my 2003 pt cruiser just stopped running.

Rohn
30

Asked by Rohn Dec 12, 2008 at 07:23 AM about the 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser Base

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

While driving I got an ding the check engine light came on and the car just died on me. No sputter or any indication of a problem. Just stopped running.  It has 3/4 of a tank of gas so that isn't my problem. This happened on trhe final leg of a 45 mile drive home from work.  The car ran perfectly during the drive home until it just stopped running.  Thre is no gas smell. When I try to restart it, it cranks strongly, but will not catch. Any ideas out there would be very helpful.

40 Answers

Alex King
735

bit by the chrysler bug... ummm wow... this could be a lot of things... i would recomend that the check engine light be diagnosed and go from there... it could be something as stupid as a dead O2 seonsor or something as dramatic as a head gasket i suppose... does your oil look milky or mirky... (looking for coolant in the oil...) i suppose you could have a dead fuel pump but that would usually cough to death not just cut out... have your wiring checked it could be something as simple as a lost connection which is preventing the car from firing the cylinders properley... like i said in the start have the light diagnosed... that will give you the easiest diagnosis and solution...

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
Rohn
30

thanks ALex I will look into the diagnosis. The oil is clean. I was thinking the same thing regarding the fuel pump. But,no cough at all so it as they say it "ain't gonna be easy " but then again it never is. I'm hoping its not the PCM. But we'll have to wait and see. Thanks for your response I'll try to keep you posted as to my progress...or lack of it. Happy Holidays

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Adam Morgan
4,385

No sputter or lack of indication usually denotes a fail safe. Dead sensor or similar... Possible failure of fuel pump... Every similar situation I've seen has turned out to be a snapped or slipped timing belt, so that is something to look at... Most of what I'm thinking of ought to throw a code so get the codes read. If that leads nowhere, check compression, check spark, check fuel pressure... not necessarily in that order. That should be enough to get started.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Marc Young
25

What is the mileage on your PT Cruiser? Our 2003 PT Cruiser GT just turned over 100,000 km and just before that milestone the engine was running rough and had a harder time starting. I changed the spark plugs and the spark plug wires and now the engine runs like it was new. Passed the emmissions test with flying colours too. I found out that Chrysler recommends changing the plug wires every 65,000 km.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Chris Fry
55

If you haven't already get it to a Chrysler shop ASAP I had a electrical problem on my 2002 cruiser witch shorted out my overhead console, sunroof, radio and gages. they never did find the problem . They only charged me the $195 to look at it, it has been fine sense but I would look in the relay center near the battery maybe a short to the computer or ignition system. Also check all vacuum hoses and sensors including the MAP. Your Cruiser sounds like its nearing 100k miles mine is around 70k I never had a engine problem or any body in the club I'm in ether. Please let me know what you find out. Thanks Chris Fry

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Jacob Fraser
785

turn the ignition off, then on, then off, on, off, on.... make sure to wait for the odometer to come on everytime, it will give you trouble codes then go here http://www.allpar.com/fix/computer-codes.html or here depening on which set of codes your car falls under,http://www.ptcruizer.com/computer-codes.html the code you get, if any, should only be listed on one of those. from there you can basically see whats going on, and it could be a simple fix. also you can push in the trip reset button, while turning on the ignition, dont start the car, just turn on the ignition,it does a check of the guages, and seems to "reset" the ecm somehow. a friends pt had died on the side of the road, and upon doing this would start right up, no troubles at all, until it quit again.

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.
Heath VanRoekel
135

it sounds like to me that your timing belt broke.....this happens a lot with mileges around 100,000 mile....check your timing belt

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
Jacob Fraser
785

if its her timing belt then the engine is toast, hopefully it wasn't

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
ucfgreatest
20

did u ever find out the problem I am having the same and at a lost?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Sean Davis
10

Your problem sounds like maybe its electrical. Since there was no sputtering or gas starvation. Hopefully you have oil in the engine and the thing didn't just seize up.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
jgeidl
80

I am having exactly the same problem with my 2003 turbo. I has died 6 or 8 times. I comes back to life after anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours and is fine again for months, then dies again. I have had two different mechanics look it over and neither one has found anything wrong. There never are any codes. I'd take it to the dealer but I think I would rater be boiled in oil. My wife took the car to the dealer to have the plugs change and he charged her $400.00. Not much of a chance that we will be returning th him for ANYTHING.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Alex Bonasoro
35

check your fuel pump it may be that

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
jgeidl
80

Alex, Unfotunately, that's all I am getting from everyone is< "it might be." I hate to pour $300 into a fuel pump just to find out it isn't that. Same thing with O2 sensors, another $500 and it is only a guess. Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Jonathan Furse
1,925

This sounds like a fuel system problem. My car did the exact same thing and it turned out to be the fuel pump. One test for this is listening for the fuel pump turning on when you turn the key to "ON". If you don't hear anything, it is probably either the fuel pump or fuel pump relay. You can save a lot on the fuel pump or relay if you just purchase the parts and replace them yourself.

