2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser Possible cracked header, Fix or re

Tiny
APALOMO01
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 CHRYSLER PT CRUISER
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
Had my car for roughly 9 years has 150,000 miles coolant squirts from the spark plug hole. It originally overheated due to cracked radiato, which was replaced but the car would not start after a while and a bubbling sound came from the engine. Which lead me to check beneath the spark plug to see if coolant was there. So far I don't know if it is the gasket, cracked or warped head, and if there is any additional damage to the pistons or rings from the coolant. From what I hear, replacing the header and gaskets could fix the problem, but it could also lead to others that deal with engine pressure. Quotes have ranged from 800 to 1500 depending on whether the gasket is the only problem, or resurfacing a warped head & replacing gasket, or having a cracked head which would lead to replacing the head completely and the gaskets. Gasket kit for a PT is $160 and the new head is $350 roughly, so that on top of plugs, wires, coolant, and timing belt is another $150 to $200 additional in parts. The rest is all labor, so if gasket the parts should be around $350, If it's the header then its $650 parts. So to make a long story short $900 for cracked gasket, $1200 for complete header replacement & everything else, Or the BIG ONE a remanufactured engine at $3000 which will fix all other possible problems. This entails them towing it to there place for free, taking out the old engine, replacing radiator hoses, water pump, thermostat, dipping radiator (which is not needed since it's new), replacing plugs & wires, plus installing the new engine of course. Year warranty, unlimited miles vs. The other repair services which covered 6 months. Wow, that was alot, but I appreciate any feedback or answers. Thanks AP
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 6:52 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

Thank you for the donation,

When customers come to my work shop with a problem like this is recommended to at least have the head removed and inspected, this way you will know exactly what the damage is and be able to get a firm quote on any additional repairs, if the engine is deemed to be uneconomically to repair, so be it, but if the head is serviceable with minimal work often this is the best option, I would at least get the head off and checked for warp, cracks and valve condition.

Mark (mhpautos)
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 7:01 PM
Tiny
APALOMO01
  • MEMBER
I guess the main concern is if it is worth it to replace the header with the car having a higher mileage. I've been told a remanufactured engine will practically gaurantee the car to last another 6 to 7 years. While replacing the header could cause more problems later on. If I got the replacement engine route, they stated the first thing they do is inspect the header to see if it is usable since they send in the old engine to get rebuilt as well. Kind of a swapping out deal in order to get a lower price on a newer/remanufactured engine. I would of course inspect the header myself after its taken apart so I can see how much damage was done. I'm not sure what a repair shop would cost to do this service though, the inpsection I mean. The main thing i'm looking for is the pros and cons to both, in terms of the life of the car.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 7:13 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
OK, you can do an oil pressure test this will give you a fair indication as to the condition of mail 7 big end bearings, you can also have the oil tested, this will give a better idea as to the amount of metal (bearings) in the oil, with the mileage you have there is a chance that if you do the head only you may start to burn some oil, this is due to the higher compressions as a result of the now fully sealed top end. A fulley re coed engine is of course the best way to go if you want many more years of service, you can also do a part re build, rings bearings oil pump & head, but this can have a few problems in the longer term as bores and crank are not re machined, this is a popular option if the core of the engine is deemed to be suitable for this minor re build, major components will have to be measured and still meet specs, this will normally result in a serviceable engine for some time, but obviously not as long as a fully re co, cost may come into your calculations, and the viability of the rest of the car, you must ask your self, do I want to be driving this car in 3-5-10 years time?
Doing the engine is no guarantee that other major items diff, trans etc will last the same time, another consideration, do the engine and in 1-2 year the trans dies, it may or may not. But you must consider this as a possibility, if by now you are thinking get rid of it and up date, that may be a wise option, but you have to make the decision on cost, and what you want in the next 3-6 year min,

Mark (mhpautos)
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 9:43 PM
Tiny
APALOMO01
  • MEMBER
So far I checked the oil stick to see if there are any bubbles on the dip stick, I was told this is a common sign of coolant in the oil as well, the coolant has been drained and it is also bright green. Later I plan to drain the oil to see if any metal shavings are in there. I've had quite a few services that were done under warranty and the overall upkeep of the vehicle and tune-ups have also been done as recommended. About a year and a half ago, I went in for a transmission flush since there was some minor slipping with the reaction time for horsepower and gas kicking in when I pressed on the gas pedal. It was found that it was due to some grinding in the transmission, and a few thousand was spent to have it rebuilt and put under warranty. It is for this reason as well that i'm looking more towards replacing the engine, that plus the new information you have provided, plus the high mileage I have put on it. So far i'm thinking that it is $1500 to fix the current problem, with a 50/50 chance that something else could happen, or best case scenario that it could last for 2, 3-5 years more. Or spending an extra 1500 to ensure that all parts of the engine are made to spec and last possibly 5-10 more years. From what I understand the only other thing that could have been damaged to overheating, other than engine components would be the heater core, is that a correct assumption? Other than what I have described is there anything else I should have examined, or ask once the head has been removed.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 10:18 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Radiators can stress from over heating as can all the hoses, but both these should be checked regardless of what you decide to do as is the water pump, thermostat & pressure cap, normally heater cores don't cause much of a problem as when engine over heat heater cores are normally no where as hot as the radiator and if caused by coolant loose, they are normally the first thing to run dry, I think you have a good grasp on the situation, just post if you are still unclear on any point.

Mark (mhpautos)
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, July 16th, 2010 AT 10:30 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides