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Sent by: Dr. David Zatz
Subject: rec.autos.makers.chrysler FAQ, Part 1/6
Newsgroup: rec.autos.makers.chrysler, rec.answers, news.answers
Posting-Frequency: 60 days
This section is generally revised every 400 days.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
IMPORTANT. Do not attempt to respond to email@example.com.=20
Due to spam this address DOES NOT GO ANYWHERE.
Instead, go to allpar.com and provide feedback from there.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
* Important Note * Chrysler generally refers to the full Chrysler =
Corporation (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth, DeSoto, Eagle, Simca, =
Rootes Group, Sunbeam, Singer, Hillman, Humber, AMC, etc).
The author and contributors assume no responsibility for errors or
omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information=20
or opinions contained herein.
Some of the information is presented as opinion rather than fact.
The maintainer does not claim to be an authority.
Information below may be reproduced in any way IF credit is
given to the writers and maintainer; and it is not published in
book or magazine form without the prior written permission of the
maintainer; that the maintainer receives, without asking, a FREE
copy of the final material; and that no changes are made (except for
formatting) without the express permission of the maintainer
(David Zatz - contact me via allpar.com).
- - - - - - - - - - - -
The latest copy may be obtained from
http://www.allpar.com/faq.html which links to rtfm.mit.edu
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Part 1 -
Related Resources (groups, Web sites, recall/TSB info)
Before You Post, Read This!
Frequently Asked Chrysler/Mopar Questions
Up and Coming
The Newsgroup: charter, notes, rationale
What should I do...
1. ... before I post?
2. ... if I have problems with Chrysler?
3. ... if I own this car? (list of models and what to look =
Oil Filter Discussion
List of All Engines Since 1966
1. Guide to V-8s
List of All Body Styles Since 1966
Part 3 (to be discontinued or changed)
Classic Car Troubleshooting
Reading codes without a scan tool
(computer controlled, carbureted engines)
Crankcase inlet air filter, 2.2/2.5 engines.
Part 4: Discontinued
Part 5: Discontinued
Part 6: Discontinued
BEFORE POSTING WITH COMPLAINTS/QUESTIONS
1. Check the FAQ.
2. Paranoia, overposting, and thoughtless posts are common.
Show off your intelligence and maturity.
3. Do not confuse Chrysler with your dealership,=20
the zone office, or the guy who picks up the phone.
4. If you are having problems with Chrysler or your dealer, read
the relevant parts of the FAQ (1, 2) and the Web site.
5. The natural inclination of people who have been mistreated is
to respond to many posts. However, all companies sometimes make
lemons or fail to treat customers well. Try to restrain anger.
- Related Resources:
http://www.allpar.com/ - massive owner/enthusiast site
* Models, history, repair, performance info
1-800-992-1997 Chrysler Customer Service - USA
1-800-465-2001 Chrysler Canada
1-800-255-9877 adapting new vehicles for people w/disabilities.
1-800-626-1523 Mopar catalog of manuals, videos, books (free)
Plymouth Owners Club (Plymouth & Fargo)
203 Main St., Cavalier, North Dakota 58220
Award winning magazine http://www.plymouthbulletin.com/
WPC Restorers' Club (Walter P Chrysler Club)
Also a good magazine!
NCPC -- National Chrysler Products Club
Chrysler Canada Customer Service:
Chrysler Center, P.O. Box 1621
Windsor, Ontario N9A 4H6
Chrysler Europe NV
Woluwedal 106-108, 1200 Brussels, Belgium - Europe
Chrysler Employees Motorsports Assoc: http://www.cemaclub.org/=20
Valiant-Dart-Duster-etc series, http://www.valiant.org/
Chrysler was the first make in the rec.autos.makers.* hierarchy,=20
and beat both GM and Ford to having a Big Seven newsgroup!
The first request for discussion was filed by David Zatz on=20
July 28, 1994.=20
Thanks to Gene Fusco for the Mopar Mailing List's FAQ; thanks also to
Lloyd R. Parker, Wayne Toy, Bohdan Bodnar, and Dan Stern.
This is divided into corporate and car sections.
