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possible purchase of a 1996 dodge intrepid

Discussion in 'LH: Large Cars, 1993-2004' started by chrisg05, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. chrisg05

    chrisg05 Well-Known Member

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    hello all

    I am looking at a 1996 dodge intrepid with roughly 98,000 miles for a good price.

    my question is what should I be looking for as common failure points on this particular model. I am more familiar with the k cars.

    The only thing I can tell from the pictures is that it seems to have factory fog lights. Is the ES the only one that has factory fogs?

    excuse my ignorance..

    thanks
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    At 19 years old, I think that the specific LH failure points are a moot point now. I would look closely at things that affect used cars this old in general.
    Rust? Rubber deterioration? Bad fluid leaks? Road test for engine/transaxle noises and operation? HVAC operation? Steering/Suspension wear? Braking? Do all the accessories work?
    It could still be a good buy if it isn't too far gone, but you should expect to have to put some money into it.
    The ES was an upscale 'sports-optioned' Intrepid. I would have to look at a sales brochure to remember what the ES package included.
    I remember some very attractive gold-tone trim (like on the aluminum wheels and pinstripe) with the ES paint colors.
     
  3. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Over the years the A/C system and the steering parts were the two big repairs I heard mentioned more than average. But as mentioned above, it's 19 years old so anything is suspect even with lower than average miles.
    http://www.allpar.com/fix/intrepid-steering.html
     
  4. chrisg05

    chrisg05 Well-Known Member

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    yeah that is what I thought too.. I know with being 19 years old there is always something that can go at any time. I was just wondering if they are prone to rust like the stratus was of that era
     
  5. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    The plastic front fenders and bodyside cladding hid much rust and these cars looked good for many years.
    More seriously would be structural rust like rear control arms/links, unibody structural integrity and brake lines. Fuel lines may be stainless steel and plastic.
    A good look underneath would be in order if you are in a rustbelt area. Most any car this old is no longer around my area.
     
  6. Gerry G

    Gerry G Well-Known Member

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    The ES came with the 3.5l and at 98,000 is due for a timing belt, water pump, etc. (roughly $800). The engine cradle bushings seem to deteriorate quickly and may possibly need replacement. The inner tie rods ends were also prone to wearing out and may need replacement. One quick means of determining the condition of the front suspension is to accelerate hard; there should be no torque steer, ok maybe a little tug (the steering wheel pulling to one side). My son has a '97 and it is a very reliable runner. Some rust on the right rear wheel well but I suspect that was due to some body repair work because the remainder of the car is rust free (peeling clearcoat and paint is an entirely different matter).

    Hope this helps,

    Gerry G.
     
  7. chrisg05

    chrisg05 Well-Known Member

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    Personally this is going to be a work car so I am really not concerned with scratches or paint blemishes. What I am concerned with is rust and the mechanicals. I will try that trick to accelerate hard and see if there is any wheel pull.
     
  8. Victor L

    Victor L New Member

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    I have owned a 96 ES since 96 (bought it new). So in 19 years of ownership I agree with all the above comments on problem areas. But I actually really like the car. It rides great. We had it rust proofed when new because we lived up north and that made it more quiet to road noise which made it a great highway car. Moved to the south after six months so rust was never an issue. What I will say is that you need to get ready for repair costs since something will go wrong every six months or so, as it will do on most cars that are 19 years old. If you are a do-it-yourself mechanic that likes to work on cars then you will enjoy the ES. Good luck.
     
  9. chrisg05

    chrisg05 Well-Known Member

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    Bought the car on the spot for 600. It is not an ES but a base model with a 3.3 in it. The car accelerates good and shifts are smooth. it has some cosmetic issues that can definately be fixed
     
  10. Victor L

    Victor L New Member

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    Congratulations. Sounds like you got a great deal! Last time I bought a car for $600 dinosaurs were still roaming the planet.
     
  11. chrisg05

    chrisg05 Well-Known Member

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    yeah the days of a 500 dollar car are over.. IT has its cosmetic issues mainly a few dents and some faded paint, but the important things is everything works. there is a slight bang that happens getting out of reverse.. sounds like a motor mount to me.
    I figure I would have to put at least 3k into it to average a new car payment.. so I am ahead :)
     
  12. moparroy

    moparroy Active Member

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    Congrats! I've had my 95 since 2003 and its been a great car - it is an ES with a 3.3 which I think is a better engine for the long run. Was around the same mileage when I bought it - now over 430,000 km or about 265,000 mi. As for things to check on it - I have had to fix the brake lines a couple times - including rear flex lines - front flex lines are still original. I have had tranny issues 3 times - but at least 2 of the 3 issues were upgraded / hardened in 96 model so you should be good (the 3rd happened last year around 400k) - give it a fluid change. I had leaks on the steering rack and replaced it twice - second one was a warranty replacement (internal failure). On the engine all I have done is regular maintenance (oil, plugs, wires...) and replaced some seals and gaskets - nothing mechanical at all. Couple wheel bearings and one outer tie rod - oh yes and the ball joints. I replaced all 4 struts a couple years ago but that was more to improve the ride - the originals were all still ok but the springs were getting weak. The inner tie rod is really a coupling on the steering rack - I have read about issues with those but I have never replaced mine - even in replacing the rack I reused the couplings and they are good. I drive it as a winter beater now - and my kids use it when they are home from school in the summer.
     
  13. chrisg05

    chrisg05 Well-Known Member

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    After driving the car, I have noticed that it is an extremely smooth runner when on a nice smooth road. When it is on a rough road it tends to bounce a bit. It could be the cheep [I should have my mouth washed out with soap for using such terms] tires they have on it...SMH. I do notice some things with the transmission.

    1) fluid is a darker brown not a light pink
    2) it sometimes shifts nice and smooth, other times it is more pronounced
    3) there is sometimes a shutter between 3rd and overdrive.

    I also have an egr issue that is turning on the check engine light. code 32. Other then that it seems fine and it is very confortable
     
  14. Gerry G

    Gerry G Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest dropping the trans pan and replace the filter. This will only replace 4-5 quarts of the 12 quarts in the trans but that should be enough to get the trans happy. Only use ATF+4, anything else will eventually damage the trans. WalMart has the best price on ATF+4, under $5/qt. You can get the filter and a trans pan gasket from rockauto. The egr will likely need to be replaced, sounds like it is not opening and closing at times; also available from rockauto. You can get a 5% discount code from sebringclub<dot>net/board/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=31640

    Hope this helps,

    Gerry G.
     
  15. chrisg05

    chrisg05 Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking the same thing also. I will drop the pan and replace the filter.
     

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