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Repair Questions and Answers.

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 #393071  by Nickertrip
 
Well, the fun continues. I posted earlier about my motor blowing up when my son drove a few miles in first gear. I bought a new motor and had it installed. It seems to run fine and didn't appear to be having issues. I have been nervously observing it while I am in my 90 warranty.

The other day, my son drove home and parked in the driveway. The next morning after he left, I see a 2 foot circle of what I believe is antifreeze. It seems like it overflowed after shutting it off. I have looked for leaks and do not see anything. It was a little low, so I topped it off. Whenever I drive it, the temp gauge seems to be in a good spot and doesn't fluctuate. It is 1 notch below the half mark.

Any ideas on what is going on? Could the cap be bad? Looks like sometimes the overflow tank cracks? What makes me nervous was that I didn't notice this situation until after the new motor was installed.
 #393072  by cin993
 
I'd rent a coolant pressure tester from local auto parts store. Pump it to 17psi and look for leaks. Could be anything with a recent engine install.. loose hose clamp, bad water pump, loose tstat housing bolts, etc etc
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 #393073  by LUNAT1C
 
Was all the appropriate preventive maintenance done while the engine was out? Timing belt and water pump should have been replaced, and water pump gasket surface should have been cleaned up.

Some clamps could be loose that manifest only when the system is pressurized. Could also be a bad overflow tank or bad radiator, not uncommon issues. If the tank is bad, get a new Mopar unit (NOT Dorman, or any aftermarket). Check for split hoses as well, including heater hoses.

One relatively common failure is the o-ring beneath the LIM. They get hard over time and crack and we always replace them any time the LIM is off (wouldn't have been for engine replacement. Difficult to see from above.
 #393074  by Nickertrip
 
Thanks for the replies with your suggestions. I talked to the mechanic, who is the shop owner. He said he would check it out tomorrow. I am guessing/hoping they didn't tighten something down well enough. It wasn't leaking prior to the new motor.

Sorry, I should have been more specific. It appeared to leak out under the expansion tank onto the front drivers side suspension then onto the ground. I did not see anything obvious or see it happen in real time.

Regarding the timing belt, water pump, etc. The mechanic said he inspected each one and determined they did not need replacing. I told him what you guys recommended, but was not there during the replacement to follow through.

I will let you know the outcome.
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 #393075  by LUNAT1C
 
Nickertrip wrote: March 17th, 2023, 2:14 pm Thanks for the replies with your suggestions. I talked to the mechanic, who is the shop owner. He said he would check it out tomorrow. I am guessing/hoping they didn't tighten something down well enough. It wasn't leaking prior to the new motor.

Sorry, I should have been more specific. It appeared to leak out under the expansion tank onto the front drivers side suspension then onto the ground. I did not see anything obvious or see it happen in real time.

Regarding the timing belt, water pump, etc. The mechanic said he inspected each one and determined they did not need replacing. I told him what you guys recommended, but was not there during the replacement to follow through.

I will let you know the outcome.
His comment there is worrisome. The belt *always* looks "good" until it rips. Some Prowler guys (same exact engine in cars lucky to get driven around the block once a year) did tension tests on new-looking 10 year old 30,000 mile belts versus made-last-week-new belts and the result was astonishing. 107,000 miles OR 7 years is the requirement. We have seen 10 year old belts snap with 30,000 on them. Replacing the water pump is simply a good idea given the work needed to get down there.

