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Dodge Intrepid



  • I would like to echo some of the comments that Andre posted.

    The 3.3L engine is very robust...almost bulletproof. The engine has a timing chain instead of a belt, so replacement isn't critical at 60-70,000 miles. Change the oil regularly and flush the cooling system and you should be good for a while.

    I had complete brake job done, including rotors and calipers (at 130,000 miles) for about $600. Alot of money, but given the mileage, I'm ok with it.

    Apart from the previously-mentioned transmission issues, the only other major concern is the A/C. Mine failed due to a leaking condensor, which they wanted $800+ to replace.

    Good luck!
  • '95 SE with the 3.3L Engine...power is acceptable, but not overwhelming. More than enough to get up and cruise, but not going to pin you into your seat.

    I get 22.4 MPG using 87 octane, averaging 650 - 750 miles per week. 90% highway. Typically 75 MPH, but fairly gentle on acceleration and decelleration.

    Given the size of this car, the mileage is one of it's strong points, I think...
  • pkciccopkcicco Posts: 13
    I just picked up a 2002 ES with the 3.5, 17K. I've been driving it for about a week and I notice that when you decelerate to under 30mph (like coming off an exit ramp) and then hit the gas the tranny bumps hard and sometimes double bumps going into a lower gear to accelerate. I doesn't do it at any other speeds or when accelerating from a dead stop.

    Does anyone know if this is normal or what it might be? Also for those of you who have the 3.5 234hp engine, what grade of gasoline do you use? The book says use 87 but I'm wondering if using a higher grade would increase performance.

    Thanks for your help
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I remember hearing that if you put in higher octane gas, it's supposed to improve your performance slightly on up to about 90% of wide open throttle.
  • nelson33nelson33 Posts: 100
    I am planning on draining my 99 Trep this week. Does anyone have any coolant recomendations. Do you think I should go w. MOPAR coolant or the Prestone 5year/150K miles Orange coolant. I've done quite a bit of reading on the subject and it seems like the Prestone will be just fine. Also is there anything I should know about this cooling system that is different from the typical systems. If so, please post, I would appreciate it.

    My car just hit 40K and I took it to the shop for an oil change and the mechanic topped off my coolant w. the green stuff. :-{
  • emaleemale Posts: 1,380
    be careful because you can't mix and match coolant types. use whatever chrysler recommends...that's the safest thing to do.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    The 99 ES is celebrating it's fourth year of our ownership. Only 63000 miles, so you can see we are not big drivers. A few trips a year from SC to PA, a couple to the kids at college. We have really liked the car and have been generally happy. There have been a few problems, but so far (fingers crossed) nothing major. The problems have been: AC out at only 45,000 miles. All window motors were replaced within the first year of ownership. two episodes where the trans sensors went bad and we went into limp home mode (second gear only). One covered by warranty, the other cost about $185. New tires at 33,000. The Cooper Lifeliners (now with 30,000 on themselves) I put on then will last a lot longer than the original Goodyears, sound a lot quiter and look better, too. I did something unusual and went with pinstrip whitewalls and they look better (to me).

    Haven't replaced brake pads yet, and when I had tires rotated recently at dealer (they were doing the oil and filter for $5.00 coupon they gave me at purchase time) they said the pads still looked good. It is nice and flat here, so the brakes do not take a beating.

    So you can see that there have been problems. However, when things are right and we are cruising with that sunroof open, it still makes my wife and me happy. We would buy another. Plan to keep it and hand it down to our son when he goes off to college in 4 years. It will be at least as good as the used Legend I bought for our daughter.

    By the way, our beater car is a 1990 Spirit that just won't die. Don't know how many miles are on it, the odometer broke at 117,400 about 4 years ago. Seems like that thing was built to take some punishment. The 2.5 runs pretty good, leaks a little oil, but keeps on pulling.

  • nelson33nelson33 Posts: 100
    I decided to take it to the dealership for the coolant service for I did not wish to take any chances w. my engine. However, I had already purchased some Peak (orange) Long Life engine coolant from a local pep boys because I was planning on flushing it myself. However, after I changed my mind about doing it myself, I left it in the bag and stored it in the trunk to take it back to the store for a refund. When I went to the Dodge dealership on 3/19/03 for a drain and flush, I told the manager if he wouldn't mind using the deionized water which I also kept in the trunk in a clear, plastic bottle. The service manager clearly stated in the service order "use customers water in trunk". When the job was complete, I looked in the trunk and noticed that my coolant was used up but the deionized water was unused. The manager was pretty cool about it and redrained and flushed my radiator again and reimbursed me for my coolant.

