DodgeIntrepid.Net Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
1997 Dodge Intrepid
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a fairly new member here with a 97 Intrepid that I just bought right before Christmas. It's a one owner car with only 78k miles (79k now) but it was SEVERELY neglected. Aside from the oil, it appears that all the fluids are more than likely original. The power steering fluid is dark brown like used motor oil. The brake fluid looks just straight up dark black like VERY used engine oil. Trans fluid is DARK red, but thankfully not brown or black.
So my question is: Has anyone replaced the power steering fluid and/or brake fluid on a 1st Gen? If so, can you give any pointers or tips? I'm guessing I can suck as much as possible out of the reservoir and just fill it up with fresh fluid and maybe do that 2-3 times until I sort of "flush" it out? Or is there a way to unhook one of the power steering lines to drain or pump it all out? As far as the brake fluid, I'm guessing I can suck as much fluid out of the master cylinder as possible, then fill it up with fresh fluid then bleed the brakes until clean fluid comes out?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Sounds like you may have gotten a good one owner deal with low mileage. I've got some time, so I'll write up a bit on what a the buyer of a used Intrepid should do, not just the fluids you mentioned. I'll also assume you are new to repair work and go through a lot of the basics with getting a used Intrepid back in shape. If you are experienced, then all this basic info may help others. You may not be able to do all this stuff at once, but a bit at a time as you can afford it, to get the car in shape if it didn't have regular maintenance. Just prioritize with the safety items first on the list.

As far as the two fluids, there is lots of info online if you just Google "how to bleed brakes" and "bleed power steering" - videos and websites. Also just search dodgeintrepid.net for "bleed brakes" and "bleed power steering" for past posts. However as an Intrepid owner, whether you are going to be doing any work yourself or have a shop maintain your car, it is well worth it to buy both the Haynes '93-'97 Intrepid manual (first choice) and Chiltron '93-'97 manual, which also have all the procedures. The articles and manuals will show you what you need. It is also worth it to get the factory service manual. They used to have the factory service manuals in pdf on this site ("Service Manual: New Yorker, LHS, Concorde, Intrepid and Vision" - obviously for the proper year), but I am not sure where they are now on the site (anyone know?). They may be available other places online in pdf if you Google. They also sometimes show up on ebay for $20 or so. Obviously, again get the proper year, and make sure it is the big standard service manual, not one of the other specialty subsystem manuals for electrical, transmission, etc. Looking over the manuals, you can then decide what work you have the tools/ability to do, versus having a good independent shop do the work (see below on this).

As was pointed out in the previous comment, the important thing in both procedures is to be be careful not getting the brake fluid level down to near the bottom of the master cylinder reservoir or power steering fluid to the bottom of that reservoir, or you can get air into the lines. That is not a big deal if you do NOT have anti-lock brakes; you just have to use a lot more fluid to get the lines all clear of the air bubbles that were introduced. But see below for info on the problem with getting air in the ABS system.

Yes, a "quick and dirty" way to do the power steering system is just to use a turkey baster ($3 at the grocery store) to suck out the fluid from the power steering reservoir (again, NOT to the very bottom), and replace it with fresh fluid up to the line on the rod attached to the cap. Hold your finger over the bottom of the baster when pulling it out; and have a container for the old fluid in the engine (don't dribble any on the paint). The fluid will circulate while driving with the old fluid in the lines. Then after several weeks of driving do it again. But you can't really accomplish the same the same thing with the brake master cylinder, because the fluid doesn't circulate much through the brake lines.

Just FYI, tor bleeding brakes, you will also read about "Power Bleeders" available from Motive Products (on Amazon and other places) that use a plastic air tank attached to the master cylinder reservoir that you pump up. It makes brake bleeding easier for one person to do. I have one of those. However, the special brake reservoir cap that is needed for the 1st Gen Intrepids is NOT the one that they supply in the kit for 1990s Chryslers - I wound up having to make one myself from a junkyard cap, brass brass pipe fittings, washers, and an improvised rubber gasket (big hassle if you are not handy). You don't need a power bleeder like this, but without it, the articles and manuals will show you it is really a two-person job.

