The PT is back!

Front view of PT with blacked out emblem

Front view of PT with blacked out emblem

The PT Cruiser is back at Bob’s Garage!

Just like with any of the other vehicles it was time to take a closer look at just what condition it was in now.And it didn’t take long to see some not-so-good issues.

In it’s time away there had been some front end damage and it appears to have had a wheel hub replaced and some brake work. No biggie. Just normal wear and tear. Kinda sorta.So now it was on to the basics.

Basic Inspection

On pulling the oil dipstick I was kind of confused when it came up dry. So I said “OK, let’s try this again”. And on the second check it was identical. Not good. Then I moved on to the trans dipstick. No way! It was also not showing any thing! Way not good! A quick look under the vehicle showed some obvious evidence of a trans fluid leak. And with the documented front end damage there is a good chance one of the soft lines is gonzo. That explains the low trans fluid level. But 3 quarts down? Not good.

And the power steering felt way tight and it looks like there may be some damaged lines there too. A bit of detective work produced a couple of bottles of PS fluid in the vehicle. he noteworthy part of this was that it was generic PS fluid. Unfortunately the PT actually used a ATF+4 synthetic trans fluid in it’s system. And sadly it is a Chrysler documented fact that if this is not used it will take out the pump. I believe this to be the case. So another project in the making.

Getting it back right

A quick run to the parts store and I picked up an oil change and some trans fluid. No biggie once again. And for good measure I threw in a bottle of Lucas oil stabilizer. Then it was back to the house to make it all good. The trans fluid was not a problem . Fill, start, run through the gears and check!  Sweet!  One down. One to go!.

After getting the car up in the air because these PT’s are way low, I went after the oil drain plug. What is normally a quick twist of the wrench turned into a very aggressive attack with a long bar to get the little bugger loose!  WTF! It took 80 ft pounds to break it loose! Way bad! I was actually fearing the worst of a stripped plug before it released. But the car gods were with me and it came out intact with no damaged threads.

And with that fiasco over I went after the filter. You guessed it! This bugger was frickin jammed tight. It actually spun my cup type remover. So in desperation I  resorted to the stab and turn scenario. It worked but it took two full turns to get this SOB loose! With that out of the way I put the new filter on correctly, touch plus1/2 a turn, and added the oil. Totally uneventful.

Loud Exhaust

A quick trip at the back pretty much confirmed what I already suspected that the big muffler had seen it’s better days so it needs to go. It’s easy to get to and is not that big a project


But the tattle tale here is that it was a Valvoline filter. That means that the goomba’s at the local quick oil change are nothing but paid gorillas when it comes to oil changing.This is why I have had a long standing distrust about oil change places. Low buck mechanic wanna-bes working on your high dollar car. And, No, my oil plug didn’t just “strip out” and/or fall out after all this time! End of rant!


All being done it actually turned out OK. I will have to chase down the trans line leak but that won’t be that hard just time consuming. And I will probably end up replacing the soft lines of that system. The oil thing may be an issue but I don’t really have a line on that yet. And the PS pump will be a R&R project. And I will replace the lines too if I go to that trouble. Things to do Things to do.


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