The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

PT Saga Continues

First let me say that I love my PT Cruiser. I’ve had it for over 5 years; it is a first year Cruiser. During that time I’ve only had a few minor repairs and not serious callbacks.
Then the stalling when the engine is hot started.
The occurance of the problem preceded my 60K mile maintenance by only 24 hours so I added a look at the stall to the scheduled maintenace. The 60K is a pretty big deal in which all the spark plugs, wires, hoses etc are replaced or at least checked. The guess of the service guys was that the PT had gunk built up in the throttle housing (?) and that in the heat the gunk became fluid enough to ooze down and cut off the flow. No trouble. Just clean it out.
I pick up the car and drive a bit. The stall is back — or more properly never left.
[inserting forgetten visit here]
I take it back to Chrysler. They have found a tech bulletin of some sort. They download new soft/firmware in to the car’s mind. That should fix it.
In the mean time, Sally’s car, an older Saturn, was stalling too. Her problem was related to the EGR valve.
The PT, even with it’s new brain download, stalls again and again. Some symptoms: fine until driven about 15 or 20 miles in the heat. Then beware on stoplights.
The Chrysler guys next speculated that the problem was the fuel pump. My choices: Drive around with a pressure recorder on the fuel line or Just go ahead and replace the pump.
We replaced the pump. Not cheap but effective or so it seems.
No more stalling — so far.
Thursday I drove the PT about 4 blocks and the Check Engine Light lit up. Finally some data for the poor mechanics. During all the stalling there was no Check Engine and no data or alerts generated.
Now we have something for them to look at.
More on Monday.
[insert Saturday stall outs]
So I take the first good medium length drive today. Over to Durham to hear Barry Varela read from his new novel, Palmer’s Gate at the Regulator. I get almost to 9th Street when I hit a stoplight. The car stalls.
I am cursed in several different languages as I try to restart the car even though I have the e-blinkers on and am in the rightmost lane.
Finally, as usual, the PT restarts. I get to the reading a little late, but I do get there.
After the reading and good talks with friends, I get in the PT. Starts fine. Drives fine. All the way to Chapel Hill. Until I try to turn off 51-501 onto Morgan Creek. Stall again. Yikes.


  1. Paul

    7/15/2006 at 5:21 pm

    I tried both recommended ways to get the codes. The first, turn to run whilst holding the odomenter button. Did almost as advertized. 11111111 thru 99999. Then the serial number. Then in place of the code ghost-in-the-machine display, followed by something that looked kinda like “faults” but in “ghost” lettering. Not very helpful.

    The second method, turning back and forth and back and forth to RUN (just before Start), gave me the P numbers! But what did I get?

    First P 1684 which is said to mean “BATTERY DISCONNECT Battery has been disconnected within the last 50 starts (status indicator only – NOT a reported fault code)” I don’t think this is true, but maybe it’s been less than 50 starts since the fuel pump was installed.

    Second P 0551 which is said to mean “PWR STEERING SWITCH PERF Incorrect input state detected for the power steering switch circuit (for PL, high pressure seen at high speed)” Another source says “Power Steering Pressure Sensor Circuit Range/Performance”

    Neither of these seem to relate to the problem. Yikes!

    Read a little more about the 0551 message. It’s listed under “P0500-P0599 – Vehicle Speed Controls and Idle Control System” which sounds like an idle issue for sure which is what I’m experiencing. Is this the cause or merely a side effect of the real problem?

  2. It could be cloaking the “real” problem. BTW, we have a, ummm, problematic Town & Country – I’m intimately familiar with its codes ;-)!

  3. I have a 2001 PT that also just turned 60K miles and I am experiencing exactly the same problem. We just did 60K service that included software update, decarb service throttle body service, fuel injector flush, new plugs and wires, tuneup etc. Also replaced Camshaft sensor after the sensor lost signal on a road test. I still have the problem. Have you found a real solution yet?