If you have an Anti-lock Brake System (as many 1st Gen Intrepids do) AND you get air in the lines from draining the reservoir too far down, there is actually a procedure that you have to go through in the factory service manual to then bleed the air out of the ABS system. (In case you don't know, the ABS system is another unit in the brake system in front of the firewall and steering rack that the hard lines run into from the master cylinder - see the manuals for info). This is not a minor problem, since the brakes can be spongy in this condition and possibly unsafe (the Haynes manual even strongly recommends you have the car towed to a shop for safety if you get air in the ABS). In the factory service manual they will mention the Dodge dealer scan tool (called DRB II) for bleeding air out of the ABS system, but some aftermarket OBDII scanners (for most 1996 and later cars) also have an ABS bleed function. (On pre-1996 Intrepids like my '94 I wound up buying an old Snap-On MT2500 Scanner with all the proper modules and manuals to do all sorts of stuff like this - WAY too much trouble for most people).

And unless you are experienced, you can run into problems with the brake bleeding other than just air in the ABS. Another common problem on old cars is that the little screw-in bleeder valves on the calipers may be rusted in place, and you need to use penetrating spray like "Liquid Wrench" or similar on the threads as well as a box-end wrench or flare nut wrench (also a few other methods to loosen stubborn ones; see the articles). If you aren't careful, you can snap off the bleeders and then have to replace the whole brake caliper - a real bummer.

So......
While going to a Dodge/Chrysler dealer is very expensive for most work, a good lower-priced independent shop will also have that proper scanner for bleeding the ABS system if air gets in. So for most people, I'd recommend just having them do both the brake fluid and (properly) the power steering fluid. BEFORE they do the brake flush, have them inspect the whole brake system - the hard brake lines (can rust/leak), rubber lines (can crack/leak) calipers, and brake pads. They can also check the fuel line for rust AND replace the fuel filter since it probably was never replaced. This stuff is very important for safety with an older car.

Also VERY important on Intrepids: have them change the transmission fluid and trans filter ( they will also have to put on a new pan gasket). The transmissions can have problems with old fluid. Changing the trans fluid is a messy and unpleasant job on your back for do-it-yourselfers (done it). As you may know, our cars take Mopar-type trans fluid; make sure the shop uses the right fluid fluid for Dodge/Chysler - it doesn't hurt to ask, since the wrong fluid will cause big time problems. See the important link below for info; print & give them a copy of the Technical Service Bulleting in the post.
Trans fluid info link:

You may have already changed the oil and oil filter, PCV valve, air filter, spark plugs (gapped properly), and spark plug wire set. Those are fairly easy jobs that they cover in the Haynes and Chilton manuals. If not, have the shop do those too. Flushing/changing the coolant is also a bit of a hassle on Intrepids, since it requires an air bleed also (see manuals and posts), so you might want to have the shop do it (there is a Dodge Technical Service Bulletin on this that shops have access to, and is in the posts on this site.) Changing the fluid is important to avoid rust inside the coolant passages and a clogged radiator.

Also have the shop inspect your belts and hoses (probably never changed) and inspect the complete suspension and struts (front/rear). It is a good idea whenever you take the car in for service to have them do a quick underside check for things like torn rubber drive shaft boots, etc. If the supsension is OK, get an alignment so your tires don't wear out. If you have a 3.3L engine, you have a timing chain that will last a long time with regular oil changes; the 3.5L engine has a timing belt that eventually will need to be replaced. Both the camshaft and crankshaft sensors will eventually start to cause weird problems (search the posts on this) and need to be replaced (easy, inexpensive job). Other sensors may eventually have to be replaced also, but those aren't expensive jobs either - there are several sensors. See the maintenance schedule in the manuals for the mileage recommendations on all this stuff or just ask your mechanic. Others here may have other important maintenance items that I've left out.