That said, if your leak isn't manifesting front and center of the engine then it might not be leaking there. Leaking near the recovery tank could be a tank that cracked during the engine R&R, or ripped hose from the R&R, hose not clamped correctly (should be a spring clamp, not a worm drive, some shops change them even though worm drive is crap), or just luck of the draw and the tank cracked right this moment.
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 #393076  by FIREM
 
I have changed countless number of belts for both my own and other members cars over the years. Never saw one that “looked” or even felt bad.
Not replacing it is playing “Russian Roulette” with a round in every chamber!!!!
I did personally have an idler bearing fail, shredding the belt.
One of less than a handful of failures that did not bend valves!!!
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 #393078  by Sneke_Eyez
 
I just want to echo Robert and Bob's sentiments above. If an engine is out, the timing belt and water pump should be replaced. Period, end of story, no further questions asked. The only way I could even consider not doing them if if they had been done in the last year. It is relatively cheap and EASY to do that job while the motor is out of the car.
 #393081  by Nickertrip
 
After further diagnosis with me driving and observing the leak after shut down. I find out it was leaking off the back of the motor in the middle. Took it in to the shop and it was my heater return tube rusted out and is leaking. I was hoping that maybe they didn't hook up something correctly when they put the old engine's intake on the new motor. Nope...more expenses. He at least agreed to half price installation after I wondered why they didn't notice it with the intake off. I am off to a horrible start with this car and am starting to really not like it much. It reminds me of past GM cars I've owned that were money pits.....

Regarding the timing belt and water pump. I totally understand what you experienced 300m guys are saying. I just can't do anything about it now. I am tapped out of money now to have him go back in and change them. I don't have the time or the skills to do it myself. If she blows again...I am out.
 #393082  by cin993
 
I've had my car for over 10 years as a daily driver. Overall i've been super happy with just basic maintenance. And the car is easy to work on; i'm not a master tech, so wrenching a little on the weekend is just a hobby

I have no major repairs or headaches to speak of. With routine maintenance, oil changes, brakes, tires, timing belt, waterpump, this make/model is very reliable.

I'd be surprised if newer cars with 10-20 electronic modules controlling everything from doors to hvac would be as reliable.

Curious what your engine and install cost at the shop?
 #393083  by Nickertrip
 
Thanks for the encouraging thoughts Paul. I am just very discouraged with this car right now...just off to a rough start. I did buy a repair manual that should help along with advice from here. I am able to do a lot of the maintenance if I had more time. I have triplet 16 year old boys...so, i have 5 cars now....none are newer than 2008....so, I am already busy with the upkeep!

I found the motor for $800 delivered to my mechanics shop. He charged $1338 to install it. It has 148k miles, which is what was on the old motor.
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 #393086  by In-trepid
 
Nickertrip wrote: March 18th, 2023, 3:28 pm I did buy a repair manual that should help along with advice from here.
Not to cast doubt on your repair manual, but if you bought anything (Motors, Chiltons, etc), other than a Chrysler Factory Service Manual, you may be headed for maintenance incompetence. These LH cars have not been known to be treated well in the aftermarket manuals. Get a Factory Service Manual. It's the second-best thing that you can spend a very small amount of money on that will be your best friend. Obviously, this club and forum is the first best thing with the 20+ years of Knowledgebase available to paying members only.

Make sure that when your mechanic changes out the heater pipe that he uses the proper Mopar gasket between the pipe and the manifold. Many will use a standard O-ring, but the factory O-ring is a square cut O-ring. I would get the correct part from the Chrysler or Dodge dealer. Part number is: 06505692AA. Also use the Mopar Lower intake gasket set (04663852 - each 2 needed). The aftermarket gaskets such as Fel-pro don't seal as well around the water passages. There are a few posts on the forum about this issue.
 #393089  by Nickertrip
 
Thanks for all of the tips. I will talk to the mechanic about those things.

Regarding the manuals. Is there a 2003 service manual? I only see 2003 service manual supplement. I contacted 1 seller who has a 5 book set. He said it does not cover brakes and suspension. There are several sets for 2002 and 2004 which have both the service manual and the service manual supplement.

