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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, this weekend I might be going to look at a 300M that, according to the seller, requires a brake line replaced and a front CV. Is there anything special I should look at? I know the general routine but without a brake line I can't drive it to know the trans so I can only inspect the fluid and if it moves a little bit. Any area's in particular where they love to rust out at or anything like that? It has around 105k so I know the timing belt and components need to be changed as well.
 

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I re-did my brake lines about 4 years ago. Went to AutoZone, bought 2 20' rolls of steel line. Already had a flaring tool but they're about $20-30 for a decent one on Amazon or any auto parts store. You don't need a double flare for the 300M. Re-used all the fittings, bent it into position and bled the system. Simple enough to fix.

Rust, check the front subframe mounts and rear subframe mounts - where the assemblies bolt to the body. This is where my body is starting to rust the most, followed by the rockers (which are covered by plastic so you need to actually look under the car). Also, floor pans. If you can get it on a lift it may help, otherwise drive up a tall curb using someone's driveway apron as a ramp.

Common bits you're likely to replace aside from what you mentioned are the front and rear struts if original, lower control arms (ball joints are non-serviceable), inner tie rod ends, belts, hoses, and the radiator fan(s). Both should spin without rattles or squeals, grinding, etc. when the A/C is turned on and compressor is engaged. If not, the vehicle will overheat.
 

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You don't need a double flare for the 300M.
Sorry to dissent, but this is bad gouge!

"While some single flared lines may show up on cars that have been incorrectly repaired by a shade tree mechanic, a double flared line is the OEM standard for automotive braking systems and, as such, is a much safer option in the brake system to avoid any kinds of leaks or other pressure-related issues."

Source below; lots more info in the article as well, including mention of potential liability issues if a crash should occur. ALWAYS double-flare brake lines.

 

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Sorry to dissent, but this is bad gouge!
No, this is the factory service manual. Please don't use a generic Google search to apply to all vehicles without knowledge.
 

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Not a generic Google search, but an enthusiast site full of opinions I read often (kind of like this one...). Saw your FSM snip, but the industry has advanced over the last 20 years and highly recommends double flaring for all brake tubes. With the right tool it takes all of six seconds to complete the job, so why wouldn't you?

I'm sure your owner's manual calls for API SJ or SL motor oil, too. Got cans of Exxon Superflo stockpiled, or is there something better today?
 

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Double flares do not fit the existing fittings. Do you suggest buying adapters for the ABS, and all new custom-made rubber hoses for double-flare support? Or do you suggest having brake fluid leak? It's going to be one or the other. The LH platform does not have fittings for double flares. Would you suggest using modern low-ZDDP oil with no ZDDP additives for older engines with flat rockers, too?
I use Pennzoil Platinum 5w50 in my 219,000+ mile 300M despite the manual suggesting 10w30 because I know things change. But flares aren't something that are easily changed, without changing the entire system to support those completely different flares.

It's ok to admit you're wrong. Doubling down on bad advice is foolish. Doubling down on bad advice that can cause failure of a vehicle's braking system even more so.

That's all I have to say about it. I follow the FSM. If Chrysler engineers designed the braking system on the LH platform using ISO flares versus double-flares, and the FSM tells me to flare (and how to properly flare) for the 300M, I will follow the FSM.
 

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I think I did something called a "bubble" flare on my brake lines, seems to be holding up.

Regarding 300m, now that I have 3 (my original '00 bought new, and now a '01 and '04), I think we need to know generally where you live (ie climate) to know how much the weather / climate is a factor in the M's in your area. I've been lucky that the 2 "new" m's I've acquired do not have much rust damage. I think rusty brake lines for these cars (now about 16 - 20 years old) will be common unless maybe we're talking Nevada? Rusty fuel lines, and rusty (to the point of failure) power steering line (look hard in the engine compartment where it runs next to the wheel cowling - that area tends to accumulate road dirt and hence will hold water and make the line rust). Next are the struts. Having the fronts fail is common, and will slam against the arm where the outer tie rod connects. If you're lucky you'll be able to drive it without the tire getting messed up. On my '00 I've replaced all 4 struts, both engine mounts, the transmission mount and the 4 sub-frame bushings. Windshield is also common to replace - they tend to develop cracks (maybe because of body creep?). Headlights will look terrible (acrylic will haze) but new ones are readily available ($50 - $75 each).

