1977 Chrysler LeBaron Medallion 5.2 liter gas from North America
Rear main seal.
All just after purchase. Well worth it, though. No problems four months later.
This beauty belonged to an elderly gent (no, really) who used it as his summer cabin car. Though I had no documents to verify it, one look at the underbody and the interior told me I had a genuine 16k mile car that was 37 years old! Of course, the dried out gaskets and seals told me the same thing. It had sat too long, and I had to pour in some bucks for new hoses, belts and seals. New radiator and starter, too.
But next to the S-Class Mercedes I recently owned, the costs of these parts was dirt cheap. And -- no kidding here -- this vintage beauty was just as nice to drive as the swanky '91 560 SEL it replaced. In fact, I like the Mopar engine's growl better. The rich, red leather is plump and comfy. The darn thing runs and runs and runs. Two weeks ago, when the outdoor temps plunged to 11 below zero Fahrenheit, my wife's 2011 Fiesta took multiple tries to crank. The LeBaron roared to life right away.
The '77-79 M-body coupes enjoy lots of club support (Google "for F-M-J bodies Only") and are surprising performers considered their vintage. Of course I removed the problematic lean burn system.
I could not praise Mopar M-bodies too much. I regard it as a sounder, more enjoyable car than the S-class Mercs with their nightmarish maintenance costs and poor mileage.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th February, 2015
10th Feb 2017, 06:43
I just purchased a nice 1977 LeBaron Sedan, albeit a Base model, not the upscale Medallion. Wish it had the split bucket seats and power windows.
This LeBaron has the standard 318 LA engine, A/C, and AM/FM radio. It was well maintained and runs great so far. Minor cosmetic issues and minor electrical issues so far. The lean burn functions fine so far. Will be hoping that in the 40 years the mechanical issues have been repaired. Only problems are really with the cheap plastic parts whose chrome plating has flaked off. Other than that, the interior has held up well. The 318 LA engine is a well proven reliable power plant as well as the transmission.
12th Feb 2017, 04:56
These are underrated vehicles with the exception of the lean burn system.
The big thing that few people remember about lean burn is the fact that cornerstone of its philosophy was to overdo the spark advance on the ignition timing to cover up too much EGR and not enough fuel. The result was applying radical amounts of spark advance to cover up the mixture issues to bury potential drivability issues; the result being massive detonation and reduced power.
Luckily, Chrysler fine-tuned the system, and released the (heavily revised) Electronic Spark Control system. Not perfect, but MUCH better :)
19th Feb 2017, 18:19
I use to own a 1987 M body Diplomat with 318, and it had the electronic spark control like you mentioned above, and I had no issues whatsoever with it apart from if you were to reverse fast and then shift it into drive, she would always stall. I also read elsewhere on Carsurvey maybe 10 years ago about other M bodies doing the same thing. I also remember reading on Carsurvey about another M body driver with the spark control computer getting unheard of gas mileage with the LA 318, and the best I got in my Dodge was 30 MPG average over almost 300 mile at an average of 75mph. I am not talking bull either, because the high top in the a904 Torqueflite and rear diff gear set up must have been at home at that speed and RPM. THIS IS ME TELLING THE TRUTH AND I HAVE NOTHING TO GAIN FROM TELLING LIES.