1996 Chrysler Concorde

Discussion in 'Concorde' started by GrtArtiste, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. GrtArtiste

    GrtArtiste Guest

    My mother has just acquired a 1996 Chrysler Concorde (3.5L engine) from another
    family member (89000 miles, $3600). She is confident that the car has been
    maintained, not abused, and all recalls are up to date. Aside from the air
    conditioner being inoperative (I understand this was a common problem with this
    model, quoted $900 to fix), the car appears to be in good shape and everything
    else is operational. Are there any other well known conditions-problems I
    should be on the lookout for since I will be keeping an eye on the car for her?
    Thanks for any replies.
    GrtArtiste, Nov 20, 2004
  2. Hope she doesn't drive at night; the headlamps on these cars are awful.
    Daniel J. Stern, Nov 20, 2004
  3. I have a 94 with the same 3.5. AC is out on mine also. I also started to
    develop transmission problems at 90K miles. The symptom is vibration
    around 35MPH and it is slow to engage when it's cold. The dealer said that
    there was an internal failure but they couldn't say how long it would last
    before it failed completely. I've since put another 33,000 miles on it and
    it's still functioning although it's behavior is gradually getting worse.
    Don't know if this is a common Concorde problem but if you do start to
    notice the transmission misbehaving be advised that it doesn't mean that
    its going to stop working immediately.
    General Schvantzkoph, Nov 20, 2004
  4. GrtArtiste

    GrtArtiste Guest

    Hope she doesn't drive at night; the headlamps on these cars are awful.
    I noted the odd, milky-white color of the headlamp lenses. Is this what you are
    referring to? Can these be replaced at a reasonable price?
    GrtArtiste, Nov 20, 2004
  5. I've been driving a Concorde for 10 years, I've never found the headlights
    to be inadequate.
    General Schvantzkoph, Nov 20, 2004
  6. GrtArtiste

    Bill Putney Guest

    Hang around here as much as you'd like, but you may want to also check
    out the www.dodgeintrepid.net forums. It has a good search feature, and
    many questions have been answered, including general ones that you
    asked, and possibly how to get that a.c. back up and running on the cheap.

    For a '96, you want the First Generation forums.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    adddress with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Nov 20, 2004
  7. GrtArtiste

    Bill Putney Guest

    As far as replacing them for the clouding, you can find them on the
    internet for around $60 each. Some of the aftermarket headlight assys.
    aren't that bad. I've not used this place, but you might check out

    That having been said, I'm sure that Daniel was refering to mediocre
    design and performance of the lighting - I'll let him fill you in on the
    details of what he was getting at. You also may want to do a Google
    Group search on this forum with "Stern" among the words in the keyword
    list - he has elaborated on the 1st gen LH headlights and their
    shortcomings before.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    adddress with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Nov 20, 2004
  8. GrtArtiste

    Geoff Guest

    Two small issues: one, there was a recall for leaking fuel injector O-rings.
    You'll want to make sure it was performed by either calling a dealer with
    the VIN number handy or seeing if you can find the spot on the chrysler.com
    website where the information is also available. These leaks have caused
    fires in extreme cases.

    Second, the 1st gen 3.5L is known for leaks developing around the water
    pump. Usually you can see coolant dripping out of the front of the engine
    when this happens. If you notice antifreeze disappearing, this is a likely
    cause. Change the timing belt at the same time if you elect to replace the
    water pump, and use a water pump that is the OEM replacement unit from a
    dealership parts department, there are some improvements apparently made to
    the design.

    You may or may not have issues with steering noises, especially when turning
    the wheel at low speeds/low ambient temperature. Steering rack mount
    bushings are to blame, unfortunately they weren't available separately from
    the rack unit for a '96 when I needed mine. People have improvised their
    own bushings out of polyurethane; you might be able to find the material at
    a speed shop.

    The A/C is frequently an evaporator leak requiring removal/replacement of
    the dash for access, unfortunately a common problem area for 1st generation
    LHs. Make sure somebody checks the system over thoroughly.

    Some have reported problems with suspension bushings in the front end
    wearing out at earlier-than-expected mileage; I didn't have my '96 long
    enough to experience this.

    The transmission requires regular maintenance with the *correct* fluid --
    either ATF+3 or ATF+4. Be wary of quick lube places offering Dexron with an
    additive said to make it equivalent to ATF+3, it's a deceptive marketing
    practice. If you don't do your own transmission fluid changes, insist that
    whoever does the work (approximately every 30K miles) uses the ATF+3 (a.k.a.
    Type 7176) fluid -- and verify it. Premature transmission failure results
    from using the wrong fluid.

