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#4502366 - 08/30/17 02:40 PM Check over used cars carefully - Houston
George7941 Offline


Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2158
Loc: Toronto, Canada
A long time customer of mine, in his seventies, calls me for a water heater repair in his house. A very nice honest gentleman and I have never had a problem with him over the years. When I pull up I notice the PT Cruiser he has been driving for many years is in his driveway with a brick being used as a wheel chock and a big stain on the driveway under the engine.

He explains that his daughter bought a used Toyota Corolla for him to drive and he wants to sell his PT Cruiser. Do I know anybody looking for a good used car? Nothing much wrong with it except no heat in the cabin and a coolant leak which caused the stain on the driveway. I said - sure, I will ask around. After all, no visible rust on the body.

It hit me about a minute later - car developed a coolant leak, he drove with low coolant and overheated the engine and damaged the head gasket and the escaping compression is causing the no heat situation. Shop told him it will be very expensive to fix, he does not want to believe it but his daughter did and that is why she bought him another car.

With some cars it might be worth sinking some money in and getting the head gasket taken care of but not the PT Cruiser. It does not have a good reputation at all. So he essentially has a pile of junk sitting in his driveway.



Edited by wwillson (08/31/17 04:52 PM)
Edit Reason: subject clarification

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#4502370 - 08/30/17 02:44 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10182
Loc: OH
I wonder what he wants for it? smile Probably worth scrap value. Looks like it isn't on CL since there's only two of them listed that don't fit the description. You would think there would be more than two in Toronto for sale by owner.

https://toronto.craigslist.ca/search/cto?query=pt+cruiser


Edited by SatinSilver (08/30/17 02:53 PM)

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#4502380 - 08/30/17 02:49 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: SatinSilver]
George7941 Offline


Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2158
Loc: Toronto, Canada
It would be foolish for somebody to offer more than scrap value.
_________________________
2006 GMC Sierra 4.3l, NV3500,G80 , Mobil 1 5W30, Dexcool.
1987 BMW R80 - sold
2015 Honda CBR300R

Staying out of the right lane a lot.

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#4502388 - 08/30/17 02:53 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: SatinSilver]
George7941 Offline


Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2158
Loc: Toronto, Canada
BTW Craigslist isn't used much in Toronto. We use Kijiji. I doubt it is listed online because I don't think the gentleman is computer literate.
_________________________
2006 GMC Sierra 4.3l, NV3500,G80 , Mobil 1 5W30, Dexcool.
1987 BMW R80 - sold
2015 Honda CBR300R

Staying out of the right lane a lot.

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#4502397 - 08/30/17 02:57 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10182
Loc: OH
Oh gotcha, never knew that. Yes, there' a ton of them on the other site. Maybe the daughter listed it for him. Otherwise it will probably be sitting there awhile. smile

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#4502401 - 08/30/17 03:01 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 12704
Loc: Onondaga County
Those engines have a bad habit of blowing the head gasket, even without overheating or being run low on coolant ...
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#4502484 - 08/30/17 04:16 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
funflyer Offline


Registered: 06/26/14
Posts: 693
Loc: Northern Arizona
It's a PT Cruiser, he'll have to pay someone to haul it away, even if it were running grin
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#4502548 - 08/30/17 05:16 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3052
Loc: NJ
How is this a good used car?
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#4502558 - 08/30/17 05:28 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: Leo99]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10182
Loc: OH
Originally Posted By: Leo99
How is this a good used car?


He was being sarcastic. I almost fell for it at first as well. smile

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#4502636 - 08/30/17 07:05 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21208
Loc: Orlando, FL
I inherited a 2005 Civic with 30K miles, I might sell it here on BITOG.

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#4502825 - 08/30/17 09:50 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
Dave9 Offline


Registered: 08/28/17
Posts: 188
Loc: Cincinnati, USA
Originally Posted By: George7941
It hit me about a minute later - car developed a coolant leak, he drove with low coolant and overheated the engine and damaged the head gasket and the escaping compression is causing the no heat situation. Shop told him it will be very expensive to fix, he does not want to believe it but his daughter did and that is why she bought him another car.

