Chrysler 300M

I've decided to get a low mileage 300M, preferably years 2004 or 2003. With the current gas price fears their selling value has crashed.
With such low depreciation I can afford the expensive gas and enjoy that lovely car.
I've seen a very good condition low mileage (40k miles) 2000 and an unbelievably low price, but I'm passing on it because of age.
If anyone has any good/bad experiences with the 300M I'm interested, particularly what years were best.
TIA
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Josh S wrote:

Yep - there are two sides to every coin. I always laugh at people who buy something because the market value is low (it's what they can afford), and then complain when they can't get anything for it when they go to sell it. They obviously haven't thought it through, eh?

I don't know - there's something to be said for low mileage, especially if properly maintained.
On the 300M Enthusiast Club (forums: http://300mclub.org/forums/index.php ?) it is generally agreed that the '01 and '02 MY's were the sweet spot - some parts prone to failure in earlier years were improved (re-designed and/or improved manufacturing processes), features added, then post '02, significant decontenting started. Then it's a toss-up between '01 and '02 - '01 had things '02 didn't have, and vice-versa.
As that club and it's forums are 300M specific, come on over and search there - this kind of thing has been asked and addressed a lot, and start a thread or two there with remaining questions or for clarification, and plain introduce yourself.
One thing to be aware of: The engine is interference, so it is absolutely necessary to replace the timing belt at 100k-110k miles to avoid damage. What I'm getting at is to factor that in if you are looking at one that is due (to weigh in the price/use for bargaining), or to be a plus if, say, it has just been done (and can be proven). Around $300 in parts for the smart DIY'er, $600-900 parts and labor at a shop.
Oh - BTW - here's an '02, inferno red, 62k miles, that you just missed (owned by a guy that truly took care of it) because he just ordered a new Challenger: http://300mclub.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t 689
Just to whet your appetite. :)
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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My current '95 car tells you something about how long I keep a car. I'd expect to keep it 10+ years and wouldn't expect any significant residual value at that time. I favor a high mileage 2004 over say a lower mileage 2001/2, because it would probably be easier highway mileage.

Interesting club.

Yes I was aware of the interference design and certainly something to be concerned about. I'd need to see a repair invoice to confirm the belt was changed. The cars I'm seeing advertised mostly are up to 120Kkms (about 75K miles) so I doubt the timing belt has been changed.

Yes lovely car, but being in western Canada it's not an easy purchase for me so I'll pass on USA and distant cars. There's also another nice 2002 in their classifieds; the special model I'm not interested in.
There are quite a few coming on the market locally, mostly the 2004 model. Also the prices are being reduced very rapidly; as I look. I expect Chryslers unfortunate situation is part of the reason Chrysler products prices, used and new, are dropping here.
Thanks Bill for the very informative reply.
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Josh S wrote:

You'll find something. You're going in with eyes open. Take advantage of the market.
Myself - I've got two 2nd gen. Concordes - my daily driver has the 2.7L engine - famous for sludging up and self destructing at between 60k and 80k miles - except mine has over 200k miles on it and is running like a top (insurance co. totalled it out last year for fender, headlight, and door damage and I bought it back). It's my daily driver - 80 miles/day. I'm in the process of deciding whether to replace the timing chain and water pump at the tune of *several* hundred dollars in parts, plus labor (either mine or a shops for probably an additional $400 or so) - timing chain would otherwise not be a concern - but the water pump is driven by it, and if the water pump bearings decide to go bye-bye, it's also good-bye timing chain and probably the engine (also interference) - *OR* just keep driving it and see how far it will go before . . . whatever . . . happens - kind of like being in the proverbial blender. If and when "it" happens, it will owe me nothing.
But the paradox is what can I buy that isn't a risk that's not going to cost several times what the timing chain/water pump job costs. Ah-Oh - there I go sounding like those people I was criticizing. Not really - I'm just trying to figure out what the next logical step is.
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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wrote:

that
No, the problem is that anyone driving a high amount of mileage every year, say for example 25-30K miles a year, is being eaten alive by the fuel costs. They know perfectly well that their existing car has a lot more miles in it, but they just can't afford to fuel it anymore.
If your not driving a lot of miles every year then you can afford to drive a gas-guzzler and you will have a huge selection of used vehicles to choose from
We saw this sort of thing happen in the last 70's early 80's. I remember when I was 15 and my grandparents sold their '72 Olds Ninety Eight. I called and begged them not to do it, I pleaded that they just keep the car a few more years, just garaged, until I was old enough to go down there and drive it back. They said they didn't want to saddle me with such a big heavy car. It was one of the few times that I really was pissed at my grandfather and even today looking back I realize what a poor decision of his that that was. At the time I was probably not driving more than 3K miles a year, and I wasn't driving more than that for many, many years following.
Ted
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On Sun, 10 Aug 2008 16:09:02 UTC, "Ted Mittelstaedt"
80's. I remember