What has caused me the least problems? Number 1 is the transmission. I've done zero transmission service on my '00 and the other 2 cars don't seem to have any transmission issues. The engines are pretty solid, you'll get an oil leak over time (maybe the pan, or rear main) - nothing you can fix easily, but not enough of a leak to be a problem. Some people have chronic hot-running problem they can't fix (my '00 developed a chronic cold running problem, which sucks in winter but I'll clamp the upper rad hose this coming winter to deal with it).

Timing belt. Change the timing belt. Any M's you come across that have 150k miles or less at this point will (a) have had 2 or 3 or 5 previous owners and (b) will almost certainly still have the original timing belt. If it has no exhaust bark then it probably has had some previous exhaust work done. Very common for the front flex exhaust coupling to fail first (left and right) followed by the "combiner" (I don't know what else it's called) that combines the 2 front pipes into 1 going to the rear. My '00 has had both flex couplers replaced (solid pipe) and the combiner, but everything else is still original. Never had a problem with the drive shafts.

So to summarize: Any 'M you come across today that is worthy (body-wise) to buy will almost certainly need brake lines, maybe fuel line, maybe power steering line. If it still has original struts, then it will need new struts. Other suspension parts - quite variable depending on what milage it has and how good were the roads it's been driving on. Don't trust dodgy service info regarding timing belt - it will almost certainly need to be changed. Also -> change the differential oil. It probably gets over looked a lot by the time the car has had a few owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm in Ohio and if the seller ever gets back to me on the meeting place I'll be heading out today to go look at it. They do say that its had the front calipers, pads, and rotors done. As well as both inner and outer tie rod ends on both sides. From the photos, the body looks good and interior look decent, looks like the dash is cracked.
 

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Open the doors and look along the bottom edges of the doors for rust. Also look at the edge of the rear quarter panel - where the plastic wrap-around of the bumper cover meets the quarter panel. That edge is also a prime location for rust. Front calipers pads and rotors mean nothing. They're easy to do and their condition is of no consequence to the value of the car. Why or how they figured out that the inner tie rod ends needed changing - I'd like to know. I've replaced both sides on my '00 (inner bushings that connect to the power steering unit, the rods themselves, and the outer tie rods). I was trying to eliminate suspension knocking and the price for the parts at rock was cheap. When I got the inner bushings off - they looked perfectly fine (not at all worth the time it took to get to them).

Replacing the inner tie rods / bushings is fishy to me when the front struts, front tension strut and sway bar bushings and lower control arms haven't been?

Cracked dashboards - all the dark (charcoal?) color dashboards will develop a crack on the passenger side, even northern cars.

Also, if you ever actually see the car, with the engine running, you'll want to check to see if engine light comes on and stays on. If you have an OBD code reader, bring it and scan for codes.
 

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The dash cracks on every 300M inevitably. It's a shame, but it's age-related and it cracks along the weakened areas where the passenger airbag is designed to deploy, and expands from there. The vinyl simply shrinks and weakens too much with age. If the dash isn't cracked yet on an M, give it time.

Just like the PS hard line could corrode through, so can the A/C lines along the other body "Frame" rail on the passenger side. Also, the evaporators only last about 10-15 years, so if the A/C doesn't work and you're told it probably just needs a recharge, expect to do the evaporator. It's a dash-out job.

