Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?

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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.

Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
On Thu, 24 Jun 2004 20:29:09 -0400, kokomoNOSPAMkid wrote:

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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.

Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?

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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

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.


Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
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

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to large major doesn't coil-over-sparkplug
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than a so
Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
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There's a pretty good discussion of the 2nd-gen 3.5L on AllPar's site at .

The 1st-gen is covered at , scroll down
to the section entitled "The 3.5 liter engine according to Chrysler"

Happy reading.


Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
Hmmm... wrote:

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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.

Thanks for replies to: "Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?"
Thanks for this, and all the other informative replies.

Geoff wrote:
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Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
"Geoff" wrote:

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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.

Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
RPhillips47 wrote:

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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. :-)

Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
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 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, said:

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-- for organizational development and survey research for car reviews

Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good?
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 wrote:

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Re: Is the Chrysler 3.5 engine any good? wrote:

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Auto magzine writers are idiots.

  >At least is doesn't win the awards and high
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Point proven.   My friend
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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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