Any suggestions for the best combo for my 2003? I want to buy the correct one this time....I do have a Haynes manual on the way.
 #393090  by cin993
 
Many years back I got a soft copy, a pdf of the Factory Service Manual. try and search for a copy online to download. the files are very large, otherwise i could email them
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 #393097  by In-trepid
 
Craig, I sent you a PM regarding the Factory Service Manual.
Sneke_Eyez liked this
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 #393119  by LUNAT1C
 
There will be minor differences year to year, from 02 through 04. The 2004 manual would be pretty accurate for a 2003. I have one of each in hard copy (2002 and 2004) and a PDF of the 2002 FSM. Let me know if you're able to work something out with John.

The FSM I find gets me about 90% of the way there is far more comprehensive than the Haynes manual I bought when I bought the car in 2009. The other 10% is more accurate photos and experienced tips and tricks here in our knowledgebase from folks who found the FSM missing a detail or two, or found a better way to do something.

Unless the mechanic had the LIM (lower intake manifold) off, they wouldn't have seen the bad heater pipe. Heater pipe is relatively common, either as a rusted pipe or a bad o-ring. I replaced my o-ring as a preventive measure when I had the LIM off chasing a separate issue 8 years ago. If they only had the plenum, or upper intake, off, they would not have seen it.


Hopefully this is the end of it, but with any sight unseen $800 engine, you're going to inherit any issues the last owner of the donor car had with it (whether they knew it or not). The heater pipe is relatively common. So are the rear cam thrust plate seals, and at this age the valve cover seals (true of any 20 year old car). Other common issues we already covered here with radiators and expansion tanks, then there are the trans cooler lines that typically get chewed up at the ends by those worm drive clamps I mentioned that mechanics like to used instead of the original spring clamps (hint hint, check yours now, replace with fuel injection style clamps if you see worm drive before you start seeing little red drips on the floor).

At 16, it's a GREAT time to have the boys help. They get to learn basic maintenance that they can take with them later in life, and spend time with their dad! Bonus, dad gets a helping hand with the fleet. Maintaining 5 cars older than 2008 is no easy feat. Keeping these cars going to 250k+ is certainly doable if the regular maintenance is kept up.
 #393129  by Nickertrip
 
John was very generous and is sending me a CD with the 2003 service and parts manual. As a bonus, he is also sending me the hard copy books. I now will no excuse for not being able to figure out any issues!

That is nice information to have regarding the LIM. I know he swapped out the intake because the old plenum was cleaner. He had put on new valve cover gaskets on the old engine, so, he swapped them over too. He had the heater pipe expedited and received it today, but was unable to get to it today. He has been very good to us on our other vehicles. He did some extensive work on my old '01 F150 super crew that one son is driving. It has 195k miles and is running strong.

I had told him about the fuel injector clamps that you guys had mentioned so he was able to stop the transmission cooler line leaks.

I would really love to have my boys learn and work with me on repairs.....cars, home, barns, tractor...etc. I live in a 130 year old farmhouse/acreage and have a '67 Farmall 756 tractor. Plenty of stuff to maintain. Unfortunately, 2 of the 3 don't share my love of cars, old houses, tractors and barns. I have wrangled the other to start helping out. We started small and replaced brake pads on 2 of the vehicles. Who knows.....maybe they will come around to my kind of thinking!
 #395561  by rustybronco
 
Regarding the manuals. Is there a 2003 service manual? I only see 2003 service manual supplement. I contacted 1 seller who has a 5 book set. He said it does not cover brakes and suspension. There are several sets for 2002 and 2004 which have both the service manual and the service manual supplement.
This is my question as well. Is there a shop manual for the 2003 model or just the rather thick shop manual supplement.
I've seen the shop manual on C.D. but not in book form.

The 2002* Shop manual is a thick book with a thin Intrepid P/C shop manual supplement. The 2004 is Shop manual and supplement. The 2003 appears to have a thick shop manual supplement as it's only shop manual.

*** May have found the answer for an Ebay listing. "Service supplement manual, about 1" thick---USE THIS WITH THE 2002 SERVICE MANUAL FOR COMPLETE SERVICING"

*(Corrected for bad information.)