I. CHRYSLER CORPORATE AND ALLIANCES
1. What do FCA and DCX mean?
DCX was DaimlerChrysler's stock symbol. DaimlerChrysler was created
in 1998 as a "merger" between highly-profitable Chrysler and large=20=
Daimler-Benz, AG. The move was disastrous for Chrysler, whose cash=20=
reserves were spent on stakes in Mitsubishi and Hyundai. Product=20
development was slashed every year starting in 2001. Market share =
dramatically from 2001 to 2007 as retail sales plummeted; =
grew as public desirability of vehicles fell. (See #5)
DaimlerChrysler was renamed Daimler in 2007, after Chrysler was =
Cerberus. In 2009, Chrysler Group LLC went into a controlled
bankruptcy (see #2); its "good" assets were purchased by
a new company majority-owned by a pension fund and controlled
by Fiat SpA. In early 2014, the rest of Chrysler was purchased
and Fiat renamed itself Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). The=20
change is not likely to measurably affect Chrysler's operations
or investments in North America.
2. What's the deal with the government bailout?
Chrysler went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and in a "fast track" =
the U.S. and Canadian governments, and (via trading pension =
the union VEBA, financed the creation of a new company which =
most of Chrysler's core assets.=20
Fiat was to get 35% of Chrysler in return for its technology. The =
was owned by the VEBA in exchange for billions of dollars of
unfunded pension and benefits obligations; the VEBA has no voting =
The U.S. and Canadian governments eventually sold their own shares =
Fiat has provided some technologies, and its
dimensions for compact and midsized cars, which are used by =
as the basis for a wide range of vehicles. Fiat's platform =
had been developed at great expense.
Other key Fiat technologies are diesel engines,=20
dual clutch automatics, and MultiAir, an air-activated variable=20
valve lift and timing system that works on individual cylinders, =
a time. It is more expensive than Chrysler's variable cam =
a little more effective. Chrysler also uses their 1.4 liter =
The end result is a Chrysler which contributes
large vehicle products and technologies to Fiat in return for =
small car (and large van) products and technologies. This saved the=20=
government billions of dollars in unemployment, prevented =
supplier bankruptcies that would have knocked out Ford and GM, =
the loss of a large part of America's manufacturing base, and =
a win-win given the alternative.=20
Fiat has been open about its use of Chrysler technologies in the Fiat =
and Lancia cars, and less open about adapting the Pentastar V6 block =
and the Chrysler LX platform for Maserati. Dodge and Alfa Romeo worked =
together on rear wheel drive cars but after pundits criticized Maserati =
for using Chryslers as a base, FCA has retreated from sharing Chrysler =
contributions to its upscale brands.
Rebadged Chryslers sold by Fiat are/were the Fiat Freemont (Dodge =
Lancia Thema (Chrysler 300), Lancia Voyager (Town & Country), and=20=
Lancia Flavia (200). Chrysler sells an upgraded version of the Fiat=20=
Ducato as the Ram ProMaster, with its own gasoline engine and =
transmission; and it sells the Fiat Doblo as the ProMaster City.
3. What is Chrysler's US customer service number? 800-992-1997
4. What is Chrysler's e-mail address? =20
Contact Chrysler via a Web form - see "contact us" on their=20
brand web sites (e.g. dodge.com, chrysler.com, jeep.com).=20
5. What about the merger / takeover back in 1998 that ended the old=20
Chrysler execs got about $60 million in personal profit.
Daimler bought Chrysler, doubling their profits, then
reportedly siphoned off Chrysler profits via accounting=20
tricks to make Mercedes look more profitable.
Daimler spent Chrysler's $8-10 billion war chest.
Only one Chrysler rep was left on the board from the original four.
Plants were sold. Decontenting to fix Mercedes' losses became =
For the final outcome, see questions 1 and 2.
6. What about building cars in China?
for the original Cerberus plan, which is dead now. Chrysler and
Fiat will build cars in China and India - for sale within China and =
Jeep was one of the first automakers to have a Chinese plant,=20=
but it was taken by Mercedes during the DCX years.=20
The China-car plan was replaced by the use of small Fiats.=20
7. What's the deal with Chrysler and Mitsubishi?
At one time Chrysler owned a large share of Mitsubishi and was =
buy the full company, the idea buying to take advantage of =
small car prowess and manufacturing technologies. Some cars were =
developed, including Avenger/Sebring and Caliber. Chrylser lead
both, though they used newer Mitsubishi basic platforms.
Partnerships with Mitsubishi have ended completely.