jgeidl
80

Jonathan, I don't have any trouble starting the car, generally. My problem is that it just abruptly stops while driving. If I wait a few minutes, occasionally a lot of minutes, it will restart and run fine for months. Jim

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Steve Murphy
80

hey guys, mine died the other day.....but wouldn't start again, and no fuel pump whizz sound or the click from the starter. got it solved today, so here might be some help. a buddy and i replaced the downstream o2 sensor, and while doing so, i noticed that the frame, or floor, ribs, run very close to where the sensor sits. so, the new sensor, was a bit longer than the factory one, which made it sit up against the frame even tighter than before. since the exhaust moves freely on the hangers, the wires, being really squished against the frame, caused the frame to wear away the sheathing on the new sensor's wires, causing a short out in the main fuse panel under the hood. heads up for you all and get your o2 sensor wires out of the way of the frame. to find this out has cost me over 450.00....yikes, but not going to the dealer caused at least 100.00 in towing fees from garage to dealer garage. heads up.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
tomc
20

check fuel supply first , then check for spark. if you have both you have timing problems.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
IndyKat
120

My daughter in laws pt 2003 just did this same thing. We checkd for spark-none, changed the plugs, filters, changed the coil, camshaft position modular (cpm)- and still no go. WHat was the result of your car failure.. would appreciate any help. Thank you at a loss... Krystal

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.
Chris Folsom
145

Unless you have the capability you need to take it to the shop. If you can you need to get codes. There is a reason its there. Then, even if there is a code, you need to test the fuel pump, and check for spark. I work in a shop and when I diagnose a vehicle that is the first thing to start with. Because even if there is a code, for example, that points to the o2 sensor a faulty fuel pump will throw multiple codes. The exhaust will lean out and the o2 sensor picks up an issue with the air coming in the motor and the air leaving the motor. As much as I hate being the bearer of bad news, Chrysler has had many problems with ecm and pcm problems, good thing is, as long is the computer isnt totally toasted, you may be able to have the computer reflashed. But if you buy a new computer you cant just put it in, because they come from the factory dumber than a rock. There is no information stored on a new computer and you will have to have it programmed.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
Jonathan Furse
1,925

Same thing, listen for the fuel pump to make any strange noises or even turn on when the car dies and won't start again.

1ATony
200

I would have the code run for starters. That will more than likely point you in a direction as to what the issue is.

LA_PT
30

Hi everybody, hope this info helps. My PT has a little over 105,000 miles on it and it died on me twice within a 2 week period. Both times, I was backing up when it would shut off- no sputtering, gas smell, or anything. The check engine light did not turn on either time and when I took it to the shop, they could not find a code. Luckily, the mechanic was pretty knowedgeable and he replaced the cam shift sensor. Interestingly enough, my check engine light came on soon after they replaced the sensor. I took it back and it turns out that the sensor was defective! They ordered a new sensor from the actual dealership and she's been running great!

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
scooter_43
145

Rohn my 2004 PT also done the same thing I had to replace the cam shaft position sensor at 81000, and just last week had to replace timing belt 129000, crank shaft pos. sensor will also cause the same problem. Just 2 days after replacing belt the battery light came on and check eng light , checked alternator, and battery fine, shut car off and it wont start back , no click from starter and no whizz from fuel pump. Steve did you have to replace the main fuse panel or

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.
julesg
30

My 2001 PT had some of the same problems. It died for no reason about 1/2 a mile from home. Code reader said camshaft sensor and crankshaft sensor. Replaced both it ran long enough to die again about 300 feet from the house. This time no codes but we couldn't hear the fuel pump run so we replaced that. It still didn't start. This time code said no communication with crankshaft sensor. We traced the wires and found one wire going to the sensor that had fallen down on the transaxle and rubbed through. Spliced the wire and everything's fine.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
ptowner2004
200

My 2004 PT has the same problem, if the camshaft position sensor is bad does it shut off ignition or fuel?

20 out of 20 people think this is helpful.
WycheJT
100

Brand new addition to this thread. I have a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser Base model. In the past two months I went ahead and got the timing belt replaced because we flew over 100000 miles, unfortunately the mechanic didnt know what he was doing so we had to do it again. About a week later the fuel pump gave out and the car began to sputter to a nasty halt regularily. Got a new pump from a well known distributor, drove it in great condition for 3 days and that pump went bad on me. Had the fuel pump replaced again and two weeks later while driving down the road the the car sputtered when the acceleration was pressed and came to a complete stop. Upon trying to restart the vehicle, it simply cranks but won't start. When cranking it doesn't sound like the previous fuel pump issue, but it still won't start. Can anyone HELP!!!!!!!!

