1992 Dodge Spirit Base 2.5 FFV from Russia


Brutal outside, soft inside


Transmission needs to be rebuilt.

A few belts were replaced (power steering pump belt, alternator belt etc.) at 182000 miles.

Blown engine replaced at 180000 miles ("oil starvation").

Rear brake pads are in need of replacement.

General Comments:

Compared to my previous car, a white Volga-3110 2.3, this car is splendid. That car was a headache, and made a lot of noise. Wasn't reliable, either (what else should one expect from a Russian car?).

This car is a rare bird here. In Moscow, there are about 200 Spirit's, Saratoga's and Acclaims on the road. That's why it is looked upon as a solid, prestigious car here.

It isn't the right car for Russia, however. Our roads are far from smooth, and this car needs much more attention than it would in, say, the United States.

It is quick, handles decently and is generally a more polished car than the ones that I used to drive.

Parts and repairs are expensive in Moscow. For example, the transmission costs about $1000 to fix (total rebuild). And that's a three speed automatic!

In the Russian Federation, this isn't a pragmatic choice, and many people tell me to sell it and by something Russian. Which, of course, I am not planning to do. Why? Everything that breaks can be fixed, and there is no such thing as a "dying car", as my colleague once told me. Even if this car has been driving for almost ten years on roads that a tank shouldn't even roam.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th February, 2005

19th Aug 2005, 01:38

Updating my review. At 183000 I finally found the cash to rebuild the transmission, and the car really goes now! 80-90 mph cruising is normal, and it will go 100-110 if necessary. Other repairs:

- Had to replace the front brake pads (too late, one disc got screwed up).

- A few hoses, engine coolant.

- Switched off the oxygen sensor (the old one is rusted, and the mechanics were afraid that they would screw it out with a piece of the exhaust manifold).

- A few oil changes, spark plugs (I drive a lot).

- Fuel pump, fuel filter.

- Headlight lamps.

- Tires.

- CV joint.

- Starter motor.

- Alternator rebuilt.

The engine temperature guage stopped working, but it turned out that a wire was loose. All that the car needs now is a new CV joint, and that's pretty much it. I hope that this one will hold and not fall apart until payday. Plus a few scratches and dents here and there. I'm hoping to fix that until the winter.

1992 Dodge Spirit Base 2.5 Litres Non-turbo from North America


Drives and feels better than it looks.


Ignition problems: changed distributor cap and rotor, hall effect sensor, wires. Coil was flaking off with rust and humid.

Aftermarket wires needs very low resistance. My coil could not push through Neihoff brand wires.

Watch for the rotating metal "crown" in the base of distributor underneath the hall effect sensor. Its melted plastic rivets tends to loosen hence random timing.

Speed/Density sensor would stick in cold weather stalling the car at stops and provide no speed on speedometer.

Oxygen sensor went bad.

MAP sensor was good, but slow in response.

Transmission valve body suddenly jammed with crud, making slow jerky shifts. Filter and ATF+3 fluid change plus valve body cleaning helped. (A-413 transmission.)

General Comments:

The driving experience is spoiled by the flawed, but solid 3-speed transmission.

Had no problem pulling 2500lbs U-Haul trailer.

Absolutely no rust anywhere even under it.

Fixing this car costs next to nothing, and everything is a breeze to change/repair.

Seats this comfortable on long rides are a blessing.

Heater is great, but flow options are limited and whatever setting makes my contact lenses dry up when driving.(no air to you when on defrost! Cold when -40C outside)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2004