it made the Neon SRT-4 & PT GT affordable legends.

Utility? NHTSA & CAFE classify the PT Cruiser as a 'truck'.

 
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