A very interesting situation with this PT Cruiser, as it was towed into the garage as a no crank no start situation. The driver stated while cruising the check engine light came on and the engine started to surge and felt like it was ” dancing”, then quickly stalled, as a small fire ensued right in the area of the battery compartment.
We were actually able to get the engine started very carefully and immediately noticed engine and transmission mounts that were completely broken causing the trans-axle to rock back and forth violently. Diving in deeper we are able to assess how this fire and symptoms evolved.
As an ignition source, we surmised that the transmission fluid dipstick vibrated enough over time (the mounting bracket was broken) to cause some transmission fluid to seep out and ultimately end up on a very frayed battery cable which arced/sparked. (not totally conclusive but certainly a starting point).
The fix: Replace defective engine and transmission mounts, correct the exposed battery cable, mount transmission dipstick tube, and pressure-wash engine bay to clean out remnants of fire retardant. As this a starting point, we road-tested the vehicle extensively, while advising the driver to return in a few days for a courtesy recheck to make certain all was well and no other surprises would surface.
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