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2003 PT Cruiser engine light/timing belt

I purchased a 2003 PT Cruiser (stick-shift) new, off the lot in May of 2003. The summer of 2004 I had the car back and forth to the dealer for the A/C, which was not working. The dealer had trouble figuring it out and had the car on and off for 3 weeks.

Then the engine light started going on. I?d bring it a local mechanic, they could find nothing wrong the first couple times, and reset the computer. The did ask if I left the car running when I put gas in the car??

In Jan 08 I brought it to a local mechanic because the car began ?bucking? and the engine light went on. They replaced the CAM sensor. Since then I?ve brought it to the dealer 3 times for the same problem (car suddenly ?bucking? and the engine light going on). CAM Sensor Circuit Intermittent is what is on the work order. The last time it was at the dealer was July 5th and they replaced the CAM sensor.

I was heading back from a trip on July 13th and it started bucking again ? engine light on, only this time, the car would not restart. Previous times I would turn the car off for about 15 minutes and it would start again and I could drive it to the dealer. No such luck. After having it towed twice ? it now sits at a dealer in NJ (I?m in VA with a rental) with a broken timing belt. I?ve waited 2 days already for them to diagnosis the problem ? because there may be damage to the pistons, rendering the car useless I?m told. They also refused to pay for the rental. My initial warranty is up ? but I still have the power train warranty and the mileage is 69.500.

Do I have any recourse with Chrysler on this? The vehicle was at a dealer 12 days prior for the same issue that left me stranded on the Jersey Turnpike. Any thoughts/suggestions or information about similar issues would be welcomed. Thanks!

This is NOT an interference engine, so there shouldn’t be any damage to the valves or pistons. Your last paragraph is unclear. Are you saying the timing belt was replaced 12 days prior to the current break??? A problem with the camshaft position sensor isn’t directly related to the timing belt break. Check your warranty booklet to see if the timing belt is covered by the 7/70 powertrain warranty.

As far as the CPS problem, the dealer was foolish for continuing to throw new sensors at it. The trouble code indicated a problem with the circuit, which doesn’t mean the sensor itself is bad. The wiring needs to be checked. Perhaps the wiring harness was damaged while they were fumbling around with the a/c. This dealer doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, to put it charitably.

I have the same problem with my '03 PT-GT. My OBD-II scanner lets me reset the computer and check the conditions when the light comes on (with fault P0344). The light only comes on after the car has been able to cool down for many hours (e.g. overnight) and I rev the engine above 2000 RPM before the thermostat has openned. I can cause the fault to trip several times in a row until the thermostat opens. After that, the car will run normally all day long.

I haven’t figured out the problem yet. I have replaced the camshaft position sensor, crankshaft position sensor and MAP sensor. The engine temp sensor and one or two other sensors share 5V and Ground wires. I haven’t replaced those other sensors yet. I have run a wire from the camshaft position sensor directly to the firewall (bypassing the harness) to no avail.

I would like to know what is causing this problem. I have been living with it for months and the dealer and a local mechanic are stumped. I am concerned the problem is something else waiting to happen.