With some cars it might be worth sinking some money in and getting the head gasket taken care of but not the PT Cruiser. It does not have a good reputation at all. So he essentially has a pile of junk sitting in his driveway.



It could have a blown head gasket, but the deductive process you made is not correct. If there is no cabin heat it has nothing to do with escaping compression. It means either the fan isn't blowing which would be obvious, or there's no coolant flowing through the heater core. Less likely the blend door is broken or actuator failed.

A leak down test could be done or a compression test to assess cylinder compression. For all we know it could just have a broken heater hose or worn water pump seal causing the leak. Did he have it towed to a shop for a real estimate or just call a shop and get told the worst thing they guessed it could be?

I'm not a fan of PT Cruisers but if it doesn't have high miles and is in good condition it could easily be worth a head gasket swap. Usually you can get a shop to do that for a little under $1000. What can you get that's better for under $1000, considering it then has a new head gasket? Used around that price usually have a significant mechanical problem unless they're old as the hills.

Often companies like Felpro will reengineer bad gasket designs so they last a lot longer than the factory part, if the OEM doesn't do that themselves. Otherwise DIY in a weekend and a gasket set will run around $100 to $200.

The first step is start the vehicle and see how it runs. It won't run right with a blown head gasket, but could be let idle for a minute (from cold) without coolant and not overheat to a damaging point in that amount of time, providing there is no coolant in the oil... check that first.


Edited by Dave9 (08/30/17 09:57 PM)

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#4502836 - 08/30/17 10:10 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
George7941 Offline


Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2158
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I don't need a used car now, else I might check it out.

Escaping compression leads to air in the cooling system and it then migrates to the highest section of the cooling system, namely the heater core. Core becomes air-locked and does not produce heat.

I like the looks of the PT Cruiser and much prefer its looks to that of the Chevy HHR. From what I hear about the PT Cruiser, it is otherwise a terrible car. Its engine is the hardest one to change the timing belt on because of poor access.
_________________________
2006 GMC Sierra 4.3l, NV3500,G80 , Mobil 1 5W30, Dexcool.
1987 BMW R80 - sold
2015 Honda CBR300R

Staying out of the right lane a lot.

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#4502867 - 08/30/17 10:57 PM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: funflyer]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6178
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: funflyer
It's a PT Cruiser, he'll have to pay someone to haul it away, even if it were running grin


Remember when people were paying $40,000 for them in the 90's ?!!!!?
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#4502913 - 08/31/17 12:17 AM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
Dave9 Offline


Registered: 08/28/17
Posts: 188
Loc: Cincinnati, USA
Originally Posted By: George7941
I don't need a used car now, else I might check it out.

Escaping compression leads to air in the cooling system and it then migrates to the highest section of the cooling system, namely the heater core. Core becomes air-locked and does not produce heat.


While that is not impossible, it is merely one of the ways a head gasket can fail. Plus, if you have pressure going into the cooling system, where is it coming out? A leak was reported but not where. Plus, if there is that cylinder to cooling passage breach, it tends to suck coolant into the cylinder on the other cycle and cause hydrolock or at the very least a cylinder misfire which there was no mention of and no OBDII check engine light, etc. mentioned.

What is remarkable is there was a mention of no heat, which tells us the engine was running, agreed? I mean how could you get heat without the engine running? This leads to the question, why would someone mention no heat when a far more significant problem would be that the engine was running like [censored] IF it were the case? There are important details missing.


Edited by Dave9 (08/31/17 12:21 AM)

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#4503032 - 08/31/17 07:16 AM Re: Check over used cars carefully - Houston [Re: George7941]
KrisZ Online   happy


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7475
Loc: Toronto, Canada
+1 Dave9.
If I were in the market for a used vehicle, I would definitely check this one out. If DIY-ing, one could most likely put this thing on the road, register and plate it for around $1k, it's hard to beat this kind of value.

I bet if this was a Civic or a Corolla in similar situation, the responses would be much different.
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2015 Dodge Grand Caravan-21k miles.
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