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Are these disposable Cars?

bettyjohnbettyjohn Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Dodge
I have recently bid on a 2002 Dodge Intrepid at Auction and am currently the high bidder on one with the 2.7 V6 engine and 85,000 Miles. Now, I find all these horror tales about the engine sludge and the whole engine having to be replaced at the cost of around $3500-4000. Also other problems with them. Right now, I am praying that I will be outbid, because I can't find anything good on these cars. I can't believe that Dodge would have put out a car for so many years with problems like this one has, steering, transmission, but mostly engine. But now, I find out too late, that they did discontinue them in 2004. Any comments?


  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,366
    I have a 2000 Intrepid with the 2.7 V-6. It has about 136,500 miles on it and I've never had any engine or transmission problems. I've had other, more minor issues, such as the thermostat housing leaking, power lock actuator in the driver's door going bad, (and more recently, the one in the back door is making a horrible noise when it locks), oil pressure light coming on due to a bad sensor (oil itself was fine), and about 3 months ago, the a/c started to fail.

    I asked my mechanic about the sludge issue, and he said that the only 2.7's he's ever known about that have been sludged are when people let the oil run too low, let the car overheat, push out oil changes to 10,000 miles, etc. Some cars can actually tolerate abuse like that (mainly older, simpler cars that were built to sloppy tolerances). But the Intrepid 2.7 won't necessarily tolerate that kind of abuse.

    Is there any way you can get access to the service records of this '02 Intrepid? If you can, and find that the oil has been changed fairly regularly, you should be fine.

    Now the car IS disposeable in the sense that if the 2.7 does fail, it's going to cost more to replace than the car is worth. If you can find one for $3500-4000, count yourself lucky. I've heard more like $5,000 just for a used engine, plus whatever it costs to put it in!

    I'd say, seriously, that the biggest trouble spot on the Intrepid is the transmission. I think the more powerful 3.2/3.5 V-6 models are more prone to failure because they stress the transmission more, but the Chrysler 4-speed automatic isn't as durable as, say, the GM 4-speed automatic.

    As long as you keep up on maintenance though, the 2.7 should be a fine car. I'd say change the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles (make sure they use the Type +4...Type +3 can cause rough shifting and is supposedly a culprit in the early failures). My mechanic told me to change the coolant at 86,000 miles. It has long-life coolant, but he said that if you change it early, you can get by without changing the hoses until the next time around. I had the coolant and hoses changed, just to be safe, back in April. At the time, the car had around 132,000 miles, and was about 7 1/2 years old.

    Also, think about it...if the Intrepid really WAS that bad, word would have gotten out quicker, and it would have been pulled from the market much quicker than it was. As it stands, it had a fairly long run (1993-97 and then 1998-2004 for the redesign) before giving way to the Charger. And if the 2.7 really WAS that bad, they wouldn't be using them today in Chargers, 300's, Avengers, and Sebrings. If the engine really was that bad, the negative publicity would have caused Chrysler to discontinue it.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    In reply to Andre who said: "I'd say, seriously, that the biggest trouble spot on the Intrepid is the transmission. I think the more powerful 3.2/3.5 V-6 models are more prone to failure because they stress the transmission more, but the Chrysler 4-speed automatic isn't as durable as, say, the GM 4-speed automatic."

    I have a 1999 3.2 Liter Intrepid with 120,000 miles and no transmission (4 speed Autostick) troubles, but have had routine fluid and filter changes done every 25,000 to 30,000 miles. I would believe what Andre says about the 2.7. Indeed, some of the early (98-00 years) did have some problems that were caused by a combination of poor maintenance and some oil passages that were too small (from what I've read). These problems were resolved. Yes, they still make these 2.7 liter engines, and they are the base engine in the 300 and Magnum (not the Charger) and the optional engine in the midsize Avengers and Sebrings. These are good engines. Toyota had their own problems with V6 engines sludging and it was worse than the 2.7 Chryslers, but since it was a Toyota, everyone seemed to accept that.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,366
    Indeed, some of the early (98-00 years) did have some problems that were caused by a combination of poor maintenance and some oil passages that were too small (from what I've read). These problems were resolved.

    Oh, really? I didn't realized that they actually did go through the trouble to revise the engine. That's cool. Also makes me feel a bit better about the Trep in general, although if I were to go out and get a newer used one, I think I'd just splurge on a 3.5 model.