I can sympathize with you: My grandpa got rid of a great 1951 Dodge with Fluid Drive, then got rid of a 55 Dodge Royal tri-tone paint and Red Ram V-8. He just considered them "old worn out cars" and bought a brand new 64 Dodge Dart which he had when he passed away.
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Note I said Chrysler's situation is "part of the problem". I said in an earlier post I noted the current gas prices with the resulting dislike of larger vehicles is a big part of the problem. It's become a very emotional response to the very quick run up in gas prices. Also I said in an earlier post is one doesn't drive a ton of miles per year a good used larger car can be just as economical to drive as a more fuel efficient car. Looking at the savings in fuel with a vehicle like the Rogue or Compass, it's not that big a factor. They aren't getting the mileage one would expect; the revised EPA 2008 ratings show that.

That's what I said and I don't feel the 300M is a gas guzzler. It's the 300C that is.
The 300M's fuel mileage is very similar to the 3.3L LH cars or even the 2.7L Sebring which is only slightly better in urban driving.
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Josh S wrote:

A new car payment would easily exceed the fuel cost of driving my 440-powered '66 Dodge EVERY DAY, burning premium at 12 mpg and $4.25/gallon. I've been averaging a little less than 20k miles per year.
Now, I *did* recently pick up a used Jeep that gets 20 mpg on regular, but I still have no car payment (and besides, the Jeep is almost as much fun, in a different way, as the '66).
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UGH! Very high pollution from that oldie. You should limit it to show car use. I wouldn't have admitted I'm driving it regularly.
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"UGH! Very high pollution from that oldie.

oh i don't know. with proper jetting and timing, they run real clean. why shouldn't he admit it? hell i think he should do some BRAGGING!
wrote:

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You drove 3K miles p.a. when you were 15?
DAS
--
To send an e-mail directly replace "spam" with "schmetterling"
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Hi Josh,
I have a 2002 300M Special (black on black). In the six years and 77,000 km I've owned this car I've had no real complaints, but road noise is greater than I would expect in a car of its class and it appears to be largely tyre related; I'm not sure what, if anything, can be done to resolve it. There have been other minor issues*, but overall it's been a good car and a pleasure to drive.
Cheers, Paul
* Brake dust, window trim went hazy, failed seat heater switch, a/c problems
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Paul M. Eldridge wrote:

Yes - it is tires, Paul. Goodyears? Anyway - you might consider a good touring tire - something like the Cooper CS-4. I have the Cooper predecessor to that (the Lifeliner Touring SLE) on all three of my cars. They are *super* quiet and very long wearing and aren't that expensive ($111 ea. for 16" - more of course for 17 or 18"). They quieted my Concordes right down. If my SLE's ever wear out, the CS-4's are going on in their place.
There have been other minor issues*, but

A.C. problems - evaporator started leaking? Did you get it fixed?
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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wrote:

Hi Bill,
The originals were Michelin Pilots as I recall. They were quiet for perhaps the first 500 km, then became progressively louder, to the point that I had to replace them even though they had considerable tread life remaining (frequent rotating didn't help at all). Based on the recommendations of the service technician, I went with BF Goodrich which are notably better in this respect, but still not great. Thanks for recommending the Cooper CS-4; when it comes time to replace these, I'll know which ones to get.

Yes and no. In this climate, I seldom need a/c but when I do, I opt for the Dodge Magnum R/T parked behind door #2. I do miss my heated seat when it's -30C.
BTW, the evaporator failed on both my '94 and '97 LHS, so I've come to the conclusion this problem is common to all Chryslers.

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Bill Putney wrote:

As I said in a recent post, for a high (to ultra-high) performance tire, that is also quiet, I recommend the Yokahama Advan S4. I see that Tirerack is selling them for $165 each (which is kinda steep - I don't think I paid that much 2 years ago, but maybe I did...)
If you drive the car in snow (and where the snow can be as high as scraping the bottom of the car at times) then the 300m really performs well with dedicated snow tires. I can plow through deep drifts and hear the snow scrape the bottom of the car as if it had 4wd.
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MoPar Man wrote:

Yeah - and rip your air dam off! :) What do you call deep?
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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Bill Putney wrote:

I took that off my 300m a year or two ago.

