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vacationtime247 03-14-2012 07:27 AM

Successful Failure
 
Mixed feelings about my new car. Just got a 2001 PT Cruiser for $750. The price is sure nice, I'll easily make a few dollars on this car. But, after looking up the stats on the car, I'm feeling dissapointed. .39 coefficient of drag, 17 city, 22 highway, 20 combined EPA rating. Really? WTF! Must be honest, I really didn't think that a PT Cruiser with it's 2.4 DOHC 4 cylinder engine would do THAT bad. That's worse than the car it replaced, a 3L V6 '99 Olds Alero. Got an observed 30 mpg highway in that one. Well, the car was cheap enough so when it comes time to sell, should make a few bucks. Of all the cars my wife mentioned that she would like to have I figured this one would be the best choice. Wow, should of got a (puke) minivan! Oh well, I'll see what kind of numbers I can get with it. But really? Less than 30 mpg in such a small car (officially via Chrysler it's a truck) is horrid!
VT247

roosterk0031 03-14-2012 09:20 AM

My inlaws have one and complain about it's mileage, she has a couple friends with HHR's and do much better.

A.J. 03-14-2012 11:54 AM

I know what you mean!

I bought my Protege because it was cheaper than a Civic or a Corolla of the same year/mileage/condition.
Only after I bought it I realized it's rated at 22/28mpg (2.0L 130hp, 5 speed manual) compared to 28/36 for the Corolla (1.8L 130hp, 5M), 27/35 for the Civic (1.7L 115hp, 5M)... I was so disappointed!

At least I learned a valuable lesson: do A LOT of research BEFORE you buy!!

JRMichler 03-14-2012 01:19 PM

The PT Cruiser engine has peak torque RPM almost twice highway cruising RPM, so engine efficiency is bad. The automatic transmission is straight from the Neon, which is about 800 lbs lighter, and was apparently never calibrated for the PT Cruiser. The shift points are wrong for the engine torque curve. The torque converter is the epitome of "slushbox".

We had one. I got 24 MPG highway in it back when I was getting 27 MPG at the exact same speeds in my truck.

But it's a nice looking car, good seats, and a functional design in a compact package.

Danglide 03-14-2012 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by A.J. (Post 293362)
I know what you mean!

I bought my Protege because it was cheaper than a Civic or a Corolla of the same year/mileage/condition.
Only after I bought it I realized it's rated at 22/28mpg (2.0L 130hp, 5 speed manual) compared to 28/36 for the Corolla (1.8L 130hp, 5M), 27/35 for the Civic (1.7L 115hp, 5M)... I was so disappointed!

At least I learned a valuable lesson: do A LOT of research BEFORE you buy!!

Hi,
we also have an 03 protege,ours is an ES model.My wife bought it new.I haven't accuratly checked the mileage,but it seems to do pretty well on my daily commute(30 miles each way,3 miles of rough gravel,steep hills,multiple stop signs/lights).I already hollowed out the second catylytic converter,switched from sport tires to a passenger tire,and am running full synthetic oil.Today my new 4 into header will arrive,I'll try to post the results.

dkunitz 03-14-2012 04:11 PM

My guess is that the MPG was so terrible that they had to make it a light truck to pass fleet MPG standards.

My parents drive a 2001 PT Cruiser with the stick and the gearing is so short that by the time you hit about 45 MPH, you're wishing you had a 6th gear. On the highway, my dad will often put in the clutch to up-shift but it's already in 5th.

Theirs has an overheating problem or else I'd suggest the common 'add a grill block' idea.

cfg83 03-14-2012 06:18 PM

vacationtime247 -

At least you can buy rear wheel $kirts for it.

CarloSW2

A.J. 03-14-2012 06:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danglide (Post 293403)
we also have an 03 protege,ours is an ES model ... but it seems to do pretty well on my daily commute

I can easily beat the EPA mpg's, get into the 30's even maybe hit 40 on the backroads (45 mph), but I keep imagining how much higher mpg I could get with a Corolla or Civic...

The Protege is also geared too short, 3100 rpm at 65mph.:eek:
That's the reason why I endorse Drive 55!

ps2fixer 03-14-2012 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by A.J. (Post 293435)
I can easily beat the EPA mpg's, get into the 30's even maybe hit 40 on the backroads (45 mph), but I keep imagining how much higher mpg I could get with a Corolla or Civic...

