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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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How I came to be an Intrepid Fan

Well, this is not my first post, but it's about time to introduce myself...

My name is Cean (like Sean), and I live just west of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I'm the recent owner of a red 1994 Dodge Intrepid ES. Grey cloth interior, extended lit visors, no OTIS, solid rear seat, power driver's side seat, 4 spd automatic (not auto-stick), factory alloy wheels. Very clean paint, no more body damage than a ding here or there, and a very clean interior for being 14 years old.

I've never really liked Dodge... thought that Chrysler was the worse thing to happen to Jeep! My mother owned a 1978 3/4 ton Dodge 15 passenger van (ran great, 300,000 miles, finicky reverse gear, had a top end rebuild done to it at 250,000 miles), then I owned a 1985? Relaint with numerious computer problems. I then got a 1993 Dodge Dakota... nice truck, but beat up and horible on gas (former security company truck, but the price was right - "Come get it, make it run, you can have it!").

Following this post will be several posts, along with updates, of how I became a real Intrepid, and Dodge, fan.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:15 PM
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Preface

On a local Yahoo! Groups in my home town, a 1994 Intrepid was posted for sale. NOT being a Dodge fan, I took note of the ad and moved on… Several months later, I see the same one, this time with some details… “Naw… it’s a DODGE, no wonder it is broke!” I said to myself. Then I see it a 3rd time… this time about 8 months later… for a fraction of the price! (The ads are listed in order below, with dates) The wife and I were looking for cheap transportation to accommodate our growing family, so I nibbled at it…

The following posts tell the story of growing to love the Dodge Intrepid… It is quite long all together, it was originally e-mails sent to the previous owner who wanted to know what happened to the car. I’ve tried to break it up into sections reflecting the weekends I worked on it.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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The Ads

Ad # 1 - Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:51 pm

I have a 1994 Dodge Intrepid for sale. I am asking 1500 OBO. Please email me with questions.

Thanks!


Ad # 2 - Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:18 pm

I have a 1994 red Dodge Intrepid for sale. It does have high mileage, but has been taken care of. I put quite a bit of money into it--however it ended when I was told that it needs a new head gasket. It does run. In fact, I just started it tonight and took it around the block. The body of the car is in EXCELLENT shape--and as mentioned before, there are a number of new parts on the engine. The tires are approx. 2 years old....still in great shape. It is just sitting in my driveway--as it doesn't go that far!!

I was quoted that a new head gasket would cost approx. 900.00. The car, in the shape that it is in, is worth 3500.00--(according to Kelly Blue Book)

I am asking 1500.00 OBO.

I can show you the receipts of the work that has been done as well as tire receipts, oil change receipts, etc. It is a great car--just not worth it to me to put more money into it!

Please email if interested. Would love to share the details with you!


Ad # 3 - Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:14 pm

FS: 1994 Dodge Intrepid

I still have this car! I am willing to sale it for 500.00 OBO. It is red, in great shape--however it does need a new head gasket. THere (sic) have been a number of things replaced and I have the receipts for more specitics (sic). It is driveable (sic), just not for long distances at this point. This would be a great car for someone who knows how to replace a head gasket! Has been well taken care of--I just purchased another car.

Email if interested and I can give you more specifics.

Thanks!
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Part I

PART I - Mon, 4 Feb 2008

We drove the car to my dad’s (just the other side of down town) just fine, and parked it. We had no heat coming out of the vents, so I knew it was out of water. After our afternoon plans, I stopped at Dad’s and picked it up. Drove it to the Casey’s on 8th by the river, and put some gas in it, and some antifreeze. Put in just about a gallon. On the drive home the temp gauge stayed really low, and we had great heat out the vents. Right at about 30 miles driven, only 2 miles or so from home, I was told from my wife following in the van that she saw a great big puff of steam out the underside of the car… that was the time I saw the temp gauge spike and the heat went away. So, we slowed way down (we were doing 55 or so), and just gently coasted/idled into the drive way. We shut it down and let it sit. The next day it didn’t want to start real well, but finally got it going and drove around the block just fine. I have ordered more parts for it. I also went through all the receipts and put them in a spreadsheet to see what has been done to it. Kinda puts it in perspective…

From the day it was bought on 12/15/1993, to the time it had 50,091 miles on it, there are no records… but at 50,091, it had almost 900 dollars worth of AC work done on it. Between that repair and 9/06, it had another thousand put on it on things like oil changes, battery, tires, and brakes/shocks. Then starting on 9/06 through 4/07, there was almost $2000 put in the car, over a thousand in the last 2 or 3 months till 4/07. Very good record keeping, thank you for doing so. It made learning about the history of the car very easy.