9. How reliable are Consumer Reports' ratings?
See the discussion at http://www.allpar.com/cr.html
10. How can I get help for problems Chrysler won't fix?
See the discussion at http://www.allpar.com/trouble.html.
Keep trying the Chrysler Customer Center. Know the TSBs.
Visit http://www.nhtsa.gov ... keep trying and keep your cool.
11. What's the deal with Chrysler Europe, Simca, and Talbot?
Chrysler owned Simca and Rootes until the late 70s, but=20
sales kept going up and down (usually down). Peugeot bought them=20
and sold the Omni as the Talbot. They had Simca/Sunbeam engines=20
(Lloyd Parker). The Centura sold in Australia was a Simca (Dan Stern).
See http://www.allpar.com/world/ for many details.=20
These cars and the former Rootes Group brands, such as Singer,=20
Sunbeam, Hillman, and Humber, are covered by
14. Should I use high octane gas?
Only if your car was designed for it (see your owner's manual) or if=20=
you've advanced the timing or your engine is knocking. According to=20=
Chrysler and others, many high-octane gasolines have a low=20
driveability index, which can cause long cold start times,=20
warm-up sags, hesitations, and driveway die outs. Under the law,=20
ALL gasolines sold in the US must meet certain standards for=20
detergent; if you really need to "drive your engine clean" get a=20
bottle of Techron or Mopar engine cleaner.
Chrysler and Fiat turbo engines have all been designed to use =
premium, as do
SRT engines use premium. Most others run on regular. The 3.5 V6 and =
5.7 Hemi run
20. Is X good for my engine? (includes Slick50)
The Toyota FAQ (Todd Haverstock) sez: "Independent labs as well
as engine manufacturer Briggs and Stratton have rendered a=20
verdict that Slick 50 and similar oil treatments are useless." =20
The Gasoline FAQ says most gasoline additives are useless.
Others have weighed in on that score, and DuPont sued to prevent=20
Slick 50 from using Teflon (unsuccessfully).
22. Did the first-gen Mini really use a modified Neon engine?
Yes, it's a smaller version of the Neon engine designed for European
Neons and a small Chrysler that never materialized (due to =
The factory was a joint venture with Rover. Ironically, Fiat bought =
plant and uses modified versions of the same engines.
23. What does SOHC, SMPI, etc mean? What do I have?
Note: Every modern Chrysler is SMPI / DIS
* DIS means distributorless ignition system. No rotor!=20
* SOHC and DOHC refer to the number of camshafts; one or two.
* EFI means electronic fuel injection, such as the following:
* TBI - throttle body injection; one or two injectors=20
spray fuel into the air as it heads to the cylinders.=20
* MPI uses one fuel injector for each cylinder. It sprays fuel in
the intake manifold, firing at the intake valves. Smoother than
TBI, with more power *and* better mileage.
* SMPI is sequential multiple-point injection; the injector only
fires when the fuel can go straight through the valve and into=20
the cylinder instead of splashing onto a closed valve.=20
* Direct injection sprays fuel directly into each cylinder.=20
This is mainly used in diesel engines (thanks, Michael Turley!)
The current system is coil on plug ignition which provides a separate =
each spark plug, located right on top of the plug, for control and =
25. What kind of oil should I use?
CHECK YOUR MANUAL. FCA makes manuals available on-line.=20
Oil grade is very important for the Hemi due to its MDS.
Most or all current FCA vehicles have an oil change computer that =
tells when you should change the oil. However, you still need to make =
sure to change it at the right calendar intervals, e.g. more than once a =
26. What kind of engine do I have ???
Raise the hood and check the emissions sticker. You can decode your
vehicle ID number (VIN) using most car manuals. The emissions sticker=20=
will tell you the displacement of the engine.
See -> http://www.allpar.com/mopar/vin-decoder.html
27. What is a Mopar? Do I have one?
Mopar is slang for a Chrysler-produced car. Some extend it to AMCs =
some restrict it to
high performance only. It is the name of Chrysler's parts division.
Mopar stands for MOtor PARts. MoPar is a registered trademark.
28. Which were the Diamond Star models?
Diamond Star models are those built by the Diamond Star (DSM)
plant in Illinois. This was a joint venture but is now 100%
MMC. The Stealth, Colt, Sapparo, Ram 50, and FWD Challenger=20
were re-badged Mitsubishis made in Japan. There are no current cars =
by Chrysler from the Diamond Star plant for from Mitsubishi.