    I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard that the 2.7 was actually more troublesome in the "cloud cars"...the Stratus/Sebring sedans and convertible. From what I read, they had to redesign part of the engine, basically cutting off a corner of the block or head or something, to make it fit. And in redesigning that, it restricted some passage, either oil or coolant, and led to a higher incidence of problems in those cars. Now this is just going on memory, which is not always spot-on, so I may have gotten some of the details wrong. :shades:

    The biggest achilles heel in the 2.7, I think, is simply the cost to replace when it does fail. Even if the engine is as reliable as a 3.2/3.5, it's still a lot more expensive to replace, and will make it more likely that the car simply gets totaled out rather than fixed. I've heard that there are some companies that will swap a 3.2/3.5 into an Intrepid with the 2.7, and supposedly it's a little cheaper than simply replacing the 2.7. A couple years back I saw a '99 Intrepid at the Carlisle PA Mopar show, and it had a 3.2 swapped in. I remember looking at the car and doing a double-take. It was a base model, but when I looked under the hood and saw the 3.2, I noticed something wasn't right!

    Oh, as for the Charger, there was a cheap, rental fleet-only model that had the 2.7, but the rest of them either had the 3.5 or the Hemi. For 2007, they made the 2.7 standard, but if you specified option 27E, for $1000 more it got you the 3.5 and the 5-speed automatic. Or you could get the SXT package for it (I guess it was "technically" a package for the base model, and not a model in its own right) for about $4500, which also got you that engine. And for 2008, the 2.7 is standard again.

    I guess one reason the 2.7 stays around is that it gets a fairly good EPA rating, and probably boosts their average. Now I know they just lowered all the EPA estimates in 2007, but under the "old" system, I think the 2.7 got 21/28, versus 19/27 for the 3.5. Otherwise, I really can't think of a reason for them to keep the 2.7 around. If it's more expensive for them to produce than the 3.5, wouldn't it just make sense for them to make the 3.5 standard? Or offer a reduced-displacement version, as they did with the 3.2? Or maybe there's something else I'm overlooking?
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    This passage comes from a box in the site about the 2.7 liter V6:

    "The 2.7 liter engine had a tendency to generate sludge which caused engine failure. Similar problems have been appearing on Toyota and Volkswagen engines. We were told that, shortly after the first reported cases, Chrysler isolated the problem to the crankcase ventilation system; hydrocarbons were entering the oil and breaking down the additives. This problem has been solved (around 2002-2004), and the number of engine failures appears to be small. However, if you have an engine that might have this problem, frequent (4,000 mile) oil changes, vigilance, and crankcase ventilation system maintenance (or replacement with newer parts?) may be an answer."

    So, as with most engines, maintenance is the key to longevity.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,366
    would that be the pcv valve that mainly controls that? I forget what the service interval is for the pcv valve, but I always changed mine roughly every 15,000 miles. I'd do it at the same time that I changed the air filter.
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    Yes, I think they meant the PCV. Sounds like your engine should be like a new one.

    Ed ;)
  • 2000 Intrepid ES, 3.2 liter V-6, 47K miles
    Door/and or dome lights go on at night when car is parked. Sentry system is off and there is still a drain on battery. Car is only driven 2 or 3 times a week and sits for 3 days at a time without being started. Florida temps are in 90's...could heat effect the battery? Battery has been replaced within the last year. Alternator checked out fine. Anyone had problems with recharging system, any clues to what my problem could be?
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    It must be the battery if the alternator is putting out 12.5 to 14 volts. Just because a battery is less than a year old, doesn't mean it doesn't have a bad cell. Heat can affect batteries, as can cold. I live in SC, where it is just as hot and the original battery in my 1999 ES lasted 7+ years. If the 2 to 3 times per week drives are short, you may not have enough time to fully charge the battery. Take a long drive to charge things up and see what happens before you go to the trouble of changing the battery. They are in a bad place in our cars. :shades:
  • Have a 2000 intrepid with a tapping noise on drivers side of engine near oil cap ,any ideas :sick:
  • neko1neko1 Posts: 2
  • neko1neko1 Posts: 2
    I just recently purchased a 2001 Dodge Intrepid Se w/ 225k on it, the car had only 1 owner and that was a company, the maintainance on it seems to be very up to par, the body,engine,tranny all seem to be smooth, i just wander what i should be looking for as far as issues?
  • lorib43lorib43 Posts: 2
    We have our vehicle for at least about two to three months. I know it is a used vehicle but we are having problems with it starting up. The Rack and Pinion went out last month and at least about three weeks later the car is not starting up. Is there a recall on the vehicle in the past that we don't know about? :mad: :sick:
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    All cars are disposable! It all depends on how much money one is willing to spend to keep it maintained in running order. :)
  • yes,looks like there were three recalls for the 3.3 and four for the 3.5. Go to,then click on research for recalls and tsb's-service bulletins,then enter your car and you can see all them. I had a 2000 with 3.3 V/6, only problem was oil light on at idle. Oil pump pickup screen in oil pan too small.
  • My 2004 Intrepid with the 2.7L engine and 45K miles is in the dealer service center today for some service items related to a recent overheating.
    The service adviser indicated that in addition to the thermostat, there were a few other items needing replacement.

