Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?

A friend is thinking about getting a new 300, most likely with the 3.5 engine. From reading magazines over the years, I know that this engine is "nothing special." At least is doesn't win the awards and high praise that certain Honda and Nissan bent sixes receive. My friend doesn't care much about having the world's best V-6, but is concerned about service life and general reliability. How is the 3.5 in this regard? Are there any specific issues, like valve gear, bearings, accessories, sludging, or anything else of significance?

TIA for any info from those who work on, or own high mileage 3.5's.

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On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 20:29:09 -0400, kokomoNOSPAMkid wrote:

I have a 10 year old Concord with the 3.5, I have a 119,000 miles on it. The head gasket was replaced once around 50,000 but no problems since then.

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replying to General Schvantzkoph, KC wrote: I have a 99 , 300 m with 159,650 miles on it. Have had some issues with other area's in this car. First two years it was flat beded in five times . Spent more time at the dealership being repaired in the first two years! Numerous other issues too. Last week driving at 55mph I started hearing this terrible noise coming from under the hood . Took it to a local repair shop and found out it has spun a bearing and atleast one if not more pistons are hitting the cylinder head. Any used engine put back in it would be a big gamble and probably throwing money away ! Still has other issues that needed to be looked at and repaired. Definitely not very dependable !

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On 4/2/2016 10:18 PM, KC wrote:

Wow, 159,000 miles and it finally wore out. Did you use synthetic oil or regular oil? Did you do oil changes on schedule? Just trying to anticipate what to look forward to since I am the original owner of a 2000 3ooM with 42,000 miles.

STeve

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Um, Steve -

Did you notice that "KC" started this thread on Saturday- by replying to a post made in 2004?

Steve Stone wrote:

I own a 2000 Chrysler 300m - bought it new back in November 1999.

It has 133k miles on it. In 2012 or 2013 I took it to a dealer to replace the timing belt - because it was the original belt and it was 10+ years old and if that belt breaks then the engine is toast. Otherwise the engine was in perfect shape. I had the timing belt idler pulley, the water pump and a few seals changed as part of the same job because why not - since all the labor cost was already covered to get to the timing belt.

The engine is otherwise trouble free in 16 years. Had to replace 1 spark-plug ignition coil. Had to replace the front exhaust couplers (the semi-flexible joint after the cat convertors) and the exhaust resonator (where the 2 exhaust pipes join into a single pipe, sort of looks like a muffler). Otherwise all original exhaust components remain in place, including the muffler (bottom surface is peppered with holes but they don't seem to make a difference).

Just make sure you change the gear oil (differential fluid) every once in while. The 300m transaxle has it's own oil sump, takes a liter of SAE 90 oil (don't use synthetic!). Other cars lubricate the transaxle with transmission fluid - which is lame.

Never had anything done with the transmission. Even tranny oil is original!

Car gets 28 to 30 mpg on the highway at 65 - 70 mph.

Never had anything done to fuel system (original injectors, original fuel pump, original fuel filter, etc).

Suspension is where the focus is on the 300m (and probably all LH-body cars). I've replaced all 4 struts (with complete replacements, known as "quick-strut" units, fully assembled). Unless you drive on very flat and well-maintained roads you're going to have to replace the front sway bar bushings every 4 years or live with a knocking sound from the front wheels.

I've replaced all 4 wheel bearings (because why not if the price is right). Have replaced the sway bar links once or twice. I've replaced one of the lower control arms and torsion strut rod and bushings, going to do the same on the other side soon. Still using original outer tie rods but I'm going to be replacing the inner tie rod bushings (because these wear out and I assume mine has). Probably buy the entire rods and ends because they're cheap enough (Rock Auto).

One stupid problem I have is that over the past 3 years I've been getting less and less heat out of the heater. Heater core getting plugged up seems to be a chronic problem in LH cars. I'll try to flush the shit out of it when I work on the inner tie rod bushings (need to remove the hood and cross-piece thing to do that, and that gives me access to heater hoses at the firewall).

Other than the timing belt, I do all the work on this car myself.

Door speakers wear out (cone separates from frame) and I've used epoxy to repair it, but it doesn't last.