I have so far purchased: (oddly, all off eBay, and all are estimates including shipping)

1 pair of fully machined and assembled heads - $130.00
1 set of gaskets (fantastic one time find of a deal) - $33.00
1 set of head bolts (a great overstock find) - $15.00
1 intake gasket set (not included in the first set) - $17.00

So, I’m waiting on all my parts to arrive, then for the weather to turn just a little bit so I can get a spot cleared in the garage to start to get it put together. We drive it to get the mail down the block from time to time. Our son just LOVES the car, thinks it is really neat looking, and calls it Red Lightening. My wife also really loves the car, it is a very sharp looking car. The car shows that it was very well taken care of, the only thing showing its age being the rip in the driver’s seat, right below your back ribs on the left side (and the engine repair needed).
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Part II

PART II - Wed, 7 May 2008

Well… the saga continues.

I have solved the overheat!!! A new set of heads and head gaskets was I’m sure 95% of the problem. I could see where the head gaskets had de-laminated and failed, so that really was the problem, in part. I found a few other curiosities as I worked on it… The thermostat had been installed with probably a full ounce of gasket maker (RTV)… normally, you just use enough to coat the gasket. This caused a lot of RTV to be forced into the opening where the thermostat sits, possibly fouling the function of the thermostat. I cleaned this up, installed a new thermostat that is designed to be fail safe (if it fails, it fails in the open position, not in the closed like normal, leading to overheatsing, and then installed a thinly coated gasket. I also found a stress crack in the housing that encases the thermostat, so I went and bought a new one (somewhat common fail point). I found a similar gasket problem in the back of the engine as well. There is a tube that bolts to the back of the intake, and it had be covered in the RTV goo and bolted on. This caused a nearly complete clog in this pipe. This could have exacerbated the over heating problem, and also caused a lack of heat in the cabin of the car. The last thing that I noticed was that the intake gasket had been installed with NO gasket coating applied. I believe that this also cause water to leak into the engine and into the oil.

I cleaned everything up and bolted the new heads on over new gaskets. I installed the heads with new head bolts per the manufacturer’s specifications. I installed the intake with a new gasket and this time it was coated properly with RTV. I installed new o-rings on the fuel injectors and buttoned everything up, finding one other gasket in the exhaust that had not been installed completely properly the time before. Backed out of the garage I flushed the radiator one more time and filled it with anti-freeze. I then changed the oil… this is where the story takes a down turn…

I drained out considerably more than 5 quarts of liquid… I drained out close to 5 quarts of oil, and a good portion of water too, a symptom of head gasket and intake gasket failure. Also, a big problem for the lower end of the engine. I changed the filter and added fresh oil. I started it up per the correct fresh engine build start up process, and it popped right over. I let it sit and idle for a bit. It sounded great with the exception of a ticking sound. It could be from a dry lifter from having sat so long, but it also sounded like bottom end noise. I backed it out of the driveway and took it down the street. It is a VERY nice car to drive. I got it warmed up, no warnings on the dash, and the heat stayed in check. I stopped and picked up some one to follow me in their car, and I took off down Hwy 30. Went on about a 40 mile round trip, watching the temp gauge… it never went above ¼ of the gauge!!! Problem solved!!! But wait, what’s this…

The oil light had come on. Low oil pressure signaling the light. Sure enough, I had plenty of oil, but a pesky oil light is now on. Took it back to my chase person’s house, and while we talked, it idled. Just as calmly as can be, it shut off, and wouldn’t re-start for 20 minutes… the oil had gotten too thin, and pressure couldn’t be held, so the engine control computer shut itself down for self preservation. After 20 minutes the oil had thickened up enough to allow pressure to build to allow the computer to let it start.

