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Dodge Stratus



  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    A/C not working is one problem, bad smell is another.

    Bad smell means there is mold / mildew in A/C system. It grows if the system is always wet. Either because the drain is plugged, or because you are using the recirculate mode too much, or both (mildew plugs the drain itself).

    Given the car was at shop several times, the recirculation reason is much more probable. A/C is not designed to be run is this mode continousely, only for several minutes when starting (or when driving behind a diesel).

    Teo from Impala forum explained what to do with the mildew last summer. It have to be "roasted", i.e. killed by high temperature. This takes about 30-40 minutes. If I remember it right:

    With engine already hot (e.g. after returning from work), put car on park, with engine idling. Open all windows. Than put A/C on recirculation mode, maximal hot. Walk around for 20-30 minutes. The mold will be killed.

    Than, with A/C still on maximal hot, turn it to the normal mode and run for another 5-10 minutes. This is to blow out the remains of killed mold from the system.

    In case of a stubborn mold, or just to be sure, repeat the same two or three times, with interval of a week to month. If there is a mold in system, it will grow - so repeat this every year, or twice a year.

    Of course, it is possible to do the same while driving - if you do not mind the heat torture.
  • nmchopnmchop Posts: 27
    I am in the process tonight of buying the 2000
    Dodge Stratus ES. I started out looking for
    Dodge Dakota Trucks but after gas prices jumped, I opted for a car instead.

    I was going to buy a Dodge Stratus SE 4 cylinder, but happened across this board and decided to take a look at the ES 6 cylinder.

    The 2000 SE 4-cylinder was going to be $10,995. I got the 2000 ES with 18,000 miles for $12,200 and took the 7 year, 100,000 mile warranty for $1300 after reading about some concerns about reliability, I thought maybe it'd be a good idea. I hope I keep the car that long and enjoy it.

    This one has the autostick which i will admit i know nothing about. I enjoyed it on the test drive. Does anyone have this feature? What real world use is there besides fun? I guess it'd be good like in snow, etc because you can control the power etc.

    I wanted to thank all of your for your posts and for taking the time to let others know your experiences. It sure helps...I'll contribue once i get possesion of the car (it's dark green, i'd of preferred maroon and it doesn't have a sunroof). I sure wouldn't mind one but oh well.

    Thanks again,
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    By 2000, the Cirrus/Stratus had a decent repair record - DaimlerChrysler had solved the head gasket problems with the 4-cylinder (2.0 and 2.4) engines. And in this model line, the 4-speed automatic hasn't been as troublesome as it has in the other, larger models (leading one to perhaps conclude that it's underengineered for duty in large vehicles like minivans and Intrepids, but OK for smaller ones where it's under a lot less stress).
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    in the reviews section of is a Road Test of the 2001 Dodge Stratus. Here is an excerpt from editor Liz Kim's report:

      "Dodge has created a highly likeable alternative to the mega-powers who control the family sedan segment ... It's roomier and more powerful than its American brethren, and thousands less than comparatively equipped Japanese sedans."
    Read the entire review by following the link in the Additional Resources box on the left sidebar of this page. Let us know what you think.

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • vlisvlis Posts: 28
    A rather lukewarm review, sad to say. Too bad about the source of all those rattles. With nearly 6K on the clock, my '01 Sebring LXi sedan has been blessedly free of such annoyances. These cars deserve better.
  • nmchopnmchop Posts: 27
    I've now got the 2000 stratus ES, i picked it up yesterday. I do miss my truck but this is a good ride. I don't have creaks and rattles which have been eluded too in that review. They also kind of layed into the radio a little, for a factory radio, i like it. I was going to get an aftermarket radio, but i've decided against it.

    I am having a litte buyer's remorse, not with the car so much as with the extended warranty for some reason. Maybe because I have no idea if i'll keep the car that long? I got that mixed in with the car loan at the point of sale, i'm not sure if that was smart or not. Time will tell.

    A couple of minor things to note, my windshield mister isn't working (this is a used vehicle) so i need to get that fixed. Certainly no biggy.

    Everything else is in good order it seems. ES comes in leather (I got it for the V6 engine). I live in NM, leather isn't going to work for me in the hot summer, so i'm off to an auto parts store to get a cloth seat cover, at least until fall.