I bought a set of after-market head lights from china or singapore a few months ago (Eagle Eyes, from ebay) for $80 (came with light bulbs) and wow, crystal clear head lights make the car look new again!

So yes, the 3.5 engine is fantastic. I should have bought another chrysler 300m back in 2004 and just kept it in a box for when my 2000 car finally wears out. I do not like anything that anyone's making now, and I've always hated the bloated, boxy and heavy 300c that Chrysler replaced the 300m with in 2005.

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On 4/3/2016 12:50 PM, MoPar Man wrote:

No... but now I do.. duh on my end.

Steve

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Quote:

I don't claim to be an expert and this is just my opinion. I've been in the automotive industry for the last 30 plus years and learn something new every day.

I've had a fair amount of experience with the chrysler 2.7 , 3.2 and 3.5 in their LH body cars.

I had a 2.7L , my personal car , seize up at an idle with no warning. These are known for consuming coolant and it was my fault for not fixing that problem , which led to the engine failure.

Back to the original thread topic . It seems as if Chrysler was after some additional fuel mileage and HP when they built the 2nd gen. 3.5L engines. I have a 183,000 mile 3.5 that I put a set of rod brgs in at 172,000. I had just purchased the vehicle and noticed an ever so slight knock on start up only. After pulling the pan and looking at the bearings , only the upper half was just starting to see copper, the bottom half looked good for the miles. If you look at the bearing width vs. the crank journal and conn. rod width , Chrysler could have very easily used a bearing .100 wider to help with the load carrying capacity, but that causes more rotating friction. I'd rather give up 1 mpg than have to think about loosing the bottom end. I had nothing to loose but my time and the cost of a set of rod bearings , so I polished it up and put it back together. Now just a little more rambling,,,,, - People think their doing a good job by going to a quick lube every 3000 miles . The oil they use it the cheapest crap they can buy !! I'm not here to sell oil but you get what you pay for " most of the time" do your homework , even some of the top advertised synthetics aren't that great. - Run a premium oil filter - And from my own experience , when you have " ANY " amount of coolant consumption , address it immediately. I honestly believe because they have a weaker than average bottom end that all of the above is super critical. Again , Just my humble opinion and to end on a positive note , if I didn't enjoy driving my car and I really do , I'd never put this kind of work into it.

http://www.chryslerforum.com/forum/300m-concorde-lhs-new-yorker-19/3-5l-connecting-rod-bearing-issues-99-04-lh-18201/

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You might like this link too:

http://300mclub.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f &t'345

3.5 Engine Connecting Rod Bearing Information/ Analysis

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Those same magazines who are telling you that the 3.5L is nothing special are the ones that were singing its praises 3 years ago. If you happened to read that opinion in Automobile magazine, I would take it with a very large grain of salt, as I do with *most* of what they say.

The 3.5L is a durable, well-designed engine. If it has not undergone major changes, it is the same one that was placed in 2nd generation LH cars beginning in 1999 for the 300M, and as a premium engine in the other LH cars. Although all engines can sometimes fail prematurely, the 3.5L doesn't have a track record of doing so. It is equipped with a coil-over-sparkplug ignition system that is very reliable and essentially maintenance-free.

For its displacement, it is a very powerful engine, and it yields more than 1HP/cubic inch, which is something that the magazine guys normally get all excited over. Unfortunately, it is overwhelmed by the great bulk of a Pacifica, an extremely overweight vehicle, as many engines of larger displacement also would be. My understanding is that it performs quite acceptably in a 300.

Personally, I have a 3.2L engine, which is a close cousin to the 3.5L, sharing many aspects of the design. It has been a remarkably trouble free engine, smooth and powerful for its size, and reasonably economical. Mine has 95,000 miles on it, and has no odd noises, leaks of any kind, or performance/starting issues. So far, I've replaced one idler pulley that got a bit noisy around 80,000 miles. I would expect similar service from a 3.5L.

There was an earlier version of the 3.5L placed in the 1st generation LH cars. It was the premium engine in that application as well. People have driven that version well past 200,000 miles with only normal maintenance. However, the design was changed radically for the second generation cars, so direct comparisons aren't necessarily valid.