VERY IMPORTANT: On our cars, one very important suspension safety item is that the bushings on the inner tie rod ends can wear out and cause sloppy and even very dangeorus steering, and bad wear on your tires. You MUST have these checked. If they were never replaced, it is possible at 78K miles that they are worn. When this gets bad, the bolts holding the inner tie rod ends can come loose and you can lose steering control. There is lots of info about this on this website if you search on "inner tie rod ends." There is also a Dodge Technical Service Bulletin on this that your mechanic can access through their "Alldata" (or similar) system. Most good mechanics know about this problem on the Dodge/Chrysler LH cars. Just the bushings can be replaced with a kit from Moog (#K7408 Tie Rod End Bushing Kit), or the whole tie rod can be replaced (if so, use Moog "problem solver" or the NAPA premium part). There is a wide range of costs to do this repair. Some mechanics have a way of just easily pulling the tie rod ends out without disassembling all the stuff above it like the manuals say you have to - so ask for prices. In prioritizing the repairs/inspections on Intrepids, this is at the very TOP of the list for your safety.

Yes, all this will cost you some, but will be WELL worth it to get the car back in shape. With just 78K miles, the car can last a long time. However, if you don't do these things, much more expensive problems can develop. Each time you I have repairs done, I think of it as approximately the same as one rent/mortgage payment, which makes it easier to take.

If you need a good shop, look up the shops in your area online and and Google their name plus "reviews." Also check your local better business bureau site for complaints. NAPA also has an approved network of shops - most of these are decent . Carquest used to also have a shop network (called "TechNet" I think), but I think that is gone after Advance Auto bought them (and closed many shops). NAPA shops Link:

One good plan is to try out a shop for one job, like say inspect the complete brake system and flush the fluid. If they do that OK, then you can do the others. Alternatively you can try out the different shops for each of the jobs and see who you like the best. Even going in for an oil/filter change will give you a good idea what kind of service they will give you.

Also, if your old car looks decent, the shop will often give it a little more care. Clean the interior & vaccum, and wash and wax (spray dirt off of the underside at the car wash). Also clean up the engine compartment as best you can with just a bit of spray cleaner on a bunch of rags (don't ever spray the engine compartment or have it "steam cleaned" - it can cause all sorts of problems).

One more thing. If the original owner didn't do much maintenance like you said, they may also have not taken the car in when they got the two recall notices. A dealer should be able to tell you for free if your VIN number shows that the two '97 recalls were repaired (only applies to some cars). The dealers are obligated to do the recall repairs for free. Links:
1997 DODGE Intrepid
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,499 Posts
Sounds like you may have gotten a good one owner deal with low mileage. I've got some time, so I'll write up a bit on what a the buyer of a used Intrepid should do, not just the fluids you mentioned. I'll also assume you are new to repair work and go through a lot of the basics with getting a used Intrepid back in shape. If you are experienced, then all this basic info may help others. You may not be able to do all this stuff at once, but a bit at a time as you can afford it, to get the car in shape if it didn't have regular maintenance. Just prioritize with the safety items first on the list.

As far as the two fluids, there is lots of info online if you just Google "how to bleed brakes" and "bleed power steering" - videos and websites. Also just search dodgeintrepid.net for "bleed brakes" and "bleed power steering" for past posts. However as an Intrepid owner, whether you are going to be doing any work yourself or have a shop maintain your car, it is well worth it to buy both the Haynes '93-'97 Intrepid manual (first choice) and Chiltron '93-'97 manual, which also have all the procedures. The articles and manuals will show you what you need. It is also worth it to get the factory service manual. They used to have the factory service manuals in pdf on this site ("Service Manual: New Yorker, LHS, Concorde, Intrepid and Vision" - obviously for the proper year), but I am not sure where they are now on the site (anyone know?). They may be available other places online in pdf if you Google. They also sometimes show up on ebay for $20 or so. Obviously, again get the proper year, and make sure it is the big standard service manual, not one of the other specialty subsystem manuals for electrical, transmission, etc. Looking over the manuals, you can then decide what work you have the tools/ability to do, versus having a good independent shop do the work (see below on this).

As was pointed out in the previous comment, the important thing in both procedures is to be be careful not getting the brake fluid level down to near the bottom of the master cylinder reservoir or power steering fluid to the bottom of that reservoir, or you can get air into the lines. That is not a big deal if you do NOT have anti-lock brakes; you just have to use a lot more fluid to get the lines all clear of the air bubbles that were introduced. But see below for info on the problem with getting air in the ABS system.