The Protege is also geared too short, 3100 rpm at 65mph.:eek:
That's the reason why I endorse Drive 55!

I have a corolla... 4 speed auto with lockup, at 45mpg it does about 38 to 40ish mpg tank averages unmodded. ~1600 RPM at 45mph, 55 is right around 2k, and 70 is something like 2600. not as bad as the PT, but wish it was a bit higher (max torque is at 2800rpm, so it seems pretty efficient at low rpm. The smaller 1.6L might be a different story, but I suspect it is just a 1.8L with a smaller boar, intake, etc.

Sven7 03-14-2012 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by A.J. (Post 293362)
I know what you mean!

I bought my Protege because it was cheaper than a Civic or a Corolla of the same year/mileage/condition.
Only after I bought it I realized it's rated at 22/28mpg (2.0L 130hp, 5 speed manual) compared to 28/36 for the Corolla (1.8L 130hp, 5M), 27/35 for the Civic (1.7L 115hp, 5M)... I was so disappointed!

At least I learned a valuable lesson: do A LOT of research BEFORE you buy!!

That's because Mazda builds "zoom zoom" cars and the Corolla and Civic have lost almost all sporting intent. People buy Mazdas to have fun! :thumbup:

The PT Koozah on the other hand was just like the New Beetle. It was made first as a fashion icon and second as a functional car. it looks great, but it wasn't thought all the way through. I imagine with an SRT4 drivetrain they could be pretty fun sleepers though!

Tango Charlie 03-15-2012 07:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRMichler (Post 293375)
But it's a nice looking car, ...

Even that's debatable. :)
There are some vehicles (I'm thinking Avalanche) that when they first came out, I thought, "Yuck! How could they design such a hideous thing!?" But a few years later you get used to seeing them and they don't seem so bad.
Then there are vehicles like the PT Cruiser that you think are pretty cool when they're introduced, but then they seem to grow uglier as time goes by. Now I just sadly wag my head when I see one on the road.
0.39 Cd? Didn't they even try?
Sorry for your misfortune, VT247, but it sounds like you'll come out ahead when you sell it. (soon? :p)

A.J. 03-15-2012 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sven7 (Post 293513)
That's because Mazda builds "zoom zoom" cars[...] People buy Mazdas to have fun! :thumbup:

The only "zoom zoom" sporty fun things about the Protege are the superbly quick and precise steering and the relatively nice (...and loud) engine note. Acceleration and "performance" aren't so much better than my father's '03 Corolla 4-speed auto...

euromodder 03-15-2012 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacationtime247 (Post 293307)
Mixed feelings about my new car. Just got a 2001 PT Cruiser for $750. The price is sure nice, I'll easily make a few dollars on this car.

Why not do so right away, and get something more efficient ?

Research it before buying ;)

vacationtime247 03-16-2012 01:44 AM

Got it tuned up and running right. Had a huge vacuum leak from the intake to the PVC. Fixed a leaking & spraying fuel line! :eek: Now, for the real problem. The engine ran without knocks or noises & no smells. The trans shifted out good. BUT, the water pump leaks...and guess what? It's ran by the timing belt. Oh joy. Need to remove the front cover and get in there and replace it. Needs tires, they're mix-matched. Need a tire rod, a rear shock and some other parts. Right now I'm at about $1k in it after a $200 tow bill back to my place. Again... :eek: But my wife likes the way it looks. :rolleyes: 'It has to be able to fit the kids and the dog (our Great Dane)'

Must be honest, I didn't research the car before purchase. The price was cheap enough, knew I could make some $, so I got it. Personally, I'd like to sell it and make the $ on it quick. But, I'd never hear the end of it if I did. lol
VT247

Quote:

Originally Posted by euromodder (Post 293687)
Why not do so right away, and get something more efficient ?

Research it before buying ;)


Neen 03-16-2012 02:26 PM

I own a MT 2003 PT Cuiser...they're actually really great cars with only a few things you need to watch out for.
1)Timing belt is at least an $800 bill and it NEEDS to be done every 100K miles (interference engine)
2)The automatic trans in the base and GT turbo model are horsesh*t...only get a 5-speed PT

Oh, and I have averaged 30 MPG combined since October in the winter months of Colorado. Hope to get into the mid thirties this summer.

roosterk0031 03-16-2012 02:59 PM

Don't know if same 2.4 as in my stratus, but I had to change the waterpump & installed a new belt while there. Not hard but need to pull harmonic balancer (rent the proper tool) and you need the directions for re-installing the timing belt, I don't have them anymore a nephew got them for me.