  4. Paul

    7/23/2006 at 11:14 am

    No. $1200+ into the stall problem and I have no solution. I thought when I finally saw a check engine light and when that light had something to do with idle, that I finally had it. (see entries above).
    That last step was replacing the flaky Power Steering Sensor and the “Multi-switch” that handles the lights and was giving me a fog lights on image on right turns. Cost: under $600.
    For a week I thought I was fine. But on returning from BarCamp and trying to get to Ruby and Brian’s wedding yesterday, I stalled again.
    The regular elements at play. First it was a very hot day. Second I had had on the air con. Third I had driven over 30 miles on the Interstate. On exitting from the Interstate, I stalled. I couldn’t restart until I had ground down the battery even. But someone helped me push the car off the road. Then it started and worked fine all the way home.
    What is not the problem:
    anything replaced at 60K miles (I had the failure just before the service).
    the throttle stuff which we had cleaned at the same 60K.
    The firm/software specified in the Tech Bulletin.
    The fuel pump (this one really pisses me off; yes i authorized the install but because i couldn’t imagine that driving around with pressure testers on the fuel lines would be safe etc).
    the broken (for me) power steering pressure sensor
    the multi-switch (for the lights)

    Note: My PT has a standard transmition.

  5. Thanks for the feedback and info. The symptoms on our cars are identical. Mine is an auto transmission. I’ve found that if I simply let the car sit for a minute before trying to restart, that it starts much better. I’ll see what the dealer repair shop says about it tomorrow.

  6. Paul

    7/24/2006 at 2:09 pm

    Do let me know what turned out. I’m taking mine back in tomorrow (Tuesday) for another sensor replacement which the new guy working on the problem says “when that one drops out the car stalls and it doesn’t get reported to the computer.” i can’t recall which one it is just now but by tomorrow it will be know and changed.

  7. I have an automatic ’01 and have the same problem. Last time the dealer replaced the MAP sensor and for a few weeks all was well. The aggravation is that when I have a chance to get to the dealer, the Check Engine light isn’t on! When I spoke to the service guy, he thought there might be an electical gremlin in the ignition switch.
    When/if someone finds the definitive answer, add me to the list of those wanting to know.
    I intend to keep my ’01 for a few more years, if this doesn’t turn into nickle/dime problem.

  8. I have the same exact problem. A mechanic had it for a month and couldn’t figure out what it was. He got so frustrated he gave me the car back without it being fixed
    he called it “cutting bait”. Still not fixed car sputters and stalls like crazy. The only piece of mind that I have right now is that I’m not alone. Here’s some insight
    though I replaced the battery recently with a optima battery. and get this it runs fine for about a month. then problem comes back. Does your speedometer tweak out as
    well when the car is moving or standing still?

    So far:

    Transmission sensors replaced.
    Computer replaced.
    battery replaced.

  9. Paul

    8/1/2006 at 8:27 pm

    Life would be easier if you guys left contact information. My saga has continued and it’s now August 1.

    Yes I drove to Raleigh in the heat and yes it stalled out at the end of the ride in each direction. I’ve created a catagory just for the PT Saga.

    As of today, we know that these things don’t fix the PT stalling when hot and driven fast problem: anything in the 60K mile tuneup, cleaning the throttle housing etc, firmware upgrade, power steering pressure sensor, fuel pump, EGR (exhaust gas recovery), and multi-switch and shift cable (these last two not really a candidates).

  10. I think I have the fix. Contact me at Hope this will work for you.

  11. I’m having the exact same problem with the exact same 2 error codes: 0551 & 1684. Charles, if you get this, can you e-mail me as well? I’d appreciate it much!

  12. Paul

    8/10/2006 at 8:13 pm

    1684 just means the battery was disconnected lately. fear that not.
    0551 says the power steering pressure sensor is acting funky. replace that.
    I have Co-Pilot installed now and have had one stall out. More info soon.
    See the category thread for the latest.

    Do let us know what you found out. I wrote you just after you posted here but haven’t heard back as yet.

  13. OMG!! I’m having the EXACT same problems with 2003 TE PT! And it only has 36,000 miles on it. First, they did a throttle body clean out and then we got a tune-up. It was still stalling and hesitating. Then they replaced a map sensor and updated software – ran great for about a week, then stalled again and again. Then they replaced another sensor – still stalling. Then they replaced a charcoal canister (?) – hesitating has stopped, but still stalling. They ordered a fuel pump and I’m dropping it off again on Monday. Now after reading this, I’m worried it won’t help. I have a 7/70 warranty and I’m worried they’ll never figure it out. At least I know it’s not just me. It’s just like you said – it always happens on deceleration, especially on highway exits and red lights. If you find out anything else PLEASE let me know!!