Here's what I have had to do, or at least did preventatively, on mine, I've had for over 14 years and now almost 220k miles. Yes it seems like a lot, but I am a perfectionist, and my car runs like new and I wouldn't hesitate to take it to California (from PA) and back. It will rust through before it dies, I firmly believe. Not including brakes, tires, drive belts, hoses etc; essentially "Non-wear" maintenance:
  • Timing Belt
  • Transmission filter and fluid (full drain, filter, fresh fluid, and torque converter drained by disconnecting the cooler line until clear fluid ran out) - note this was about 50k miles ago now and my fluid is still bright and fresh looking
  • Front strut blowout, accelerated by hitting a tire fragment on the highway but would have failed due to rust-through eventually as MoPar~Man indicated
  • HVAC display re-soldering (I re-soldered a bi-color 2004 display to replace the original)
  • Clock Spring
  • Alternator (old one "Whined" due to brushes wearing thin)
  • Starter
  • Intake manifold gaskets
  • Crankshaft position sensor (Hard hot running was the first symptom, inability to re-start easily hot was the second, random stalling was the third, complete failure to start the fourth)
  • Power steering cooler twice. I believe someone may have hit me in a parking lot based on marks on the fascia, but the cooler rubbed into the mount for the transmission cooler and began leaking both times
  • Brake lines and rubber hoses
  • ABS pump ($45 shipped for a used part from eBay; due to living in the rust belt the old motor seized due to rust and caused the ABS light to come on during self-test)
  • A/C Compressor
  • A/C Evaporator
  • Radiator (Side tanks cracked, may or may not be due to lot hit listed above)
  • Front CVs and wheel bearings - was not needed but "Peace of mind" at over 190,000 miles
  • Differential fluid change
  • Rear control arm mount rusted through (also was crushed by a tire shop using it as a jacking point); these are available new last I checked but I got a like new one from a low mile junkyard car
  • Exhaust, from the cats back; the flex joints on the catalytic converter pipes failed, the center muffler/resonator failed, the rear muffler was still good but the center-rear resonator failed. The flex joint is part of the cat downpipe. I had replacements welded on by a friend but you would need to either weld them solid, replace them, or have the entire cat assembly replaced which would be quite costly. Also picked up a rust-free low mile exhaust because at 210,000 miles I didn't want to spend $500+ on a cheap exhaust or $800+ on an OEM or better quality system new
  • Trunk latch assembly (I didn't like not having the trunk open light, or the light in the trunk not working, this was the only part of my latch that had failed)
  • Door pulls for both front doors
  • Driver's window switch assembly
  • Brake light switch
  • Brake booster (Note, the original replacement booster I bought was an unpainted "Reman" and failed in 3-4 years from rust and its warranty replacement was defective out of the box, also got a used OEM booster on eBay). Brakes were fine but I didn't like the hissing sound at stop lights from the failing booster.
  • Radiator fan motors, both sides
  • Inner and outer tie rods
  • Harmonic balancer
  • Idler pulleys for A/C and serpentine belt
  • Thermostat (would not reach operating temp)
  • Wiring repair for low-speed fan at the PCM; harness was rubbed through. May have been my fault from the multiple times I moved the harness for any of the above listed work
Modifications - if you want to call it that - other than the HVAC listed above
  • Special suspension. Need to rebuild the front struts, but the handling was vastly improved with better than aftermarket (although not original comfort level) ride
  • OTIS overhead module, 99-00, replaced with 01+ EVIC
  • Pulled an RKIM with fob from a junkyard car because I didn't get a fob with it when I bought it, so now I have OEM remote lock/unlock/trunk
  • 150MPH special cluster
  • 01+ shifter (chrome) and shift bezel (faux leather vs the plastic gate)
  • Oil catch can
  • 01+ Jewel tail lamps
  • 01+ Wheels
  • Special M HID headlamps
I also have an unobtanium Special fascia in my basement but I don't want to repair it and put it on this car because I know as soon as I do someone will smash into me. I have other mods I'm sure but this is basic stuff that comes to mind easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Welp thanks for the help guys but alas I never got to see it. Seller and I agreed on a location and time and I drove over 2 hours with a trailer and they never showed up and stopped responding.
 

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For the heck of it, I was going to look at kijiji and search Ohio for 300m's for sale. But I can't seem to browse kijiji.com (always redirected to .ca). I did some searching and it seems that although kijiji is popular in Canada, seems craigs list is the equivalent in the US? I found my recent pair of m's on kijiji. Where are you looking for used m's for sale in Ohio? Craigs list, kijiji or auto trader (if that's still around) ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For the heck of it, I was going to look at kijiji and search Ohio for 300m's for sale. But I can't seem to browse kijiji.com (always redirected to .ca). I did some searching and it seems that although kijiji is popular in Canada, seems craigs list is the equivalent in the US? I found my recent pair of m's on kijiji. Where are you looking for used m's for sale in Ohio? Craigs list, kijiji or auto trader (if that's still around) ?
Never heard of kijiji. I actually wasn't looking when this popped up but I browse Facebook marketplace for Neons (have 6 and always looking to add to my collection lol) and somehow this randomly popped up while looking at Neons and I've always wanted one and I want a new car to replace my current daily so it seemed like a winner to me. oh well, I shall never know.
 

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For the heck of it, I was going to look at kijiji and search Ohio for 300m's for sale. But I can't seem to browse kijiji.com (always redirected to .ca). I did some searching and it seems that although kijiji is popular in Canada, seems craigs list is the equivalent in the US? I found my recent pair of m's on kijiji. Where are you looking for used m's for sale in Ohio? Craigs list, kijiji or auto trader (if that's still around) ?
In the US it was Craigslist. But Craigslist started charging for auto ads (I believe) which now makes Facebook marketplace the place to look for cheap cars.
 

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FB Marketplace, for better or worse. Almost nobody uses CL anymore.
 
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