    Other than that, the 1st generation LH vehicles are very good cars, possibly
    even exceptionally good, especially for their time. The 3.5L was the
    larger, more powerful engine, and owners report getting in excess of 200K
    miles from them with proper maintenance. If you replace the cloudy
    headlamps, you'll probably get many good miles of service from that car.
    Good luck.

    Geoff, Nov 20, 2004
  9. GrtArtiste

    maxpower Guest

    Me personnaly i think it was a good is a good vehicle, aside from the
    evaporator leaks, the inner tie rod bushings have a weak design but for the
    cost of the bushings only, its a low cost fix, and seen alot of water pumps
    fail, they have since been updated by Chrysler for a better design.Acually
    chrysler extended the warranty or the evaps, they went 7/70
    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler tech
    maxpower, Nov 20, 2004
  10. GrtArtiste

    maxpower Guest

    the headlites were updated also, but agree they were a pisspoor design also,
    maxpower, Nov 20, 2004
  11. GrtArtiste

    maxpower Guest

    the odd milky color is called deteriation, common on most plastic lites i
    have seen, there is a substance out on the market that will polish the
    outside lens to almost factory appearence, i have not used it yet but will
    need it on my truck. what Daniel was refering to was the design, right from
    the factory people were complaining of lack of lite at nite time driving
    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
    maxpower, Nov 20, 2004
  12. GrtArtiste

    Bill Putney Guest

    Glenn - My limited (1 car) experience and what I read on various forums
    says that any polishing you do will likely get you close to water-clear
    appearance, but that that only lasts a few weeks and some kind of polish
    or wax will need to be re-applied periodically (easier after the first
    time because the major surface imperfections get polished out then, and
    it's mostly the effect of the polish filling in the microscopic
    scratches rather than actually smoothing out the plastic that creates
    the clear appearance by reducing diffraction). IOW, it's a good way to
    get decent lighting and avoid hassles with the law until the unit can be
    replaced. IOW - if it's a choice between spending a lot of money on a
    polish kit or replacing the unit, replace the unit.

    Does that line up with your experience?

    Also, as a preventative, I will be replacing my one cloudy assembly (the
    other one was replaced a year or so ago, so it is like new), after which
    I will put on the X-Pel adhessive-backed vinyl protectors (reduces UV
    and prevents sandblasting and damage from small stones) that I have
    sitting on the shelf - about $40 the pair.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    adddress with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Nov 20, 2004
  13. GrtArtiste

    maxpower Guest

    Thats good to know because at the dealer we have this guy who will do it as
    a service on vehicles that need it, i was gonna wait and see what the
    results were before i did it, i will have to ask him what the gaurantee is,
    thx Bill
    maxpower, Nov 20, 2004
  14. No, that just means you've got bad headlamps that have deteriorated due to
    UV from the sun. This has taken them from "poor" to "dangerous" -- those
    lenses should be clear; you'll need new headlamp assemblies.
    Absolutely yes, especially if the cost of repairing injury and damage
    because of inadequate headlighting is factored into your price
    calculations. The aftermarket units are a mediocre lot, but since it's
    nearly impossible to do worse than what the factory installed in the first
    place (in terms of performance and materials/build quality) you may as
    well get the least-worst aftermarket items, generally supplied by
    TYC-Generra. Stay away from the stinkier varieties of aftermarket poo
    (Depo, DJAuto), stay away from any bulb sold as "Blue", "White", "Silver",
    etc., and try to find GE's new Night Hawk 9007 bulb -- that'll make the
    headlighting as "unworse" as possible.
    Daniel J. Stern, Nov 20, 2004

  15. ....for a couple of months, at which point the deterioration comes back
    faster/worse. Polishing the lenses strips off the anti-UV/anti-scratch
    hardcoat, exposing the bare polycarbonate to the elements.
    Daniel J. Stern, Nov 20, 2004
  16. GrtArtiste

    Jan Guest

    My sister just bought herself a 94 Concorde. Seems like a nice car and
    like new inside and out. The power antenna doesn't work though - it
    makes a noise like it is trying to move but doesn't. Anyone know if this
    is an easy cheap fix or a warranty item. The dealer sold her a 2 year
    extended warranty with the car.
    Jan, Nov 21, 2004
  17. GrtArtiste

    maxpower Guest

    I dought very seriously if the antenna is covered by that used car contract,
    But check it out anyhow...the antenna is relatively easy to replace, at one
    time you could get just the mask repair kit but if the motor is bad in
    it,,,,, it will do you no good
    maxpower, Nov 21, 2004
  18. It's a cheap fix, I had to replace it on my 94 Concorde also.
    General Schvantzkoph, Nov 21, 2004
  19. GrtArtiste

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Bob Shuman, Nov 22, 2004
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