29. What are the K-cars?
... Chrysler used the components on the Aries/Reliant (K) in many of
its other platforms. These platforms... share similar distance
between the wheels on the same axle, and have the same suspension
design. Most K variants can swap struts (H is an exception).
K derivates include: Laser (pre-88)/Daytona (G), Shadow/Sundance
(P), LeBaron/New Yorker (J), LeBaron sedan (pre-90)/Lancer
(H), Dynasty/New Yorker/Imperial (C), Acclaim/Spirit/LeBaron sedan
(AA). Each derivative has a different wheelbase and floor pan.
First-generation minivans are also loosely based on the K.
These cars are collectively referred to as EEKs.=20
30. How do I find the fault codes stored in my engine computer?
See Part 3 of this FAQ.
32. How often should I change my trans fluid?
Check your service manual. The severe service definition means that
the vehicle is operated *primarily* in one of those conditions.=20
MODERN TRANSMISSIONS WILL BE DESTROYED=20
IF YOU USE THE WRONG FLUID.
Even some 3-speed transmissions are NOT compatible
with Dexron - read your manual !!!=20
Side note -> This was written when Dexron 3 was current.
Dexron 6 may be good in Mopar transmissions. However, to be
sure, use a Chrysler-approved fluid.=20
34. What kind of gas should I use?
Use the octane level your owner's manual recommends and the brand=20
you have had good luck with. If your engine knocks adjust the timing.=20=
35. No longer relevant; deleted.
36. What about lemons?
To quote the rec.autos FAQ -- every auto manufacturer has=20
manufactured a lemon or two. Please don't waste everyone's time by=20
announcing to the world that your `brand x' automobile is terrible, so
all brand x automobiles are terrible, so no one should ever buy a
car from the brand x company. Such articles are worse than
useless, because they cause wasted bandwidth while carrying little
or no useful information.
37. Are K&N filters worth it?
David Cooley reported on a magazine test of aftermarket air filters.
The paper filters were respectable, but the K&N and Accell filters
flowed almost 3 times as much air when dirty as clean paper filters
of the same size. The K&N passed less particulate matter than the
paper filter; as it got dirtier outside, they sprayed on a new coat
of oil (without cleaning) and found it filtered even better.
K&N filters change your engine sound, rarely need replacement,
and flow better when dirty. Other than that, you may not notice much
difference unless you have a high-efficiency exhaust and performance
engine. There has been debate over the actual filtering ability of
these filters; the power boost on TBI cars is negligible.=20
So. . .probably not.
38. Is there anything special I should do if I have ABS? [Legacy 1990s =
Some sources recommend more frequent fluid changes, e.g. every 2-3 =
Use only the brake fluid the car maker recommends! Fully
depressurize the system before adding or changing brake fluids.
The primary source of failure is dirt in the sensors, which can
easily be cleaned.=20
Note: in the 2010s, the answer is =E2=80=9Cno.=E2=80=9D
39. What kind of transmission fluid should I use? Is Dexron OK?
Use ONLY what it says in your owner's manual to use. Many Chrysler
transmissions are NOT compatible with standard fluid! ATF+3=20
is usually the best one to use with automatic transmissions before
2001, ATF+4 after.
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT and very misunderstood issue.=20
You should really visit http://www.allpar.com/fix/trans.html if you =
a four-speed or five-speed Chrysler automatic. Even most three-speed
automatics are required to use ATF+4.=20
CHECK YOUR MANUAL because recent changes mean that the =
for fluid may change, especially with the new dual clutch =
eight-speeds, and nine-speeds.
Dexron 6 may be OK but make sure it is approved by Chrysler if
you expect them to honor your warranty. =20
40. Are Chrysler transmissions still junk? [Legacy question]
Not if you use the right transmission fluid. By the way,=20
the 545 is actually based on the old, reliable 727.
See #39 and Part 2 of the FAQ.=20
42. Aren't Chryslers junk? / Did Mercedes improve Chrysler quality? =
Chrysler was working on quality before the takeover, yielding the=20
PT Cruiser - which is beating the Honda Civic on quality=20
surveys - and the Jeep Liberty, which is also doing very well. =
has been making great strides in quality. Mercedes, if anything,
damaged those efforts by emphasizing an "expert" approach rather =
Toyota-style inclusive/participatory approach to quality.=20
Look at Mercedes' quality reports, then at Chrysler's. Generally,=20
Chrysler quality TROUNCES Mercedes. So how did Mercedes help?