Yes, a "quick and dirty" way to do the power steering system is just to use a turkey baster ($3 at the grocery store) to suck out the fluid from the power steering reservoir (again, NOT to the very bottom), and replace it with fresh fluid up to the line on the rod attached to the cap. Hold your finger over the bottom of the baster when pulling it out; and have a container for the old fluid in the engine (don't dribble any on the paint). The fluid will circulate while driving with the old fluid in the lines. Then after several weeks of driving do it again. But you can't really accomplish the same the same thing with the brake master cylinder, because the fluid doesn't circulate much through the brake lines.

Just FYI, tor bleeding brakes, you will also read about "Power Bleeders" available from Motive Products (on Amazon and other places) that use a plastic air tank attached to the master cylinder reservoir that you pump up. It makes brake bleeding easier for one person to do. I have one of those. However, the special brake reservoir cap that is needed for the 1st Gen Intrepids is NOT the one that they supply in the kit for 1990s Chryslers - I wound up having to make one myself from a junkyard cap, brass brass pipe fittings, washers, and an improvised rubber gasket (big hassle if you are not handy). You don't need a power bleeder like this, but without it, the articles and manuals will show you it is really a two-person job.

If you have an Anti-lock Brake System (as many 1st Gen Intrepids do) AND you get air in the lines from draining the reservoir too far down, there is actually a procedure that you have to go through in the factory service manual to then bleed the air out of the ABS system. (In case you don't know, the ABS system is another unit in the brake system in front of the firewall and steering rack that the hard lines run into from the master cylinder - see the manuals for info). This is not a minor problem, since the brakes can be spongy in this condition and possibly unsafe (the Haynes manual even strongly recommends you have the car towed to a shop for safety if you get air in the ABS). In the factory service manual they will mention the Dodge dealer scan tool (called DRB II) for bleeding air out of the ABS system, but some aftermarket OBDII scanners (for most 1996 and later cars) also have an ABS bleed function. (On pre-1996 Intrepids like my '94 I wound up buying an old Snap-On MT2500 Scanner with all the proper modules and manuals to do all sorts of stuff like this - WAY too much trouble for most people).

And unless you are experienced, you can run into problems with the brake bleeding other than just air in the ABS. Another common problem on old cars is that the little screw-in bleeder valves on the calipers may be rusted in place, and you need to use penetrating spray like "Liquid Wrench" or similar on the threads as well as a box-end wrench or flare nut wrench (also a few other methods to loosen stubborn ones; see the articles). If you aren't careful, you can snap off the bleeders and then have to replace the whole brake caliper - a real bummer.

So......
While going to a Dodge/Chrysler dealer is very expensive for most work, a good lower-priced independent shop will also have that proper scanner for bleeding the ABS system if air gets in. So for most people, I'd recommend just having them do both the brake fluid and (properly) the power steering fluid. BEFORE they do the brake flush, have them inspect the whole brake system - the hard brake lines (can rust/leak), rubber lines (can crack/leak) calipers, and brake pads. They can also check the fuel line for rust AND replace the fuel filter since it probably was never replaced. This stuff is very important for safety with an older car.

Also VERY important on Intrepids: have them change the transmission fluid and trans filter ( they will also have to put on a new pan gasket). The transmissions can have problems with old fluid. Changing the trans fluid is a messy and unpleasant job on your back for do-it-yourselfers (done it). As you may know, our cars take Mopar-type trans fluid; make sure the shop uses the right fluid fluid for Dodge/Chysler - it doesn't hurt to ask, since the wrong fluid will cause big time problems. See the important link below for info; print & give them a copy of the Technical Service Bulleting in the post.
Trans fluid info link:

You may have already changed the oil and oil filter, PCV valve, air filter, spark plugs (gapped properly), and spark plug wire set. Those are fairly easy jobs that they cover in the Haynes and Chilton manuals. If not, have the shop do those too. Flushing/changing the coolant is also a bit of a hassle on Intrepids, since it requires an air bleed also (see manuals and posts), so you might want to have the shop do it (there is a Dodge Technical Service Bulletin on this that shops have access to, and is in the posts on this site.) Changing the fluid is important to avoid rust inside the coolant passages and a clogged radiator.

