I am looking for advice on the replacement of the spark plugs, spark
plug wires, distributor cap and rotor. Please bear with me. Allow me to
entertain you with an anecdote first.
I (second owner) am driving a 1997 Stratus 2.5L V6. Current mileage is
just over 60K. I always had it serviced regularly, following the
maintenance schedule in the owner's manual, by an official dealer. So
did the first owner, judging the maintenance log.
Three weeks ago I brought the car to the dealer for the 60K maintenance
job and reported two problems: horn not working and a squeeking noise
on cold engine starts that would last for a couple of minutes. Told the
dealer that the clockspring was replaced six months ago because I had
the same problem with the horn.
The dealer had checked the driving belt but could not find the cause of
the squeeking noise. I had to bring the car back another for the
clockspring because it was not in stock.
Three days later I hear a very hard rattling sound coming from under
the hood: the driving belt had snapped! Probably because the idler
pulley was loose. It could be taken off by hand, without any tools.
Apart from being snapped now, the driving belt appeared to be in good
conditions (ribs okay, no cracks).
I take the car back to the dealer. The dealer says the mechanic only
visually inspected the drive belt without removing anything. So I'm to
believe that it's all of a coincidence that pulley came loose because
it was not tightened enough about six months ago.
Now the power steering pump is leaking! Caused by the snapped driving
belt. The dealer refuses to take responsibility for the loose pulley.
What choice did I have? I paid for a new power steering pump, a new
drive belt and a new idler pulley. Oh yeah, and for the replacement of
the clockspring. When my car was returned I didn't bother to check
whether was the horn. Driving on my way home I realized that and I
pressed the horn... It still didn't work. I discovered that the horn
only worked if the key was out of the ignition. So it seems that the
clockspring was replaced but the mechanic did not bother to check if
this solved the problem.
To top it off, the dealer charged me for the 60K maintenance job but
the only parts specified on the invoice were engine oil and a oil
filter. According to the owners manual the following, amongst other
things, should be replaced: PCV valve, air filter, coolant, spark plug
wires, distribution cap and rotor, et cetera. All these parts were not
specified on the invoice. Unless the dealer decided not to charge for
these parts because he was feeling generous, the 60K service
maintenance was just not carried out.
In utter frustation I ordered both the Haynes and the Chilton repair
manual. I admit, not the best motive to start as DIY. But as I was
reading the routine maintenance sections of these manuals, I started to
get more and more enthousiatic about doing maintenance myself.
First I replaced the PCV valve and the air filter myself. That was
Now I decided I would take on draining and flushing the coolant system.
I wanted to be prepared and I must have read the procedure as described
in the Haynes and the Chilton manual at least ten times, over and over.
I was going to carefully follow each step. So I went over to a DIY
workshop. Well, getting to the drain plug was real, real hard. I ended
up busting the radiator because the drain plug very hard to reach and
to turn that I probably used to much force. I learned from someone that
most dealers just suck the coolant out with a vacuum pump or blowing ot
Although I have to have a leaking radiator to be replaced now, I'm
still not discouraged yet on doing maintenance myself.
According to the owners manual the spark plugs, spark plug wires,
distribution cap and rotor must be replaced at 60K for 2.5l V6 engine.
That should be done at 100K according to the Haynes manual and the
Chilton manual. I would appreciate your comment on at which interval
this should take place.
I would also welcome tips and pointers.
Thanks in advance.