Piston Slap: Which Chrysler Gearbox Makes a PT Cruise Once More?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Longtime TTAC Commentator Nate writes:

Hello Sajeev,

An acquaintance bought a PT Cruiser new in 2002 and did some minor customizing, drove the crap out of it for a few years, then the transmission failed. Apparently, they “all do that.” So here’s the deal: I was out scavenging vintage (’77~’85) Mercedes parts and ran across a rolled and totaled 2008 PT Cruiser: can its transmission be used in his 2002 model ?

He seems to think that 2002 is a one-year-only deal. He’s disabled and on a tight budget, says the car is worthless even though it’s pristine, but he’d like to fix it if possible. Unfortunately. rebuilding the current transmission is not in his budget.

Any thoughts or comments would be helpful, but no, I won’t be doing a tranny swap on this cute little car.

Sajeev answers:

Your acquaintance’s PT Cruiser uses the 41TE gearbox found in, like, eleventy-billion different Chrysler products.

Chrysler adopted the 40TE circa 2003, as you found in the junkyard.

Clearly, he needs a used 41TE. Always use parts interchange data, available on websites like car-part.com. Let technology do the heavy lifting: I found a 2002 Dodge Stratus with 26,000 miles donating its gearbox for $650.

For people in this situation but with better physical health, go to any U-Pull-It junkyard during their holiday sale, yank a 41TE from one of the aforementioned eleventy-billion different Chrysler products for $150-ish. But that’s a ton of effort for a questionable part: a false economy, or a treasure trove if a recently rebuilt gearbox rests in a vehicle that deserves its final junkyard parking spot for other reasons.

Unable to know life in your acquaintance’s shoes, I wish him good luck.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
2 of 33 comments
  • Kinsha Kinsha on Jan 30, 2017

    My daughter had an 05 PT auto basic. All before 60,000 ( when we unloaded it ) head gasket, power steering pump, crank sensor, front rear brakes and rotors. Power steering pump was howling again when we sold it. Also the AC compressor was groaning. Power mirrors quit working. The wiring on those looks so cheap under the dash. I know alot about cars and work on my own. I am sure there was a bunch of other problems ( trying to forget all of it )Never have I seen such a lemon. Last straw was when my mechanic told me if the seal where the cv joint meets the tranny starts to leak they will lose all AT fluid. Time to go - could not get rid of it fast enough. There is a reason they sold millions of them, but not many left on the road.

  • -Nate -Nate on Jan 30, 2017

    Thanx Kinsha ; . Interestingly I see lots of them still out and about, not only well kept versions but also Ghetto Hoopty Rides with peeling clear coat and mis-matched bald tires..... . -Nate

  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.