1978 Chrysler LeBaron LE 318 lean burn from North America
A good car for cars produced during that time period
I had this car in Germany 81 - 84. I learned how to work on cars over there in my spare time. I am kind of a geek, so I liked finding out why parts failed.
The first problem I had when I bought the car in the US was that the rear tail light covers kept falling off. I had to buy some sealant to fix this problem.
Also, in the states, I found out that the ring gear was missing a few teeth -- when that section of the ring gear came up to the starter, you could not start the car. I carried a long breaker bar and socket to turn the engine a little bit to bring up a different section of the ring gear, until I was able to have the ring gear replaced.
One front parking light went out. I found out that somehow water got into a wiring harness junction, turning the copper to blue powder.
The car made ticking noise, which sounded like it was coming from the transmission. I found that the U-joint would not move in one plane. Upon disassembly, found that the bearings causing that problem had disintegrated into powder.
Radio made a screeching sound when I hit a bump sometimes. Found a hairline crack between the radio PCB and the chassis ground. Fixed it with a soldering iron.
The car went into the limp-home mode. This was a problem with the ECM. I tried to repair the ECM, but this is potted inside. I wired two blocks around the outside to put pressure on it until I could replace the module.
The car backfired when cold. Found this was a problem with the valve controlling the heated-air intake. Put a piece of tape over the end of the valve until I could buy another one.
This year was a bad year for rubber hoses. All the radiator hoses failed, plus at least one of the other ones.
One day, the car wouldn't start. Found out that one of the ballast resistors had failed.
Found the following problems while doing engine work:
The EGR gas system was obviously not functioning. The EGR passageways were completely blocked with hard carbon or graphite. I had to chisel this material out.
Some of the freeze plugs were almost eroded completely through.
The timing chain had a LOT of stretch to it, but still functioned OK.
I bought this car used from a car rental dealer. It seemed fairly reliable at first. After a few years of ownership, I started having more problems. In Germany, it would go 100 mph on the autobahns, but didn't have a lot more power when going faster than that. Seemed to do well on gas usage. A/C worked pretty well. My car had a wheel vibration issue at 60 - 70 mph, that would go away at higher speeds. I could never find the cause.
I think the reliability was fairly good for cars of that error, but does not compare to today's cars.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 22nd October, 2014