SlideWRX 03-17-2012 10:06 PM

Here's some info about your auto trans in your PT cruiser:
gear_ratios [Chrysler 41TE Electronic ATX]

It has a 3.91 final drive, but possibly a 3.6 or 3.45 are also available. How much modding do you want to do to it? :)

vacationtime247 03-22-2012 10:14 PM

Seems this car needs at least 1 (or 2) of everything. Inner and outer tie rods, ball joints, control arm bushing, watts link, spark plugs. Already done the water pump and timing belt. Runs good, but needs new spark plugs. Pulled the old ones and they looked old and worn. Getting it tuned to at least be a solid runner. In at about $1500 after parts, tow and initial purchase. Would like to double my money on it when it comes time to sell. Let my wife drive it for a while and be on the hunt for a diesel Beetle. Been checking around for one at the right price, like the PT. In hindsight, the Cruiser is a POS. Poor fuel mileage, entire front suspension needs replaced, had to replace the water pump and timing belt, oil change, cleaned out (was filthy), etc. Can't imagine what idiot would pay $4k over sticker for one 10 years ago.
VT247
VT247

gasstingy 03-23-2012 08:34 AM

When they first came out, I wanted a PT Cruiser so bad I could hardly contain myself. Couldn't get past the price gouging the dealers were doing back then. I did notice shortly thereafter quite a few almost new ones showed up on used car lots. Finally broke down and test drove a new automatic version.....for a half block. It failed the right foot stomp miserably, so I turned around and gave it back. That helps explain {in my mind, at least} the turbo version.

Here's wishing you luck on your project PT and that you turn a profit when you sell it. I think your wife will be okay with you reselling it after she's had a little bit of time to enjoy it.

vacationtime247 03-23-2012 11:42 PM

A friend of my wifes just got a PT Cruiser from JD Buttwiper (Byrider). Had to know how much she paid, $18k! Holy crapoly! WTF! They were neat when they first came out, but now they're everywhere and no longer a niche piece. The car only has high RPM power, low end torque is non existent, the drag coefficient is .39, lousy MPG, obviously made from inferior parts (the whole front end suspension needed rebuilt). Glad I only gave what I did for it, would be kicking myself in the butt if I had to do all this to a car had I payed more. Notably, the PT Cruiser may have got more HP from the turbo, but it didn't translate into better MPG for it.

Yes, I'm hopeful that she'll drive the 'new' out of it quickly. Really don't want to have to do anything else to it beyond the suspension now. Should be in @ $1600. Cheapest I've seen them listed on CL now is $3k, and needed work. I'll list it at $3500, and take anything over $2800. On the prowl for a diesel Beetle or Jetta. Better yet, fix my uncles van, get that 88 Mercedes Diesel. Come to think of it, that's my next project...
VT247

Quote:

Originally Posted by gasstingy (Post 295254)
When they first came out, I wanted a PT Cruiser so bad I could hardly contain myself. Couldn't get past the price gouging the dealers were doing back then. I did notice shortly thereafter quite a few almost new ones showed up on used car lots. Finally broke down and test drove a new automatic version.....for a half block. It failed the right foot stomp miserably, so I turned around and gave it back. That helps explain {in my mind, at least} the turbo version.

Here's wishing you luck on your project PT and that you turn a profit when you sell it. I think your wife will be okay with you reselling it after she's had a little bit of time to enjoy it.


bhut2180 03-28-2012 07:12 PM

Watch out for your engine mounts, they tend to go out pretty quickly, but they are fairly easy to replace

vacationtime247 03-28-2012 09:17 PM

Front control arms out at the local machine shop getting new bushings pressed in. Getting new ball joints pressed in also. Thought my inner tie rods were bad, turns out it was the passenger side control arm bushing. Put new spark plugs in, runs a lot better. Now need to finish the suspension. The never ending headache this car is giving me. > : (
VT247

ecofreak 03-28-2012 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vacationtime247 (Post 296490)
Front control arms out at the local machine shop getting new bushings pressed in. Getting new ball joints pressed in also. Thought my inner tie rods were bad, turns out it was the passenger side control arm bushing. Put new spark plugs in, runs a lot better. Now need to finish the suspension. The never ending headache this car is giving me. > : (
VT247