    My back has been sore the last couple of days, i've noticed the lumbar support seems to be bothering me on the drivers side seat and doesn't seem to have an adjustment...I think my chevy truck had no to very little lumbar support and i got used to that. I've been playing with the power seat trying to get comfy.

    Overall, this car is a looker. I like the way it performs. My issues with it have nothing to do with the car, but the fact i'm coming out of a truck and used to the view up there haha. It's going to take some time getting used to the view. I wish somehow, i could've gotten cloth interior with the V6 but i'll fix that with a $30 seat cover I guess at Autozone. Any advice on that front?

    One other thing...on moving from a truck to the stratus. I drove it today and the gas needle never moved! YESSSSS. goal #1 accomplished.
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    years and 76K miles on my ES V6, and never had an A/C stink.

    I had an issue with my '87 Acura Legend, but that's the only car I've ever had with an A/C odor.

    Kind of funny you mention A/Cs and extended warranties. My high-side switch went out at 72K miles. Not an expensive repair, but an annoying one timing-wise. Went out on the very day I had to make a six-hour round trip to the central valley in 100+ heat! Of course! My co-worker's Accord A/C quit at 82K, and his wife's Camry A/C went at 89K, while my sister's Accord lost it at 68K. My father's XJ6 A/C lasted 'til 124K (miracles DO happen).

    I think it's reasonable to assume repairs will be necessary to most vehicles approching the 100K mark. Just make sure that your "warranty" doesn't exclude parts of the HVAC system!!!
  • jrypkajrypka Posts: 2
    OK, so I've seen lots of people with head gasket problems, and I think mine may be going out too. People have also seemed to have some luck getting the dealership or chrysler to pay for part of the repairs. My question is, how do you go about that? I have called two dealerships, and both say that unless I have extended warranty, they won't/can't reduce the cost. What can I do?
  • phatride01phatride01 Posts: 23
    Once you call a 5-star dealer, they should know, and if the car is within that model year, for which they "knew" about the head gaskets, they will replace it for free. A friend of mine recently had this done, after I told him about that.

    Seems to work, lemme know what happens after calling them. Otherwise, I will ask my friend what he did to have his car's situation resolved.

  • jrypkajrypka Posts: 2
    The first dealership I called was a 5-star. I guess I might try to find another, although I may have to travel just to get it fixed. But if it'll save me a few hundred, it'll be worth it. what did your friend do to get his resolved?

  • phatride01phatride01 Posts: 23
    Apologies for not knowing where you live, but the friend of mine that had his car fixed had it done in Fairfield, CT. He said the name of the dealer was Scap Motors, in Fairfield, and when he called them, all they asked him was whether he was the original owner of the car, and whether the issue was "really" the head gasket.

    Of course, his answers to this were "YES" as he could see the oil spewing from the head. As a result, he took the car into the dealer, they fixed the head gasket, and the timing belt (which he requested them to do) and ended up paying the whole of $206 (mainly for the head gasket, and the timing belt (i.e. the parts)).

    At this point, if you are nowhere near Connecticut, I would ask the dealer that you went to, to contact Scap Motors, with regards to your situation, and I am sure that Scap would be willing to pass along the information. Contact them yourself first, that way, you have the upper hand.

    Other than that, you could probably try and get in contact with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Admin.) and check their site for any such recalls. If they are listed, then the dealer has to have them fixed for "free", if not, you can take other measures of having the car fixed, or following the legal route.

    Hope this has helped.

  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,078
    I have a 1998 Stratus w/ 2.4ltr fully loaded with 48k on it. (All under Normal/Highway driving) When I got the vehicle new it had 5 miles on it. Since I've had the Stratus I've had to have a number of things done, here's a list (and it's a long one) :

    1. Head Gasket replaced 2x
    2. Plugs replaced 3x (shudders and almost stalls when plugs burn out)
    3. Electrical replaced 1x (was shorting out plugs and dashboard)
    4. Oil Pan replaced 1x (developed a leak)
    5. replaced Michelin's with Goodyear Eagle GTII at 36k
    6. Heater/AC Fan replaced 1x
    7. Dashboard Lights replaced 1x
    8. Dashboard Speaker Mounts reclamped down 1x (you get an annoying rattle while driving)
    9. Steering column replaced 1x (started cracking as I was turning wheel)
    10. Exhaust system 1x (had to be rebent, started to rattle under car)
    11. Power Steering Fluid Pump 1x

    General Repairs
    1. Shocks 1x
    2. Brakes 1x

    I am now waiting for a 2001 Escape which I've traded the stratus on.