Also have the shop inspect your belts and hoses (probably never changed) and inspect the complete suspension and struts (front/rear). It is a good idea whenever you take the car in for service to have them do a quick underside check for things like torn rubber drive shaft boots, etc. If the supsension is OK, get an alignment so your tires don't wear out. If you have a 3.3L engine, you have a timing chain that will last a long time with regular oil changes; the 3.5L engine has a timing belt that eventually will need to be replaced. Both the camshaft and crankshaft sensors will eventually start to cause weird problems (search the posts on this) and need to be replaced (easy, inexpensive job). Other sensors may eventually have to be replaced also, but those aren't expensive jobs either - there are several sensors. See the maintenance schedule in the manuals for the mileage recommendations on all this stuff or just ask your mechanic. Others here may have other important maintenance items that I've left out.

VERY IMPORTANT: On our cars, one very important suspension safety item is that the bushings on the inner tie rod ends can wear out and cause sloppy and even very dangeorus steering, and bad wear on your tires. You MUST have these checked. If they were never replaced, it is possible at 78K miles that they are worn. When this gets bad, the bolts holding the inner tie rod ends can come loose and you can lose steering control. There is lots of info about this on this website if you search on "inner tie rod ends." There is also a Dodge Technical Service Bulletin on this that your mechanic can access through their "Alldata" (or similar) system. Most good mechanics know about this problem on the Dodge/Chrysler LH cars. Just the bushings can be replaced with a kit from Moog (#K7408 Tie Rod End Bushing Kit), or the whole tie rod can be replaced (if so, use Moog "problem solver" or the NAPA premium part). There is a wide range of costs to do this repair. Some mechanics have a way of just easily pulling the tie rod ends out without disassembling all the stuff above it like the manuals say you have to - so ask for prices. In prioritizing the repairs/inspections on Intrepids, this is at the very TOP of the list for your safety.

Yes, all this will cost you some, but will be WELL worth it to get the car back in shape. With just 78K miles, the car can last a long time. However, if you don't do these things, much more expensive problems can develop. Each time you I have repairs done, I think of it as approximately the same as one rent/mortgage payment, which makes it easier to take.

If you need a good shop, look up the shops in your area online and and Google their name plus "reviews." Also check your local better business bureau site for complaints. NAPA also has an approved network of shops - most of these are decent . Carquest used to also have a shop network (called "TechNet" I think), but I think that is gone after Advance Auto bought them (and closed many shops). NAPA shops Link:

One good plan is to try out a shop for one job, like say inspect the complete brake system and flush the fluid. If they do that OK, then you can do the others. Alternatively you can try out the different shops for each of the jobs and see who you like the best. Even going in for an oil/filter change will give you a good idea what kind of service they will give you.

Also, if your old car looks decent, the shop will often give it a little more care. Clean the interior & vaccum, and wash and wax (spray dirt off of the underside at the car wash). Also clean up the engine compartment as best you can with just a bit of spray cleaner on a bunch of rags (don't ever spray the engine compartment or have it "steam cleaned" - it can cause all sorts of problems).

One more thing. If the original owner didn't do much maintenance like you said, they may also have not taken the car in when they got the two recall notices. A dealer should be able to tell you for free if your VIN number shows that the two '97 recalls were repaired (only applies to some cars). The dealers are obligated to do the recall repairs for free. Links:
1997 DODGE Intrepid

All that and you didn't even mention the Diff fluid. - 10 points!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Yes, thanks EagleESI, while the car is up on the lift and they are doing the transmission fluid change, have them also change the differential gear oil. Hardly anyone does this, but it should probably be done every 60K miles (?) and is super easy with a little plastic pump gimzo that threads into the gear lube bottle (drain and then refill until the lube dribbles out the fill hole). Use gear oil SAE 80W-90 as I recall when I did it (on my back).

While we are on the original poster's subject of replacing/bleeding the brake and power steering fluid: Most people don't do this, and they think the shops are trying to scam them when they suggest it. But the fluids do absorb moisture and dirt, possibly corroding inside the hard lines and brake calipers, so it should be done about every 40K miles or so.

