my 2003 pt cruiser just stopped running.

70

Asked by 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.

52 Answers

1,135

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...

11 of 11 people found this helpful.
70

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

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
8,745

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.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
65

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.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
85

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

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
1,305

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.

20 of 20 people found this helpful.
235

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

7 of 7 people found this helpful.
1,305

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

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
40

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

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
30

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
210

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.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
75

check your fuel pump it may be that

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
210

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

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
3,885

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.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
210

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

13 of 13 people found this helpful.
150

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.

12 of 12 people found this helpful.
30

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

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
250

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

25 of 25 people found this helpful.
175

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
3,885

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.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
230

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

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
60

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!

6 of 6 people found this helpful.
355

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

23 of 23 people found this helpful.
50

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.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.
360

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

36 of 36 people found this helpful.
190

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!!!!!!!!

19 of 19 people found this helpful.
20

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

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
80

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....

8 of 8 people found this helpful.
50

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
170

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.

17 of 17 people found this helpful.
50

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.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
20

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

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
50

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.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
350

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!!!!!

35 of 35 people found this helpful.
40

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

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
80

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,

8 of 8 people found this helpful.
70

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.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
70

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

3 of 3 people found this helpful.
130

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!!!

10 of 10 people found this helpful.
30

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!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20

My pt cruiser 04 would die after. You wait a little while it would start found out the starter wire where it plugs on was bad. Put new end on wire problem solved

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
160

My 2001 pt just died a block from my house I towed it back to my house and had a computer hooked up to it and the code came up crank sensor so I replaced it once again the code came up crank sensor so I know its not that alot of people have been guessing on what it is ( fuel pump or filter, timing belt. I have spark the fuel pump kicks in when I turn the key it turns over but wont start I have gas in there so I'm lost with thoughts and ideas please throw them my way I'm really trying to avoid taking it in

16 of 16 people found this helpful.
40

HELP?!? I have a 2006 PT Cruiser Touring (2.4 Non-Turbo) About 182,000 miles, and after this past weeks brutally cold weather in New England (-30F) it wouldn't start, so naturally, we tried replacing the battery, and nothing. And the engine tries to start so hard, it sounds like it's being starved for fuel??? We checked the fuel pump, it's all good, and I just replaced the Cam Position Sensor, with no avail... Any help would be greatly appreciated!

4 of 4 people found this helpful.
30

my

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
30

my 2003 ptcruiser gt turbo starts n runs fine for a day and stalls (sputters) to a stop the nxt day but will start as if nothings wrong with it. nxt day again..had diagnostic on it with no codes..checked battery and cables they are fine..lights on high beam flicker and no horn..fuel pump..filter..timing belt..sensors idk..HELP

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
20

Sensor failure inside the distributor can cause intermittent stalling or a failure to start. In addition, the wires to the distributor are susceptible to internal damage, which can cause the same symptoms.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
20

Air intake valve. Look for an engine schematic on Google or Chrysler to find where yours is. Our 2003 pt would just die scared me silly a couple of times. Found the problem fixed it. Have not had it die again

2 of 2 people found this helpful.
10

02 pt replaced batter,cable ends and still no power to it any suggestions?

20

Have you tried YouTube to help with troubleshooting? If it is not electrical ( check fuses) nd not starter (or alternator if it was not draining the battery) it could possibly be a fuel pump that went out, or a clog or may be just the switch...

1 of 1 people found this helpful.
10

There is nothing no lights .not trying to start nothing.i changed the crank sensor,battery,and cable ends ,checked the fuses.still nothing.

Maybe you guys can help me understand my problem too.... I am having the exact same problem with my 2007 pt cruiser. It stalled on me while i was driving, would not shift past 2500 rpm because there was not enough fuel pressure to have it shift, I have had the fuel pump replace, replace the cam shaft sensor as well as the crank shaft sensor, I have tested the fuel harness plug and i do not seem to be getting power to the harness plug. it was throwing crank shaft sensor codes and i fixed that problem and it still wont work. ....... ANY ADVICE would be wonderful

My 2004 Cruiser shut off in the middle of the highway last week. It wasn't getting any fuel. First I checked all the fuses and relays. They were all good. I automatically assumed the fuel pump so I ordered a new fuel pump and installed it last night. Went to crank the car, and it's still not getting fuel. I considered maybe a broke timing belt, cause i removed the crankshaft sensor and tried cranking it, and noticed the crankshaft wasn't turning, so today i went to check the belt. I pulled the top cover back and saw that the belt was not broken. But i am considering that maybe some teeth were stripped and it jumped timing. So a I started moving wires and hoses to reach the other screws on the cover plate, pulled the spark plug wire right behind the oil cap, and noticed that it was flooded with oil. Checked another wire on the other side of the motor, and it wasn't flooded with oil, but had what looked like what may have been oil residue. I'm trying to figure out how all my motor problems (no fuel reaching the motor, crankshaft not turning, and oil flooding the spark plug wells on the left side of the motor) tie into each other since it all happened at the same time. And inquiring about what steps i need to take to begin repairing the motor. I would appreciate any and all information, explanations, guidance, and reasonable advice other than the basic and generally "way too expensive for my budget" route of replacing the whole motor. Thank you

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