2008 PT Cruiser - hard time starting.


Starter has proper power but can barely turn the flywheel.

My son found a family that has a 2008 PT Cruiser in their backyard and they say if he can get it started it is his.

With that in mind I thought this would be a great way for us to learn some more about cars and spend some time together. If we get it started and working he may make a quick buck from flipping it. If it won't start we still get education and time. Win Win! I can tinker and fix lots of things on my own vehicles, but would NOT consider myself any sort of mechanic.

When we first got there we turned the key and got no-crank-no-start. The starter solenoid didn't pop, nothing. So we traced the power back to a bad battery. Put a good battery in it and did some voltage testing and voltage drop testing, then tested the starter itself. All good. I found we now had 12.4 volts down to the post on the starter AND at the switch when we turned the key. So with the starter reinstalled we turned the key. This time the solenoid popped, and the starter spun and the flywheel turned....SLOWLY.

Instead of spinning freely it sounds like the starter puts all of its might into turning the flywheel a short distance with a "whua" sound. This takes about 3/4 of a second. This ends for a couple of seconds and then it does the "whua" thing again. Sometimes it will do the 'whua" thing 2 or 3 times in a row "whua_whua". I think this is heating up the starter as it is working WAY hard but not being very successful.

With the starter out we can see the flywheel is an lovely rust color now. I wonder if is rusted, bent, warped or something???

We actually got it to turn over today and ran it for a few minutes but after shutting it down it was back to "whua" sound and wouldn't turn over again.

I have power now. I took the starter to the Auto parts store and it tested out good. The engine CAN turn over. The fluids are all at good levels.

Any advice??

Comments (1)

PT Cruisers ended production 09JUL2010, ironically 8 years ago today. Total sold: about 1.3-million. Overproduction might mean there is little resale value out there even if you can get it running. A rough idea of trade-in value came up as $451 to $846 online by inputting "standard features." You're looking at making a quick buck by flipping might be more prudent with a used Toyota to tinker on.