My fears confirmed, I drove it home. The water that had been in the oil from every over heat had been pumped through the engine, filling spaces made for oil with water. Water wears out the bearings very quickly. The worn bearings, now coated with oil, will run “o.k.” (for a bit), but will knock. However, the space between the bearing and the journal is supposed to be something on the order of 0.0008” – 0.0026”… this is required to maintain pressure and proper ‘filming’ of the oil… with the gaps opened up considerably, the parts rattle (the knocking I hear), as well as the oil doesn’t maintain pressure because the gap has opened up to something more like 0.020” or so. Well, I can remove the oil pan, drain the oil and remove possible metal fragments (from the softer bearings wearing out). I’ve got a new set of bearings on order, they should arrive to my desk here at work on Thursday. I’ll spend Thursday and Friday evenings on my back under the car changing engine bearings, and adding fresh oil. I will be running a slightly thicker oil (I had run a thinner oil for break in), so it doesn’t get too thin when the engine warms up to normal operating temperatures.

I’ll keep you posted on my success. My wife is in Minneapolis this week, and I’m hoping to bring the car to her to pick her up in it… Keep your fingers crossed!
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Part III

PART III - Fri, 9 May 2008

Well…

It was a VERY long evening on Thursday night… on Wednesday I ordered a set of bearings for it, and took down the oil pan in my driveway. Got the parts Thursday at work, and went home at about 5:30 to start working on it… At 11:30PM I rolled it off the ramps and took it for a drive. Still made the ticking noise, but wasn’t quite as loud… So, I went around the block and down the street… made it about a mile, and the oil light came back on. So, I drove it home. I hit the pillow at about 1:00 AM, beat, depressed, annoyed…

I have sourced a new oil pump for it. I have to wait for next pay day, and will take the oil pan back off, pull the radiator, fans, and radiator support bracket. It should be a simple repair once things are cleared out of the way, just simple labor after that. I’ll keep you posted on it.

I think that the oil pump may be the last thing I do to it. If the oil light comes back on, I will change the sensor, but other than that, I think I will have to walk away from the car. If the oil light stays off, but still ticks, we’ll just drive it like that. My wife is in love with the car, and I have to admit I really like going on test drives with it. If the ticking stops after a few miles, hey, that’s great… we’ll have to see what happens…

I’m very hopeful, I’ve sourced the parts. In the mean time, I will recoup a bit, and be fresh to tackle it again. I may, in that time, decide to bite the bullet and finish doing the overhaul on it I probably should have started in the first place. We’ll see what the price differences are like.

I promise, if I throw in the towel, it will only be because I’ve either exhausted my resources, or because it has basically rolled over and played dead.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Part IV

PART IV - Fri, 20 Jun 2008

A brief re-cap. After finding your third listing for the car, I began talking to you about it. My wife and I test drove the car, and I began to do research.

1) I found a set of heads and other parts on eBay.
2) I found this website and began to do LOTS of reading… www.DodgeIntrepid.net
3) Found this thread… https://www.dodgeintrepid.net/forums/...ad.php?t=86321
4) Found his picture page… http://www.supermotors.net/vehicles/.../16817/56899-2
5) Bought the car and drove it home… had to put some gas and water in it.
6) Sourced and purchased the needed gaskets and parts to complete the head gasket repair.
7) Drove the car around town just to keep it moving, dug it out of the snow a few times, and then parked it in the garage

Then I rebuilt the top of the motor as described above and in my first e-mail. I found a bad bearing sound I didn’t like… sooooo

I bought (northernautoparts.com found via www.ebay.com) and rebuilt the bearings on the bottom end of the motor. There are at this point only a few things left and you could call it a full overhaul… The oil light would still come on at this point, and the engine would die if I drove it for too long… BUT, it DOESN’T overheat! So, it got parked while I did some research.

Well, here we are. It took 2 weeks to find, afford, order, and receive the next batch of parts. When I ordered the bearings before, the sales person suggested a oil pressure sensor (to take care of the oil light) and he said he ALWAYS suggests an oil pump for them. Well, I took the cheap way out, and still had oil problems. So, I ordered a new oil pump kit, and found the specifications that the old pump should fall in. When I put the car up on ramps, it took the better part of an evening and an hour on the next morning (Saturday morning) to get the old oil pump out. I found that I needed to rent a hand full of tools to get the job done, as there is a special puller used to remove one of the pulleys.

