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Old 02-03-2011, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,001 posts, read 14,577,787 times
Reputation: 5167

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Hi... not my car, but a co-worker has a 2002 PT Cruiser and I told him I would try to figure out what was going on. He said its losing coolant somewhere, but there are no leaks, it does not overheat and there is no coolant in oil or oil in coolant, etc. He said it will simply lose coolant. I told him I thought it could be a weak headgasket and it was simply burning it out the exhaust, but not sure.

Anyone have any suggestions? Were headgaskets issues on these cars? If so, I wonder if this is a costly repair on these?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
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The head gasket on my Scirocco let go rather suddenly about a year ago, no water in the oil, no oil in the water, just a failure between one of the coolant passages and a "fire ring" with the fire ring apparently acting as a check valve. The only warning I got before it overheated was a lot of "white smoke" (steam, actually) out the tailpipe. The car only overheated when it had blown out about half the coolant. When I say "overheat" I mean the temp gauge started to go beyond halfway - I am not dumb enough to keep driving it beyond that point...

One other place that some cars, although mostly V rather than inline engines, can lose coolant is from the intake manifold into the combustion chamber (through the intake valve, normally).

It's possible that one of the test kits for exhaust gases in the coolant would pick up even though he's not putting enough exhaust gas into the cooling system to cause the typical overpressurization and water loss out the radiator cap.

I don't have any particular experience with PT Cruisers, but if you Google "PT Cruiser Head Gasket" you will probably find out.

On many Detroit cars, Fel Pro gaskets are better than what the factory used. My *guess* would be head gasket failure, particularly if the car has over 150K miles.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:27 PM
 
901 posts, read 1,989,118 times
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The head gasket in these things are famous for going out. Borrow a pressure tester from the parts store and pressure test the cooling system. Usually this would also show you where the coolant is going because when cold it doesn't evaporate as much.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,001 posts, read 14,577,787 times
Reputation: 5167
Thanks. I have done some research for him and found out that oil consumption is a very huge issue on these, but not too much about coolant use... I will google that head gasket.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Ohio
603 posts, read 992,909 times
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I'd replace the radiator cap first, it's cheap.
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Old 02-04-2011, 12:50 PM
 
3,073 posts, read 4,473,324 times
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The PT is built on the very poor non dependable neon chassis. The maker figured people would buy the thing because they liked its looks and not be informed that it is no better than a neon. People did.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:22 PM
 
15,102 posts, read 9,408,063 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nativechief View Post
The PT is built on the very poor non dependable neon chassis. The maker figured people would buy the thing because they liked its looks and not be informed that it is no better than a neon. People did.
Real helpful reply to the OP You can get down off your pedestal now....
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
8,825 posts, read 23,242,151 times
Reputation: 4817
Well, it is true that build quality on the PT Cruiser is not exactly up to Toyota standards. Tennessee, if the head comes off, it probably makes sense to do at least valve guide seals, and I would take a hard look at the finish of the gasket surface of the head, getting the correct level of roughness - a good job looks almost like satin - and using a premium gasket like Fel-Pro *should* provide a better than factory job that should last longer.
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:12 PM
 
3 posts, read 9,038 times
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My PT is pushing the coolant straight out the overflow? What would cause this?
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Old 11-06-2011, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Eastern NC
12,910 posts, read 8,402,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim1105 View Post
My PT is pushing the coolant straight out the overflow? What would cause this?
Probably a bad thermostat or blockage of some sort.
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