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greasemonkey2386, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 274
Experience:  ASE Certifications A1,A4,A5,and A7 10+ years professional hands-on experience
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Hi you all been very helpful in past! 2003 PT Cruiser GT 73K

Customer Question

Hi you all been very helpful in past! 2003 PT Cruiser GT 73K miles. Intermittent loss of power related to load applied. Two days ago drove over 100 miles combined city highway, above 80 at times, back near home and take off from stop light and any throttle application above 1/4 and it would start bucking, stall til reduce pedal position and then it would pickup lightly. When trying to accelerate harder, again start bucking. It can go a week in between. Has happened with any level of gas. Put a can of Heet in each of last two tanks. Does it dry or wet. (Seattle). New timing belt 5K ago, did it before. New Premium plugs and wires at 35K. If I remember right no fuel filter? 20 years ago was ASE World class Tech. Still some of our own work. Thanks, Dan
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Mike S. replied 4 years ago.

Does the check engine light com on when it does that loss of power and bucking? If so, retrieve that code from the computers memory. That should give us a clue as to what is going wrong. If no check engine light, you are pretty much stuck with testing for intermittent problems and that includes mostly loose wiring connections. Now since it appears to be happening when opening the throttle, I would begin by wiggling the wiring connection at the TPS ( throttle position sensor) while the engine is idling, or even in neutral and reving to listen if wiggling makes the rpm change.

Then depending on what other items it has, wiggling the wiring connections at the MAP sensor and/or MAF sensor, some vehicles have one or the other and some even have both.

Let me know if you retrieve a code.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Check engine light is on intermittently due to a power steering pressure switch malfunction so can't track it that way. Tried moving wires and tapping the TPS while brake-torquing it to 2000 rpm. No change. Your name and picture makes me ask the question, are you a Chrysler dealer tech that specific brand experience? What you gave me is good general advice, but these things have some peculiarities. If not please forward this on Thanks, Dan

Expert:  Mike S. replied 4 years ago.
No, I have never worked in the dealer. I'll pass your questions on.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you

Expert:  greasemonkey2386 replied 4 years ago.
do you have access to a vehicle lift? are you planning on doing your own work here or just looking for information? I had one of these recently that was doing the same thing but only after going through a car wash, in his car water was getting into the oxygen sensor and messing up the readings...i would recommend taking a look at your sensors to see if you see signs of water intrusion or heavy rusting and we can continue from there
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry to take so long to respond, crazy around here. Finally got it in the air to look at the O2 sensor on the cat. Looks fine, nothing out of the ordinary. Did it bad today (dry) barely pull on highway, then it clears up. Do these things need an O2 sensor as part of a regular maintenance? have had since 33K and 5 years now. Rockauto shows an upstream and downstream?

Expert:  greasemonkey2386 replied 4 years ago.
it is possible that the upstream o2 sensor is not reading correctly, you would need a scan tool with live data to look at what the sensor is reading, it would be nice to know what your long and short term fuel trims are at as well
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the reply. On fourth tank, first two fill ups had Heet added. Third tank not and ran low as I thought I would have to pull sock in tank as there is no fuel filter(?). Starts to act up about half tank and then stops. Goes days where it doesn't act up. Have been having check engine light on intermittently from a PS sensor that we have been living with. Last 45 days or so it has been staying on. Parked in garage as I have to do front control arm rear lower bushings, so can't get it to a parts store to use their scanner

Expert:  greasemonkey2386 replied 4 years ago.
I would stop with the heet and run a couple tanks of premium, u may have too much alcohol in the System, (thats all heet is) and it could be lowering your octane level. Additionally i dont know if the parts store scanner will tell you what you need to know, its worth a shot though