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Discussion Starter #1
Guys,
I picked up a 2002 Chrysler Concorde over the weekend with only 36k miles. A grandma owned it and took really good care. She had the oil changed, but that's about it. I am in the process of replacing the front brake rotors/pads, draining all fluids (tranny, differential, power steering, brake), cleaning the TB and IAC, changing the spark plugs, replacing the PCV valve and having the front end aligned. I came across this website, dodgechryslersteeringproblems.com, two days after buying it and really wanted to just check the validity of the claims and if there is anything I need to look out for/check prior to my alignment. I am thinking about changing out the bushings that connect the inner tie rods to the steering gear. What about tie rod ends? What a terrible steering design for the home mechanic, huh? Any advice for a new owner would be greatly appreciated. So far the car has been great.

Thanks,
Ryan
 

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IMO, dodgechryslersteeringproblems.com represents people who are ignorant of their vehicle and do not pay attention to regular maintenance items such as tie rods, ball joints, bushings, etc, which on any car will loosen up after many thousands of miles. Common sense really.

Most of these so called "defective" cars have 75-100k miles on them and that is pretty good mileage nowadays for tie rods, ball joints, etc. You should have your car checked over at least once a year to check for loose parts such as that.

If your concerned about the suspension and steering, just check the parts for wear and play as with any car, and replace as needed. This should be done anyways at regular maintenance, ie oil changes, tire rotations, etc. Dont pay attention to crap like dodgechryslersteeringproblems.com and other sites, as there is one for about every issue on every make and model of vehicle. Valid defects aside, as they do exist, most are just jargon.

Also, they are not any harder to work on for the home mechanic than any other vehicle. You just need to know how to go about it. There is special equipment needed for some procedures, but not for most. I think the Concorde and Intrepid is one of the easiest vehicles to work on that is made today.
 

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IMO, dodgechryslersteeringproblems.com represents people who are ignorant of their vehicle and do not pay attention to regular maintenance items such as tie rods, ball joints, bushings, etc, which on any car will loosen up after many thousands of miles. Common sense really.

Most of these so called "defective" cars have 75-100k miles on them and that is pretty good mileage nowadays for tie rods, ball joints, etc. You should have your car checked over at least once a year to check for loose parts such as that.

If your concerned about the suspension and steering, just check the parts for wear and play as with any car, and replace as needed. This should be done anyways at regular maintenance, ie oil changes, tire rotations, etc. Dont pay attention to crap like dodgechryslersteeringproblems.com and other sites, as there is one for about every issue on every make and model of vehicle. Valid defects aside, as they do exist, most are just jargon.

Also, they are not any harder to work on for the home mechanic than any other vehicle. You just need to know how to go about it. There is special equipment needed for some procedures, but not for most. I think the Concorde and Intrepid is one of the easiest vehicles to work on that is made today.
This is true, the rack in the LH's are so high up that it's very easy to get to.
 

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Which engine do you have? The 2.7 has timing chains that are supposed to last the life of the engine. The 3.5 has a timing belt, that should be replaced every 108K miles or some specified period of time.

Anybody remember what the time-interval for replacing the 3.5 timing belt is? I never knew, because I was putting 1,000 miles a week on my SXT, so the miles always racked up before the time.

Jim Snover

Guys,
I picked up a 2002 Chrysler Concorde over the weekend with only 36k miles. A grandma owned it and took really good care. She had the oil changed, but that's about it. I am in the process of replacing the front brake rotors/pads, draining all fluids (tranny, differential, power steering, brake), cleaning the TB and IAC, changing the spark plugs, replacing the PCV valve and having the front end aligned. I came across this website, dodgechryslersteeringproblems.com, two days after buying it and really wanted to just check the validity of the claims and if there is anything I need to look out for/check prior to my alignment. I am thinking about changing out the bushings that connect the inner tie rods to the steering gear. What about tie rod ends? What a terrible steering design for the home mechanic, huh? Any advice for a new owner would be greatly appreciated. So far the car has been great.

Thanks,
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have the 3.5 HO. From what I can tell, it's a solid motor. Thanks for the posts guys.
 

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hehe 3.5 HO and in a 2002 concorde (best year!)... you lucked out. Keep changing oil and that engine will last forever. Your list of maintenance is good. Doing tranny fluid and again at 60K or something means you don't need to flush the tranny. Just drop the pan and replace the filter and fill her back up. Diff fluid is pretty easy to do.

As far as steering components are concerned, I wouldn't worry about it. Since you are getting an alignment, they will tell you if there's play. Two major things with these cars: the inner tierod bushing degrade over time and cause bad alignment and looseness in steering. This is very common but repair is not hard to do. At 35K (and garaged I assume), this shouldn't be a problem. If it is, then alignement people will tell you.
 

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The 3.5 is a great engine. All second-gen 3.5's have a 60-degree V aluminum block and heads, 4 valves per cylinder, forged crank and rods, and forged steel intake valves, and exhaust valves with forged steel heads and welded steel stems. And hypereutectic pistons.

