02 PT Cruiser woes

My wife took our 2002 PT Cruiser into the dealership today to have the auto transmission checked for clunky downshifting from 2nd to 1st gear. The
dealer could not reproduce the fault in a 1 mile test drive. They fixed the dome light again, but it failed to operate normally by the time she got home. You have to smack it to make it work. With only 17K miles, the motor is loosing 1 quart of oil every 3K miles. We carefully broke-in the engine and swapped over to Mobile 1 oil at 5K miles. I changed the oil at 100 miles, 1000 miles and 5K miles ever since. I started using the Mobile 1 oil filters since the 100 mile point. We don't drive the engine hard, just normal. The dealer explained that is was normal for some PT's to use oil and that we shouldn't worry about it. There are no engine oil leaks. None of my previous 12 new non-Chrysler vehicles have ever used oil. I can't believe the dealership would tell me that it is normal for a 1 year old motor to use oil. What gives? By the way, the power steering rack input hydraulic hose came loose and sprayed the exhaust, which started a big fire. We were luck to get the fire out fast and no one was hurt. The dealer quickly repaired the hose coupling and said it was a miracle the vehicle wasn't a total loss. Where is the quality control?
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031001 2048 - Ralph Pardue wrote:

They're made in Mexico. What can I say...
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Not fair. The PT has one of the best reliability records in the industry. All models have occasional problem vehicles, though, and this seems to be one.
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kinda of the opposite results for me.......... 2001 5 speed now with about 28K
faithfully change oil and filter between 5k and 7k. The PT is always run to operating temp, I will not start it just to put it in the garage if it has been sitting outside and cold. If you use it under "normal" conditions, I feel you do not need to do the 3k change. As an aside I have had 2 rice burners ( Toyota and a Subaru)and neither burned oil at 188K and 132K..... the Subaru leaked a bit however.
Just got back from a 2,600 mile trip to S. Cal where the speeds at 75 and up are easily attained and maintained. I ACTUALLY and REALLY and so on, got it up to 110MPH. Not a lot of pedal left. I was about .5 (1/2) quart down after that trip.
No excuse by the dealer for calling it normal for some PT's to use oil........
I did have a slightly annoying problem of the PT just shutting itself off while driving or just not starting.....I did get my attention when that happened at 65 MPH. Long story short.......dealer messed with it, tested it, send out the flatbed to pick it up when it would not start, gave me a loaner, and could not find anything using the computer and looking for codes.The mechanic even changed a few relays, too. Called Chrysler ( I hinted that I might have gotten a lemon) and they sent a module. Had it replaced and so far after about 6 months it is fine.
As for Mexico, my feelings were that: Strike one: A first year vehicle Strike two: made in Mexico Strike three: A Chrysler ==============================================In spite of the above mentioned misgivings..........I am glad I have it, and need to decide if I am going to up-grade it to a 2003 or 4 to get a 7/70,000 warrantee.......will take a major bath on the trade in.....
First new car in since 1965 (I do miss my Comet Cyclone 289,271HP)......
Rattle the dealer's cage a little!
h
--
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com
In the words of the IMMORTAL USED CAR DEALER:
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I've got an 02 and have been very happy with it, but I did have an engine oil leak, very very small, that my dealer wouldn't fix. That's right, wouldn't. When, after jerking me around for awhile, I put my hand on the back of the block, and held out two fingers covered with engine oil, the service manager of the 5-star dealership told me. "I don't know what it is." At that point, I went home called the Chrysler 800 number. THEY suggested another dealer. Took it to another dealer where a 20 year old mechanic, within 5 seconds of looking at my car, said "You got a little oil leak here." It was fixed that afternoon and I have never bought my car back to my original dealer again.
The moral of my story is, that even though you bought the car there, don't hesitate to switch dealerships. Call the Chrysler 800 number and start a complaint about the problem that isn't being fixed. If you have to, tell them you want the Chrysler area service rep to meet you and discuss the problem. And if your dealership gives you one of those survey forms, "how did we do" ....make sure you fill it out and nail them with it!
Good Luck SRG

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Ralph Pardue wrote:

As far as the transmission - that is a common problem, called "bump-shift", on some Chrysler electronic transmissions - I don't know about the one in the PT, but I know it's true of the LH vehicles. I don't know much about trannys, but from what's been explained on this ng by others, on the LH vehicles, it has to do with the torque converter lock-up clutch engagement. Some people report a similar "bump shift" at higher speeds when the same clutch does its thing (there's a TSB on the LH vehicles on this problem).
Anyway, in the LH vehicles, three things, separately or in combination, have been known to fix it (or at least greatly reduce it) - it did on my Concorde: 1) Disconnect the battery for 20 minutes or more so the TCM relearns its settings. 2) Replace the transmission fluid and filter (make sure only ATF+4 goes back in). You say you have only 17k miles on it, so it's unlikely the fluid change will buy you anything - so maybe skip this step. 3) Have the dealer re-flash the TCM firmware with the latest (I know with the LH vehicles, there was an update that addressed this problem - again - I don't know about the PT).
I would try no. 1) first, since it's free and might fix it. In the mean time, if you can get straight answers out of your dealer, you might check to see if there is a TCM firmware update - maybe someone on this ng can tell you if there is. Item 3) can only be done by the dealer (they have to connect to Chrysler to download the firmware). It should be done under warranty. When it goes out of warranty, the price can vary greatly - anywhere from $65 to $120 depending on the dealer (generally, the further out in the country and the smaller the dealer, the lower the price).
I would strongly suggest that you get a subscription to AllData - $25 for a year. It will give you full access to all the TSB's - you might find one on the TCM firmware update. Also you will have access to all the info. right out of the Factory Service Manual, which from the sounds of the rest of your post will more than pay for itself if you plan to keep the vehicle and you do any of your own work. It's worth it for the TSB's alone so you don't have to rely on the dealer for such info. I used to recommend buying an FSM, but for the DIY'er, the AllData subscription takes its place, plus more, and that's generally what I recommend instead.
Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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| My wife took our 2002 PT Cruiser into the dealership today to have the auto | transmission checked for clunky downshifting from 2nd to 1st gear. The | dealer could not reproduce the fault in a 1 mile test drive. They fixed the | dome light again, but it failed to operate normally by the time she got | home. You have to smack it to make it work. With only 17K miles, the motor | is loosing 1 quart of oil every 3K miles. We carefully broke-in the engine | and swapped over to Mobile 1 oil at 5K miles. I changed the oil at 100 | miles, 1000 miles and 5K miles ever since. I started using the Mobile 1 oil | filters since the 100 mile point. We don't drive the engine hard, just | normal. The dealer explained that is was normal for some PT's to use oil | and that we shouldn't worry about it. There are no engine oil leaks. None | of my previous 12 new non-Chrysler vehicles have ever used oil. I can't | believe the dealership would tell me that it is normal for a 1 year old | motor to use oil. What gives? By the way, the power steering rack input | hydraulic hose came loose and sprayed the exhaust, which started a big fire. | We were luck to get the fire out fast and no one was hurt. The dealer | quickly repaired the hose coupling and said it was a miracle the vehicle | wasn't a total loss. Where is the quality control? | |
The family has been buying Chryslers since 1987, including my kids. The 87 Caravan 3.0 V6 I had burned a little oil after about 80K miles. My father's 87 3.9 V6 Dakota always burned a little oil from new (about 1-2 quarts between changes) and he still has it...running fine. My 89 Dakota with the same engine, never burned oil. Of the remaining list overall (96 Dakota V8, 97 Neon, 97 Grand Caravan, 2000 Neon, 2003 Stratus and 2004 Sebring) none burn oil, so far. All have been outstanding vehicles overall, actually (knock on wood)!
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James C. Reeves wrote:

My 96 GV with the 3.3L engine has consumed about a quart of oil every 2,500 miles since I bought it used with 34,000 on it. The good news is that with 140,000 it still uses the same amount of oil, about two quarts between each change at 5,000 mile intervals. I've used Mobil 1 since I bought it. My dad's Dynasty with the same engine uses almost the same amount of oil and he uses Castrol dinosaur oil.
Most car makers consider anything less than a quart per 1,000 miles to be OK. My 4.3L Chevy truck burns less, about a quart every 3,500 miles. My Jeep Comanche with the 2.5L engine used less than 1/4 a quart in 5,000 miles and is still running at nearly 150,000 miles (I don't own it now though). My Honda Accord hardly came off the dipstick full mark in 5,000 miles ... and its engine had a top-end self-destruction at 72,000 miles. So, I don't equate low oil consumption with goodness necessarily.
Matt
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Kind of amazing how some consumers will accept poor quality as the norm. Perhaps that explains why the J.D. Powers surveys always seem so screwed up.
Burning oil in a modern 4-cycle, gas engine is NOT normal, regardless of what you've been told, especially at a quart per thousand miles. That's not only senseless; that's obscene. Most drivers do 1,000 miles every month, on average. Try burning a quart of motor oil in your house each month and see if you find that acceptable. Make sure your kids inhale the fumes, too, and the younger the better. If they live, they'll be good little consumers.
Einstein said that only the universe and human stupidity were infinite, but he wasn't sure about the universe.
doc
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By the way, just because the oil level is not going down in your car between oil changes, that doesn't mean you aren't burning oil. Oil may be picking up condensation (moisture) from the combustion process and environment. That is why even low mileage requires oil changes periodically.

