Author Topic: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser  (Read 67189 times)

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« on: May 29, 2011, 03:38:30 PM »
I have a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Replaced the thermostat, hoses, and water pump in '08. Car ran well in '09. In '10 I had to replace the thermostat again. And now, today it started to run hot again. I checked the coolant and it was low. I had to run the Heat full blast in order to get to AutoZone. Now here's the odd part.... I filled the coolant back up and sat in the parking lot with A/C on high, car in PARK, and idled for over 10 minutes. The car sat perfectly at the 1/2 point on the temp gauge. I smiled, said that was easy, put the car in DRIVE and less than 500 feet from the AutoZone, the temp gauge was back up above 3/4 and I had to run the heat full blast to get home without overheating the car. How can the car overheat in DRIVE but not in PARK!?!??!?!?!?!?!?! HELP ME PLEASE!

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Advertisement

discretesignals

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10739
  • Karma: +39/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 05:48:55 PM »
Run into a PTs  that had that problem and it ended up being a clogged radiator.  You can tell because different parts of the radiator will be different temperatures and the air blowing out the coolant fans really isn't that hot when the engine is running hot.  Another sign is running the heater brings the temperature down.  It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to pressure test the coolant system, to be sure you don't have any leaks before going after the radiator.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by discretesignals »

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Advertisement

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 06:50:34 PM »
Thank you for the reply. I also read somewhere PT's are prone to having the radiators rust out from the inside out. Several people claimed pressure testing didn't show a leak because the rust hadn't penetrated all the way through the radiator. Where are the coolant fans located? And where could I feel on the engine to see if the temperatures are different?

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Advertisement

discretesignals

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10739
  • Karma: +39/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 09:24:19 PM »
The engine cooling fans are behind the radiator or in front of the engine.  You don't want to stick your hands in or around the fan blades.  The fans can start up at anytime with the engine running or ignition on.  They will run with the ac turned on, but if you turn the ac off they won't come on till the coolant sensor sees around 220 degrees.  The air blowing out of the fans should be very hot.  You won't be able to keep your hand there that long if heat is being transfered correctly.  If you have a laser temperature gun, you can measure temperatures on different parts of the radiator.    It's really hard to get your hand in there to feel different parts of the radiator because the cooling fan assembly and ac condenser are in the way.  


You can't see into the radiator because the radiator cap is on the engine.  The last one we did we pried the top plastic tank off and the transfer tubes were completely clogged with brown slimy gunk.

It looked exactly like this picture:
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by discretesignals »

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 09:36:23 PM »
The more you say, the more I think that this is my problem. The first time I had the work done in 2008, it was done at a typical repair shop. They told me the coolant was so old it was "orange mud". I'll almost bet it was 90% clogged each time I had a flush or a thermostat done. So each time I had it worked on (owned the car 3 summers, had cooling service 3 times), they flushed just enough of the crap out to make it work for another summer. And if it is clogged and rusting from the inside out, the pressure test wouldn't show that. (The second time was at a dedicated cooling system repair shop. I'll bet they didn't think it was the radiator since it had all been worked on the previous summer and pressure tests were working fine.) This makes a lot of sense. Dare I ask what a guestimate would be on replacing the radiator?

P.S. Thanks for the quick reply.  Very Happy

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

discretesignals

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10739
  • Karma: +39/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 09:51:24 PM »
Just an estimate:  (price fluctuates depending on mark up rate on parts and the shop's labor rate)

Radiator $130
Mopar 5 yr coolant  $20

Labor $150-$220  (2.2hrs)

Estimated price $350

You should also replace the radiator cap if you hadn't already and the rad hoses if they aren't looking too good on the inside.

If you do the hoses, you should tack on an extra $130 because you have to pop off the upper intake plenum.

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 09:54:31 PM »
Thank you very much. I won't be driving it until I can get it checked. (Lucky me on a holiday weekend). It has been a great help to at least have an idea what I'm walking into.  Smile

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

discretesignals

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10739
  • Karma: +39/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 09:56:26 PM »
No problem.  Let us know how things go.   Smile

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2011, 05:42:48 PM »
Well, I just left my car at the radiator shop for the 3rd time this week. Dropped it off Tuesday, got a call and they told me my radiator fan motor had gone out. $300 later I picked it up "good as new". Except that it tried to overheat on my way home from the shop. I took it right back. The mechanic apologized repeatedly for assuming that the fan was the only problem. He took the radiator apart, found "some debris", flushed and replaced the coolant at no charge. It worked great on Thursday night (when I picked it up). Worked fine to and from work on Friday (about 3 minutes each way). This morning, I picked up a friend and we went about 10 miles south on the highway to some neighborhood yard sales. It worked fine, keeping the temp at halfway, until we got back in town and the outside temperature hit 85. We went to a furniture shop, car was at half when I turned off the engine, we went inside, looked around for about 20 minutes, came back out and started the car. The temp gauge went up to 3/4 but after a minute, it came back down to half. Drove across town to another shop, it was at 1/2 when I turned the car off, went in, shopped for another 15 minutes. Came back out, started up, went to 1/2 and stayed until we started driving. It went up to between 1/2 and 3/4 on the 2 mile drive to lunch. After lunch, I turned off the air and ran with windows down. The temp would rise to anywhere between half way between 1/2 and 3/4 up to the 3/4 mark on the gauge at a stop light, then lower to above half as the car started moving. Should I let them diagnose again? And should I tell him to go ahead and replace the radiator?  Sad

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

discretesignals

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10739
  • Karma: +39/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2011, 03:45:37 PM »
If the car is sitting and idling,  the ac turned off,  does the coolant fan come on and go off?  Has it ever gone beyond 3/4 of the gauge?  If you are sitting at a light and the gauge creeps up to 3/4, electrical fan kicks on, and the temperature comes back down, and fan shuts back off, then your not in an overheating condition.  If you run the ac, the fan will run all the time in high speed after the coolant temp reaches 180 degrees when your idling keeping the engine temperature in operating range (around 199 degrees).  If you have the a/c turned off, the high speed fan mode doesn't come on till 219 degrees and shuts off at 210 when the vehicle isn't moving.

