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2003 Dodge Intrepid 2.7L
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long time lurker, first time poster. First off I want to start off by thanking this website for helping me fix many if not all of the issues I had since purchasing my Intrepid in 2013. To start I want to mention that my initial issue began a month ago in early August. I was having some slight squealing at the front of the engine and some coolant loss. I attributed this to being the water pump which I had replaced in 2016. Seeing as I was going to be gone on vacation for the rest of August I left the car parked and decided I would get the water pump replaced when I came back. On first start I noticed the engine running rough and then the check engine light turned on. It showed P0300, P0301, and P0304 (Pending). I pulled the spark plugs and on first look most of them appeared to be slightly oil-fouled with Cylinder 1 being most severe and concerning. I replaced all the spark plugs, turned the car back on and engine was still running rough and it sounded like something was clanking in there. I decided to tow it in to my mechanic to get it diagnosed. After compression test I was told Cylinder 1 had the lowest compression at 130 with all other cylinders being within expected range of 160. Ultimately I was recommended a new engine but just wanted to see if I could get any advice of other possible solutions there are to my problem. After towing it back and attempting to start it I am now left with a P0016 DTC and I am unable to start the car. I’ve attached a link to a YouTube video of my car before I towed it in to the shop. Thank you for any and all advice.

Engine Noise YouTube Video
 

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P0016 says camshaft out of time with crankshaft. I'm thinking your primary chain is stretched and slipped, or possibly the water pump has locked up or come apart which led to a chain issue (the chain drives the pump). What you described before the no-start and code P0016 was leading up to what you have now.

I think you need to pull the valve covers off and see what's going on with the cams, timing chain, and water pump.
 

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2003 Dodge Intrepid 2.7L
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is exactly what I had thought—that the water pump locked up and ultimately led to the timing issues. The mechanic I took my car to dismissed my diagnosis and simply said that the water pump and timing weren’t the issue. He said it was due to low compression on cylinder 1 and the only option was a rebuild for $6,900. When I got the car towed back and read the DTC for P0016 I called him to mention if they read this code during their diagnosis and they said no. He said they only did the compression test (was charged $75 for basic diagnosis and an additional $75 for compression test) but told me that P0016 was irrelevant and timing wasn’t the issue. I’m beginning to think that maybe I just didn’t go to the right shop to fix/diagnose the issue. I was almost getting ready to junk the car but I really don’t want to after how much work I’ve put into it. I know this is an interference engine so I’m just worried if it went out of time, permanent damage was done. Do you think it’s still fixable? I’ve done my fair share of labor intensive work on the car but I’m just thinking if it’s something I have the capability of doing on my own instead of taking it to a shop.
 

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I've asked Dan (Daytrepper) to take a look at this. He is the guy with tons of hands-on 2.7 experience in interpreting the types of things you're seeing and advising on what your next steps should be. Hopefully he'll pop in here.
 

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Any progress?
 

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2003 Dodge Intrepid 2.7L
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Any progress?
Upon further inspection it seams that the coolant began leaking and mixing with the engine oil. Although, knowing it can be possibly repaired, but with likely more damage, I think I’m going to end up retiring my Intrepid. I had almost 9 years with it and loved the car. Perhaps later down the road I can purchase a 3.5 but at the moment I don’t see any for sale in my area. Regardless, thank you for your help. Hopefully I’ll be back on this forum in the near future sharing the news of a replacement Intrepid I purchased.
 

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Sometimes we just have to met them go. Best of luck.
 

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2003 Dodge Intrepid 2.7L
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sometimes we just gave to met them go. Best of luck.
Was just looking at some cars and happened to find a 2000 Intrepid R/T in White with 110,000 miles! My current one was an 03 in silver with 235K so it’s a big difference. Thinking of checking it out this week but is there anything I should look for in particular when checking it out aside from the usual oil, coolant, transmission & other visible leaks? I believe the R/T is the 3.5 engine. I currently had lots of new suspension components in the box that I originally planned to install on my 2.7. Is the R/T suspension different?
 

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Depends on what suspension pieces you're talking about. Main differences will be springs and struts. All the rest are interchangeable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Depends on what suspension pieces you're talking about. Main differences will be springs and struts. All the rest are interchangeable.
That’s a bit of a bummer. I had new KYB struts, control arms, tension struts, stabilizer bars and sway bar bushings. I’m still going to see the car on Friday but we’ll see how it drives. Are there any particular issues that are common in the 3.5 engine that I should look out for when test driving? Thanks to everyone for all the help!
 