The crank shaft has 30-degree offset throws, which combined with the 60-degree V block ensure perfect primary, secondary and tertiary balance and the same constant torque loading of the crankshaft as an inline-6.

It is one of the few SOHC cam engines that features 4-valves per cylinder.

The manifold on the HO-version has several variable-geometry tricks. It can change from short runners to long runner as needed, and it can tune the pressure between both sides of itself to ensure better cylinder filling throughout the rpm range.

In short it is a brilliant engine! It does run hot, however, by design. The cooling system maintains it at 210-230 degrees F. It is somewhat more forgiving of missed oil changes than the 2.7, but not by much. It is not forgiving of any oil starvation, so make sure it is within the "full" range on the disptick.

Jim Snover

I have the 3.5 HO. From what I can tell, it's a solid motor. Thanks for the posts guys.
 

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This might seem dumb, but what makes the 2002 3.5 ho the "best year"?
I honestly have no idea, but the 2.7L that I put into my trep is a 2002 model and it is so clean you can read letters and numbers off of internal parts through the oil filler hole.:biggrin: I think '02 was a good year for some reason.
 

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In late 2002 Chrysler initiated a whole series of major cost cuts on all components. Plastic used for the dash, for example, was thinner and lesser quality. All plastics in the vehicle were affected, not just the dash. After '02, the dash will sometimes crack, near the center, for no reason other than it i cheap. Basically, the cost cuts sucked the majority of the materials quality right out of the car. Lights in the glove box deleted, quality of the wiring and connectors throughout the car were degraded, etc. Even the quality of the paint was reduced.

Now, from the initial creation of the intrepid through 2002, I personally rated Chrysler's quality right up there with any foreign car. There are several things that go towards quality in a car: the design, the materials, and the manufacture of the car. Not a good design? Then materials and build can never make it a good car. Bad materials? Your well-designed car will not last long and/or have a bunch of issues, especially as it ages. Poorly made? Good design and materials can';t compensate for something thrown together without care.

Chrysler had a great design for the car, one of the best ever in my opinion. The cars were assembled by Canadians, who can turn Yugos into Mercedes, so it wasn't build quality that was affected. It was materials quality that took the big hit as Chrysler fought their way to sub-mediocrity, and their materials have been poor ever since late 2002.

I had two pre-'02 Intrepids, a '99 and '01. Both had the 2.7 engine. I put 230K miles on both of those cars and I never had a problem with either one of them. Not one single problem from those cars. I bought my '04, and within one month seval switches broke off. The rear defroster stoppe working. The cruise control switches went flaky. The list goes on and on. I have fixed all of these things myself, but it's a good thing I have otherwise I would have gone broke.

I have had six cam position sensors in this car. The first five were all Chrysler OEM parts. The current one is a Borg-Warner aftermarket item. The difference in the qualityand performance of the two sensors is night and day, the BW sensor is way superior to the Chrysler items.

That is why it's good to have a pre-'02 LH-platform car.

Jim Snover

This might seem dumb, but what makes the 2002 3.5 ho the "best year"?
 

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In late 2002 Chrysler initiated a whole series of major cost cuts on all components. Plastic used for the dash, for example, was thinner and lesser quality. All plastics in the vehicle were affected, not just the dash. After '02, the dash will sometimes crack, near the center, for no reason other than it i cheap. Basically, the cost cuts sucked the majority of the materials quality right out of the car. Lights in the glove box deleted, quality of the wiring and connectors throughout the car were degraded, etc. Even the quality of the paint was reduced.
...
That is why it's good to have a pre-'02 LH-platform car.

Jim Snover
You said pre-2002 LH-platform car are better than post-2002.
But what about 2002. My guess will be it's like buying a lottery ticket....!!!!

Mine was a 2002 with the big plug on the radio HU like 2003 has, so I assume I own a post-2002?
 

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I have not heard of anyone with an '02 having all the reliability issues of '03 and later. As I understand the cuts were initiated in late '02. Hopefully they had enough inventory on hand to get yours out the door with the good stuff.

Jim Snover

You said pre-2002 LH-platform car are better than post-2002.
But what about 2002. My guess will be it's like buying a lottery ticket....!!!!

Mine was a 2002 with the big plug on the radio HU like 2003 has, so I assume I own a post-2002?
 

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The bushings that are esentially the inner tie rod ends will have a long life if they are quality parts and the outer tie rods are indexed to a horizontal position.
 

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No, it seemed confined to interior/exterior plastics, wiring and sensors. Lots of little convenience items were deleted, like lights for the glove box. The engine's internal mechanical components (at least for the 3.5HO) appear to be of the same quality as pre-'02.

Mechanically, the car still seems solid as a rock. The only thing to watch out for is the steering rack bushings, tie-rod bushings, and any car with a 2.7. And the only thing you have to be concerned about the 2.7 is that it is so unforgiving of missed oil changes.

Jim Snover

Did these cost cutting efforts spread into any of the engines, electronics aside?
 
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