  14. If anyone is still checking this thread, my car is finally fixed! They replaced the fuel pump and the tech took it for a road test. It stalled on them again, so they ordered an oxygen sensor. This is it. My car runs so much smoother and has not stalled in three days. It hasn’t even tried. The tach doesn’t drop like it was doing before. If anyone is still having this problem, suggest the oxygen sensor!!!!

  15. I posted this in another thread about the camshaft and crankshaft position sensor. Someone above mentioned the camshaft position sensor but not the crankshaft sensor. These sensors seem to work together to send a signal to the ECU to indicate a running engine. The dealer told me it wouldn’t be either of these sensors and went onto explain stuff in terms only a mad scientist could understand. I went ahead and spent $50 for both sensors at my local autoparts store and replaced them myself in less than 30 min. The dealer wanted to charge $235 to install them.

    Poof! the problem is gone. I spent almost $3000 before this to fix nearly every problem that was talked about above, fuel pump, ECU, injectors, battery, O2 sensors, etc. Nothing worked. It was to the point that when driving at 65 mph the engine would stall and sometimes come back on while coasting to a stop. Talk about nerve racking.

  16. Me again. You can disregard my last post. Got on the highway yesterday and the car started acting up again. I called the dealer again and spoke to the service manager. He said to bring it back in. I’ll suggest the two sensors Dan mentioned. Of course they’ll probably think I’m a stupid girl and won’t pay attention to what I have to say.

  17. Let us know how it goes Michelle. If this fixes your problem let everyone know. I have been out to at least 10 different websites and the same problem seems to be happening to quite alot of people. The unfortunate thing is the dealers are not acknowledging this as a problem. Maybe if some of them would read blogs on the net maybe they would come to the conclusion that this is something that warrants more attention.

    If anyone wants or needs more detailed information on how to change these sensors yourself drop me an email. I have photos and things I can send out to you. My email is

  18. I have a 2001 PTC 5-speed manual that just turned 19,000 miles and my MIL light came on. I have searched the sites for codes after doing the procedure both methods: Faults and 05 00. Is this a Vehicle Speed Sensor issue and can it be fixed by me (limited mechanical knowledge.

    I replaced the transmission o-rings which failed at 10,000 miles for $20. DC wanted $600 for a new linkage.

    Thanks Ken

  19. My wife’s 2001 PT Cruiser Standard transmission 75,000+ miles, had the engine light come on today. After several stops and starts the light is still on. Did any of you all have this happen prior to the stalling? And could someone post information on how to get the codes and where to find out what the codes mean? I’d really appreciate it. Thanks John.

  20. Paul

    9/18/2006 at 9:44 pm

    Many things can cause the light to go on. Basically, it means at least one sensor was tripped. the light will stay on until you take it to the dealer or reset it yourself.
    Getting the codes, I describe that on the second comment on this thread
    What they mean? WillR has a link in place in the first comment and I have one in the second comment.
    Good Luck. (My PT seems fine now. the fix was the camshaft and crankshaft sensors)

  21. Man alive! Never had those serious issues until yesterday. I was driving around in Jax, FL, stalled in the middle lane, I freaked. After several attempts my ’01 PT started, I got in the right lane, turned onto Kernan, and it died when I slowed for a light. Dealership says my timing belt is history, and they have to bust the engine down to determine if there are further issues. My 01 has 95,000 miles, I drive a lot. Trying to decide if it’s time to replace it, and if I want another Cruiser. I love it, just the right size for me.

  22. My 04 PT has just started sputtering when I’m sitting ilde at the light, so far
    it hasn’t died, but it sure feels like it. Any ideas?

  23. Paul

    9/29/2006 at 4:15 pm

    replace the camshaft sensor and the crankshaft sensor. and have the idle checked. should be about 750 rpm at rest.

  24. Norcalfilly

    10/5/2006 at 1:29 pm

    I own an 01 Cruiser that started having computer problems at 79,800 miles. The fault codes I get are P1684 (battery disconnect); P0122 (TPS Sensor low voltage); P0106 (Baro out of range re: MAP Sensor); and P1496 (5 Volt Output Low). These codes have come up consistently over the last two months wherein I’ve had my car towed ($390)four times for the same issue. The car has been to the dealership 3 times. The PCM has been replaced. I have no clue, and I think the dealership has no clue what to do about this situation. They want to sell me a new car. Yea right, I paid $12,000 for this used vehicle (it had 42,000 when I bought it in August, 04), and they won’t give me that amount for a trade-in 🙁 What’s a girl to do. I love my car, but I’m a single parent (not rich), and it’s my only transportation. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  25. I have a ’01 PT with four wheel disk brakes and automatic. Recently the power steering has started making a whining noise when I crank it in the mornings. After several miles, it goes away. There is never any degraded steering just the noise. Does anyone know how to correct this short of replacing the pump?


