Not much to this thread. A good friend owns a late PT Cruiser - not a GT or turbo anything, just one of the prettier plain jane Cruisers with an automatic. I know this is vague - I"ve only been in the car once, and that was ten years ago. At best, I"ll see this car sitting out at the far corner of the parking lot. I"m not that familiar.

You are watching: Pt cruiser timing belt broke while driving

Anyhow, car wouldn"t start. Mechanic diagnosed broken timing belt, and quoted $2100 in a fix that involved sending parts out to a machinist. I confirmed that PT engines (at least everything that came up in the first couple of links on DuckDuckGo) are interference.

My first thoughts are that a replacement engine might be cheaper. A used engine. A reman. I"m thinking about second opinions, and alternate strategies, but my only engine failure involved magic Doritos back when the world was trying to figure out if Rachel and Ross would get back together.

Before you ask, adding a lift to the barn isn"t on the table.

$2100? Is that a sane amount?


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Its a plain jain 2.4L DOHC motor, nothing fancy.

Get a reman.

Keep in mind: the engine bay of a PT is a pain to work with, which adds to the labor price.

The machinist work would be to have the head repaired with new valves and valve seats among other items, this is assuming the pistons weren"t badly damaged. Then there"s whatever else is damaged in there.

All that said, how much running and driving car would $2100 get them? Let alone put down on a newer one?


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They don"t always bend valves, so the mechanic is jumping to conclusions sending the head out if he didn"t do a leakdown test or anything. IIRC it"s a valve/valve interference issue, not piston/valve. I"ve done a belt on one that broke, it ran fine afterward, the job took an entire day, you have very little room to work between the engine and passenger frame horn. I think the book time is somewhere around 8-10 hours.

That said they"re hateful piece of E36 M3 cars and this is likely the time to scrap it or drape the body over a old circle track car chassis


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Ive never seen a 2.4 eat valves. 2.0, every time. Put a belt on and do a compression test without reinstalling all the covers and mounts to confirm.


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Thanks all, I"ll pass this on.



I did a little googling and came up with $1200 to do a head gasket. That includes the watetpump and timing belt. So take that and add the cost of either a used head or repairs to the head. That comes off the motor.

This is all assuming that the pistons are still good and the valves did not break and bounce around a cylinder.

I would scope the cylinders to verify what happened inside the motor before tearing in to it.


I"ve done the timing belt before, and it wasn"t easy but it wasn"t hard. I would do it first, because it"s only a couple of hundred bucks in parts.

And I have to say I really enjoyed our PT Cruiser.


Doing a timing belt on a 2.4 is pretty easy, but the tight confines resulting from the PT"s fenders do add to the fun a bit.

I"m fairly certain that unlike the 2.0, the 2.4 NGC is a non-interference design in terms of piston v/s valve. There is, however, a possibility of the opposing valves striking each other and causing significant damage. That"s supposed to be fairly rare, but it could happen.


dean1484 wrote: I did a little googling and came up with $1200 to do a head gasket.

I would smile politely and tell you to tow your PT down the road if you asked me to do the head for $1200.

That number might work in a dirt floor shop in Alabama, but I don"t think any place with a warranty and insurance would do it for that.


Additionally: It won"t start and he says timing belt? We need more information here. I think it is not normal for a car to break the timing belt while sitting. How many miles? I think they were good for 120K.


I have done 30+ broken PT timing belts, one had a bent valve. Just put a belt on it.


For $21 I"ll help your friend push the PT Cruiser into a lake!


i bent all 16 valves on the 2.0 in my 95 Neon when the belt broke while cranking the engine over with the starter. yes, all 16 valves are bent.. so i"m a bit weary of just throwing a belt on that engine family and hoping for the best, but i"ve also only ever worked on exactly one engine from that family...


My sister"s PT burnt a valve and needed head machine work done. It was throwing misfire codes for the cylinder with the burnt valve. It was about $2000 out the door. Can"t remember which engine though, or if it eventually quite starting, but it sure ran like crap for a while.


In reply to novaderrik:

The 2.0s were different from the 2.4s. The 2.0 in both SOHC and DOHC form were interference engines where the piston needed the valves closed in order to clear its stroke. The 2.4 has no such clearance issue, however the intake and exhaust valves are close enough that it is possible, but not common, for them to make contact if the cams are rotating independently.

Throw on a belt, tensioner, and water pump. In the unlikely event that doesn"t do it, grab a JY head and let "er rip.

See more: Comparing Two Things Using Like Or As, What Is A Simile And Metaphor


Remove the ecu changing the belt requires a lot om up and down movement and the connectors damage the ecu easily. I have done 3 2.4 pt cruisers and all were driving when the belt let go. Just changed the timing stuff. Auto zone sells a complete kit with new covers and updated tensioner.


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