10 out of 10 people think this is helpful.
slim3600
10

I had same problem with mine I used a pocket scanner and codes came up for camshaft and crankshaft sensors I replaced both n car still wouldn't start. I gave up n sent it to a shop and had computer replaced. I recommended taking it to local Chrysler dealer

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
NAL
10

have a 2001 PT Cruiser that just stops, you can crank but will not start. A couple of mins later it starts and runs fine . Codes are set sometimes and it is always the cam shaft sensor. It has been in and out of the garage and on the way had the computer replaced and the pcm. The sensor has been replaced three times. Now I am going over the everything slowly. The O2 up and downstream sensors have not been replaced, nor has the camshaft magnets. I have been all over the wiring and found nothing. I have cleaned all the relays and fuses in the power distribution box. Occasionally I get a battery disconnect code and again I have checked the cables/clamps and replaced the battery. My next step is to change the O2 sensors and look at the fuel pump. Beyond that I am struggling for a solution....

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
h2oskijudge
0

I'm fairly certain that its not a collision type emgine, which means that if it were, and the timing belt snapped, the top of the pistons would not collide with open valves. That said, it's not possible to get the cover off to see if the belt had slipped or broke, without dropping the engine out of the vehicle. I am disgusted with American automobile manufacturers designing nearly everything nowadays to be so hard to fix, that even competent mechanics and do it yourselfers will have to take them to a dealership. WTF? it's a good bet that there will always be a majority of drivers who prefer to let someone else repair their cars and trucks, so why make them difficult for the very few of us who can work on them. I have forty years of experience working on my own simple repair jobs, and I'm not able to fix things myself at least half of the time now. I have two code readers, and have found around a 20% success rate when using them to point me in the right direction. I used to get my guesses right over half the time on push rod type engines, before BCM, PCM, WTF, ECM, JBM, FTC and KMAss evrywhere you look now. they don't get that much better mileage, last any longer, or perform nearly as good as back then, so we just have to bend over and let the dealership have their way with us. I wouldn't mind if I was wealthy, but I've only ever owned one new vehicle in 35 years of driving. Some, no, most of us can't afford to spend a hundred bucks to find out we have a bad plug wire.

tylesha
60

I have a 2003 PT Cruiser was driving to work i got a ding my engine light came on. Car had died out i hurried and pulled over. Car will not start at all. It turns over but will not start at all. I have had the timing replaced 2 years agi. I dont know what the problem is.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
James Cox
10

Try replacing the MAP sensor. They are $18 at AutoZone and easy to get to at the top rear of the manifold. Take a Torx 15 to remove the two screws. MAP sensors aren't great about telling the computer that they are bad. If you have a computer to read the ECM, the map sensor will read around 14.2 to 14.6 not running, and about 2 at idle. I assume these are PSI readings as they are Absolute and atmospheric is 14.7 at sea level.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Jessica Wise
10

My car all of a sudden started sputtering and choking out. It doesn't die and at first only did it when I hit the gas and now it does it while driving. The car will act like it's gonna die but it never has. Then my exhaust started smelling really bad and it gets into my car and I can't breath. It's got about 180,000 miles on it and has had regular maintenance. Could it be the fuel pump? Any suggestions welcomed. Thank you in advance

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
James Cox
10

If it will slowly and gradually get up to speed, but wants to die when you try to accelerate, it is very likely your fuel filter or fuel pump with the miles on your car.

jeff19872014
50

i have a 2002 pt cruiser just died after changing timing belt it cranks over but no fire changed crank sensor cam sensor computer and coil pack. im at a loss what else could it be!!!!!

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
tlewis9218
0

I have a 2001 pt and when my timing belt broke it did the same thing. Its recommended to change the water pump as well.. but not necessary in some cases

Rachel_Patillo
10

I AM AT A LOSS GOING TO AN ELECTRICIAN I HAVE CHANGED HEAD GASKET PLUGS TIMING BELT WATER PUMP MAP CRANKSHAFT SENSORS ONLY GIVING CODE FOR MAP I AM SO GOING CRAZY ALREADY SPENT WAY TOO MUCH MONEY,

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
PT2002groupee
10

I have a problem. My Pt Cruiser sometimes just stops while I am driving then don't start for 24 hours.. Checked relays all work Put in new ignition switch. Started not starting ( does not crank) abt 6 weeks ago. Maddening. Have had to walk a lot and leave my car for 24 hrs. Won't start in 2-3 hrs. Weird and maddening! Told it is my ECU.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
PT2002groupee
10

Another thought...Car will start after 24 hours but if it dies while backing out I have to wait 24 hrs. Nothing has time to overhrst

Kkgoldman45
0

I have a 2004 PT Cruiser, and it just died... It won't do anything now. I don't think it's the timing belt, but I don't know. Seems electrical... Somebody help!!!

bendiesel
0

You have to go to a mechanic to run a code. It happened to me. It was two things: Anti-theft portion of the computer needs to be reset. Second time it happened, it had something to do with an idle switch or component (regular wear and tear since car is old). That's why it will just shut off unless you keep pumping the gas pedal, or else it won't stay on idle. Good luck!

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