Dodge Stratus Maintenance and Repair

lonevvulf8lonevvulf8 Member Posts: 1
The car had a dead battery for about 3 months. Before the battery was drained my leaving interior light on. The car had been driven 3 times a week. tThe battery was about 6yrs old, wouldnt take a charge enought to start. I recently replaced the battery, but while the engine turns over, spark plugs fire (checked with a timing light) but vehicle will not start. Is there anything I need to reset and how?


  • dpostdpost Member Posts: 7
    I am going to pull the head on a 98 Stratus 2.4. Is there anything I need to know that may prove to be tricky. I figure the only problem that I my running to is the timing belt for the DOHC. Any warning, advice or guidance.
  • phastphast Member Posts: 8
    Just posted a reply on this very topic. See posting by phast dated Feb. 15, 2007.

  • phastphast Member Posts: 8
    Label every wire you disconnect. To remove the head, first unbolt the exhaust manifold. Replace all head bolts with a new set available from parts store. Ensure you use the metal composite gasket (use spray gasket sealer). Be careful with the cam positioner (gaskets), after pulling head, DO remove and inspect the exhaust manifold for cracks - VERY Likely! replace the front O2 sensor, or bench check. It will be covered with black soot. New timing belt and tensioner (sold as a kit), and take your time setting the timing as it may require several attempts to get it right.....If done right, I wouldn't be surprised if you spin the front tires..... by mistake of course! Hope this helps.
  • dpostdpost Member Posts: 7
    I replaced the head gasket... My god it was time consuming. I will say this get the multi layer head gasket it is the the recommended. Also remove the head with the exhaust manifold attached just disconnect the pipe below. Much easy job that way. Be careful with the plastic shroud and covers by timing belt. If you destroy the covers the dealer will make purchase the new and improved tensioner and cover $210.00. We purchased the old grenade pin type tensioner $50.00 part store. I had a mechanic friend set the timing belt because if you pull the pin and its wrong then the the tensioner is useless. Its a one time shot. We got it right the first time. Also use the gasket spray sealer (gold color) on the gasket prior to setting it down. I replaced all belts and all hoses to include heater hoses that go in the back.

    It is running like a top........... NO LEAKS....
  • dpostdpost Member Posts: 7
    Also I replaced the water pump if the pump goes out you have to get another tensioner because the water pump is driven by the timing belt. REPLACE the Water Pump.
  • dpostdpost Member Posts: 7
    In reference to phast comment about the tensioner and the blet come together as a kit. This is true if you buy from the dealer. Keep in mind you have to purchase the new shroud or plastic covers for that the new tensioner from dealer is a different design and the new covers only match the new tensioner design. Plastic cover/shroud design $210.00 and tensioner and belt from dealer $180.00 So into it for 400.00 from the dealer if you go with new design. I bought a goodyear belt for like $20.00 and the old style original type tensioner for $52.00 from a parts store. I also cracked the plastic shroud/cover but after getting dealers price on all those replacement parts I got a small fiberglass kit and neatly fiberglassed the cracked areas and used a knife and a little sand paper to get rid of rough edges. Total investment with fiberglas kit and original tensioner and belt replacement from parts store $85.00. And it runs like a top 6 weeks later still no problems.
  • dpostdpost Member Posts: 7
    After 7 weeks of no problems I now I noticed it it leaking. A small leak on back corner of block to the ground and oil it is weeping to the in the water. Appears to be oil in water and no water in the oil(crankcase). I realize this is a NO Retorque gasket but could it be a torque issue after 1500 miles. The other vehciles that require retorque say after 1000 miles retorque. WILL I Hurt this engine if I check the torque? It would be easier to check the torque than to pull the head off.
  • dpostdpost Member Posts: 7
    We didn't retorque after several mechanic friends telling the head gasket appeared to be installed correctly. We found an additional problem tranny fluid seeping into collant we replaced the radiator it is fixed
  • stratus17399stratus17399 Member Posts: 1
    dpost I have a 99 stratus 2.4L and I have oil in my coolant reservoir.Can this be caused by a bad headgasket?I read while searching for more info that oil in the coolant tank(no coolant in engine oil,or transmission) can only be caused by a leaking radiator? Is that correct?It sounds like thats what happened to you with the tranny fluid.
  • jodiesimonjodiesimon Member Posts: 2
    I do not have a manual and I need to find the name of this part quickly because I need to budget and price compare. I am looking for the name of a part on my car that connects to water resevoir, radiator, has a brass release valve on top, and sensor. It has went bad and I cannot find the name of it to price compare. Thanks!
  • gvirginiagvirginia Member Posts: 1
    I got a 2006 Stratus, put the pedal to the metal a couple of times because it was slow on pickup going onto highway. Sooo now the mileage is poor, 22 mpg and I am wondering, did I harm the engine?/ no engine lights just poor mileage. I think I got about 28 mpg first fillup
  • toysaveddodgetoysaveddodge Member Posts: 5
    I will let you know one of the tricks of the trade to a 16 valve DOHC should use at least 89 grade octane as gasoline to give that extra boost and just maybe your gas miles. As, you might notice that a Stratus is rated to get only 22-23 miles to the gallon anyway. :blush:
  • chocktaw56chocktaw56 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 94 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and my CPS unit was starting to bad, and my car would crank, but not turn over. Have you had the car put on a computer to test it?
    My problem happened sporadically, and not all the time either. but I did notice that it happened more often when the outside temp was hot, and I had been driving my car for awhile. Even if I parked it and let it "cool down" some, it still would not kick over unless I waited about another 30 minutes.
    the CPS unit is notorious for going out after about 150k miles. I have a V6 4.0L engine, and it is a hard working engine, but computer parts will wear out eventually and that means no kicking over....just a thought........
  • jodiesimonjodiesimon Member Posts: 2
  • splicer66splicer66 Member Posts: 1
    The part is the coolant air bleeder. My wife car had the same thing go bad, you will find it here..Hope that helps..
  • spritenutspritenut Member Posts: 2
    My '97 Stratus with the DOHC 2.4 engine had the head gasket replaced. Since that time the coolant temp has never gotten into the normal range it use to. It never reaches even half way up the scale on the temp gage. Normal operation of the engine has not seemed to be affected. Although, during the winter you never do get "hot" air from the heater, just warm. I've tried putting in a new thermostat and that did not fix it. Any ideas on what to trouble shoot?
  • spritenutspritenut Member Posts: 2
  • dadsdtaxi74dadsdtaxi74 Member Posts: 2
    I am looking for the location of the oil pressure switch and the heater blower resistor. I need to replace both, and I'm not sure where they are located. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • spokane3spokane3 Member Posts: 2
    My daughter just called and said her car would not start. It doesn't turn over but may make a ticking sound. I recommended that she try tapping on the starter with a tire iron. Unfortunately, she doesn't know what the starter looks like and I don't know where a starter is at on her car. As she lives 1400 miles away I'm not running over to help her. Any help?
  • foxyfoxyfoxyfoxy Member Posts: 2
    I have 1998 jeep cherokee 2.5TD I need to change the oil pressure switch can some one tell me where it is on the engine
  • foxyfoxyfoxyfoxy Member Posts: 2
    where can I get work shop manual for the 2.5Td engine
  • dadsdtaxi74dadsdtaxi74 Member Posts: 2
  • ileinilein Member Posts: 1
    I have Dodge Stratus 2.4L 1995. It can,t be started.There is a fuel and current (I change the battery )I have a sound whistle, lights, but my radio does not work.When I try to start it happen nothing.
    So what should the problem is.
  • spokane3spokane3 Member Posts: 2
  • mksammelmksammel Member Posts: 1
    i hve black sludge in my coolant resevoir, any ideas please help
  • dpostdpost Member Posts: 7
  • mail4deanmail4dean Member Posts: 2
    1997 Dodge Stratus w/2.4 non-turbo.

