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Old 03-07-2014, 03:11 PM   #1
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Chrysler 300 Experiment Comes to Ignominious End

Our experiment ended very quickly today in the 90 degree heat of the desert. With great hope we hitched up the wagon once more to the newly repaired 300. Having been twice too confident and being stuck on the Interstate, this time we decided to spend an hour driving around town on the expressways (you can 55 on many of them) and only hitting the Interstate if all was good after an hour.

Well, it only took all of 10 minutes. We made it 3 miles east to a small overpass and while taking the 1/2 mile uphill overpass the temp jumped 20F in less than 30-seconds. I could see it was going to climb as long as I was climbing. It held that 20 degrees for about 4 miles of cruising the flats at 35MPH. In other words it took a long time to even lose that 20 degree rise. This is with an ambient of 90F, a relatively mild day in the desert. This car would never work in the summer heat here and it isn't even a close call.

Whether it is just this specific car or not, of course I can't say. I am not planning on playing with any more.

What an exhausting (not to mention expensive) journey. And don't worry guys, I can take all the "I told you so" that anyone can dish out. I don't mind. I've been wrong before and will probably be wrong again sometime too.

I wonder if I can buy back my Suburban?

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Old 03-07-2014, 03:15 PM   #2
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Did you check on a bigger radiator?

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Old 03-07-2014, 03:32 PM   #3
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Mike - sorry man. You really gave it your all. Puzzling as to how Andy recommends the car - surely there mist be some on the road doing a good job - perhaps you just have a lemon?

At any rate, without being overly Pollyannaish - there's that great story about Edison being asked about failing with 100 filaments before finding one that worked. He is supposed to have said something like - that's not failure - I know 100 things that don't make a filament.

Good luck with whatever's next and thanks so much for letting us all in on the experiment with you. That takes some stones! :-)
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:51 PM   #4
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Yeah, I know there are giant radiators and all that. But, seriously, that's just going too far for too little in return. If I was a mechanic with a garage, sure, I might build the car up that way. But, I am not shelling out $$$ for radiators, lose my warranty, and then Zeus only knows what's next?

My intuition is this: This very specific model, year, and power train has a head design that is simply unable to cope with the heat. It may very well be that other years worked fine, or the V8 works fine, or something like that. But this specific rig is a "ragged edge" design. And I can not afford to throw more money at it just to prove a point. It's cheaper to be wrong and just move on to something more standard.

You gotta know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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Mike, that car may have a mechanical problem. I have a vague memory of impellers on the water pump and head warpage, but can't remember for sure if yours is one I am thinking of.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:16 PM   #6
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Somethings wrong with that car. The same engine/trans in a Durango/Jeep GC is rated to pull your unloaded trailer with some room to spare, and the Durango/GC weighs more and has more wind resistance. And at least one member from Quebec has traveled to our Southwest and back with good results (and that was a 6-speed).

I don't blame you for throwing in the towel, incredibly frustrating. The Chrysler shop gets a big goose egg for lousy service and communication.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:27 PM   #7
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Well that's a bummer and no mistake. I always applaud, though, when people have the courage to know when to stop.

I don't know much about cars and engines so I couldn't pronounce on yours; I'm towing with a Toyota V6 and don't have the problems that you've experienced so, in my view, it's that Chrysler engine giving you the grief. Whether it's that specific unit or the design in general I don't know. Andy T's 300 was the Hemi and I don't know if he's tried with the V6; I'm sure he'll be interested to hear about this.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.

Thanks again for sharing.
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:23 PM   #8
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Sorry to hear this turned out this way. If would be really interesting to know the rest of the story on the engine and all.

Best of luck which ever way goes.

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Old 03-07-2014, 05:45 PM   #9
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There is more than power involved. Each component makes up a tow rating- tranny, cooling, oil, etc. Like you said, if you want to redesign the whole thing to make it tow, you can make a truck out of it. The Durango has about a half gallon more coolant, perhaps bigger fans, etc.

My father suggested that you try using "wetter water" a product designed for cooling systems. They use it at his work on generators that run hotter in facility enclosures and they run 8-10 degrees cooler.
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:51 PM   #10
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I have posted before about the quality of Chrysler dealer service and this is just another example of them providing less than acceptable performance. There are over 3,000,000 Pentastar engines in service. In 2012 it was on Wards 10 best engines in the world. These engines are perfectly capable of operating in the desert in the summer time. There is a problem with your car that has not been diagnosed and addressed. I would take it to an independent shop, tell the mechanic about everything, including towing and the dealers efforts to make it right. At this point you have nothing to loose. I bet that he (she) will have you fixed in a day. Jim
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:58 PM   #11
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I've been following this thread with interest, and am disappointed to read about this outcome. But I would like to add a comment about another 300 which was mentioned, and is sometimes discussed in other threads.

IIRC, Andy T's 300 is (or was) of the 2005-2008 vintage, ie, one of the LX cars, which had major input from Stuttgart in its design and construction. After Daimler bailed, and Washington stepped in, followed by Fiat, the LX cars ceased to exist, and things may have changed. I believe today's 300's and Chargers may have little in common (possible exception of appearances) with those vehicles of 6-9 years ago. Possibly for the good, or maybe not. I wouldn't know. I also believe his 300 had the larger of two V6's offered at the time and the 5-spd.

In closing, I should mention that my interest in this is because I am currently using an LX to tow with. Mine is an '05 Dodge Magnum RT (hemi & 5-spd), and so far am happy with it as a TV. When not towing, and at highway speed, 4 of the 8 cylinders are shut off, giving me ~25 -29 mpg. (Towing, it drops significantly - almost by half. But I don't dawdle either). I only have ~6K miles towing experience with it, so I have more to learn about its abilities.

If I've hijacked this thread, I didn't mean to. My apologies.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:04 PM   #12
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Thanks Jim. I appreciate the advice and sentiment, but we're just done in. We want to go camping. I gave it 90 days and quite a bit of money too. My wife is totally nervous now about the car, and neither of us believe in the car any more. The idea of taking this on a month long trip through mountains and deserts of the west, and getting back home trouble free seems like a 1 in a million shot.

I want to sell it immediately and get a Tahoe-like SUV.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:06 PM   #13
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fwiw, the Durango has a 5k tow rating withOUT their towing package (which includes "heavy duty cooling"). I can't imagine its appreciably different than that which is in the other cars...Can-Am's 300 might be a Hemi, but they also use a couple of Caravans, too.
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Old 03-07-2014, 07:12 PM   #14
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Mike, I remember what the issue was on some engines. There could be a very small crack in the aluminum heads, which under normal use would show no symptoms at all. As the stress of towing increases the heat generated, the crack may expand, causing combustion gases to vent into the cooling system. as the heat from this increases, the crack will expand further, increasing both heat and pressure in the cooling system. The hotter it gets, the hotter it will get.

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