    I use this car quite a bit for very long drives (ie NY to Florica, NY to Wisconsin, etc. so I try to take good care of it. 40K miles and still going strong.

  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    I have recently purchased a new 2002 Intrepid SE. It has the 2.7 L. engine. I have read some negative comments about this engine ie. sludge buildup leading to engine failure on sites such as The Dodge dealer told me this is a high performance engine and will last a long time if I change the oil every 3K miles. Would appreciate any comments from those with over 50K on their Intrepids with the 2.7 liter engine. Thanks.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040 one of the online Mopar clubs I belong to. Here's what one guy said about the 2.7....

    'Just a note: - the 2.7 V6 engine is truly a "work of art" IMHO. It looks more like an "Indy car" engine than one that seems to propel every
    "rental fleet" Intrepid on the planet. However, - this thing literally "lives & dies" by the oil change. I have had them in here with 40K on the clock and the engine is pure junk. Cause: - "lack of maintenance". This engine will NOT tolerate any "sludge" accumulation whatsoever.
    I also have one customer with 150K+ miles and no engine problems at all. Reason: - the engine gets regular oil changes every 3,000. For most of us "enthusiasts", - changing the oil every 3000 is practically a "way of life", - not so for "the masses". I would be VERY careful when buying a used 2.7-powered vehicle, and if I could not *absolutely* verify a good (i.e. almost "fanatical")maintenance record, I would not buy it. This engine is very expensive to repair, and the prices of used (wrecking yard) engines is out of sight.'

    I've got almost 77K miles on mine, and have been pretty good about the oil changes. I was bad last time around though, and let it slip to about 5K miles, where usually I do it every 3K.
  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    in line with the complaints on the site People say the engine is very expensive at the salvage yards. However, the parts at most salvage yards are too expensive anyway and there are dealers that sell OEM parts for 20%off like my local Honda dealer(my girlfriend has a 2000 Civic). So, I would be hard pressed to go to salvage yards anyway. I peviously owned old cars and have been to many yards. But I would like to know why the 2.7L engine is so difficult to rebuild. I asked the mechanic at the Dodge dealer why this engine was considered 'high performance' and he said it was the way in which it was "setup". I am not sure what he meant. I have personally rebuilt a Pontiac 4.9 Liter engine about 12 years ago for my 1979 Firebird (which is still running). But I am just interested in knowing why the Dodge 2.7 L engine is so difficult the rebuild that many shops wont touch it according to the previously mentioned site.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    IIRC, it's built with such tight tolerances that only very high-end machinery would have to be used. The kind of machinery commonly found in manufacturers' engine foundries, not in retail engine rebuilding facilities... :-(
  • fuzzer34fuzzer34 Posts: 28
    Spy Shots: ’04 Chrysler LX
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    If I remember correctly the year that it was new, the 2.7 garnered lots of awards as one of the finest designed engines for a passenger car. Ours is a 3.2 from '99. Oil change at 3,000 to 4,000 as a routine. The 3.2 did not get the awards. The sludge discussion reminds me of what they say on the Toyota boards about their 3 liter V-6. Apparently the Dodges aren't as bad as the Toyotas, but maintenance seems to be the key element to keep these new low displacement power engines from becoming junk early. That was probably always true, even for the old iron.

    Happy Motoring in your 'Trep.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I'm not positive on this, but isn't the 2.7 actually a different design from the 3.2/3.5? I was under the impression that the 3.2 was just a smaller-displacement version of the 3.5, whereas the 2.7 was a whole new engine.

    Anyway, with the 2.7 being DOHC and the 3.2 and 3.5 only being SOHC, that probably adds to the 2.7's complexity, and with more moving parts, there's less room for error, so the things had to be built to tighter tolerances. The 2.7 also puts out more hp per liter than the 3.2 did, and even more than the 255-hp 3.5, so it had to be engineered for that extra strain.

    I've heard elsewhere that that 200 hp out of the 2.7 translates to about 150 at the wheels, after the transmission and everything else has sapped its power. Awhile back, I remember hearing about a 2.7 that was built up to where it actually dynoed at something like 220 hp or so (at the wheels). So evidently, these things can take some modding.

