Battery, plugs, timing belt service (2000 300M) - when?

Discussion in 'Chrysler 300' started by MoPar Man`, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. MoPar Man`

    MoPar Man` Guest

    My '00 300M is a couple months away from being 8 years old (and has
    about 75k miles / 120k km's) - geographically this is in South-Western
    Ontario (same climate as Detroit).

    It still has the original battery, spark plugs, engine coolant, and
    timing belt. It is garaged every night, and in the winter the garage
    temp never gets below freezing (usually never gets below 40f).

    Aside from engine oil (and filter) changes, it's had the differential
    oil changed once. I can't remember if the tranny oil has ever been
    changed - I think it has. The power steering fluid has also been
    changed once. About 6 months ago I had the (original) serpentine belt
    and idler pulley changed (preventative maintainence).

    The battery still turns over the engine just fine, but I'm thinking
    that 8 years for a battery is a long time. I understand that the
    battery is pulled out through the passenger-side front wheel well - I
    guess I should take the tire off to do this?

    I'm curious as to what other 300M owners have experienced as far as
    major engine maintainence - like how long the spark plugs and coil
    packs last, or when to change the timing belt. Can the results from
    regular emissions tests be used as a rough guide as to how those
    components are performing?

    And what about muffler, exhaust pipes, and cat convertor? Any idea
    how long those components normally last?
    MoPar Man`, Sep 13, 2007
  2. MoPar Man`

    Clint Guest

    I don't know all the details, but check out
    I got my 300m about 6 months ago now; it's a 2000 as well. Just after I got
    it (it had 160,000 km on it), I ended up doing a head gasket replacement,
    and it was right at the mark for a timing belt change anyway (100K
    miles/160K km). I did the spark plugs myself as well. It had the other
    fluids changed just before I bought it.

    Anyway, that's my sob story... Next year, it will be the air conditioner, I
    think. *sigh* But that website should have the details on scheduled
    maintenance, although some of the site is for members only. Good stuff in
    there if you plan on doing your own maintenance.

    Clint, Sep 13, 2007
  3. MoPar Man`

    Bill Putney Guest

    Like Clint, I too hang out on the 300M Club and its forums, though I own
    two 2nd gen. Concordes and no M. I've been a paid member for about 5
    years. Several Canadians there - so - yeah - come on over.

    I will say that Clint's head gasket problem is very unusual on the 3.5L
    engine. Though he's right about the a.c. - the evaporators on these
    cars have a high rate of failure (just did one of my Concordes about 2
    months ago).

    See my comments interspersed below on your specific questions.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')

    Though the dpark plugs are supposed to be good for 100k miles, that is a
    bit of a stretch. Myself and others have found that you will maintain
    noticably better fuel mileage and performance if you change them before
    80k miles. Engine coolant - only good for 5 years. You *must* use only
    the G-05 type - available from Chrysler and Ford dealers, as well as in
    aftermarket in Zerex brand - but it's not the All Makes All Models -
    Zerex makes G-05 - look for G-05 on the label. The Mopar brand is
    reddish orange, Ford and Zerex is yellow, but they're the same stuff
    chemically. Do *NOT* use DexCool™/Prestone Extended Life™, which is
    also reddish, but is bad news.

    Timing belt - change interval is 105k miles. Don't push that - these
    engines are interference (i.e., they can damage themselves if the belt
    breaks - a few on the 300M Club have proven that - bent valves). Come on
    over to the Club - we have complete parts lists and better price sources
    of OEM and the better name brand parts that you will need for the timing
    belt/water pump job.

    You've done well. You should do the a.c. v-belt and its idler pulley
    too. Tranny fluid - You should do that with filter. Use *only* ATF+4 -
    WalMart carries the Mopar brand as well as their in-house SuperTech
    brand - I'd avoid that even though it's cheaper and supposedly made to
    the same spec. I think Castrol and Shell have it out now too.

    Yes, though some people pull the air filter box out and pull it up thru
    the hole there. Me personally - I take the wheel off and work thru the

    But - yeah - 8 years - you might do well to just go ahead and replace
    it, otherwise you risk you or a family member getting stranded at an
    inoportune time. I stupidly knowingly didn't replace my daughter's 8
    year old Jeep battery, and two weeks ago, I had to go rescue her from a
    chain store shop that was going to replace her perfectly good alternator
    to the tune of $450 - I had to take off work and drive 60 miles to
    prevent that from happening. As it was, I was stuck with paying $95 for
    a nothing-special battery - I refused to pay their $15 installation fee
    on top of that, using their "bad alternator" scam as leverage and an
    excuse to throw a rant in their waiting room.

    Did I save money by not replacing it pre-emptively? You do the math.
    But I digress. (My point was that that is the kind of crap you have to
    deal with when things go wrong not on your schedule and on your home turf.)

    Coil packs can fail, but are not a preventive maintenance item. Most
    owners go the whole ownership on the originals. Running on the
    originals on both my Concordes, one of which has 190k miles on it and I
    use it on my 80 mile daily commute.

