24th Oct 2008, 17:12

Thanks for all your comments... I'll definitely post an ad to sell my Sebring within next week... (my mechanic just told me the same story about this car as every one)

5th Nov 2008, 22:34

I had wanted a Sebring Convertible for some time, and finally purchased a 2002 Lxi Convertible in March of this year. It seemed to be in great condition.

However 48 hours after I purchased the car, it broke down, leaving me in the middle of the road with white smoke coming from the engine. It turned out to be complete engine failure, due to the fact that the water pump in this engine (2.7) was put INSIDE the engine by the manufacturer. The water pump went out, and because of its location the resultant leaking water turned the oil to sludge and ruined the engine.

I had purchased an aftermarket warranty (thank goodness) and after much hassle they did have the engine rebuilt. I am wondering if this interior water pump design problem may have caused some of the oil sludge problems for others as well, rather than lack of oil changes. It wouldn't matter how often you had changed the oil if the water pump leaks into the engine, there will be sludge.

Now, eight months later the transmission must be replaced - apparently also due to a design flaw that causes this transmission to fail early. Again, thankfully the warranty company will pay most of the repair cost. Despite the problems I still like the car as it drives nicely (when running!) I have owned many cars and have never had these major problems.

11th Nov 2008, 20:37

I am sorry to hear of everyone's problems with the notorious 2.7 Chrysler/Dodge engines. Indeed, these engines have vulnerabilities.

I am a master ASE tech with close to two decades experience in the automotive world... I have owned several Chrysler products over the years, although I am now partial to Volvo products... Long story short:

Those of you who own Chrysler products powered by the 2.7 motor and are lucky enough to not have had them fail yet, here are three things you should do IMMEDIATELY:

1. Preventively have someone replace your timing chain tensioner. IT IS THE PRIMARY CAUSE FOR THE OIL LIGHT FLICKERING AT IDLE.

2. Preventively replace your water pump.

3. Religiously change the oil.

If you are lucky enough to catch your engine before it goes, do these things, and repeat them every 40000 to 50000 miles depending on your driving, in my humble opinion, you will have long service out of this engine. It is a really good machine, except for its vulnerabilities.

For those of you who are not bored with the technical details, here are the three vulnerabilities that I have observed:

1. Timing chain tensioner fails internally, causing oil pressure loss. Because it is being "pumped" full by oil pressure, it causes the rest of the engine to somewhat "starve" for oil, hence you have oil pressure problems. When the tensioner fails completely, it causes a significant slack in the chain, which can jump time, and then everything goes haywire, engine damage, etc etc...

2. Water pump is internally installed in the engine and driven by the timing chain. This was a clever idea since the potential for cooling system stoppage due to belt breakage was diminished, but the drawback is that if the pump develops a leak, the coolant seeps/drains into the oil crankcase, rendering the oil into a useless goop. Adding insult to injury, the useless good stinks so badly, it's nauseating...

3. Oil ports were narrowed on this engine, causing (actually that was the mandate from the EPA) the oil to run warmer. Well, mineral oils break down with temperature, so either change the oil very often, or switch to the more resilient synthetic products.

Some or all these problems may occur simultaneously, and thus your average neighborhood mechanic simply gives up at fixing this engine. If this engine hasn't failed on you yet, do these things, and chances are, you are in for many more delightful miles on the road.

And this represents my two cents' worth...

Best regards...

2nd May 2009, 13:53

Just wanted to add my own two cents worth about the 2001 Chrysler Sebring convertible and its engine. Bought mine brand new at a dealership in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My car just turned over 200,150 miles.

At about 75,000 miles I too had the water pump go bad, and it cost me $1800 to fix, mainly because while they did that repair I had them replace the timing chain, tensioner and everything else they could get their hands on while they had it apart.

I have put Mobil One in the engine since I have owned it. I have also had the intake system cleaned at Victory Oil Change every 50,000 miles, something that costs about $65.00.

I did go through a period three years ago where the transmission started to slip. Before taking it in for service, I used the Lucas Transmission sealer. Worked like a charm -- the computer eventually reset itself and I haven't had a problem since.

I too have had the sun visor clips break -- one on each side. Found em on ebay for $10 each and screwed them on -- a pain in the butt, but whatever.

Recently, I had problems with the electrical system. The windows stopped working intermittently, and then the windshield wipers and several other things would work and then not work a minute later. Went to the dealership and they wanted to replace some kind of wiring harness, with labor that exceeded $600. Took it to a friendly neighborhood repair facility (an honest one) and they found three frayed wires inside the door panel and simply repaired and sealed the wires. The cost $110. Works for me.

The driver's side front seat was wearing out big time about a year ago. It appeared as though the frame of the blasted thing was a bit bent, probably from my 220 lbs ass getting in the car with a plop (LOL) so many times. I inquired at the dealer -- forget it, over $500 to buy a seat and have it put in. Checked around at local junk yards, nothing that matched. I finally found a PAIR of seats with under 20,000 miles on them taken them out of a wrecked car in Ohio on ebay. The cost? You won't believe it, but I bid $90 (for BOTH seats) and WON. I got lucky and was the only bidder. The common carrier shipping of $110 was more than I paid for the seats. Had a local body shop install it and make sure the seat belt and air bag sensors were correctly installed for $30.

One big hassle that has ticked me off is the plating issue with the chrome allow wheels, which I paid $1500 more for when I picked up the car. These were the wheels that came with the limited. Their plating process is SO crappy that it peels off on the wheel's interior and causes air leaks where the tire seals at the rim. I have replaced these things 2x and it has caused me to prematurely wear our many tires.

Overall, the car his given me good service and great looks. I actually got into this car new on a lease and then over drove the mileage by 15,000 at the end of the contract. So I bought the sucker and when it crossed 100k, decided to keep it until it dropped dead.

I have heard all the horror stories, believe me. I have simply done my best to keep ahead of the game and baby this thing. I am a private pilot and I guess my attitude is focused around the idea that airplanes fly for decades and decades before being put out to pasture. Yes... every thousand hours or so an airplane has a new or rebuilt engine installed and there is an inspection every year. But you get my point. Treat it well, be aware of what is happening and even products with poor engineering will give you a good long life, you just have to deal with reality and not what you'd LIKE the design to have been.

How many more miles can I get out of this engine before the seals burst and send cooling gushing into the cylinders and it seizes solid? We'll see... -- Howard Morris.