    I always wondered if it would be worth it, if a 2.7 goes bad, to replace it with a 3.2 or 3.5? I wonder how much stuff would have to be replaced? I guess it would be a bit harder than the old days, when you could just rip out a 318 and drop in a 340 or 360, and everything would more or less bolt right up?
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    The 2.7 is an entirely different engine from the 3.2/3.5 which are basically the same with differences in displacement, which are slight. Car makers have done that for years, with different displacements of the same basic structure. Done that way to keep costs down.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    For all you want to know and more about new and old Mopar engines:

    Allpar. com
  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    Well I just hope that the 2.7L engine lasts a long time. I just could not pass up the good deal I got on this Steel Blue leftover. With the 'D' package (pwr. drivers seat, cd player, cruise control,alloy wheels, fold down rear seat) plus ABS I paid $16,800 + $100 doc. fee. I was looking at used rentals from Chrysler dealers but finally decided on this car. The only problem so far is with the ABS controller which acted up at only 500 miles. But I have an appointment tomorrow to get it fixed at a local Dodge dealer. I still think it is a great looking car with good handling qualities. Plus steel blue was by far my favorite color. Drove all the way to CT to buy this car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I like that color too. If I had been more patient and looked around more, or ordered one, that steel blue was the color I would've picked. I ended up getting silver. Not my first choice, since my previous car, an '89 Gran Fury, was silver, and I don't like to buy the same color twice in a row, but I've been happy with it. Also, since I wasn't too crazy about the color, the dealer gave me a bit more incentive to take the car, throwing in a 12-disk cd changer.

    There's a real pale silver-blue that Chrysler makes that's really nice, but unfortunately it seems to be available only on the Sebring/Stratus. Shame'd look nice on their other cars!
  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    I passed up a beautiful 2002 SXT with the 3.5 motor with only 7752 miles for around 14,500 to 14,700. Was not a scratch on it. It was only in service since Dec. 2002 and whoever owned it put on alot of miles in a short time period. It also had a moonroof, but the reason I didnt but it was because it did not have ABS. And it wasnt a rental like all the others I saw. But maybe I s/h bought it since I would have been less concerned with the engine. I actually talked to the previous owner which was difficult to do since it was on a dealers lot. It was silver and also had 17 inch chrome wheels with Michelins. I think the previous owner could not make the paymennts and it was a repo. But not positive. Anyway, a beautiful car.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    I wanted a Cypress Green when we bought our ES in '99, but it only came with a dark gray interior (which I didn't like), so we went with Champagne and tan interior. Next time I am getting blue or green.

    Enjoy your 'Trep. Nice car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    sounds like it would go well with a light brown/tan interior. I wonder why they only teamed it up with the dark gray? That sounds like it would clash to me!

    When I was at the dealership the day I bought mine, I did have an interest in the Cypress Green...I liked the way it looked in the sales brochure. They showed me a minivan in that color though, and I didn't like it. I don't know what came over me that day though, because every once in awhile I'll see one now, and I think they look pretty nice. Sometimes though, when that color gets dirty, or the light hits it the right way, it looks too grayed-out.