    SGT John Fulton

  26. Rosanne Says:

    11/3/2006 at 10:37 pm

    I just bought a 2001 P.T. Cruiser it has 140,000 kms on it.. the engine light came on while I was driving it home about 100 kms.. I really appreciate all this information. I’m going to bring it in with this page and suggest the camshaft sensor and the crankshaft sensor. I’ll keep everyone posted. Shud get an email from me next week..

  27. Paul

    11/3/2006 at 10:59 pm

    The check engine light could mean a number of things. So don’t replace right away. I was having stalling without the check engine noticing at all. Check engine means that some sensor someplace send a message to the computer. You can read the messages yourself. See comment 2 in this thread as to how.

  28. Rosanne Says:

    11/6/2006 at 2:36 am

    Anyone have a problem with oil leaking – that may be one reason why my engine light is going on.. Took it for a run and had to put another quart of oil in it.. That’s two quarts in one week… EEEK! My car’s gong in this Thursday..

  29. Rosanne Says:

    11/9/2006 at 9:19 pm

    Okay brought the car in – they didn’t see anything major with the oil leak but did replace the camshaft sensor only as that’s what the computer suggested.. we’ll see if the engine light comes on again without replacing both sensors.. will let you know.. Cheers!

  30. Michael Jewell

    12/26/2006 at 9:46 pm

    I have a 2005 PT cruiser that would stall intermittently on hot days and/or after freeway driving and stopping at the first stop sign. I did the obvious by installing new NGK recommended spark plug and new air filter; these did not solve the problem, although the card ran better.

    Although under warrantly, I prefered to solve the problem myself; for less than the cost of a days rental car when dropping of the car.

    To solve my problem, I did two things, washed the PCV filter with warm water and dish soap, then fresh water until the water ran clear. this is the small sponge filter approximately 4″x4″ located immediately under the large air filter.

    I also replaced the (cheapo) original Mopar spark plug wires with Bosch wires. I noticed Bosch wires had a plastic heat shielding tube around each wire. I believe this is what solved my stalling problem. Since the wires cross over the top of the engine (a hot place), I believe it is a manufacture defect not to have a heat shield.

    The following web site gives details with photos, step by step to change PT cruiser spark plugs and wires.

    See the following link and take a very close look at the Bosch wire set, notice the heat shield.

  31. My ’02 Cruiser just went through a timing belt change and now the engine light has come on with the p0551 Power Steering Pressure Sensor Circuit Range/Performance code. Does anyone know precisely what I will have to have done to the car….is it just a sensor or is my power steering pump history?

  32. Rosanne Says:

    1/19/2007 at 8:01 pm

    Just want to let everyone know my car is running good since I changed the Camshaft sensor took it thru a winter storm 8 hours driving time up and down the Rocky Mountain Passes and it ran like a charm…. I LUV it!

  33. Ok, I just bought the PT 3-months ago. Went to have the oil changed and every since the oil light stays on all the time..ding ding ding ding, enought to drive me up a wall. I have had the oil cked and it is fine. So why does my oil light keep coming on and staying on?

    Second, I was on my home today from the mechanics from having my camshaft replaced (because my car wouldnt start then it would but the engine light stayed on, then it wouldnt start they tested it and said replace the camshaft) and I noticed this green light come on for a minute and them go off again. What is that?


  34. Victor and Joy

    3/10/2007 at 10:37 pm

    Hello everyone.

    I have a 2001 PT Cruiser with the same intermittent stall during hot weather.

    I have changed the Camshaft Position Sensor, cleaned out the Throttle Body, Replaced the Idle Air Control.

    We have been able to drive the car all winter because it has been so cold. But now that we are back to 60 degree weather on the East Coast, I experienced four stalling incidents within an hour.

    Do I can the car for an HHR?


  35. Victor and Joy

    3/10/2007 at 10:38 pm

    BTW: I can be reached at

    I get alot of Junk Email, so place in the email address “PT Response” or something that would key me in on your important response.

    Thanks again.


