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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
1999 Dodge Intrepid mileage: 155,000 km. (approx. 98,000k miles) 2.7 motor .

My Intrepid's symptoms:

The car ‘hiccups/hesitates/chugging’ while accelerating, when this is happening the rpm needle fluctuates (this usually happens around 1500 rpm’s and up). It doesn’t matter what speed I’m driving at: 50,80,110 km/h….. It reacts the same. At times it 'stutters' hard, sometimes its soft, and it happens more frequently when going up an incline. The car has never stalled while this is happening. This problem does not appear when idling (idle is smooth) or when coasting. The parts the mechanic installed were: fuel injectors, fuel pump, speed sensor, crank and cam sensor, but the symptoms remained the same. The mechanic is able to assimilate the symptoms at the garage by applying the brakes, placing in neutral position and revving motor above 1500 rpm’s. So the mechanic inspected cam sensor position, spark plugs, wiring, flywheel, timing chain sprocket, fuel pressure, ignition coils, and battery. I also had the oil changed to Amsoil synthetic, flushed the transmission, and coolant. After all this time and money, he found nothing amiss. He told me to drive it until it dies, then he could find the problem!? The next day the engine light came (prior to work being done engine light did not come on). Code # P0352 & P0355 showed up. (coil’s 2&5 not reaching peak current at the right time). I bought 2 coils and installed, still no change. Then I brought the car in for an emissions test. It passed, all results where well below their limits except HC ppm, which reads: 40km/h- Limit 55, Reading 54, Curb Idle Limit 150, Reading 30. Frustrated, I brought the car to the dealership garage for them to do a diagnostic. They said diagnostic was fine and they suspected it to be cam sensor and timing chain. I told them the cam sensor was already replaced at another garage. Upon further inspection, the cam sensor had a ‘grove/ gouge’ on it (I don’t know if previous garage put it in this way or something in the engine caused it). So, in goes another cam sensor. Still the symptoms persist. The dealership now believes because the cam sensor was gouged, it could be the chain guides, sprocket or loose timing chain. As it is, I’ve spent so much money to eliminate the problem and my funds have dwindled rapidly. The garage estimates the job to be $500- $1000 for repairs (it’s a lot of money to put out on a suspicion). Do you think it could be as the garage suspects or could it be some other problem?

On another issue, I had bought this car used. The steering wheel has never ‘locked in position’ when the car was turned off. I never thought anything of it until today when I parked. I forgot to turn the wheels straight, so the steering wheel was left in the upside down position. When I shut the car off the steering wheel locked in its upside down. Is this normal? Any help would be appreciated.

Edit: More Symptoms?

When I went to the grocery store this afternoon, I turned the key in the ignition, the car took several seconds before turning over, there was a loud clanking/rattling noise, and acting like it was going to stall (but didn't).
 

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This sounds for all the world like an air leak. Get the intake and exhaust gaskets changed, the PCV (valve) and its hose, double check the EGR valve for leaks and function, the throttle body has a gasket too.

The steering wheel bothers me. Is there any chance at all that this was an accident car that got rebuilt and sold off?

The 'gouge' in the cam sensor tells me that there is something going on with the front end of the motor; chain, guides, tensioner, water pump, etc, etc.
 
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