When I finally pulled out the parts to measure and compare to the specs, I find that the old pump is IN SPEC! Then WHY is there an oil pressure problem!?!?!?!? I double checked all measurements, and even checked the new pump… all parts matched to with in 0.001”… So, for academics sake, I replaced all old parts with new parts, and then looked in the box the pump came in. I found three more parts… a little plunger, a spring, and a cap… “Oh, where do these go?” Turns out they are the pressure regulator, and this spring is supposed to be 1.95” long by spec. I found how to remove the spring that was in the car, and measured it. It came out to 1.843”!!! That’s more than a 1/10 of an inch! No wonder it never built pressure! See, this spring holds the plunger up, and when the oil pressure gets too high, it pushes back on the spring and releases the excess back into the oil pan… with no (or very little) spring pressure on the plunger, NO oil flowed into the engine! Most likely, the repeated engine over heating caused the metal to loose strength and “springiness”, thus causing the drop in oil pressure. As the engine would warm up, and the oil would naturally thin out, this weak spring would simply fail. For good measure, when I installed the new spring, I slipped a .800” thick washer under the spring for a little added pressure.

I had the car re-assembled on Sunday afternoon (June 1st, I think), and back on the ground. I added oil, had to re-fill antifreeze at the same time (to do the oil pump, everything has to be drained). When re-starting a car that has been taken apart like that you have to crank the engine over with out letting it start (by disabling either the fuel or spark) to build oil pressure… the last two times I started it like this the oil pressure took FOR EVER to build (more than 5 minutes worth of cranking). This time it was less than 45 seconds. A GREAT sign! It started up, and sounded soooo much better. It still had a minor tick, but over all wasn’t too bad. I checked the AC to find that it was low, but not out of Freon. This means it has a slow leak and would do o.k. to charge. As soon as I added one can of R-134a, the AC worked like a charm. The Freon I added contained a stop leak and seal conditioner, to help out where ever it could.

We loaded up the kids and took off to buy gas. We drove it around to confirm that the oil light would stay out, and it did. Pulled into the little town of Norway to buy petrol, and the engine died and we coasted to a stop, right at the pump. I filled it with gas, and we figured that may be why it died, it was very low… no luck on re-starting… I poked around and checked out some things, did a diagnostic on the coil pack over the phone with Autozone, made various testing equipment using light bulbs and bits of wire scavenged from the trunk, hood light, and the trash at the gas station. Determined that the coil pack must be bad, probably temperature related, finicky about being hot. So, I got some ice from the soda fountain and placed it around and on the coil pack. 5 minutes later it popped right over and ran! Back came the AC, and down the road we flew. It died pulling from 30 up onto 380, about half way up the curve. Called my dad, he brought me some ice water to try and cool down the coil pack… no luck. So, he brought me to Autozone, and I bought a coil pack, then back to the car we went. Hopped in the front seat, it fired right up, so I drove it back to Autozone incase I needed more parts, and so I wasn’t working on one of the busiest stretches of concrete in Cedar Rapids.

At Autozone, I pulled in and it died, as expected. I hopped out, and swapped the coil packs. DID NOT START… *scratches head* Well, um…

I swapped my old coil pack back on went in the store. I returned the coil pack for a camshaft position sensor… one of two ‘position’ sensors on the engine. I put on the new sensor, and it still didn’t start… I pulled the new sensor back off, and installed my old sensor again… IT STARTED! By this time, it has been sunny, rainy, and HUMID all at once, and my two boys are getting hot, hungry, and cranky. My wife’s been putting up with the fuss for now, but I can tell she’s wearing thin too. Back home we went…

It died just short of the crest of a hill that would have let me coast home… so a quick tug with a rope and another car, and it went into the driveway. Doing more research on www.DodgeIntrepid.net revealed LOTS of similar problems, but only ONE was exactly my problem… and for the life of me, I can NOT find that post now (I wish I could find that link again and give the proper credit)… it fit the symptoms perfectly, and was a simple explanation that no one else had gotten into and given bad advice. It was a Crankshaft Position Sensor, the sensor I didn’t get to change because of the car suddenly starting just fine for me! So the next day after work I acquired the sensor, and installed it. Loaded the family back up, and went for a drive. We followed the same path and same driving time as when it died at the gas station, and to my great relief, it worked perfectly!