    Bought this car and on the way home it got hot and would not restart. I have found water in the oil and oil in one of the cylinders. I have pulled the head and might see signs of a head gasket leak, but minor. What else causes LOTS of oil in the water and maybe 1 pint of oil in one cylinder?

    [email protected]
  • mail4deanmail4dean Member Posts: 2
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,127
    Since this problem isn't specific to the Stratus, I suggest you try posting your question in our Answers section - i know a lot of mechanically-inclined members stop by there.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • pennysuegreenpennysuegreen Member Posts: 1
    timing belts!!! Why do they keep breaking? I have already put 5 on my car.
  • jnwood0421jnwood0421 Member Posts: 1
    i have a 1997 dodge stratus and it has just started getting this annoying problem. When i drive somewhere and everytime i make a stop once my mph gets around 30 the car seems to jerk. it only happens when i break to that speed and when i accelerate it shifts gears perfectly. so i am not quite sure what the problem could be... if anyone could help i would greatly appreciate it. thx- john
  • nboyce34nboyce34 Member Posts: 2
    '04 Strat - 2.4 DOHC - approx 124k.

    Water pump started puking water everywhere, so figured while we were replacing that might as well change the timing belt, etc. Got everything off ok, with a little elbow grease. Have new belt on, but can't get marks to line up. Got advice from a Master Mechanic to put belt on right side while tick marks are lined up, then clamp belt to upper gears so they won't slip while putting other things in line and taking slack out of belt.

    Problem is, we have another 'somewhat back-yard' mechanic telling us our cams are out of synch with the crank. Zero clearance motor, so no room for error.....

    Any thoughts or tips on getting this right?
  • nboyce34nboyce34 Member Posts: 2
  • bremerdcbremerdc Member Posts: 6
  • bremerdcbremerdc Member Posts: 6
    I have a 2003 Dodge Stratus SXT. About a month ago I noticed the heater was blowing cold. I had been meaning to flush/fill the radiator for awhile, so I did that and the heat began working again.

    About two weeks later, I noticed the heat stopped working again. I added more coolant to the system, and it began working again. Now I seem to be stuck in this pattern. Heat not working/add coolant/heat working again.

    There are no noticeable leaks ANYWHERE, and I have replaced the radiator cap as well. No boiling sounds or other problems whatsoever.

    Anybody have any idea what's going on? My mechanic suggests a pressure test. But I just don't know.

    Thanks in advance.
  • david272014david272014 Member Posts: 4
    ! have a 2004 Dodge Stratus. It has the 2.4L engine and automatic transmission. Motor runs perfect. only problem is i think that the front passsenger shock needs to be replaced,but car isnt sagging.Also,it pops on that tire all time especially when i hit a bump big or small.Also i can hear a whining sound when i accelarate and it backs off noticeably when i take foot off gas.It is only coming from pass side.Front end shakes pretty bad when i reach 50-55 mph. please i need advice
  • JamesjJamesj Member Posts: 1
    Ok. I have a 99 stratus with the 2.4l DOHC and let a friend use it.... I'm pretty sure it's the head gasket. But figured I would check. Won't start, I drained oil there was water or coolant in it. But was only in the bottom of motor was not mixed togeather . Is there any other reason coolant would be in the oil besides head gasket or head? Thx
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