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General Automotive General automotive discussion. This is intended to be a discussion about other not VW and Diesel cars you may have or interested in.

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Old July 5th, 2011, 06:34   #1
visionlogic
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Default PT Cruiser 2.4L timing belt change - Yuck!

I'm in the middle of a driveway (no shade tree to be found) change out of a timing belt on an non-turbo '04 PT Cruiser 2.4L for my mechanically disinclined stepson. For my remuneration I have him participating in the job as my "helper". We're both loving the 95* heat.

I've never wrenched on one these before. As far as I'm concerned doing a TB job on my ALH is a piece of cake compared to this... so many bits and pieces to be removed, pushed out of the way, etc.

I found it negatively interesting that the belt stripped teeth at 67k miles, with other belt teeth obviously separating, when the recommended mileage rating for the belt is 102k miles. But, I don't know the 'age' change out recommendation, and being an '04 means an approximate age of 7 years, which seems awfully long to me.

Stripped teeth:




Separating teeth:



From what I've been able to gather the 2.4L is a 'partially' non-interference engine. The valves won't hit the pistons, but they can hit each other when a TB lets loose. After I get the new belt, new tensioner, new roller, and new water pump on I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a compression check will show good numbers.

If anyone has any tips or tricks I'm all ears! Thanks!
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Old July 5th, 2011, 07:08   #2
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I have never known one of those NOT to bend valves. And I have seen plenty of them, as that engine was also used in base model Caravans for years, which seems to be a magnet for "base model" people (meaning, they never do ANY PM.... unless it stops moving).
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Old July 5th, 2011, 07:40   #3
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I have never known one of those NOT to bend valves. And I have seen plenty of them, as that engine was also used in base model Caravans for years, which seems to be a magnet for "base model" people (meaning, they never do ANY PM.... unless it stops moving).
Oh joy! Just what I wanted to hear!

All sarcasm aside, I appreciate you giving me your expertise. Do you think I should move ahead with the belt, etc. install and do the compression check, or just stop at this point and pull the head? Are quality rebuilt heads readily available, or are they regularly rebuilt? Is piston or rod damage likely to have occurred? Sorry for so many questions... just trying to formulate a plan.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 07:43   #4
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Actually, Fiat is trying to dis-associate themselves with ANYTHING Chrysler has had, and the PT is one such animal. Many parts are NLA for them (try finding a heater core, for instance).

My machine shop regularly does heads for these, so in that respect there should not be any issues getting parts if it is just the typical valve job. Just be sure it gets an MLS head gasket, even if it was originally equipped with a composite (it probably is an MLS anyways, or you'd have a puddle of oil everywhere the car goes by now).

The thing I always worry about with situations like this is: even if the valves were not signifigantly damaged enough to cause a compression loss right now, how much longer will it run with them ever so slightly bent before it self destructs the guides, overheats the stem, and drops the head into the cylinder and completely trashes the engine? Many multi-valve engines have valves so tiny and springs so stiff that even a slightly tweaked valve can be forced shut "well enough" to start and run, but it won't run for long.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 08:06   #5
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Thanks Brian. Looks like I'll be pulling the head and making some phone calls to try and find a reputable shop in the Mobile-Pensacola area.

Just for yardstick purposes, what's your going rate for a typical valve job on one of these?
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Old July 5th, 2011, 08:16   #6
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It is like an 8 hour job. Then if it is nearing 200k miles, I'd recommend the balance shaft chain and tensioner, too, under the oil pump at the front of the crank.
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Old July 5th, 2011, 09:33   #7
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It is like an 8 hour job. Then if it is nearing 200k miles, I'd recommend the balance shaft chain and tensioner, too, under the oil pump at the front of the crank.
It's got 67k miles. The problem surfaced when the engine would not start after being stopped to fuel at a gas station.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 19:09   #8
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from what i remember the 2.4 is a non interference motor, the valves can still hit each other tho. The 2.0 was the interference motor. they share almost the exact same cyl head tho. i would do a leak down or compression test before ripping off the head.i have done quite a few engine swaps with the 2.4 into first gen and second gen neons.

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Old July 8th, 2011, 05:47   #9
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i would do a leak down or compression test before ripping off the head.
I'm leaning towards a leakdown test to try to pinpoint any tweaked valves. But first I've got to borrow, make or buy a tester, and get hold of a compressor, neither of which I have. Of course.
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Old July 9th, 2011, 13:21   #10
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Throw the new belt and whatnot on and check compression before you start it... if all is well, see how it runs... in my experience with the 2.4's, they will either be absolutely fine or have no compression in one or 2 cylinders.
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Old July 10th, 2011, 07:23   #11
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Lo and behold, I do have a compression gauge! I'll move ahead with the install and do the tests. Thanks for relating your experience. Much appreciated!
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Old July 10th, 2011, 15:35   #12
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Spent several hours today in the driveway putting the TB path parts back in. But didn't finish.

I'm failing to keep the cam gears lined up prior to putting the TB on. I'm guessing that the cam followers exert enough back pressure on the cam such that each wants to rotate off of its alignment marks. Perhaps I should pop the VC so I can jam a piece of wood under each cam to provide some resistance to the 'auto rotation' as I install the belt?
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Old July 10th, 2011, 15:55   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visionlogic View Post
Spent several hours today in the driveway putting the TB path parts back in. But didn't finish.

I'm failing to keep the cam gears lined up prior to putting the TB on. I'm guessing that the cam followers exert enough back pressure on the cam such that each wants to rotate off of its alignment marks. Perhaps I should pop the VC so I can jam a piece of wood under each cam to provide some resistance to the 'auto rotation' as I install the belt?
Be positive, it's only gotta run long enough to trade it in.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 07:01   #14
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It can be a pain to hold the cam gears.. the rear one is the PITA.. Be persistent with it.. You'll get it.. sometimes you can place something between the 2 gears to hold them like a wooden wedge.. I have a nice little aluminum thing that works well for those things..
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Old July 11th, 2011, 08:18   #15
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my tip for getting the cam gears is to line the exhaust side off a little like 1 tooth. then dont forget to turn the motor over a full 2 times before checking to see if the marks are lined up. that always brought them back into time for me. I never had luck when lining them up correctly before i put the belt on.
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