An overnight blizzard that dumps maybe a foot of snow over-top an inch of hard-packed snow in a residential subdivision that might not get plowed until late next morning.
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"Paul M. Eldridge" wrote:

Do you have 18" or 17" wheels?
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Hi MPM,
The 300 are 17 inch and the Magnum R/T is equipped with 18s.
Cheers, Paul
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Josh S wrote:

I purchased (new from dealer) a year-2000 model 300m (took delivery of it Nov 1 / 1999) and I currently have 81k miles on it. That works out to an average of 25 miles per day, every day for the past 3200 days (8 years, 9 months).
Here are the problems it's had so far:
- both rear door lock solenoids have failed (at different times) and have been replaced (both were out of warranty). - One of the transmission speed sensors failed (during the warranty period). - driver's side exhaust flex or ball-coupling (between cat and first resonator) failed recently - replaced it (and the first resonator) with aftermarket stainless steel replacement (magnaflow). - I replaced the front sway bar end-links and bushings a couple of years ago, and they need to be done again. - about 6-8 months ago one of the coil packs failed, and I bought a new one and replaced it myself.
I think that's pretty much it.
Here's what's been done as part of normal servicing:
- replaced the front rotors and brake pads (once or twice- I forget) - oil changes (every 3 to 5k miles) - at the first air filter change I swapped in a K&N re-useable filter and have been cleaning and re-oiling it once or twice a year for the past 7 years. - I changed the spark plugs for the first time about 6-8 months ago. - The serpentine belt was changed about a year ago, along with one (or 2?) idler pulleys (just for the hell of it). - Have had manditory emissions testing on it (first one at 3 years of age, then every 2 years after that). Has always passed with flying colors. - when original tires (horrible Goodyear Eagle's) wore out, I replaced them with Dunlop 2000 summer tires (and started to use dedicated snow tires in winter). When the Dunlop's wore out, I replaced them with Yokahama Advan S4 (this is the second summer on them I think) and they're a great tire and I'll get them again. Very quiet ride. The full-size spare is a Dunlop. Tire size is 225-55-17 (original tire size on bright-chrome original "Razor-star" rims). - front differential fluid has been changed (once) and I think is due again for change. - same for power steering fluid.
Here's what hasn't failed or what is still original:
- battery is still factory original - engine coolant is still factory original - transmission oil and filter is still factory original (but is over-due for service I guess) - no body rust to speak of (I live in Southwest Ontario where the climate is similar to Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo). I garage the car every night, and the temp in the garage rarely goes below 50f in the winter. Some surface rusting or scaling is visible on the bottom inside door seams. - I've had to replace one burned-out tail light, but I don't believe I've yet to change any other lamp on the car - even the headlights.
Here's what will need to be serviced at 100k miles (which at this rate will be in exactly 2 years):
- timing belt, and along with it (because there would be no extra labor charge) the water pump. - in theory, the service guide says that the coolant is good for 100k miles, so I probably won't be changing the coolant until the timing belt and water pump are done, and the coolant would be done anyways during that type of service. - Chrysler dealer service garage tells me the cost (part and labor) for changing the timing belt and water pump will be close to $1000. Can I get a reality check on that?

I'm thinking more that as they age, their value is going down. NOT that the 300m is a gas-guzzler. If the over-head console MPG reading is correct, then I routinely get 29 +/- 3 MPG on the highway at steady 70 mph cruise.

If by expensive gas you mean anything more than 87 octane, well, that's simply not necessary. My car has seen only the cheap 87 octane all it's life, and AFAIC that's all it needs.

Well, if mine is any example, there's nothing wrong with a '00 300m today, especially at only 40k miles.
I'm not sure if the '01 or '02 has anything extra on the '00 other than bright chrome window trim. I'm not sure if the '01 or '02 came with 17" wheels, or especially the bright-chromed 17" wheels, but if they didn't then I'd say that's a downer.
I'd say that for a 300m at this point, beyond simply miles on the car, pay attention to the condition of the exhaust, and note that the timing belt will need servicing at 100k miles. Ask if the battery is original, and check the condition of the tires. I would definately buy this car again new.
I wouldn't get the 300m "special" version because (I believe) their suspension is tuned even more stiffer than the 300m regular (that was supposed to be the primary difference with the 'special, along with a few more HP) and I wouldn't want a more "jarring" or harsher ride than what I've got right now. I think the '03 or '04 special had 18" wheels (which are getting a little on the absurd side, and you've got some tire-slap noise and in general more expensive tires to deal with in that case).
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