We began the next day to drive it daily to work. We both work for the same company, and carpool to save on gas. The AC is cold, the seats are comfy, the ride is fantastic. It doesn’t suck fuel down as fast as our minivan either!

Well, after work the day I began to write this chapter, the AC stopped working for me. Back to www.DodgeIntrepid.com I went, to find this article https://www.dodgeintrepid.net/forums/...ad.php?t=21466. Sounds like I’m going to be getting an AC Pressure Transducer after work and plugging it in… I took the old one off for the fun of it, and while the AC slowly leaked I tried to clean and dislodge the ball that is makes it work. I sprayed brake clean in the opening, then shook and rattled around the sensor, then blew it dry and re-installed it. Still didn’t work. It’s got the symptom of the AC not engaging, but the cooling fans kicking on high as soon as I start the car, even when the engine is cold like it was first thing this morning. I’ve got a new sensor on order, it should be in on Saturday. I’ll talk to the guy on the phone to make sure it’s the right sensor, then I’ll install it and should have cold AC again!

The passenger side rear tire loses air still. It was flat when we test drove it back at the end of last year, and then it kept going flat through the winter, and now looses air a little faster since we drive it. I’m going to jack it up and plug what ever hole I find with my trusty tire plug tool kit I keep at work.

One last thing that has been kinda holding on… And I don’t know what I’m going to do about it yet… the engine has a really bad tick… back on the www.DodgeIntrepid.com forum there is a lot of talk about various knocks… I’ve got new bearings in it, new heads, and new oil pump… I’ve done as much as I can with the engine short of a crank kit or full overhaul… I did notice ONE little thing when I took the engine apart on the top side… the rear most cylinder on the drivers side showed indication that the top of the piston and the valves in the head have made contact at one point. I thought about removing a bur I saw at the top of the piston, but ended up not doing so (awkward angle, and I figured it wouldn’t harm anything to leave it alone…). I’m wondering if I’ve got a little contact going on there. The other idea that I’ve got is that the wrist pin at the top of that connecting rod is loose in the piston itself (the piston is a softer aluminum or magnesium, the wrist pin is hardened steel). The wrist pin bearing in the piston could have easily worn due to overheating, and lack of oil from the bad pressure spring. For now, I’m going to leave it. I can always rip the motor out and rebuild it or just drive it till it dies… I monitor the sounds the car makes and I know when it gets worse…

So for now, I think the repairs are done after I get the AC up and the tire fixed. Sounds like it could use brakes, especially in the rear, by the end of summer… I also want to replace the plastic panels behind the rear doors, between the rear doors and the rear window… the paint is just fading there, if it gets much worse, it will look really bad… just minor things now really…

I hope you enjoyed the story. I know this one is a little long, but I wanted to get it finished up in one post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:33 PM
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Welcome from Chicago!!! What a huge intro! I will read it now.....
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Afterword

AFTERWORD

I could NOT have done this project with out the help of www.dodgeintrepid.net (I see I miss labeled the links in the posts above as .com, not .net, sorry).

THANK YOU to everyone on this board, both regular posters and former newbies with the same problems I had... you all made the job MUCH easier.

Special thanks to "occupant" for his posts and pictures of his rebuild...
Special thanks to "Chewievette" for his crazy ideas and his ambition to pull them off... kept me sane by reading what he worked hard to accomplish.
Special thanks to "jcman311", "bjlv", and "Paul G." (among many others in the AC thread) for the help on the AC problems.

I will be thanking the board formally in the form of donations. I hope to bring it to a few meets in the area soon!
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Fearless! You're planning on being in IC in July?
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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I will take some good pictures of the car and post them, as well as pictures of various parts. Hopefully this weekend yet.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-21-2008, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdmccul View Post
Thanks Fearless! You're planning on being in IC in July?
Yup. I would like to have a DI.net meet there. Nhogan(Nick) is not too far from IC. Since he has been to Chicago so many times, I figured I would have a meet near him this time. You are welcome to join us!!!
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 09:28 AM
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welcome aboard, looks like you have an excellent knowledge of you car, now its time to enjoy it!!
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 06-22-2008, 09:38 AM
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HOLY CRAP.........that's WAAAAAY too much writing. You must know your cars VERY well......that's not work I'd be able to do! Good job!



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