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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last order from rockauto (I'm a sucker for not letting my last coupon code expire) I just focused on the dealer closeout specials. I noticed a left/right CV driveshaft for regular M and I think a right CV shaft for "special". All made by Cardone. Price was like $26-28 each. I ended up buying one of the regular ones (because - why not?) but I was wondering why there'd be a different part for the special.

Front swaybar bushings - I believe the regular M's had 1 inch and PHP cars had 1 1/8 inch diameter bars but I have no clue if the specials ever had PHP's or the bigger sway bars. ?

I'm assuming that if I pick up any suspension part (like tie rod end, lower control arm, sway-bar link, tension-strut bushing, etc) or wheel bearing or rotor that they would fit equally a regular or special M. yes? What about struts? (the fully-assembled quick-struts) ?

The only car I've really worked over, replaced everything suspension-wise, was my '00m. But I'm building up a good inventory of parts now for the other 3 M's and I kinda don't want to have any surprises as to what I bought won't work on this or that car.
 

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You would be right on all counts. Pretty much everything is interchangeable. Headlights, transmission has different gearing, half shafts are thicker, full exhaust, cradle mounts are stiffer, struts are interchangeable, etc
Here's my MTrepid
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1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
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There was a MasterTech issue & video in 2001 and a sales brochure supplement that described the features of the Special. There was one no-cost 'in-lieu-of' option, but I have forgotten what it was.
I can't find them for free on the internet. It appears that the 300m club may have them?
The one inch lowering and 18" wheels may have changed some steering/suspension parts. I would use the Mopar passenger car parts catalog to look for replacement and cross-reference to equivalent equipment.
The club did release this video:

 

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My wife bought one after she gave her year-old Intrepid to her daughter without even telling me she was going to look at one. I never bothered to research what all was different from the basic 300, but I know I dreaded crossing a railroad track or driving down a poorly maintained road as it would jar your teeth. Great handling and performance, but she tired of it quickly because of the stiff suspension. I enjoyed it when travelling, especially on mountain highways.
 

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The Specials road and shifted harder than the regular 300m. They weren't for everyone, especially after being used to a tame Intrepid, Concorde, Vision or LHS.
Part of the hard ride was from very low-profile tires.
The 'crisp' shifting was due to the TCM software choice.

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My wife bought one after she gave her year-old Intrepid to her daughter without even telling me she was going to look at one. I never bothered to research what all was different from the basic 300, but I know I dreaded crossing a railroad track or driving down a poorly maintained road as it would jar your teeth. Great handling and performance, but she tired of it quickly because of the stiff suspension. I enjoyed it when travelling, especially on mountain highways.
At the factory we had to have hoists in pre-delivery that were drive on with separate jacks for the front and back to lift up the 300 Special and add temporary spacers to the coil springs so they could be loaded on to the car haulers. We had a few other parts we had to add as well like the rocker cladding that because of the ride height couldn't be done on the line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One inch lower ride height. That didn't come from the tires. A 225-55-17 tire has exactly the same diameter as a 245-45-18. I'll have to compare my '03 special vs '04 regular (when the winter is over) to see how they lowered the special. I wonder if that's why there's different drive shafts. And I wonder if the struts are somehow different. I was planning on putting new tires on the special - 245-50-18. Would give an extra 1/2 inch of ride height and soften the ride. I'm running 225-60-17 on my '04 and I like it. Barely have enough clearance with the shock tower. Its funny in the Motorweek video how the guy makes the comment "the tires provide loads of grip, but that's still with a rather soft suspension". The BMW's and Mercs back in the day had, I'm sure, way more stiff suspension and the special was soft in comparison.
 

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One inch lower ride height. That didn't come from the tires. A 225-55-17 tire has exactly the same diameter as a 245-45-18. I'll have to compare my '03 special vs '04 regular (when the winter is over) to see how they lowered the special. I wonder if that's why there's different drive shafts. And I wonder if the struts are somehow different. I was planning on putting new tires on the special - 245-50-18. Would give an extra 1/2 inch of ride height and soften the ride. I'm running 225-60-17 on my '04 and I like it. Barely have enough clearance with the shock tower. Its funny in the Motorweek video how the guy makes the comment "the tires provide loads of grip, but that's still with a rather soft suspension". The BMW's and Mercs back in the day had, I'm sure, way more stiff suspension and the special was soft in comparison.
As far as I can remember it was the coil springs that lowered the Special. The half shafts were beefier.
 

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I remember during New Car prep at the dealer, we had to take the spring (shipping) spacers out before delivery.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Looking at the suspension, I would think that altering the spring would not change the engine cradle ground height, nor would it alter the relationship / geometry between the steering knuckle and the differential.


There should be no reason to change anything about the drive shafts. If a "beefier" CV shaft meant the shaft diameters were larger (and had more splines?) then that would mean different wheel bearings for the special - which I don't know if parts books indicate that. If the mechanicals hidden inside the CV boots were beefier (but the shaft/splines were the same) then that would naturally not be visible, but it would mean that practically speaking you could interchange a regular shaft into a special without any problems. For the very very small extra HP / torque the special had, it's hard to see why they'd call for a beefier shaft. But if the price was the same, and indeed the dimensions were identical, the presumably extra durability of a special shaft would be ideal to replace any worn shaft in any M, special or not.
 

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Looking at the suspension, I would think that altering the spring would not change the engine cradle ground height, nor would it alter the relationship / geometry between the steering knuckle and the differential.

View attachment 85632
There should be no reason to change anything about the drive shafts. If a "beefier" CV shaft meant the shaft diameters were larger (and had more splines?) then that would mean different wheel bearings for the special - which I don't know if parts books indicate that. If the mechanicals hidden inside the CV boots were beefier (but the shaft/splines were the same) then that would naturally not be visible, but it would mean that practically speaking you could interchange a regular shaft into a special without any problems. For the very very small extra HP / torque the special had, it's hard to see why they'd call for a beefier shaft. But if the price was the same, and indeed the dimensions were identical, the presumably extra durability of a special shaft would be ideal to replace any worn shaft in any M, special or not.
By beefier I mean the shafts are thicker but I'm pretty sure the splines were the same. When the trans went on my Intrepid, the yard gave me the 300M Special trans and half shafts as well and they fit right into the Intrepid hubs.
 
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