    One nice thing about silver, is that even when it gets dirty, it really doesn't show!
  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    is not the best looking color but it went well with a Steel Blue exterior. The other choice was taupe which did not look as good. Taupe is sort of a cross between light gray and beige. Sort of a screwed up color. I did look at an ES with a dark gray interior but the seats, which were mostly vinyl with leather seating areas, almost looked black. I just got turned off with the interior. Dark gray cloth seats look better than the leather/vinyl combination.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    The car makers actually give us fewer choices in colors, arrangements, interiors than they did years ago. Again to hold down costs. It used to be you could get all kinds of color schemes, 4 door sedans, hardtops, coupes, convertibles, station wagons of the same model. Now I guess there are more models to chose from, but within a model they do restrict you a little on the options. Again, less custom made means more profit for them. Yes, the dark gray leather was really black. My neighbor has one like that and I didn't like it, but to each his own. The dealer I bought ours from didn't like the tan, and I only got it because I ordered the car to be built the way I wanted it. Took 4 weeks to get it, and when it came in it said on the window sticker : "Made for "My Wife's Name" by DaimlerChrysler. She really liked that. We bought it mostly for her. Although it is our tripmobile, too.
  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    I didnt have much of a choice if i wanted to keep the price down. It was too late to order a 2003 as the 2003 model year was very short and the 04's are out now. Dodge is offering $4,500 dealer cash on all leftover 02's. Plus dealer discount and most dealers are willing to give up most of their holdback on 02's. So I found mine in CT. I liked everything but the engine. But the price was right and I have a very limited budget! The 04's are currently in dealers lots till the end of the year when the restyled Intrepids, actually called Chargers, will make their debut as '05 models. Just a note, Chrysler is very clever and is actually taking some things out of the base Intrepid, like the four wheel independent touring suspension which mine has. Its the same suspension as an ES model. So most of the '03 and all of the 04's dont have this suspension if they are SE's. Pretty sleazy since most customers do not know this unless you read the 'fine print' on the sticker.
  • Hi All, Well I test drove the 2002 SE dodge Int. and really liked it but I am a little worried out the reliability of the car I am a mother of 2 and want a safe dependable car with lots of back seat space and so far this is what I have came up with I currently own a 96 Maxima and love it but its getting a lot of miles. Can any one reassure me on this buy? :0)
  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    I would look for one with 10 to 14K miles. If you are shopping at dealerships, nearly all are previous rentals, I dont care what the dealer tells you. I looked at many used 2002's and also subscribed to Carfax and looked up the history of many used Intrepids. In fact, sometimes I called Chryslers 800 Warranty Number, checking on the warranty, and they will tell you if it was registered to a rental company or not. Just give them the VIN. Because Carfax was not completely reliable. But there are some with low miles but you have to look harder. There are many in the high teens to twenties but I would try to find one with less miles. You are not going to pay much more dollars. Also, I would pay no more than $13,000. The dealers pay between $9500 and $10,500 for SE's at auctions like the Chrysler auction in Hatfield, PA. And this is for the low miles Intrepids. As far as reliability, its a chance with a Dodge, and it probably wont be as reliable as imports. But I decided to take a chance, and bought a brand new 2002 leftover.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    See my post about about the reliability of our '99 ES. Not perfect, but it also has never let us down in the middle of nowhere. I have been satisfied with the reliability of ours. I have had friends who have had new Hondas and Toyotas let them down, too. The Intrepid has been as reliable as an Acura that I have had, which is a Honda. The Intrepids are great family cars with regard to back seat room and trunk space. I would buy another. I hope I can say that when it has 150,000 miles on it, which will be a few more years.

    If you can get the right price and know the history of the car, buy it.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040 sounds decent to me. 19,000 miles really isn't enough to damage the tranny, unless the previous owner was really abusive, or the fluid ran low for some reason or other. Main thing I'd be concerned about is oil changes. If you can verify that they were done around every 3,000 miles, then it should be fine.

    I've been hearing that the 2.7 can't tolerate a lot of abuse, such as running low on oil, or overly extended oil change intervals. While that's bad for any engine, some engines can just put up with it better than others. The 2.7, from what I've heard, is built to tighter tolerances than the 3.2/3.5, and since it's smaller it does have to rev faster to move that weight around. As a result, it's going to be working harder, and any kind of sludge buildup is going to be more harmful.

    This shouldn't be a problem though, if it's been changed regularly. My '00 2.7 will probably hit 77K miles either tonite or tomorrow, with no engine problems yet.
  • mike372mike372 Posts: 354
    it is very difficult, if not impossible, to verify the maintenance records for the Intrepids sold at dealerships, since they are all previous rentals. Actually, a significant number of the used ones I looked at had trans fluid leaks at the cooler lines. Some worst that others. The ES I looked at in NY State only had 8700 miles on it and had a bad leak in the cooler lines. The dealer had the car only a few days. In fact, as I was leaving the dealer, the car was in the shop getting the lines replaced. There was trans fluid all over the frame of the car. This is one reason why I did not buy the car. You did not know how many miles it was driven with low fluid since it was a previous rental. I guess the dealer wished I had seen the car the next day but I intentionally did not give him notice before I came. It was probably OK but you never know. I also saw leaks on SE's but not as bad as this particular car. The dealer confirmed that Chrysler was having problems with the cooler lines. Actually, I would probably buy a used ES with the 3.5 motor since it seems to have better reliability that the 2.7 L engine. At least the oil changes dont seem to be as critical.
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