Problem List

Last Modified:  09/11/06

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The 300m Lemon List

  This list needs some rework.   It was based on input from owners of the 300m and possibly some of it's cousins, the LHS, Concorde, and Intrepid.  This series is obsolete.  We need to create a more comprehensive list that covers the newer models and dealer service.

I'm open for suggestions.  Of course, I mean suggestions to collect information on a broader spectrum of vehicles and issues associated with Daimler-Chrysler.

For now, if you have a 300m, this is what you can expect.

 

Subjectively Rated by me from to lemons.

Don't tell me I'm the only one with these problems or that I am not tolerant.  Some of these defects are listed on the NTSB site.  I've owned dozens of vehicles in my life of all makes and models.  The two worst for quality and service were both Chrysler designed and manufactured vehicles.  The 2000 300m and a 1981 Dodge Charger 2.2 can claim this honor.

Since I created this site in 2001, I've received dozens of emails from owners Chrysler 300m's or variants.  Many have experienced some or all of these problems.  Many have had even worse problems including:

  Blown engines

  Steering Rack Failures

  Ball Joint Failures

  Tie Rod End Failures

Transmission

Had

Intermittent

Glitches

Problem:  Vehicle won't move.

When you put the car in reverse it did not move for about 30 seconds.  You had time to think about it and check the shifter position because it felt like the car was in neutral.  This intermittent problem was with the car since it was new.  

This anomaly was not so much a problem but a sign of a potential problem that would likely cost a small fortune to fix.  If I had a 100,000 mile warranty, I wouldn't worry about it as much.  But given what I have learned about transmissions in this series of cars, this is one of the weak links in the vehicle. 

 

Resolution:  Never resolved. 

At 56,000 miles, the problem continued to bug the car. Dealer didn't do anything about it because he said he could not duplicate the problem.

Climate

Control

Possessed

Problem:  The climate control had a mind of it's own intermittently.  

It was another piece of flaky computer junk on this vehicle.  For example, it was night, 51 degrees outside according to the overhead display.  The interior climate control was set to 72.  All was well for a while.  Suddenly the air conditioner comes on and starts to blast cold air!  Go figure why something like this might happen if it is working properly.

 

Resolution:  Never resolved.

At 56,000 miles, the problem continued to bug the car.  Dealer didn't do anything about it because he said he could not duplicate the problem.

The dealer says all is normal.  I guess I have to agree.  Everything on this car functions improperly normally.  There was obviously some computer or sensor problem.  

 

Outside

Temperature

Inaccurate

Problem:  The outside temperature reading was inaccurate and the inaccuracy increased as the outside temperature went up.

Sometimes  on a hot day, it read 10-15 degrees too high!  That was while the vehicle was in motion.

Example:  

bulletThe average temperature around Los Angeles was about 85 according the radio and most public signs with time and temperature.  This car was reading 99-101 on the open roads, not setting in traffic.  
bulletAnother time in Palm Springs, it was about 100.  The car reading was 115 and higher.

 

Resolution:  Never resolved.

At 56,000 miles, the problem continued to bug the car. Dealer didn't do anything about it because he said he could not duplicate the problem.

Yet another piece of junk that they can list as a standard feature that never worked as it should.

 

Window

Motors

Fail

Excessively

Problem:  The power window motors on this car failed excessively.

bullet3 times.  Two on the drivers door and one on the passenger door.  The second motor on the drivers side lasted just a few months and died while I was waiting to be checked in for service!  It had worked earlier that morning.  
bulletThe window motor problem has been around for a long time and had been acknowledged by Daimler-Chrysler.  
bulletI was told it was a big problem with the 1999 300m.  Apparently it's also a problem with the 2000.  
bulletThere is no acceptable reason for a manufacturer to propagate this problem year after year.  
bulletIf you do a little research on the 300m mail list, you will find that others have suffered this problem too many times.

 

Resolution:  Motors replaced as they failed.

They were fixed 3 times under warranty.  Two in the same door within a few months!

After the warranty expired, I repaired one jam myself.  Another jammed days before I traded the vehicle but magically fixed itself.  Probably a jammed track.

What really sucks about this problem is the magnitude of it.  There is no excuse for so many bad motors over so many years.

The car was gone for days while they order parts.  Why were they not stocking these parts if they fail so often.

When they start failing out of warranty as they will, it is going to cost customers a fortune in repairs.  

I discovered that the problem might not be bad motors.  I fixed one motor by loosening the rear track assembly.

 

Windows

Stuck

To

Weatherstrips

Problem:  The windows stuck to the seals constantly during the first year or so.