If you shut the engine off after driving and then restart it a short time later, the temperature gauge will read high because the engine heat soaks.  The internal parts of the engine are still giving off heat after you shut the engine off because they store heat which gradually dissipates into the coolant or air outside the engine block.  Since the coolant isn't circulating with the engine turned off or there is no air blowing through the radiator,  the temperature of the coolant will rise and then lower later on after the heat is released into the atmosphere.  

You should have your mechanic drive the vehicle and monitor the temperature and fan states to be sure that everything is in working order.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by discretesignals »

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2011, 03:53:25 PM »
Yes the temp did go above the 3/4 mark. I sat with the car idling at in the parking lot at lunch and when it got half way between 3/4 and red I turned it off. I can't say that the fan was or was not running. It should have been since they just replaced it. I'm really getting concerned because I've owned this car for 3 years. Even when sitting at a light and the temp outside is 101, that gauge never went above half. This is not normal for my car. It will be fortunate that the temp this week is predicted in the 90's, so they can see that I'm not crazy. I ran the a/c and the temp was fluctuating wildly. It normally gets to 1/2 and stays whether a/c is on or off. It would jump from just under half to almost red and back.

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

discretesignals

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10739
  • Karma: +39/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2011, 04:11:34 PM »
Yes,  if the gauge is going past 3/4 and the electrical cooling fan is screaming and the coolant temperature isn't coming back down,  time to go back to the drawing board.  If it only seems to do this when you are sitting at a light, but the temperature is fine while driving at highway speeds, there could to be some sort of air flow problem through the radiator.  Has the vehicle had any front end damage?  Things that are missing like shields around the radiator, covers, air dams under the vehicle can affect the way air flows through the radiator and condenser.    

It is important to be sure when coolant fan is running with the ac off as you notice the gauge is that high that the air blowing out of the fan is hot.  If the air coming out of the fan is warm or cold and the engine is overheating,  your either are low on coolant/air in system, the water pump isn't circulating coolant, or you have some type of restriction.  You mechanic might have to plug in his/her scan tool and monitor coolant temperature as the engine computer is seeing it and then compare to the gauge reading.  They might also have to check temperature at different parts of the engine to be sure the thermostat is operating correctly.  I have seen some after market thermostats do some weird things.  Our shop usually tries to stay with the factory thermostat (Mopar) when being replaced.

Did they ever run a block test or sniffed the coolant with a gas analyzer to be sure you don't have combustion gases getting into the coolant system?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by discretesignals »

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2011, 04:26:55 PM »
I'm not sure what all they did as far as testing. I picked up the car after work, so he dumbed it down for the lady in the skirt and heels. I do know that the thermostat has been replaced twice in the last 3 years. The car has never been damaged to my knowledge. I will print your reply when I take the key in on Monday. I don't know if this has anything to do with the price of eggs, but I did note that the last time I had work done, the dummies put in the regular green coolant instead of the Organic Acid Technology coolant. Could this have caused some sort of hard to detect damage to the inside of the radiator? He told me that my radiator is not the typical aluminum. I think he told me the inner core was made of copper but I cannot be certain.

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

discretesignals

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10739
  • Karma: +39/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2011, 04:39:29 PM »
The change of coolant may not cause an overheating problem, but your correct in that you should stay with the original coolant.  They put additives and inhibitors in that type of coolant to protect the coolant system and help prevent cavitation corrosion.  The water pump seal is also designed to use that type of coolant, so changing to green could decrease the life of the water pump.

I do remember the last PT we did the radiator in, because it was plugged causing the engine to run hot, the gauge stayed around the half way mark after the giving it back to the customer.  

With the radiator fan not operating and partial plugged radiator there is a lot of heat that can build up which can result in head gasket problems later on if there isn't already.  That is why it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to check for combustion gases in the coolant system.  They can also blow air in the cylinders and see if there is any bubbles under the radiator cap.

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter

Cat_Lover89

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Overheating Chrysler PT Cruiser
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2011, 04:42:33 PM »
I appreciate the advice. I sure hope it's not the head gasket. If it is, for their sake it better not be because of the coolant mistake. Replacing a head gasket would pretty much total my poor car.

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via twitter


Share Topic

Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via linkedin Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via technorati Share via twitter

Similar Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies / Views Last post
xx
2002 Chrysler Pt Cruiser

Started by

13 Replies
3598 Views
Last post July 26, 2009, 08:17:51 AM
by discretesignals
xx
ingition Wiring harness for 2004 Chrysler P.T. Cruiser

Started by

3 Replies
2122 Views
Last post October 21, 2007, 09:43:05 AM
by discretesignals
xx
2001 PT Cruiser overheating

Started by

5 Replies
6039 Views
Last post May 11, 2006, 09:40:37 AM
by
xx
2002 PT Cruiser overheating issue

Started by ewd424

3 Replies
4040 Views
Last post January 07, 2011, 03:53:26 PM
by conniecartech
xx
01 PT Cruiser still overheating...how do i check groud wires

Started by

1 Replies
2532 Views
Last post July 06, 2008, 01:24:45 PM
by