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LH Performance Modification Discussions
 #364856  by khobar
 February 11th, 2017, 4:43 pm
Hi guys,

I've a 2004 300M that hasn't a lot of miles on it (45k). I am the original owner but do most driving in the Town and Country. My son is interested in the 300m, so I've been making sure it's up to par for him. Here's the thing - I notice the 300m feels sluggish, like it's hauling a load of bricks in the trunk compared with the T&C.

Back around '05 or '06 I replaced the OEM plugs with some splitfires or quad-electrodes, something like that. I have done nothing else.

I don't even know if there's a problem, but if you were wanting to make sure a car like this was tip-top, what would you recommend? Cheers!
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 #364871  by adu1982
 February 11th, 2017, 10:25 pm
Timing belt kit before anything.....over 7 years and belt breaks and it wont move at all. Then i would put some ngk or champion plugs in there they are oem plugs.....
Other than that experts might point you in the right direction. The M should be a lot quicker/sportier feel than the T&C..... No pun intended but maybe is just your feeling......unless there is some wrong with the car.

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 #364875  by khobar
 February 12th, 2017, 12:10 am
Thanks for the quick reply.

Timing belt kit? Ouch - did not expect that as a suggestion.

Yeah, the m feels sluggish. I am going to replace the plugs - I put in the quad-fire thingys because they were all the rage, and I think in some cars they may be a good thing, but not really in this car. So yes, I think new plugs is a great first action.
 #364879  by user97
 February 12th, 2017, 6:04 am
Timing belt, water pump, idler pulley, and hydraulic tensioner. The latter one is somewhat optional, but with the age of these cars they are starting to go bad (the last one I replaced was not in good shape).

That is the first order of business -- if the belt breaks/skips the engine is toast. The service interval on the belt is 7 years or 100k miles, whichever comes first. We have seen numerous sub 100k belt failures on these forum on low mileage cars due to the age of the components

Re: plugs -- either put NGK platinum or Chapion double platinum -- both were OE (NGK was on special, the champion was on all of the other). Those plugs work best.
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 #364897  by ja300mes
 February 12th, 2017, 6:02 pm
Is the Check Engine light on? If so, have the cause diagnosed and let us know what it is.
If the light is not on, find a very slight incline, bring the car to a stop, shift into neutral and release the brake. If the car does not roll freely or at all, then you have a seized brake caliper which would explain the sluggish responses.

Timing belt should be done as the others have suggested - even with the low mileage, the materials deteriorate with time.
Check the brake lines while the car is on a lift for excessive corrosion - sometimes it's hard to tell if they're ready to rupture but a good look cannot hurt.
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 #364898  by ja300mes
 February 12th, 2017, 6:04 pm
Also, what year is your TC?
 #364901  by khobar
 February 12th, 2017, 8:32 pm
TC (Town and Country) is a 2013. 3.6L 283hp.

No check engine light. I've had that in the past - cam position sensor. Threw a code the first time. I replaced it myself. Second time it did NOT throw a code. The car simply wouldn't start. Good crank but nada. I believe I discussed this particular issue on this forum a few years ago (though the search brings up my posts from 2004 about rough idle and Bosch +4's but not about the codes). Anyway, changed the sensor and presto!

Other odd thing the m was doing prior to me getting the minivan - occasionally the dash lights would flicker, and I could hear a relay clicking.

I replaced the rear springs/struts a few years ago, restoring ride height. However, car feels bouncy now compared to the minivan.

About 1.5 years ago I replaced the battery. Went for emission test and failed. Luckily the guy happened to ask if I'd just changed the battery or something. He said I needed to take it for a spin on the highway and come back. I did and the car passed flying colors.

A couple of months ago the battery was duff. It was replaced under warranty no questions asked.

Car has always had Chevron gasoline. Back in 2004 I was concerned about rough idle and poor mileage (was getting about 11mpg city, 27mpg highway). Dealer said bring it back when it had 40,000 miles on it and they'd look into it. Dealer is no longer in business.

I put in a bottle of STP fuel injector cleaner same time I installed replacement battery - mileage went up 3mpg almost immediately, but I'd want to do further testing.

Car does not pull to either side. It does feel like it takes more pedal pressure to bring it to a stop, but I figured this could just be my perception. I do have new ceramic brake pads waiting to be installed if and when I get around to it.

I have NOT flushed the transmission fluid.

And I also have almost new tires on the car.

I'll call and find out what the belt et al will run and go from there.
 #364910  by user97
 February 13th, 2017, 12:13 am
Tranny fluid is OK -- factory fill full synthetic (ATF+4) does not go bad with time and the mileage is low.