    Pretty much lifetime items. Cause for replacement is very unusual,
    though many people mess around with aftermarket stuff to squeeze a
    little more performance out of it.

    You might keep transmission input and output sensors in your glove
    compartment. They have a habit of going out all of a sudden. Symptoms
    will be car going into limp mode (stays in 2nd gear). If speedometer
    still works, then it's the input sensor that's bad. If no speedo, then
    output sensor. They cost about $20 each. Easy to put in (from
    underneath vehicle). Better than having a shop sell you a whole new
    tranny, eh? More details on "The Club".

    Hope to see you over on the Club. Though Clint linked the Club home
    page, here is the link directly to the forums:
    Bill Putney, Sep 13, 2007
  4. MoPar Man`

    MoPar Man Guest

    I think I poked around there a few years ago. I'm not at the point
    yet where I'm going to really get my hands dirty with this car and
    need to arm myself with info from that website.

    Sort-of on that topic - over the years I've looked for an aftermarket
    "LH" service manual (Chiltons, etc) but nobody seems to publish one.
    Any ideas why not?
    I get about 28 mpg (according to the over-head display) on the highway
    (30 mpg if I have a tail wind or even 32 if I stick close behind a
    tractor-trailer). Not sure if those are good, average or poor.

    At the first scheduled air filter change I swapped in a K&N filter and
    clean it about twice a year.
    How much arm-twisting do I need to do at a Chrysler dealership service
    garage to get them to prove to me that they have, and would put in,
    the correct coolant from among the variety of choices that they
    presumably have available to them?

    I'm thinking that I might as well wait until next spring to do the
    coolant change (and some sort of power-flush?) since the winter season
    won't put the coolant under any sort of stress.
    Well, I'm not there yet. At this rate, it's going to take me 2 more
    years to hit 100k miles. Does the belt have a replacement age as well
    as replacement milage?
    Well maybe the tranny fluid hasn't been changed because I really don't
    think the trans filter has ever been removed/changed.
    Yea, I hear ya. I just hate to replace something like that without
    getting a better indication that it will definately not last me
    through the winter. Besides, you can always get a jump start and not
    have to immediately replace the battery the first time it fails to
    turn over - and that's the signal that you really need a new battery
    One of mine (I forget which one) did fail a few weeks before the
    3-year factory warranty was going to end - so it was fixed no cost to
    me. Since the speedo was not registering, it must have been the
    output sensor.

    I've also replaced (last year) the front sway bar rubber mounting
    bushings and end-links, and I'm on my second set of replacement front
    wheel rotors and pads. I'm not sure if I have some air in my brake
    line, but while ordinary stopping pedal effort seems fine, it does
    take an almost inordinate amount of pedal force to perform a "panic"
    stop. It's been like that for a few years now.
    Yea, I'll have a look - if only for the braking issue when I really
    want to tackle it.
    MoPar Man, Sep 13, 2007
  5. MoPar Man`

    Steve B. Guest

    A dealer would put the right stuff in it. If you have it done
    somewhere else I would take a couple gallons of the right stuff with
    me just to make sure they used what should be there.

    You should go ahead and get the coolant changed now. Remember it is
    antifreeze and also anti corrosion. As the coolant ages it looses the
    anticorrosion ability.

    Lifted from yahoo (who lifted it from Prestone i think):
    But as the corrosion inhibiting chemicals are used up over time,
    electrolytic corrosion starts to eat away at the metal inside the
    engine and radiator. Aluminum is especially vulnerable to corrosion
    and can turn to Swiss cheese rather quickly when conditions are right.
    Solder bloom can also form in copper\brass radiators causing leaks and
    restrictions. So changing the coolant periodically as preventative
    maintenance is a good way to prevent costly repairs.

    The basic idea is to change the coolant before the corrosion
    inhibitors reach dangerously low levels. Following the OEM change
    recommendations is usually good enough to keep corrosion in check, but
    it may not always be the case. That’s why more frequent changes may be
    recommended to minimize the risk of corrosion in bimetal engines and
    aluminum radiators

    I have read five years or 100k. Don't know if it is true or not but
    we replaced ours last year right before it turned over 60k. Just not
    worth the risk of having it break and ruin the engine.
    Steve B., Sep 13, 2007
  6. MoPar Man`

    Steve B. Guest

    One other thing I forgot to add.

    Even if you don't change the plugs it is a good idea to pull them out
    and check them every few years. If left tooo long the threads in the
    head and on the spark plug get corroded causing the threads to strip
    out of the head when the plugs are removed. An expensive problem that
    can easily be avoided just by cleaning the plugs every few years.

    Steve B.
    Steve B., Sep 13, 2007
  7. MoPar Man`

    Steve Guest

    MoPar Man wrote:

    Don't fall into that trap- winter/summer/desert/north pole really
    doesn't matter when it comes to coolant life. What "goes bad" is the
    corrosion inhibitor chemicals, not the freeze/boil protection. At 8
    years of age, your coolant is probably not doing a great job of
    preventing corrosion and should be changed NOW.