And a few more things came to mind (below) from the Maintenance Schedule in the Service manual to put on the list for renewing a purchased Intrepid or Eagle Vision.

Yes, you can get a super deal on these old cars like the OP if you can find a low-mileage (say under 75K miles) rust-free garaged car, like from a retired person - the Kelly Blue Book values are quite low on these cars now. The "rust-free" part is very important, especially for the suspension and underbody. They are relatively easy cars to work on (with the 3.3L engine especially) compared to all the new cars - mechanics like this. The 1st Gen Intrepids and Eagle Vision [both originally modeled after the Lamborghini Portofino concept car] are also much better looking than most of the ugly, super-complicated new cars these days. So if you can keep one alive with some maintenance, it is a good deal. By the way, as you may know, many companies, like Ford and Chevy, are dropping their similar roomy 4-door front-drive sedans entirely (Impala and Taurus), and the remaining others are going to four-cylinder engines with turbochargers to meet the every-increasing fuel mileage standards.

OK, more stuff:
When they do the usual underside check, like I said the mechanic should look at the CV joints and for cracks in the rubber boots around the shafts - important to replace these so dirt doesn't get into the joints. Check the motor mounts and trasmission mount for cracks. Look around for any fluid leaks. Obviously, they should also check the exhaust system for rust holes. The catalytic converter should last a very long time, but the muffler can eventually rust through. It can be patched, but will eventually need to be replaced. Unfortunately, it seems that the 1st Gen mufflers (which are a little oddball shaped) are little hard to come by these days (from makers such as Walker Exhaust and AP Exhaust - see their online catalogs). Rockauto, Amazon and the the auto parts stores frequently seem to be sold out. They are problably not making many of these mufflers any more. Of course an exhaust shop can always replace the muffler with a generic model and weld on the necessary adapter pipes and hangers to fit.

Besides the coolant hoses, it is worth it to eventually replace all the vaccum hoses and wiper fluid hoses since they evenutally get tiny cracks and leak. The auto parts stores have the various types of hoses on big spools in the different sizes. Inexpensive and easy to do.

I'd recommend using Chevron Techron fuel system cleaner at every oil change. There is also a Mopar combustion chamber cleaner and EGR system cleaner that you can get from the dealer or on Amazon (labeled "Genuine Chrysler" cleaners on Amazon), but these usually aren't needed until you get 100K miles. Can ask your mechanic if he recommends these or not.

By the way, many public libraries will have on their computer databases an auto repair section that may have all the Technical Service Bulletins in pdf for your year, from the same Alldata service that the shops use or similar service. These are very handy to have and sort of fun to read, since they cover all sorts of annoying weirdo things on the Intrepids/Eagles that customers complained about, such as trunk water drips in rain, adjusing the trunk lid torsion rods so the trunk doesn't blow down on your head in the wind, etc..

There is also a TSB on the 1st Gens for the two hard lines that go from the transmission to the radiator transmission fluid cooler. These can develop minor leaks at the front connectors. They may have corrected this by '97, but if not and you notice any trans fluid leaks on the pavement on the front driver's side, they are available pre-bent with the fittings, and are an easy swap out when you next get the trans fluid replaced.

Check (with a buddy) that all the bulbs are functioning; they do go out after a while (and then cops will stop you). Headlights (low/high beams), side marker lights, brake lights (including the one at the bottom of the rear glass, all important for safety), interior lights, dashboard lights, under hood light, trunk light, glove box light. Most of the bulbs are easy to change on the Intrepid. The manuals have a list of all the bulb numbers. You can get them at Walmart or auto parts stores. If you need new headlight bulbs, get the more expensive premium brightest ones from Sylvania and others, since the 1st Gen headlight housings don't cast the widest beam ('93s & '94s were worse than the later years).

And obviously, check your tire pressure regularly and rotate the tires every 7500 miles to make them last much longer (see inside door label, 32 psi spec on mine). Check fluid levels regularly to make sure you don't have any bad leaks: oil, coolant, power steering, brake. Get any leaks repaired and top up minor loss as needed. Check the belt tension and for any cracks/leaks in the hoses.

