Re: 2.7 Oil Sludge Problem
- From: Bill Putney <bptn@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 18:45:09 -0400
I am looking at a 98 Chrysler Concorde with 61,000 miles. It has the
2.7L engine. I want to buy the car, and plan to take it in for
inspection by a mechanic today.
How can one tell if the car has any damage because of sludge build up?
Withut going to some expense of pulling oil pan and/or valve covers, probably can't tell for sure. I will say that at 61k miles, unless it was totally ignored maintenance-wise, it shouldn't have any sludge problems that couldn't be carefully remedied. If it's also seen mostly highway miles, then you're probably home free on the sludge (but at that low mileage, does that mean it has been driven by a little old lady on a lot of short trips?). You might get some idea by peeking into the oil fill hole and pulling the PCV hose off and taking a look inside (but it may be pretty nasty regardless of the inside of the engine).
The AC was not working on the test drive also.
90+% chance the evaporator is leaking - and the entire dash has to come out to get to it. Probably looking at around $450-650 parts and labor if all you have done is replace the evap.
I've priced parts on doing this myself, but including replacing the heater core, every o-ring in the system, a seal kit for the heater/a.c. module, and a metal line I also suspect and carefully picking between aftermarket and OEM parts for a balance between cost and quality, and getting the OEM parts from a discount dealer, I'm looking at $650-700 parts and chemicals plus my "free" labor.
Should I stay away from this car?
Only you can make that decision. At least you are educating yourself about it and know the risks that you would be taking. I'd say, at that low mileage, your risk is small for sludge if you have any indication at all that oil & filter changes were done fairly regularly (with the assumption that you will take immediate corrective and future preventive measures starting when you get it).
As far as the a.c. - might be worth paying for a leak test - that way you'll know whether you're facing an inevitable $600± evaporator replacement job or not. Otherwise I'd assume a new evaporator as a given.
Oh - and don't trust receipts for oil and filter changes - too much fraud in that area even if the present owner believes they really were changed (the ol' what-the-customer-doesn't-know-won't-hurt-them modern business/MBA philosophy).
One other thing - does the tranny seem to work smoothly? Even if it doesn't, don't let that be a show stopper - it could be a simple matter of a reflash of the TCM (there was an update in late '99 that takes care of some bump issues) or fresh ATF+4 fluid and filter. I believe 98's came with ATF+3, so it would be due for a flush (with ATF+4) and new filter anyway.
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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