Update: since the Fiat takeover, Chrysler has been putting extensive
resources into quality improvement. Along with most people we advise
getting a car when it's well into its production cycle (e.g. six =
after production starts) to take advantage of fast-feedback on early=20=
cars (regardless of automaker). However, as time goes on, Chrysler =
seems to be getting better and better.
43. Engine sludge - what's the deal? [Legacy question]
Early 2.7 liter engines in some models had a more than normal=20
occurence of oil degredation resulting in a thick substance
called "sludge" which can cause major engine damage. This problem
also afflected some Toyotas, Hondas, and other makes. If you have a
2.7 made before 2004, you may want to use synthetic oil (which can
also lengthen your oil change intervals). This is rare but nasty.
The problem appears to have been resolved as of 2005.
Owners of cars with turbochargers should be careful about =
of oil in the turbo unit. Two ways of dealing with that are =
the car idle for a while before shutting the engine, if you =
pushing the engine, and using synthetic oil, which is far more =
to "coking" and cuts wear to turbocharger bearings regardless.
86. All other questions.
Check the computer codes or replace the ballast resistor (if you have =
******************* UP AND COMING ******************
This section has been replaced by http://www.allpar.com/news/
*********************** NEWSGROUP CHARTER ***********
(This section never changes. The newsgroup was created around 1994.)
- The Newsgroup Rec.Autos.Makers.Chrysler -- CHARTER
COVERAGE. Rec.autos.makers.chrysler was set up to cover issues related
to cars and trucks made by Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, Fargo, DeSoto,
Jeep, Eagle, and all other makes sold or marketed by Chrysler Corp.
BEHAVIOR. Political comments and commercial advertising will be
discouraged. However, *short* product announcements, preferably
restricted to the name, availability, and a very brief description of
the product's function (where applicable) are acceptable.
Discussion of whether Chrysler products are of good or bad quality,
lengthy comparisons to Hondas or other cars, and similar arguments and
flamewars with no foreseeable conclusion are heavily discouraged.
Participants are asked to be kind, considerate, and supportive, and to
generally keep an open, warm atmosphere so that the function of this
newsgroup may be maintained.
RATIONALE. This group is proposed to help Chrysler (CC) vehicle owners
to support each other, save money, and maximize enjoyment of their =
As in rec.autos.vw, Chrysler owners need a forum where they feel
unreservedly welcomed, and where they can obtain esoteric information
from involved people with similar experiences and vehicles.
This newsgroup should be general enough for those who know little about
cars to get a broad range of information and advise from, while allowing
those more into the products to exchange their views and advice.
In a world dominated by GM, Ford, and VW (Europe) products, Chrysler
owners often find discussions difficult. Most aftermarket parts and
advice are for GM and Ford owners; knowledge about Chrysler is hard to
find. The press don't cover CC as well as they could -- and CC's
dissemination of information to the press and the public is poor.
Chrysler products have quirks which most mechanics don't seem to be
aware of, leading them to replace transmissions when the fault is in a
20 cent vacuum hose, or to replace the engine computer instead of
plugging in a hose or changing a sensor. Chryslers are often seen as
ordinary American cars (unlike makes which many mechanics will admit
they are not familiar with) -- but what will work on a GM or Ford will
often not work on a Dodge. There is a vast ocean of experience in
Chrysler products out on the Internet which may help owners to save
time, money, and trouble.
CC vehicles are common enough, yet idiosyncratic enough, to deserve
their own place in the Net hierarchy -- just as Volkswagens are. In
addition, it is important for CC vehicle owners to have a place to
discuss the problems and benefits of ownership, to exchange detailed
information and personal experiences, in a supportive and positive
atmosphere. In short, I hope to develop a group as vibrant and helpful
as the Mopar mailing list or the rec.autos.VW group have been, while
making this group accessible to all Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, Eagle, and
Chrysler owners, even those who don't know what a Mopar is.
FAQ maintained by David Zatz who works at http://www.toolpack.com/=20
(end of FAQ part 1)