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Chris Carpenter: Brightening up a Chrysler 300M (Car of the Month, 3/13)

Carpenter's 300M

Recently, Chris Carpenter performed some appearance upgrades to his newly acquired Chrysler 300M (including his recent headlight repair). Carpenter wanted to maintain the 300M’s personality while brightening up the ten-year-old, never-garaged car.

The Chrysler badges needed repair. The front one was de-chromed and peeling, and the rear 300M badge was showing the signs of a decade spent out-of-doors. Carpenter used a toothbrush, Q-tip, and Noxon7 Metal Polish to brighten up the 300M badge.

The tail lamps were also replaced. Carpenter found a set of jeweled ones that were used on 2001-04 models; they have a non-textured lens with a brighter chrome reflector on the reverse areas. “I re-wired the harness so that all three bottom 3157 bulbs go live with the brakes, instead of just two or three in each housing,” Carpenter said. (Most cars used a single bulb in each brake-light location.)

300M third brake light and tail lamps

Two LED strips from a junkyard were installed to replace the conventional third brake light, and Carpenter installed a BrakeSafe device that pulses the light four times when activated.

Out of his personal stock, Carpenter replaced the overhead display console. He put in a dot-matrix EVIC to replace the standard overhead OTIS computer.

dot-matrix EVIC

He also disassembled the automatic temperature control (ATC) unit and completed a solder repair for the display, which was sometimes winking out briefly. “Very easy, and the display works great,” Carpenter said. “My parts bin also netted a lighted key ring and analog clock with winged badge that fit in the M.”

Carpenter also fixed the peeling windshield wiper arm, which had lost its paint around 2005, and replaced the door weather strips.

300M front end

Next, since he had to replace a front bulb, he scrubbed the fascia, installed clear marker lamps, and refreshed both grilles; while he was at it, he removed and cleaned the throttle body, and deleted the airbox silencer unit for more direct flow. Then he bumped up the tires to 34 PSI instead of 32, saying it resulted in a hefty gas mileage increase. The next up is most likely the front license plate holder.

300M fascia

For “before” photos, see the headlight refinishing page and 300M page.

See other Cars of the Month • All Cars at Allpar200,000 Mile Club • Stories: People and Cars

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