10th Sep 2004, 18:57

I have had almost all the same problems as you have mentioned... but not until around 130,000 miles.

I replaced the radiator at 135,000 miles. Almost every car sold nowadays used an aluminum radiator with plastic tanks. That in itself isn't all that bad if taken care of, but the tube-to-header joints are all done with a rubber gasket. After a while that rubber fails, and the radiator starts leaking. I replaced with an OEM-style (all that was available) and gave the old one to Griffin Radiator to design a true vacuum brazed all-aluminum version from. Still, there aren't many recent cars that will not have that same problem at some point since they are nearly all made the same.

The instrument panel blinking out (odometer and tachometer) is a known issue with these cars and can be fixed relatively easily by anyone with a spare hour.

At 142,000 it still has the same rear drums intact, and there is still plenty of stopping power in them yet. The factory front pads do suck. Mine wore out the first time around 12,000 and the dealer wanted $300 for a front brake job. I laughed at them in the face. Go to Midas or another reputable third-party place. I did that, and the pads last around 40,000 miles - about right for a car this heavy.

Here's one you didn't mention... The rear window defogger tabs come loose from the rear window. Getting them reattached is a chore in patience. There is a TSB regarding this, but I haven't heard of a single dealer honoring it.

As for the water pump, it is a good idea to go ahead and replace it when you replace the timing belt - which should have been done with the spark plugs around 100,000 miles. Be absolutely certain you use the quad-tipped platinum plugs or the car will never run the same again.

Regarding performance, the Sebring Convertible wasn't meant to be a sports car. It was targeted for middle-aged to older couples (empty-nesters) and single 30-something professional women.

Overall I have been pleased with the car and intend to keep it a while longer now that I have got so accustomed to every little quirk (and EVERY car has them). It isn't my primary car, but a fun run around town car that still gets looks and positive comments.

13th Oct 2004, 17:33

I purchased a 98 JXi Convertible two weeks ago and appreciate the comments posted. The car appears to be in great shape, but time will tell. My concern relates to the seal around the rear window at the bottom, or lack thereof. I had the car into the dealership today and was told that short of replacing the rear window panel (which would be time consuming and costly), there was not a lot I could do about it. Has anyone else experienced this and what can be done about it? I was told that by design, the fabric at the bottom of the window will dry itself out, but I would think that over time, there may be an accumulation of moisture and debris which would result in mold, rotting, etc. Any comments on this issue would be greatly appreciated.


28th Dec 2004, 13:36

89000 miles of good service and no major repairs until just recently. My bought-new '97 JXi had no heat for several weeks, but overheated before I could get a new thermostat installed. Am now having dealer attend to this and will be getting a new water pump & timing belt ($900). Be sure to keep an eye on the coolant level under the 'radiator cap' on the top of the engine-the coolant reservoir doesn't always tell the story!!! Also going for another $1100 in tune-up, belt/hose and brake work. I too have gone thru lots of brakes. Had the speedo & gauge problem, but fixed myself with a soldering iron and some basic hand tools. I fixed the rear window defroster tabs once and for all with conductive epoxy. Getting some water leakage at top of front windows, but no problems with rear window. Darn thing is still very stylish IMO and I can't part with it yet.

20th Feb 2006, 13:19

I have a '97 Jxi convertible and am very interested in the post that anyone with an hour could fix the gauges going out periodically. I have this problem and have been told I need to replace the computer board behind the instrument panel in order to fix the problem. If you know of a way to accomplish this in an hour or other than replacing the board please let me know. redward5@yahoo.com.

28th Feb 2006, 09:43

You are soooo right about the Chrysler customer service. I had a 2003 LX convertible that was a nightmare. (I left a review about this car.) To add insult to injury, the extended bumper-to-bumper warranty was worthless when it came to implement it. In fact, the Daimler Chrysler national customer service rep told me I should report the dealership for "misrepresentation" regarding the warranty. Hmmm, wouldn't they be interested in saving the reputation of brand rather than destroying it? But just as the original author pointed out: Chrysler doesn't care if they keep you as your customer. I have since traded it (I was lucky anyone would take it), and I bought a Honda. By the way, most of the dealerships laughed at me when I wanted to trade the Sebring.

10th Apr 2006, 22:16

I'm in the process of buying a '97 Sebring sxi, I did find that the tach and odometer didn't work. I spoke with the dealer where the car was originally purchased (I have most of the paperwork),and they said that it was an "uncommon problem", but reading all these posts I see that maybe it isn't. The used car dealership where it was (now in my temp.possesion), said that he was going to have the 'cluster' replaced, and after spending 30 minutes. talking with the dealership re:cluster vs. board, I feel I still might have a great deal. I do have the door problem and after owning a 70 something Javelin that's an easy fix and now owning a 22 yr. old van with the same window motor problem and not having air conditioning for a few yrs. in southern heat, this car calls me even more. I just want to know that they can give me the actual mileage on a car that doesn't have a functioning odometer, and not sure when it went out. I feel that this is a bargaining tool, but realize it is too late to get an answer and no one can give me a definitive answer if I can get an accurate reading or not. There is some minor concerns, but hey I drive a G20 van that leaks shakes rattles, but rolls!, I just want a decent car with better gas mileage than I have now. What is the opinions of owners who have owned these cars for along time. thanx ~L~

17th May 2006, 22:13

Hey, I have a 1997 LXi and my water pump went and I was just wondering if anyone knows the best and fastest way to replace it. Or if there is an easier way than another?


27th May 2006, 19:53

I have a '97 JX convertible 2.5L with ~170k (don't know for sure because of the tach/odometer problem.. fixed it twice, now I live with it). My latest problem is failed emissions program and replaced both O2 sensors to no avail. Then I changed the distributor and all hell broke loose. The car wouldn't go over 20 mph (no power at all) and the exhaust pipe turned cherry red...quickly. First thing, go back to ground zero, put old distributor back in, same results.

Plugged CAT, right? Changed the CAT and no change.

Now I guess computer, but before I fork out more $$ I hope someone might have heard of this and can point me in the right direction.