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LH Series (Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler 300M - Concorde - LHS - New Yorker, and Eagle Vision) - Repairs and performance upgrades

Chilton's first-generation LH repairs | Hayne's 1998-2000 LH series repair manual
Main LH series (Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler 300M, Concorde, and LHS, and Eagle Vision) section

Safety issue, with recall

Joseph Blavatt pointed us to a recall for the 1993-94 LH series, number 883, issued in July 2000 for defective power seat adjusters. Failure is almost certain to lead to loss of control as the seat can actually fall backwards while in traffic.

Seat-warmer switches

With the ignition key removed, you can push them out from underneath, or you can gently pull/pry them out from above (use a flat screwdriver and caution, or push them from below). Removing the connector cable is usually easy. You can try taking them apart and cleaning the contacts, or order one from a dealer. List was $42 as of January 2008; we got one from Pomoco for $30 including shipping, because cleaning the contacts - one badly damaged by a coffee spill - didn't work. Here's the old switch from our 300M, as broken apart into into its four components.

Common repairs

The most common problems were warping brake rotors (you may need to try another brand if you keep having problems, but also check your calipers), transmission issues (click here), and air conditioner failure (see bottom of page).

Brake squeaking. A relatively quiet squeak / grinding noise may be coming from the shields around the rotors; they can bend slightly out of line and touch the wheel, rotor, or other parts. These can easily be diagnosed by taking off the wheel, and can be fixed by simple bending. Be careful when you deal with brakes.

Lock freezing. Our 300M's ignition lock froze unexpectedly. Teterboro Chrysler-Jeep in Teterboro, New Jersey, yielded the solution: service manager Dave suggested putting the key in, then rapidly but gently hitting the end of the key with a screwdriver or similar object (we used a pliers) about 10-20 times, and trying to turn it again. We had to repeat this about five times, but eventually the key gave, and we drove to Teterboro, who took out the lock and machined the tumblers, solving it. Dave said that the tolerances were tight, so that a small bit of dirt could cause it to get stuck; machining the tumblers slightly is a permanent fix. (The problem came back a year later, and a couple of slightly firmer blows fixed it.)

Joseph Blavatt had a similar issue: "Whenever you were done with driving and wished to leave the vehicle the key would not come out of the ignition lock assembly. If you happened to look at the safety button on the shifter handle it was not all the way out. If you gave the shifter handle a hard whack the button would come out and you could finally remove the key." (This was fixed via recall C45).

See Tony Lewis' excellent, step-by-step guide to repairing the LH steering.

Scott Mickievicz wrote: "My 2000 300M was going into limp mode. It would go through the gears once, and then shift to 2nd and stay there until turned off. The speedo and tach worked, the slap-shift would not respond, but the displays worked. Based on other people's input, it sounded like the input speed sensor. Calling around to garages, none of them mentioned the speed sensors, so I tried it myself. $32 for the sensor and correct socket, and 25 minutes later, it was done."

Fuel pump replacement: Kelly Laidlaw wrote: "I recently had to change my fuel pump in my 1997 Intrepid. I noticed an access panel above the tank in the trunk.....I opened the trunk and pulled back the carpet and sure enough there was an access panel that sat right over the fuel pump. It took ten minutes with no special tools [after the dealer quoted three hours]."

Instrument panel lights/fog lights sporadic odd behavior: On many 2000-04 LH cars with automatic headlights, the interior lights flash, suddenly change brightness, or flicker. The solution is to pull the connector at the switch, clean the contacts if needed, apply dielectric grease, and re-assemble it. This is not the five minute job it sounds like, since the steering column shroud and instrument panel end cap have to come off along with a bunch of screws to allow the instrument panel cluster bezel to be gently pried out. All work must be done with the battery disconnected. Chrysler advises dealers not to replace the headlamp switch. (Thanks, ImperialCrown, for referring us to TSB 08-022-03).

Transmission fluid leak (1998-2004)

Transmission fluid can leak from the hose between the cooler integrated into the radiator and the transmission; this seems common with 3.5 liter engines. "ImperialCrown" wrote, "Many times the hoses are okay, the clamps may just need re-tightening.
The brace plate above the radiator unbolts and tips forward. Just match up the washer paint marks when putting it back together for proper alignment. The lower clamps are harder to get at and you may need to jack the car up and have a jackstand in place."

Bob Lincoln added that the hose must be rated for transmission oil; regular rubber hose can rupture fairly quickly when exposed to transmission fluid.

Performance upgrades

Steve Porter was happy with his K&N filter, saying:

  • The filter worked out great. It's a little throatier, and if you're doing say 40-50 and ya punch it, she really kicks in. I noticed a better shift, better throttle response and lots o' tire smoke (with traction control off).