--Geoff

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Can you elaborate on the "radical" design changes between the 1st and 2nd generation LH 3.5L? Just curious. I think I read something about 1st generation being non-interference, and that was changed in the 2nd generation?

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There's a pretty good discussion of the 2nd-gen 3.5L on AllPar's site at http://www.allpar.com/mopar/v6.html .

The 1st-gen is covered at http://www.allpar.com/mopar/33.html , scroll down to the section entitled "The 3.5 liter engine according to Chrysler"

Happy reading.

--Geoff

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Hmmm... wrote:

The biggest change is that the first-genration had a cast nickel/iron block, the second gen has an aluminum block with nickel/iron liners. The second gen also has coil-on-plug ignition, and is apparently now an interference engine due to changes either in the combustion chamber or the piston compression height. However, very little (essentially nothing) changed with the rotating assembly- still a forged steel crank, nice long rods swinging short "slipper" pistons with a relatively low bob-weight (some other makers stick with taller pistons and shorten the RODS which leads to greater side-loading on the cylinder walls and higher stresses in the rod itself), cross-bolted mains (I believe with a full block girdle in the aluminum version, not necessary in the iron version). All-in-all its one HELL of a fine engine. You don't hear much about it because, like the 318, 383, 440, and slant-six before it, it just goes out and does its job for hundreds of thousands of miles without fancy advertizing.

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Thanks for this, and all the other informative replies.

Geoff wrote:

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"Geoff" wrote:

As an owner of a Pacifica since last August 29 (and an occasional driver as it is my wife's vehicle) I can tell you that in normal, daily Los Angeles driving situations (including merging onto freeways at 65+ mph) the Pacifica is not overwhelmed but performs quite well. Only once have I found it overwhelmed and that was when I had to stop for a red light at the bottom of a steep hill and then proceed up the hill when the light changed. As we are both #1 lane (fast lane) drivers we have no complaints about the performance. I have read some accounts of reviewers that say the performance of the 3.5 in the 300 and Magnum is quite respectable.

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RPhillips47 wrote:

I mentioned here some weeks ago that I had a rental Magnum with a 3.5 and was favorably impressed. It did not embarass itself in any way. My wife's 93 Vision with the lower-powered first-generation iron 3.5 could walk away from it easily because the car is lighter, but it couldn't exactly RUN away from it. The purely logical, analytical side of me would be very tempted by the 3.5 in the Magnum for the simple reason that you don't get stuck with an over-complicated Mercedes automatic transmission with it as you do if you pick the Hemi. But being weak, I'd probably still pick the Hemi. :-)

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So far, the 3.5 has not managed to have any major specific issues. It produces an easy 250 horsepower with about 250 lb-ft of torque for effortless acceleration in the 300M - lots of low-end torque which is missing from many competitive engines.

Magazine reviewers are often trendy and fashion-conscious and will dismiss good vehicles and engines simply because that's the way they feel that month. Others, like the Civic, ride on their past reputations.

There's an extensive article on the 3.5 at http://www.allpar.com/mopar.html which includes the changes from the first to the second generation.

As far as I know, there are no major quality issues with ANY current Chrysler engine other than the early 2.0 liters (1995-1998) running through head gaskets, the 2.7 (rarely) having rod failures and sludge, and the 2.4 turbo sometimes overheating in the PT (but not in the SRT-4 as far as I can tell).

My wife has the 3.5 in the 300M where it is quite fast. In the Pacifica, it isn't a hot rod but it does move quickly enough. There isn't a long delay before acceleration as there is in the automatic Camry 3.0 V6, the Suzuki V6-auto, etc.

On 2004-06-24 20:29:09 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com said:

-- http://www.toolpack.com/ for organizational development and survey research http://www.acarplace.com/ for car reviews

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this engine has proved itself as being a sturdy and well built engine i'm now seeing them with 200k at the dealer and going strong of course maintence is the key factor on engine durability

snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Auto magzine writers are idiots.

>At least is doesn't win the awards and high

Point proven.

My friend

Does 215,000 miles without any more than a water pump count? Granted, thats my wife's 1993 iron-block 3.5, but the aluminum-block version is doing just as well. I'd take it over a Nissan v6 any day of the week. Even a over a Nissan made BEFORE they were bought by Renault.

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