    I been hoping a Deer would run out in front of me and total the car... But they seem to be running away from it (me chasing them through the fields is probably why (just kidding))

  • eeeleeel Posts: 57
    got my neighbor in a new 98 stratus - she's over 60k with no problems - none - nothing but routine service - she can't say that about the honda she traded in. (tranny/ac/struts all in less than 60k)
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    said goodbye to my '95 Stratus ES V6. Six years, and 76K stellar miles together, and now the song must end.

    I said hello to an '01 Sebring LXi coupe. Esto es vivir!
  • jbrook25jbrook25 Posts: 1
    I have a brand new 2001 Stratus ES with a little less than 400 miles on it. I am getting around 22 mpg mostly around the town driving. What is everyone else getting.

    I love the car:
    Stratus ES - Deep Sapphire Blue
    4 Disc Changer

    Working perfectly!
  • My son is in the market for a 2001 Stratus ES 4 door sedan. I talked him into trading off his '95 Neon after 72k miles for a new car. He likes the Stratus and would like to stay in the same mileage range as he is accustomed to. That's why he's considering the 2.4L 4 cl.
    Problem is that he is looking for a base Stratus with safety options like side air bags and AS brakes. This does not seem to exist in any dealer inventory. We've searched a six state area of the southwest and also Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. The car doesn't exist. It appears that we'll have to order a 2002 to get what he wants.
    We would like to know anyone's experience with the 2001 4 cylinder engine as far as city mileage is concerned. Thanks for your input.
    Mopar Mikey, Las Vegas
  • richardj5richardj5 Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Stratus with 80k and for the last few months it has been one problem after another we replaced the timing belt and other small things as regular mantinance. Then about a month later the head gasket blew which improperly repaired led to a cam having to be replaced and ever since then we have had a transmission leak we took it to be fixed and they are suggesting that we rebuild all the clutchs at a cost of 1000.00 on top of replacing the pump and torque convertor for 1000.00. I am unsure whether to rebuild or just do the pump and torque. If any has any response please let me know.
  • xmannxmann Posts: 19
    I love my Chrysler products, (Jeep Grand Cherokees, Dakotas, Acclaim, and now Sebring) but I know a stinker when I see one. The 2.4L 4 cylinder smells to high heaven. Believe me when I say spend the extra dollars for the 2.7L V6. It will save you big money over the long run. The history of the 2.4L is not good. The 2.7L V6 is a gem. As far as economy is concerned I'm getting 27-29 miles/gal mix driving and I'm a lead foot. I've put 10K miles on my Sebring since February and not a single problem. The drivetrain is one of the smoothest and responsive I've ever driven in its class. The Stratus is the Dodge version of the Sebring so everything I'm saying applies. I guarantee you what extra you spend up front for the engine upgrade will be saved in multiples of times in repair costs over the life of the car.

    I had no problem with the safety options. Maybe you should look at the Sebring versions, as availability might be better in your area under that badge.
  • enetheneth Posts: 285
    Hopefully, that's no longer true. If it is, there are going to be a lot of angry PT Cruiser buyers in a year or more, since the 2.4 is the only engine available in that model.
  • xmannxmann Posts: 19
    Yes I know its the engine in the PT. I too hope they did some major rework on it. But two things give me reason to pause. The 2.4L is the base drivetrain used in the Stratus. This Stratus board is filled with durability related complaints regarding this drive train. The Stratus is rated as a midsize compact @ 3000 lbs. The PT is rated as a subcompact (like the neon upon which it is based) but weighs out at more then 3100 lbs. The Status runs acceptablly with an automatic mated to this engine. Put an automatic on the PT and its performance has been described as "glacial". I'm assuming the automatic is the same for both cars. So what does this seem to indicate? That maybe the drivetrain is max'd at this weight range which does not bode well for long term reliability and perhaps is confirmed by the experiences being shared on this Stratus board.
    Looking at this board the complaints seem to be far fewer in regards to the V6 equiped versions. This has been the experience of my company also with its fleet vehicles. The V6 is going to work less to achieve more performance in a car of this class. This translates into improved long term durability. In this case what is not being said in regards to the V6 versions would seem to be as important as what is being said about the 4 cylinder versions.
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