  36. I have a 05 PT stalling and sputtering. I first had it checked at 20k miles and dealer said nothing wrong. It now has 34957 and my warranty is nearly ending(36k). My plan is to bring it in on Monday to two different dealerships (making it 3 visits), when they find nothing wrong, I’m going to take it to a private mechanic and see if he finds it. I live in Massachusetts and I’m able to get a refund under the Lemon Law (3 visits for same problem or 10 days in the shop) has anyone had any luck getting a refund?
    Info would be greatly appreciated.

  37. I had similar stalling as you did Paul. The car would quit on off ramps and
    began stalling at idle every once in a while. I had the crank sensor changed
    and the car is running beautifully. This is the power of the internet.
    Thank you for all your help.

  38. Have a 05 5speed misses stall all of the same things replaced plugs wire with mallory and bosch replace coil pack with msd about 150.00 did work myself car idled a lot smother. my car is dead in the drivway i beleave it is a cam or crank sensor or both. I am afraid to take to dealer as it ma start for them and in turn not relplace anything. i allready had this happen once and they billed chrysler for plugs and wires never replced them. Anyway iam a fair shade tree and my car would stall for about one second running down the road and start back tach and speedo would go to 0 and chime would sound when it started back just as if you had turned the key off and back on real quick. i had the batt disc code. I think the car have a week wiring hareness as my light dim and flicker at night. Iam going to try supper grounded everything under the hood as i have heard this will make a differnce. I am glad to find others with the same proplem. I will post progress.

  39. where is the camshaft positioning sensor located on a 04 pt cruiser???

  40. the fault code comes up as the camshaft po sensor..
    i was just curious how hard it is to change.i cant seem to find anything about where its located at..
    any help would be great…Thanks

  41. Paul

    5/29/2007 at 7:53 pm

    I found the part here, and here but I’d recommend going to a parts store and getting them to show you the part’s placement on the engine. This also looks promising. It’s an image of the EGR and PCV valves along with the CMP.

  42. crank sensor is located on the side of the block that faces the frt of the vehcile to just left of the bell housing and above the oilpan rail. it about the only thing in that area with a wire conecting to it ..Cam shaft sensor is located at the drivers end of the head. It is the easyest of the two to replace. Both cost me 75.00 but had a friend that discounted 25%. Fixed my problems. But traded vehicle Memorial day on a 07 mustang v/6 5speed. Mustang weights about 250 more than the cruiser has 210 hp but get 24.5 worst and 27.5 best in city urban driving that almost as good as the cruiser. Good luck with cruiser

  43. thanks for the help.i went to roberson chrysler here in salem,or and they had 3 cam po sensors in costs $53 and took about 15 minutes to install it..the fault code is gone now and it runs like new has 73,000 miles on it..the warranty ran out like a couple weeks ago.then the engine light comes on.i did the ignition key trick to read the code and it worked..thanks for the help…

  44. i hope we dont start having alot of problems with the car now..
    its are first (new) car.its an 04 pt ,blue with baby moons ,havnt had any probs with it at all until a couple weeks ago..

  45. we were at the ocean when the engine light came on..i pulled over and checked everything and ev erything was full and it was running fine.i got home and looked on here and seen that if you turn the key to on 3 times and then on the third time leave it will show you a code where the odometer is.i tried it and the code p 0340 came i looked it up and its the camsgaft positioning i went to schucks and asked about it and it would cost $79 and 7 days to get i decided to call more auto parts stores..we kept driving it. the light would go out for a day or so then come back on.then it started hesitating real bad .then be i called the chrysler dealer and got the part the same day for $53 then got home and installed it was really easy to do.just 2 bolts and 1 wire connector..i started it up and its been great since then..that was yesturday.
    hopefully it stays that way

  46. We replaced the camshaft sensor with no problem, but we cannot for the life of us find the crankshaft sensor. Anyone have a diagram.

  47. Found it and replaced it but no luck – we have to jump it even to get it to turn over. Now checking to see if battery needs replaced?

  48. I have a ’03 p.t.crusier with a standard transmission . . . 97,000 miles .

    I had some extensive work done on the engine at the local dealer; tune up,
    changed out the timing belt, new battery,etc. Costed right at $ 1,000.00 .
    Car still has a bucking effect when in low gear and engine seems to be missing
    or starving for gas . No dead stalling however .

    Can anyone help ? I don’t want to go back to the dealer .

    Very good website !



  49. CampJen where did you find the crankshaft sensor?

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