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End of the Road

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So after sitting at the shop for over a week, they finally looked over the Intrepid. For those of you who don't know, it's been parked in the driveway since late November, when on our way home we could hear the timing chains contacting things they shouldn't because they were so loose. So it rested quietly for the winter, besides when I went out to start it, until I could get it fixed.

I got a call around 2 telling me to come down to the shop. What they showed me was that the oil was milky...which meant that the headgasket had failed. How long ago it failed I'm not sure, but odds are it's been long enough to do damage. This, coupled with the fact that it needs timing chains, and burns some oil, is the final nail in the coffin.

I'm saddened very disheartened, as I'm less than 4,000 miles away from 200,000 original miles. It seems even more....unfair, if you will, that it has to end this way when the engine runs like it has 10,000 miles on it...it runs so well that several of the shop people asked why the car was being worked on in the first place.

I suppose the term ticking time bomb applies here then. You'd never know it by listening, but as is, the engine is very close to death....which sucks. Add one more 2.7 to the list. If nothing else at least it made it to almost 200,000 miles. Many cars never even get that far. It still sucks though.

So what's next? Tomorrow they put the "new" front tires on it, and give it a Rejection sticker. It has to be driven around again before it can pass inspection. I'll probably just drive it around locally and hope nothing happens.

Despite this setback, I'm undeterred. In fact, this made deciding what to do with the car much easier. I had always planned, since the day I bought it, that if the engine ever went, I would swap it out for one of the bigger, better engines. So tomorrow the hunt begins for a used 3.2L. I wouldn't mind a 3.5 but the 3.2 is a nice compromise. It makes less power than the 3.5 but more than the 2.7, it doesn't have any of the issues the 2.7's do, its computer will give my transmission better gear ratios, and the fuel economy penalty is minimal. Best of all, it costs less than a 2.7.

This also plays in my favor because I need a new compressor for my car anyway. Swapping engines means I'll end up with compressor for the 3.2, fixing that problem.

So now the hunt begins for a 3.2 complete engine drop. Wish me luck on finding a nice, low miles one.

As the journey of this car's life draws to a close, it shall be reborn stronger, faster, better than it ever was.

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Good luck. Engine swaps are a blast. The secret lair is quite the sight to see, two giant old Olds blocks sitting there, stripped down to nothing, parts everywhere, and the poor, lonely Buick with no hood and no engine. And no doors.

On the bright side, you dont need the Intrepid right now (at least I assume, since its been sitting for months) so you cant take your time.

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Thanks. Yeah, we have the Prizm and the Grand Marquis. Shadow's sitting this winter out.

From what I've read (there's lots of material on the web). Swapping a 2.7 to a 3.2 or 3.5 is basically plug `n play. Everything bolts right up. The only thing that has to be modified is the exhaust connection. Just have to make sure to get a complete engine drop, and that it's the correct year range (1998-2001).

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I'm just going by what a guy who has done this before said:


The 2.7 ECU will operate a 3.2/3.5 engine without problems. The 3.2/3.5 wiring harnesses will plug right into the 2.7 car and computer.

The transmission will also bolt right up. All LH models were equipped with the 42LE. You will gain a gear ratio advantage as well, because the 2.7 vehicles had a 3.89 ratio, and the 3.2/3.5 models had a 3.66 ratio.

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The 3.2 is going to give you the same problems as the 2.7. I would look into a newer 3.5 if I were you.

I've only heard that twice, and it was both on C&G. I'd like to know how and why? Last person claimed the 3.2 is similar to the 2.7 which it isn't...like at all. However if you've got some info I'm happy to listen, since info gathering is always good.

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Dodgefan, the only way the ratios change is if the transaxle is changed, or at the very least if the internals are swapped out of the case. Perhaps the guy did a full engine/trans swap. As far as 3.66 v. 3.89, the lower the number, the slower the engine spins, therefore pointing toward better fuel mileage. A higher number will give better torque multiplication and better off the line power, but will make the engine spin faster at a given speed, pointing toward worse fuel mileage. Edited by ocnblu
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Sludge Swap for Dummies? :neenerneener:

And I'll go on record right now as saying you'll probably regret re-using the transmission without having it rebuilt. Those things aren't exactly known for being indestructible.

You have a point, considering the miles on it. I'm open to looking at what sort of deals can be had for a combo...just have the whoel damn powertrain cropped.

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Check all your options, 3.2 and 3.5 with and without transmission. Even if you do pull the transmission out of a wrecked car or something, it would still be a crap shoot. There is a reason I go with the numbers, the numbers never lie.

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The 2.7 liter engine originally had a tendency to generate sludge which caused engine failure. Similar problems have been appearing on Toyota and Volkswagen engines. We were told that, shortly after the first reported cases, Chrysler isolated the problem to the crankcase ventilation system; hydrocarbons were entering the oil and breaking down the additives. This problem has been solved (around 2002-2004), and the number of engine failures appears to be small. However, if you have an engine that might have this problem, frequent (4,000 mile) oil changes, vigilance, and crankcase ventilation system maintenance (or replacement with newer parts?) may be an answer. We have been getting numerous reports from readers complaining that Chrylser is not standing behind these engines.

bolded part = :rotflmao:

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Check all your options, 3.2 and 3.5 with and without transmission. Even if you do pull the transmission out of a wrecked car or something, it would still be a crap shoot. There is a reason I go with the numbers, the numbers never lie.

Yeah, Chrysler's transmissions tend to be hit or miss, although I hear less about the 42LE having problems. I've had no issues with mine thus far, and it's still good...so I could reuse it if need be. But yeah, "all options are on the table."

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Of course if I wanted to be insane and had the know-how, I could do a RWD, V8 conversion. Apparently it's been done....crap load of work though. I'm looking for something more economical. :P

That would be interesting..no doubt a lot of work and $$$...I'd love to see an Intrepid SRT8, for example..

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