1988 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible 2.5L TBI from North America


Cheap Fun Reliability


The only design problem I've fought is the valve cover gasket. Third try seemed to fix it (with a $50 gasket!)

Age related problems: MAP sensor, A/C, torque converter lockup solenoid, EGR valve, shocks, odometer gear, vacuum hoses, oil pressure sender.

Now everything works and there are ZERO engine fault codes!

There is some suspension squeaks and noise, but the poor car is driven daily in Mexico where the roads are bad and the speed bumps are severe.

It is completely reliable and I have less than $3500 in the car.

It came with one surprise: a cracked block. I put rubber freeze plugs and radiator sealer in it, and drive - drive - drive. 200 mile trips are no problem.

General Comments:

Very comfortable driver's seat. Others only acceptable.

The car is 18 years old, and the interior is basically flawless. No cracks in the vinyl seats or dash, only some fading of the carpet.

Handling is good for a small coupe, and better than the trucks and vans I'd been driving. The front end does flex some, being a convertible.

A/C is good and cold now (still using R-12).

If I could just talk myself into a new $500 top...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th July, 2006

11th Jul 2008, 22:28

Author update: in 2008 I finally decided to fix the leak and had a junkyard put in a different 2.5L. What a disappointment! I've fought every electrical and vacuum problem there is since then. To the point I will sell the car now. Moral: should'a taken it to my real mechanic to put the engine in!!!

Still love the car looks, though (sigh)

Finally, today I drove it 40 miles and got zero error codes again. But it vibrates since mr junkyard got through with it...

1988 Chrysler LeBaron convertible 2.5 litre 4 cylinder from North America


Love at first drive


The radiator has been replaced twice at roughly 80,000 mile intervals.

The head gasket has failed at 110,000 miles and again at 175,000.

The starter has been replaced twice at roughly 90,000 mile intervals.

The water pump has been replaced once at 125,000 miles.

The convertible roof has been replaced twice in ten years.

Power headlight door motor needed repair once when the vehicle was 11 years old.

Rear windows are cable-driven and prone to malfunction.

General Comments:

I have loved this car since the first day I drove it home. It has been a joy to own, very inexpensive to operate, fuel-efficient, and especially on a warm day the MOST FUN TO DRIVE! The front wheel drive even made it safe enough to drive in New England's winters.

In nearly 150,000 miles this car has cost less to maintain and repair than a concurrently-owned Dodge Stratus cost over only two years and 39,000 miles.

Nothing I can write could possibly explain my affection for this model or how impressed I've been by its quality.

Sadly, as a New England car, it was only a matter of time before the body began rusting. I now find that I will soon have to part with my beloved J-car. Its unibody construction has left it unsuitable for welding and not safe enough to continue driving much longer.

I'm crushed to be losing what feels like an old friend and can only hope to have the same life span from my next vehicle. If you can find one in good physical condition, it is the best car you will EVER own.

They truly "Don't Make Them Like This Anymore."

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st March, 2006

1988 Chrysler LeBaron Premier Convertible 4 cylinder from North America




Failed Smog Check.

Headlight doors broke and stayed open.

Check engine light periodically came on for no reason.

Rear power window mechanism broke twice on passenger side and once on driver's side.

Oil pressure switch went out.

Valve cover gasket had to be redone... three times!

Began leaking oil from everywhere and eventually was using a quart of oil every 100 miles.

Heater button broke off.

AC stopped working.

Factory paint was waxed every three months, car was garage kept and paint still oxidized.

Rack and pinion began going out.

Gas mileage dropped from over 30mpg to about 22 mpg over several years I owned it.

Factory speakers blew.

Driver's door hinge began to sag.

Convertible top fell apart.

Rear view mirror broke off several times.

General Comments:

This is one of those cars that has very nice styling, but is built really cheaply.

This car was garaged, taken care of well, driven by adults and still fell apart.

By 100,000 miles, this car was getting pretty tired and was at the point where I was throwing good money after bad.

The Mitsubishi 4cyl motor had no power at all and was sluggish merging into traffic. I had heard of these motors running like a top at 200k, but this one was blowing oil out the tail pipe at 100,000.

The interior was very cheap, with large amounts of wind noise through the weather stripping and numerous rattles.

Car had LOTS of design flaws that made day-to-day use a nightmare.

I sold the car to a friend for $900 that needed to get off the bus. He still has it, but the entire car is being held together by spit and duct tape!

Before this, I had an Oldsmobile Cutlass that was a great car. I now drive a Toyota Camry and I'm very happy. Avoid "Mitsu-Chrysler" K-Car products like the plague! There's a reason why the wrecking yard is full of them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th November, 2004