    Agree with the others on using ONLY G-05, whether it be Mopar,
    Motorcraft, or Zerex brand. NEVER under ANY circumstances use DexCool.
    The "old green stuff" (silicate formula) works just fine, but is only
    good for 2 years and wears the water pump seals a little faster, but at
    least it won't rot the cooling system from the inside out the way
    DexCool will. You asked about making sure the dealer uses the right
    one... well Mopar dealers will NOT have DexCool on the shelf, so the
    worst they could do is put silicate in it, and that isn't as bad.
    Steve, Sep 13, 2007
  8. MoPar Man`

    Bill Putney Guest

    Coupla thoughts:
    (1) Knowing that the more you move from street pad material over into
    track material, the more you *must* heat the pads up before they are
    effective, I wonder if you have more of a track pad. What pads do you have?

    (2) The boosters do go bad on our cars, and they can be sporadic in
    their brake assist. Do you ever notice any whistling noise from the
    firewall when applying the brakes? I ask because the booster failure is
    often (not always) accompanied by a whistling noise when brakes are
    applied (whistling frequency and volume varies as you modulate the brake

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Sep 13, 2007
  9. MoPar Man`

    Moparmaniac Guest

    I have had the booster experience as well...Panic stops sees un-usually hard
    pedal travel.

    While in very cold winter days (25F or colder) I'll hit the pedal and the
    pedal pressure feels normal and then all of a sudden the pedal will just
    drop suddenly about a 1/2 inch and you will hear this hissing sound let off
    the brakes and it goes away. Hit the pedal again and it does the same
    thing. I've had this car for 1.5 years now and this only happens in cold

    Is this something that can be tolerated or is it getting to be a safety

    Moparmaniac, Sep 14, 2007
  10. MoPar Man`

    Bill Putney Guest

    The risk is that one day you will need some braking power in accident
    avoidance, and you will not have it available. I tolerated mine for a
    couple of years when it was making whistling noises. When it got the
    point of the boost randomly coming and going, I replaced it right away.

    The booster is not that expensive, and relatively easy to replace.

    The master cylinder is on flexible lines, so when you remove the two
    nuts from the studs holding it to the booster, it pulls forward and over
    to the side out of the way very nicely - no breaking the brake fluid
    lines to do it!

    You will need to remove the wipers and cowling at the bottom of the
    windshield for access to the booster - no big deal either. On the other
    side of the firewall, you'll need a small socket - 10 mm IIRC, and a
    1/4" driver and some extensions for the 4 nuts that hold the booster to
    the firewall - the driver has to fit in betweeen some things and a 3/8"
    driver will be too fat to fit.

    As far as buying the booster, get the rebuilt that every auto parts
    chain sells. NAPA sells the exact same brand - the only difference is
    the other chains charge around $80 while NAPA wants over $100 for the
    exact same booster from the exact same rebuilder. Haven't heard of any
    problems with the rebuilt unit - mine's over 2 years old and working fine.

    Once you replace it, you might be surprised at how weak your present
    booster is even when you think its working. :)

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Sep 15, 2007
  11. I lke to keep my cars up - but can't do anything the
    dealer/mechanics do it all.

    on mine, the water pump started to leak at 96,000
    independent shop said it's a bear of a job (special tools
    required) to the dealer and we did timing belt at same
    time.,,,,,and work was guaranteed.

    I have the coolant changed every 2 years after the initial
    change......still on original radiator.

    usually change air filter myself about twice as often as
    recommended........have the shop change the fuel filter - also more
    often than recommended.

    it was in for oil change, etc. at about 115,000 miles and it occurred
    to me that I had no record of spark plugs ever being changed (still ran
    great) told shop to replace them........they said they were
    original!!!!!! they also indicated that I should be alert to any
    missing - they didn't replace wires cuz they say its a bitch and far, so good (at 126,000 miles).

    the only hard-to-figure problem was the EGR valve.....check engine
    light would come on every now and said EGR but shop
    didn't believe it cuz it would act OK for them......after 2 years of the
    light coming on every couple weeks, and running rough for a couple
    minutes......I told them just to replace the darn's
    been perfect ever since.

    geees - 8 years on a deserve a medal - but I don't
    like waiting to be stranded in a blizzard......they get replaced every 4
    years no matter what..........that comes to less than $20 a year which
    is cheap insurance.

    had all the original hoses replaced this Spring.....they looked like
    new, but cheaper to have done in the shop than on the back of a tow
    truck.,,,,,,the lower radiator hose was like a sponge on the inside.

    126,000 miles - original starter & alternator, fuel
    fact, nothing other than mentioned above (+ air conditioning compressor
    around 100,000)......great car - still gets 25 mpg on the road. just
    hope it lasts until they come-up with a new one that doesn't look like a
    Itsfrom Click, Sep 19, 2007
  12. MoPar Man`

    Bill Putney Guest

    If that's what they *really* said, I'd find another shop. The M does
    not have high voltage wires. It has what is called coil-over-plug. The
    coils (one per spark plug) plugs directly onto top of spark plug. You
    only replace them (the coils) if they fail, and they seldom do.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    address with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Sep 19, 2007
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