A few probable annoyances to be aware of:

The door hinges on the early 1st Gen cars were not great and made an annoying clicking sound unless they were regularly lubed with grease or spray lube. Not sure if the OP's '97 would have this problem. They did replace them with much better hinges at some point. There is a TSB on this also if you want to go through the trouble of replacing them (a bit of a hassle to get the heavy doors supported and aligned if you do this). The dealers may still may be able to get the new hinges listed by part number in the TSB (may be expensive from them), but they also show up on ebay for around $20 each (all I recall the part numbers are different left/right front and rear).

Eventually, before you get to 100K miles, you may start to hear an annoying rapid tapping noise (like "puk, puk, puk") under the hood, that does not increase with engine RPM (so not your engine's ifters/valves going bad). You can trace it to the evaporation (EVAP) purge solenoid (or vapor cannister purge solenoid), a black gizmo mounted on a bracket on one side of the engine. It regulates the rate of vapor flow from the fuel vapor EVAP canister to the throttle body. The solenoid mechanism inside eventually gets noisy like this. You can replace this with the premium model from Standard Motor Products (same as dealer Mopar OEM) for about $30 - see the manuals for procedure, very easy.

If you leave the car parked for a while, there will be a tiny, constant electrical drain on the battery due to some of the electronic devices in sleep mode; the Body Control Module (BCM) may be the culprit here. I'm not sure if this condition develops over time due to some fault, but I've seen it on a few Intrepids. After a few weeks, it can eventually drain your battery to three quarters charge or less, so you will need to charge the battery (2 amp trickle charger setting is best) or drive the car some distance.

And if you REALLY want to waste some time and have a good floor jack and jack stands (I use always use two sets for safety and also big wood boards under the wheels), you can clean and paint underside areas of your Intrepid to prevent rust (lay down cardboard/drop cloth to protect your driveway from drips). Any rusty-looking spots you can wire brush really well and paint first with brown Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer (brush or spray) and then when fully dry per instructions, black (or other color) gloss Rustoleum over that. If not rusty, then just coat with the gloss Rustoleum. Strangely, the undersides of the front seat frames on the 1st Gen cars are bare steel and get surface rust. No big deal since you can't see it, but you can take the seats out and paint them also if you have nothing better to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Just one more very important caveat for any others reading the thread. Yes, we are talking about keeping these old cars alive on this site (my car is still low mileage), but there is an obvious point of no return when it is not worth putting more money into the car. After all, we are not talking about a '66 Chevelle SS here.

With the age of these cars now, the only one I'd really recommend buying is a very inexpensive, one-owner, super "cream puff" that has been garaged, no rust (probably in dry western states only), with maintenance records showing oil/trans fluid changes, and I'd say under 75K miles. These do show up sometimes with retired people no longer driving, or estate sales. Obviously do your own thorough inspection and test drive. Only if everything looks near perfect, have a mechanic check it very out well for $80 or so for things like the bad inner tie rod ends, rust, and other suspension and drivetrain problems. If the suspension/steering parts are bad, unless you are very handy, have all the tools and time, and can do the work yourself, you don't want to throw a lot of money at the car to get a mechanic to fix things. It can also obviously be a safety issue. And any indication at all of engine or transmission problems kills the deal. I'd eat the $80 check-out charge and walk away.

In the case of the OPs car, yes like I wrote, you can change all the fluids, get the underside, brakes and suspension checked out (inner tie rods especially), belts and hoses, replace a few inexpensive parts, and then just drive it until something expensive comes up (e.g. engine, transmission problems). But then be smart enough to know when it is time junk it, and just move on. Be cautious about taking any long trips. As well as the expense, the other problem is just now longer being able to get certain parts, which decreases every year on sites like Rockauto and the dealer sites - especially things like replacement cable assemblies (if the wires/insulation goes bad). I posted a few years ago that most of the LH cars are now just being crushed when they go to the junkyards, so that parts source is drying up too.

When people are looking for a reliable used sedan, I don't tell them to buy an Intrepid/Vision (or any other Chrysler car). I tell them the obvious. Look for a low-mileage Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, say 10 years old or less.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top