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doc wrote:

You are certainly proving the correctness of Einstein's statement.
Matt
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Geez, Matt, imagine what you could do if you only had a clue.
doc
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Of course when I was a kid, the oil leaked out as well as burned out....several quarts between changes was typical. The center of highway traffic lanes were nearly jet black and the parking lot at the A&P was full of black goo at the head-end of every parking space. Better gaskets these days, I guess!! :-)
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James C. Reeves wrote:

Yes, better engines all the way around. I spoke with a Ford engineer last year at a conference and he said that most oil consumed by modern engines is from atomized oil being drawn through the PCV system. He admitted that one reason that Toyota engines use much less oil than Ford and most other makers is that they have a better PCV system. However, he said Ford was very near to perfecting a new design that should meet or exceed the performance of Toyota ... which is the benchmark that Ford uses for engine technology.
Matt
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"Matthew S. Whiting" wrote:

Hmmm - I'd like to ask him if there's any relationship between that fact and the Toyota engines that developed a wide reputation for sludging up to the point of destruction in the very recent past.
Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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Bill Putney wrote:

Yes, me also. However, hasn't it been only a couple specific engines rather than a brand-wide problem? I've read a few blurbs about it, but nothing very definitive as to cause.
Given a choice, I'll add a quart now and then rather than have a sludged up engine! Bill, do you have references to the Toyota problem? Almost sounds like the problem that Mobil had with its synthetic aviation oil, except their problem was caused by the high lead content of avgas.
Matt
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"Matthew S. Whiting" wrote:

I did (for a short time) subscribe to and start a thread on alt.autos.toyota.camry several months ago to see if I could gain some insight and determine if there are some common root causes between the sludge problems on those engines and the one that seems to be on the Chrysler 2.7L engine. My suspicion is that it has something to do with some ill advised design tricks that restricted oil drainback paths im order to make some miniscule emissions gains in the PCV area, but that is pure speculation on my part with nothing to back it up other than the (apparently) unsuccessful fixes that Toyota tried with the oil drainback system.
Undoubtedly both Chrysler and Toyota have some new "lessons learned" about certain things not to do in their future engine designs from their little experiments, but I'm sure the public will never hear about them.
I was shocked to learn on the 300M ezBoard forums that the 2.7L will be used in some of the new vehicles coming out. Who knows if design changes have been made to fix the sludging and failure problems it had.
Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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Ford? Talking about oil consumption? Thats a hoot, after their disaster letting the 5.4L Modular get on the market with inadequate oil control rings and poor piston design! They've got it down to manageable levels now, but the 5.4 was an oil hog its first several years on the market, and it WASN'T the PCV system.
And my Chrysler engines (both the '73 and the '93) use no more oil than any Toyota engine I've ever seen.
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not
hear hear. I agree with you totally but your not going to get much agreement here, too many older drivers who are used to the sloppy tolerances in the big old V8's. I don't see this kind of oil usage on either my rebuilt V6 or my 4 banger and both are well over 100K miles on the blocks.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

I'm not saying I'd be happy with a quart/1000, just pointing out that this is the threshold that most manufacturers (even the Japanese last I knew) use to determine if an engine has a sufficient problem for a claim against the manufacturer.
So what do you consider to be the minimum oil consumption? 1 quart in 5,000 miles? 1 quart in 50,000 miles? Fill the sump when it's new and never need to add oil again until it is junked with 200,000 miles? Have the engine produce oil that you can take out to use in your other cars that consume oil? :-) and together!
Matt
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