    I've got my fingers crossed that only the ~$700 worth of parts and labor they've found so far will be needed. The oil in it was Mobil1 Extended Performance and had only 200 miles on this oil change. After I get the car back, I will replace the oil and filter because I do want this car to last at lot more years.

    One employee at the dealer told me he purchased an Intrepid from a distraught service customer for $250. The customer was distraught at the cost of replacing the engine. The purchaser of the hulk had the thought process of, "Nice car, new engine, $5000, deal!". He related to me that the timing belt and water pump should be replaced at 60K miles.

    Expense, expense, expense. Still this is cheaper than a new car. At the rate we use this thing, 60K miles won't happen for 3 more years. It's a big, comfortable, nice sedan perfect for those occasional long road trips I take.

    Of course it bugs me that this thermostat crapped out at barely 45K, but that's no reason to throw away a car with a perfectly good engine in it.
  • Correction to the previous message.
    The thermostat was not crapped out.

    The water outlet housing had sprung a leak and needed to be replaced. Since I already had purchased a new thermostat, they put it on for me.

    Of interest was that the service adviser told me that Chrysler had noticed a large number of water outlet housing leaks, and had re-designed that part to eliminate the leak. So now my 2004 Intrepid is even better than stock.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,366
    The water outlet housing had sprung a leak and needed to be replaced. Since I already had purchased a new thermostat, they put it on for me.

    Evidently, that thermostat housing leak is a common problem. My 2000 Intrepid 2.7 had the same problem, and my mechanic replaced it. This was around the fall of 2001, and the car had about 51,000 miles on it. Since this was way back then, I guess a new, improved part hadn't been designed yet. However, I'm now at 143,000 miles and it's over 7 years later, and it seems to be holding, so far.

    I remember the mechanic charged me $210 to replace that thermostat housing. I had purchased an extended warranty on that car, but it had a $200 deductible, so I figured it wasn't worth taking it back to the dealer...especially since I was having other work done on the car, anyway.
  • Have a Dodge Intrepid 2000, 2.7 also, after hearing all these comments I feel very depressed, that car was good until a water leak close to the thermostat started giving me troubles, changed gasket and thermostat but the car is still leaking, there is a deep hole very close to the part that looks like an escape hole I don't know, what should I do?, should I cover the little hole with a screw (bolt) and some silicon or what?, please give me some advice, really need your help friends outhere, thanks a lot.
  • Your water pump is going out!!!!! don't plug the hole it is a drain hole. The water pump on this engine is located in the oil bath and is driven by the timing chain. when the pump fails it can dump the antifreeze in the oil and cause a major failure. you can save it by get the pump replaced as soon as possible. the bill should run about 700.00 or 800.00. it is a very difficult job but can be done if you are handy and know your way around an engine. I found some pretty good instructions online and saved my self about 600.00 and did the job myself. good luck to I hope you have been able to save it in time. other than that its a great car.
  • mY 2002 INTREPID SET FOR SOME TIME SOME TYPE OF A RODENT CEWED A WIRE OFF NOW iAM showing a knock sensor code I need to find the knock senser were does it hook to the motor can anyone help or tell me were to get a wiring digram the car was down due to trans issue after 143000 miles and two years of a one hour twentey minute one way drive to work daily then somrthig chewed the wires I need help this car runs great and looks great I luv it the dealer wants over 800 to put in a knock sensor I just want to fix the cewed off wire
    Help please!!!
  • smithedsmithed Posts: 444
    These are not disposable cars. The '99 ES has now reached 140K miles and still runs great, blows cold A/C.

    Of course, it's not worth much to sell or trade in, but that wasn't the plan when I ordered it to be built. :shades:

    I buy them to keep them.
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