Newer T&C with 3.6/ 6 speed (in reality 7 speed because of the separate kick down gear) are pretty powerful even with the extra weight. If you said that it was sluggish relative to an '01-'07 T&C with a 3.8 in it, I'd be concerned
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 #364936  by LUNAT1C
 February 13th, 2017, 5:16 pm
1st, yes timing belt and water pump are affected by age just as much as mileage. Any LH car on its original belt is overdue regardless of mileage. I had mine done at 82,000 miles and 8 years (limit is 7 years). I'm doing it again this spring 7 years later with only 45,000 miles added just to be safe.

2nd, I'm not surprised at all the van feels oomfier than the M. My 3.6L 2014 Journey felt more spritely than my Special does, simply because the engine is better for that. My Wrangler would probably be the same way if it wasn't nearly 2000 lbs heavier than the M (5500 compared to 3600).

After the timing belt, I would suggest installing NGK spark plugs, replacing the accessory belts, and changing all fluids if they haven't been done recently already. Coolant is 5 years, Brake fluid is 2-3 years, Trans fluid is 30,000 miles, oil is annual or 6,000 miles. I do annual oil changes since I don't drive mine much anymore.

Inspect the tires, they have a road life of about 6 years. Check the brake pads and rotors for unusual wear and replace if needed. Check suspension and tie rods for any possible excess wear.

If I bought a used LH car today with no documented history, all of those items would happen within a week of taking it home, even if it had 10,000 miles on it and was pristine inside and out.
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 #364943  by Robert P
 February 13th, 2017, 10:38 pm
LUNAT1C wrote:1st, yes timing belt and water pump are affected by age just as much as mileage. Any LH car on its original belt is overdue regardless of mileage. I had mine done at 82,000 miles and 8 years (limit is 7 years). I'm doing it again this spring 7 years later with only 45,000 miles added just to be safe.

2nd, I'm not surprised at all the van feels oomfier than the M. My 3.6L 2014 Journey felt more spritely than my Special does, simply because the engine is better for that. My Wrangler would probably be the same way if it wasn't nearly 2000 lbs heavier than the M (5500 compared to 3600).

After the timing belt, I would suggest installing NGK spark plugs, replacing the accessory belts, and changing all fluids if they haven't been done recently already. Coolant is 5 years, Brake fluid is 2-3 years, Trans fluid is 30,000 miles, oil is annual or 6,000 miles. I do annual oil changes since I don't drive mine much anymore.

Inspect the tires, they have a road life of about 6 years. Check the brake pads and rotors for unusual wear and replace if needed. Check suspension and tie rods for any possible excess wear.

If I bought a used LH car today with no documented history, all of those items would happen within a week of taking it home, even if it had 10,000 miles on it and was pristine inside and out.
Nice I call that a Spring Cleaning. Me personally I got my M at 140000 Miles I have 198000 now mostly sat needing repairs I have recently did the Plugs I used Champs I believe OEM and my coolant is fresh along with the Radiator and Both belts and Both tensioners I need the Harmonic Balancer Done and I'll do my Timing Belt at that time then front and Rear rotors are up for replacement.

Because my car sat for so long I Know I have to replace some suspension stuff most likely rubber bushings I know there's something wrong I can hear while going over bumpy roads which make up most of my state I may need front struts or components either way Ill get the Whole assembly. I'm poor as hell so is going to be a whole spring and summer project and there's more but it's mostly little cosmetic things and add on's
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 #364963  by Shawn1301
 February 14th, 2017, 7:32 pm
I'd think a new water pump gasket might be good enough, water pump is an OEM with lower mileage. Timing belt for sure, I've been there. Tensioner pulley aswell, they're sealed bearings with low mileage. Should be ok.
And definitely get a new hydraulic tensioner. That would save on parts if you'll do it yourself. If shop does it, I'd just give it the full kit.
Definitely change plugs. That said, I've got Bosch+4 in my special right now.

I understand the budget build..
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 #365128  by ja300mes
 February 21st, 2017, 9:57 pm
Same powertrain as my 2013 Journey - 3.6 and 6 speed 62TE. The Journey is definitely quicker off the line. The only time it feels less responsive than the M is when it gets into high gears early on light throttle applications. This powertrain in the M would be amazing! I prefer the shift quality of the 42LE but the ratios are too widely spaced and as such the car can sometimes feel sluggish. I use Autostick almost exclusively and that helps keep the engine in its powerband. The extra ratios in the Journey combined with its extra power fills in those gaps under most conditions. If you do not have an engine light on, then the engine is performing within specification.
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 #365174  by TrueBlue
 February 23rd, 2017, 9:41 am
Don't forget suspension. The struts are 11 years old and in many cases a car sitting "wears" more than a car driven.
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 #365184  by InfernoRedM
 February 23rd, 2017, 1:03 pm
TrueBlue wrote:Don't forget suspension. The struts are 11 years old and in many cases a car sitting "wears" more than a car driven.
This is a new one for me, Tom. Can you explain why that would be?