You might be better off flipping the car and attempting to make a small profit. (True sentiments in white below, between the sad faces. I don't want to offend here.) :( Personally, I think PT Cruisers are the epitome of why US automakers are bankrupt. That car, to me, is one of the ugliest and most pathetic examples of auto design. People still bought them up, but I'm sure none of them were quite happy with their purchase. :(

The only good thing about the car is that they sold a diesel trim in the US.

vacationtime247 03-30-2012 06:11 AM

Ok, I think I'm finally done. At least for now. Got the control arms back from the machine shop. Had them press in new ball joints and rear control arm bushings. Put in new outer tie rods and a watts link in the back. This car has been a nightmare. How they sold so many is beyond comprehension. What a total POS. Hope it's done enough so she can drive it. I'll drive it to work tomorrow to test it out. Hope it makes the 18 mile drive there. Initial test and tune seemed good.
VT247

JellyBeanDriver 03-31-2012 01:59 AM

We're original owners of a 2001. Bought it when it first came out - had to wait 2 months to get it as they were not making stick shift ones yet and we heard the automatic was a dog. With the stick it's bearable but you have to wind out the gears.

Gas mileage has never been great, 16 city, 25 highway. It does 'cruise' very well on the freeway. Will do 80 MPH all day pretty comfortably and handles pretty well. Stop and go sucks.

Fit and finish is going downhill rapidly. Dashboard is cracked all over, exterior trim broke off, windshield had to be replaced from stress cracks from the edges.

Drivetrain has been very reliable, nothing replaced yet with 92K miles though it's burning oil, much more than my Geo Metro with 411K miles on the original engine.

BTW, the cruiser is NOT an interference engine, the valves will not hit the pistons. Being DOHC, the valves can hit each other (so I've read).

Neen 04-17-2012 02:53 PM

Non-interference...hmm checked it out and you are right. Good to know. Even so, replacing it is a flipping pain.

Back to the PT, you shhould sell it cause no matter how reliable it is now, you will have a bad taste in your mouth and will be ready to dump on it. Honestly though...it has been a good car for us and has been pretty much trouble free. I drive cars very conservatively though. The Mustang is for spirited driving. So for those who are considering a PT the only advice I can give is buy a manual transmission only.

trooper Tdiesel 04-17-2012 08:22 PM

2001 4speed auto trans PT
Compare Old and New MPG Estimates

2001 3speed auto trans van
Compare Old and New MPG Estimates


the numbers are rather jaw dropping :eek:

the van would beat the PT if it was a manual trans....
1995 was the last I-4 manual trans year.....granted its a 2.5L not a 2.4L engine.
Compare Old and New MPG Estimates


i don't know what they where smoking when aro testing the PT, but it had to be some really good stuff.

vacationtime247 04-18-2012 12:25 AM

Guess when they tested these cars, fuel mileage wasn't even considered. The NEW mpg rating for these cars are 20 mpg averaged & 23 highway for the automatic. Why fix anything if they're selling faster than they can be made(initially)?

If there is any silver lining in this, it's that I'm still under low re-sell value $ wise. At @ $1600 now, but it still needs things like the back passenger side tire, alignment, rear shocks. So another $150. Getting sick of putting money in it. With just 116k miles on the od, it's falling apart. The PO (Previous Owner) can't be completely at fault.

Put in a color changing radio for $100. If my wife likes it, so will the next person looking at it. Should increase the resale value too, lol ; ) Sell 'em on the radio, forget the car.....look at the radio! Want to double my $ on it. Get something better.
VT247

vacationtime247 04-29-2012 08:32 AM

Well this story has a happy ending. Got my wife a 2001 Pontiac Aztek for cheap, $1500. Sold this PT Cruiser for $2550. The people who got the PT Cruiser were happy for the deal, I'm happy with the Aztek. Got a tent on order for it. The Aztek even gets better MPG than that Cruiser! More room and lots more features to it as well.

Just so y'all know this is for my wife. My daily driver is still the 50 mpg Tempo diesel, with the occational trip in the 35 mpg Escort.
VT247

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