Douglas Miske adds:

  • Owners with 3.5L engines can find a few free horsepower by removing the airflow restrictor found in the hose that runs from the air filter to the intake manifold. Simply disconnect the hose at the air filter end, reach in, and pull out the cone-shaped restrictor. The engine will sound throatier, and performance will improve above 4,200 rpm (when you're using the higher air flow short intake runners). Chrysler installed the restrictor mostly for sound quality, according to two dealers I asked.

Oliver Liu wrote:

I removed the airbox restictor, waited 3 days, installed a K&N air filter, waited 5 days, and then replaced the muffler (the large rectangular thing under the rear seats) with straight pipe today.

It sounds REALLY aggressive. The 3.3l engines have the muffler as well, but the 3.5l engine have a resonator after this (where the dual exhaust tips are). This is the only thing I have between the cat and the tailpipe now.

The airbox restrictor did almost nothing, the K&N was a subtle but nice change, apparent under hard accelleration. The exhaust mod is borderline obnoxious. NO CHECK ENGINE LIGHT comes on, this is a popular rumor.
Mark A. Chastain wrote:

I own a 1995 Intrepid, 3.5 Liter. I have read the articles here and followed them. The flow restrictor is gone, and the resonator has been replaced with a glass pack of the same size with two 2.5ID outlets so that it looks similar to stock. The sound is definitely better, and the improvement in response is noticeable especially while on the interstate.

I think everyone is missing an important issue. The rubber duct between the airbox and the fenderwell. If you haven't looked at it, you should. I estimate that the rectangular inner measurements are less than 3/4 inch high, and less than 5" long. I cut out that section, retained the ends and connected them with some cheap universal airduct purchased at the local car parts store. This opened the duct to a minimum of 2" high and 6" long. I made the other mods at the same time, so I can't say if this alone improved performance, but it seems to me that that duct is definitely restricting flow.
Gary Howell wrote:

Chrysler on the 4 speed autos prior to the PT had a safety that would shift them even locked in low 1 through the gears, but the shift points in low one were around 6300 RPM. That is a trick the NHRA drag guys in stock classes were doing with the 4 speed autos. I doubt they have eliminated the safety, so it should still work with the PT. I would try it myself, but mine is a 5 speed. The stock rev limiter is at 6500 RPM's, so you will know if it will work before you get to the rev limiter and not hurt anything.
Headlight upgrades and replacement

Thanks to Gene Poon
for this information.

While the LH cars' headlights are fairly poor, they can be optimized by setting the levels. Ideally this is done without resorting to the levels on the assemblies. The method:

  1. Find a car with a good beam pattern
  2. At night, park the two cars side by side in a dark parking lot.
  3. Set the aim to match the car with the better pattern.

Alternatively, use the service manual and a ruler to set the beams exactly as specified.

While replacing a bulb, you may find that the mounting screws have frozen to the housings. One way to prevent this from happening is to apply a thin coat of dielectric grease to the threads of the screws and to the inserts; when replacing them, make sure they are snug, but then back off by around 1/6 of a turn.

Plastic cracks may be fixed with Rawn "Plasti-Pair" (Rawn is at 800-826-6791), sold at electronics parts stores. It includes a solvent which fuses the material to the plastic. This can even be used to reform a cracked-off screw boss.

Headlight bulb replacement

Based on information
from Russ Francis

You can replace the headlights on the LH cars, at least the 1994 Intrepid, without removing the long screws and, possibly, cracking the housing. First, take out the fog light assembly (two Philips screws); then take out the two bolts from the lower headlight assembly supports, using the fog light openings. If you take off the two bolts that fasten the upper headlight assembly, you can move it enough to replace the bulb.

Recalls, silent warrantees, and service information

Want to replace the tie rod bushings for the 1992-2003 Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler 300M, Concorde, LHS, and New Yorker, or Eagle Vision? CarQuest has an inner tie rod end repair kit, which uses a two piece bushing to eliminate special tool sand lubricate; these bushings snap into place (and the kit includes a bolt lock plate). The kit is part number K7349. (Thanks, John Kaderka.)

Gary Smith wrote that the wheels may be hard to come off, because of tight hub to wheel clearances; putting axle grease between them prevents the problem. He advised buyers of used Intrepids to get the tires rotated first, to check for the problem. There was a repair kit for this issue.

Mike Behnke wrote that there was a recall (#833) for seats breaking on the 1996 Dodge Intrepid, which he said was done only on customer request.

Mr. Source wrote that on the 1994-97 cars, the bushings of the steering arms can become too loose, giving too much play and some noises.


Main LH series (Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler 300M, Concorde, New Yorker, and LHS, and Eagle Vision) section

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