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Discussion Starter #1
I've been a member here for 6 years right after the universe tricked me into buying our double-ott Intrepid. I say tricked because we needed to pick us up a reliable second car, after our Saab 900 got totalled in a broadside, I usually gather up as much cash as I am willing to pay, then search the papers, on-line adds, e-bay etc. Then do a little research on the cars and then go shopping. We did all that then went out on a Saturday to get our new ride. At the end of the day we came up empty and was ready to try again later when the dealer we were talking to told us that a pretty decent looking Intrepid just came in on trade and we could take it home for a $1000. We jumped on it like a starving teen on a BigMac. The being tricked part is as soon as I got home I researched that car and its infamous 2.7 liter sludgmaster and I was sure I got punked. After talking it over we decided to take our chance on it since it was only a $1000 investment. That's when I joined this group. First thing I learned was to watch the water level like a hawk and as soon as it starts to disappear it's time for the water pump replacement. On this car it didn't go out by leaking but the shaft broke and it got jammed up and in the timing chain and seized the engine. I thought it was toast. After tearing it down I saw it didn't do any damage but I could see that it had a sludge problem in the past. You could see where somebody had a scrape fest with a screwdriver. Pulling the oil pan I found more slop In the bearings than I was comfortable with. We decided that we liked the car enough that we would get it back into shape. I bought a factory rebuilt 2.7 that addressed many of the problems that plagued this powerplant, and had the transaxle rebuilt. All the other little glitches I could rectify easily enough and found all the information I needed on this site. Every time I work on it I am impressed with the way this car was built. I have no idea why the Chrysler engineers would shoot themselves in the foot by not testing this platform more throughly and fixing the problems to start with. Why would they say to change oil in 7,000 mile intervals instead of 3,000? Why didn't they make it clear it needed a water pump replacement at 70,000 miles? Other car makers recommend a timing belt and water pump swap at that mileage. And why on earth would they offer it as a police interceptor? Instead of the LH platform being a renowned success it is famous for being Chrysler's biggest mistake. Back to the question of if saving one of these cars being worth the trouble. I say hell yes. We love our Trep and are impressed with the way its built. It runs and rides like new. With almost 200,000 miles on the clock there are no rattles or squeaks, and all the doors close smoothly and quietly. We love the style of these cars, we are in the process of repainting it and are looking for some rear window louvers for it. I know a lot of people don't like louvers and say they have no purpose but I grew up in the '70s and liked all the cars that had factory installed shades, and considering the horizontal attitude of this big back window and all the black trim I think it would look awesome and they really do help keep the car cooler when the sun is beating down. Anyway if anybody is new here that has an old Intrepid and is wondering if it's worth the effort, in my opinion, if you are diligent about maintenance and have some mechanical ability, I say whole heartedly that it's worth it and would thank you for helping keep one of these cars on the road. Oh... and thank you Universe for making sure we saved a great car from the junkyard.
 

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I hit **** with sticks!
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37,433 Posts
Definitely. I have 230,000 on mine and have vowed to "retire" it to local stuff only and drive a different car to work etc, but I cant seem to find something that is so universally useful and runs so good as the Intrepid.

Lost count of the money I have put into it a long time ago, some was necessary, most was not LOL; but it gets whatever it needs and I will never get rid of it. There comes a point when you are pot committed so to speak to the car so it makes no sense to throw it away.

As for the 2.7, it was a poorly constructed water pump; that causes all the issues; and very few people know that; if caught in time, and replaced "for good measure" every 75K miles, you are good; there have been alot of design improvements to the water pump, bigger bearings, a more supportive housing, and better seals, which has helped with the issues.
 

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yes, they are safe reliable cars. and large inside.
i'm on my 3rd of the lh platform.
most reliable and least maintenance engine was probably the 3.3 in the first gens.
although first gen 3.5 weren't an interference engine, so waiting til it broke to replace it didn't matter either.
second gens were a little fussier.
i've done little to mine to keep them running.
present 2000 lhs.
the other 2 were a 95 new yorker, and a 95 trep.
both 3.5.
both had over 320k km.
trep had a rod bearing go, and the new yorker i sold when i bought the lhs, and i saw still running a year ago.
i sold it 7.5 years ago.
 

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Woober Goobers!
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49,880 Posts
3.2/3.5L engines are more reliable and require less maintenance. The 2.7L can attain super high mileage life with intensive maintenance and upgraded parts.

Besides if you try to sell an SE the value is next to nothing. If it runs good and has been maintained then keeping it until maintenance costs skyrocket is a "No-Brainer"....at least to me. my 2002 Special is still collecting mileage at 170k and still going strong. Use it almost everyday for work.
 

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My Intrepid just passed the 300K mark, last week it died, cranks but no start. Took me a few days, but I diagnosed it and fixed it for less than $20. And now I have it running, I have already started to yank the engine out for a rebuild. A vehicle is almost always worth saving if you can do the work yourself. But if you have to take it into a mechanic, usually the cost of the repair is more than what the vehicle is worth. I paid $1,000 for the vehicle 9 years ago. And up until I decided to "restore" her with new suspension, steering, an exterior/interior refresh and rebuild the engine, I didn't even have half of that into her. I've already restored her suspension and steering for around $500 in parts, got a mostly new interior from a salvage yard for $100, exterior repair will cost around $200, and I bought all the stuff for an engine rebuild for right around $700, that's a total of around $1500, which is still cheaper than buying a "new" used car these days. But if I took it to a mechanic and body shop to do all this work, it would probably cost around $10K, well more than what the vehicle is worth.

But really, it all depends on how much you love or hate the vehicle. And how much time and money you want to put into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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I agree 100%. I'm chief mechanic and bottle washer around here and although in the past I preferred working on rigs with carbs and distributors I've gotten to the point that I won't let all the computer functions intimidate me, and working on our Trep has become enjoyable. (I'm planning on pulling the dash to solve a blend door issue and replace the heater core while I'm there, so that may change :) For being 20 years old it runs and drives like new. And my wife and I think it's a real head-turner.
 
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