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Can't tell by driving it, but find out approx. date and miles that the timing belt and water pump were last changed. Change interval is 105k miles or 7 years, whichever comes first - both are important no matter what anyone tells you. With replacement @$600-$900, that needs to be a factor in the price, so adjust accordingly. If they can't tell you when it was last done, then it would need to be done right away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Can't tell by driving it, but find out approx. date and miles that the timing belt and water pump were last changed. Change interval is 105k miles or 7 years, whichever comes first - both are important no matter what anyone tells you. With replacement @$600-$900, that needs to be a factor in the price, so adjust accordingly. If they can't tell you when it was last done, then it would need to be done right away.
This was one of the first things I asked the seller but forgot to mention it here. They stated both water pump and timing belt were changed about 1.5 years ago with documentation available. Mileage at the time was 88k and it’s currently at 110k.
 

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That’s a bit of a bummer. I had new KYB struts, control arms, tension struts, stabilizer bars and sway bar bushings. I’m still going to see the car on Friday but we’ll see how it drives. Are there any particular issues that are common in the 3.5 engine that I should look out for when test driving? Thanks to everyone for all the help!
The KYB struts will bolt in. They'll just have a different damping rate than the OEM R/T. If you have KYB struts for all four corners of the car there's no reason you can't put them on the R/T. The other parts you listed bolt in also with no affect on damping or spring rates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The KYB struts will bolt in. They'll just have a different damping rate than the OEM R/T. If you have KYB struts for all four corners of the car there's no reason you can't put them on the R/T. The other parts you listed bolt in also with no affect on damping or spring rates.
That’s great news. Only had the 2 front struts, but buying some for the rear will end up being cheaper than buying 4 R/T struts. Hoping everything goes well Friday. Will update with pictures if I end up purchasing it. Thanks again!
 

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R/T struts are no longer available along with 300M Special struts and others. Unless you can find them NOS they've been discontinued for years. Aftermarket is all that's left. KYB would probably be the best of Aftermarket. Getting KYB Quickstrut assemblies saves time on installation but obviously more expensive than a strut cartridge alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
R/T struts are no longer available along with 300M Special struts and others. Unless you can find them NOS they've been discontinued for years. Aftermarket is all that's left. KYB would probably be the best of Aftermarket. Getting KYB Quickstrut assemblies saves time on installation but obviously more expensive than a strut cartridge alone.
Yes, KYB has been my preferred brand for most replacements but it’s still unfortunate that the OEM option is no longer available. I actually just ordered all the parts separately i.e. strut, strut mount, spring etc. just because it was cheaper than the Quickstrut. Surprisingly I was able to order 1 strut from Walmart and the other from Amazon for $15 each! Amazon had 1 driver side strut left that I just kept watching to see how low the price would go. Once it got to $15 I price matched at Walmart and they let me order the passenger side strut. I’m hoping I’ll be able to put them to good use soon. I’ll keep my eye out on a good deal for the rear struts too.
 

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Not trying to hijack Victor's thread here, but just a quick question to confirm what @Ronbo said. R/T quickstruts will bolt up to an 03 SE? Would you know if the ride height is the same or altered? Some cars ride height is different between trims/suspension.
My girlfriends SE suspension has seen better days, as its original and definitely time for an upgrade.
 

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R/T OEM struts have been discontinued and unavailable for years now. The only R/T struts around would be used and abused. All versions of LH Strut assembles have the same mounting points top and bottom and fully interchange as far as fit between any of the trim versions.

The only LH car that has a lower perceived ride height is the 300m Special. It was never verified. Some used to say the side cladding on the Special made it look lower others say the height of the springs and or Strut travel was the difference. No one ever produced verified measurements. My Special has cut outs in the side skirts that pop out and hinge up to fit the OEM jack under the cladding without breaking it. That leads me to believe the cladding does add to the illusion of lowered because the bottom of the cladding is lower on the chassis.

It's possible the struts are also involved. I would need to take measurements from the fender well to the ground and fender well to top of tire both front and rear. If someone could take the same measurements on their SE/ES or R/T that would be a baseline. Also be aware worn struts or springs will sag and drop the height some. Especially if they're leaking oil/gas. The OEM struts are gas charged just like aftermarket.
 

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Not trying to hijack Victor's thread here, but just a quick question to confirm what @Ronbo said. R/T quickstruts will bolt up to an 03 SE? Would you know if the ride height is the same or altered? Some cars ride height is different between trims/suspension.
My girlfriends SE suspension has seen better days, as its original and definitely time for an upgrade.
Buy the KYB Quickstruts if you can afford them.
 
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