I had the back windows glue themselves to the weather seals so tightly that I had to break them loose with a thin metal ruler!

Designing windows seals that work isn't rocket science.  Perfectly functioning seals have been around forever.

This problem is another one of those ignored by Daimler-Chrysler over the years.  The 1998 and later Dodge Intrepid and all it's cousins has the same stupid problem.  Why haven't they fixed it?

 

Resolution:  None.  The dealer ignored the problem.

Told to lubricate them.  The problem eventually goes away for the most part after a year.  But you could see that the weatherstrip is still sticking because bits of rubber are stuck to the glass.

I have some sarcastic suggestions.

bulletProgram the computer to cycle the windows up and down every couple of hours to keep them from sticking.
bulletSelf lubricating window seals?
bullet Or buy seals from GM, Ford, or Toyota.  They seem to have solved this problem 50 years ago.

 

Rock'n

Pop'n

Driver's

Seat

Problem:  The seat rocks and pops while you drive.

You cannot imagine how annoying this problem is until you put up with it day after day driving in stop and go Los Angeles traffic.  This problem is the most annoying problem in the car because it is with you constantly.  

bulletThe seat track loosen up in certain positions and starts to rock and pop when the car stops and goes in traffic or and on hills.  You hear the pop and you feel the pop in your butt.  
bulletThe movement is slight.  It isn't just a loose seat.  It's the sound and feeling that are the problem.  
bulletYou can temporarily eliminate the problem sometimes by moving the seat but it always returns.

 

Resolution:  None   See update for your safety.

The dealer flat out refuses to do anything about it, passing it off as "normal" and "the 2001's do it".  The dealer also said the regional office told him to do nothing about the problem.  A mechanic that worked at Chrysler during this time verified that other owners complained about this problem.

bulletIt isn't normal to me for any car, much less a $32,000 vehicle.
bulletIt didn't have this problem when I bought the car.
bulletThe passenger seat doesn't rock and pop.  
bulletRental 300m's that I have driven didn't do it.
bulletMy 185000 mile Cherokee doesn't do it.  
bulletNo car I've ever owned does this.

Update:  It was a safety issue!  There was a recall of over 1,000,000 of DC vehicles that forced them to fix this problem.  Unfortunately, I had already dumped the car.  Search http://www.autosafety.org for more information on this problem and other serious issues.

 

Rear

Window

Defogger

Never

Worked

Problem:  The rear defogger never worked from the day I received the car.

When you pressed the button on the dash, the defog light came on but the window would never defog.

I know it's warm in S. California and difficult to naturally fog the windows inside the car without some "strenuous activity".  I'm too old to be doing that in the back seat of the car so I thought for about 5 seconds of an alternate way to fog the window  to see if the defogger really works.   My test was to turn it on for about 15 minutes with a cup of steaming hot water near the window.  It didn't defog after a trip to the dealer for repair.  

Obviously a minor problem but it sucks 2 lemons for negligence for D-C manufacturing, QA, dealer preparation, delivery, and 5-star service.

This became the pattern for future 5-Star service.  Fix it on the second attempt or don't fix it at all.

 

Resolution:  Fixed on the second attempt.

bulletI took it back the first time and told them about the problem.  It came back as no problem found.
bulletThe second time they managed to find a disconnected wire.  
bulletThis cost me an extra trip to the dealer for their incompetence.
bulletJust because the bulb is on doesn't mean the damn thing works.

 

Door

Seals

Problem:  Shrinking Door Seals.

This really turned into a fiasco.

There was a TSB regarding the door seals on the 300m.  I went to the dealer to get it installed.  He had no idea what I was talking about.  I gave him the listing from Allpar.  Then they totally screwed up the install on this one.  First, they damaged the passenger side door seal.  The damage is cosmetic and slight.  But it should be replaced.  I reminded them about this on the second trip.  They ignored it.  The one they fixed (if you can call it a fix, it's not the TSB fix) is already loose.  The other one gave them some problems. so they couldn't fix it that day, the second time it was in for this TSB install.  And to top it all, they aren't even installing the official TSB but some kludge that they invented!  This is going to continue to haunt them until it is done properly.

 

Resolution:  None.

bulletIt went to the dealer three times.  I eventually gave up.

 

Warped

Brake

Rotors

Problem:  Brake rotors warp excessively.

This car warped rotors at the drop of a hat.  The front brakes were  grossly inadequate for a car with sports sedan intentions.  I warped the rotors twice and at the end, just lived with the shaking.  You can only spend so much time and money on these problems.

The brakes were flaky to the end.  I have no warped rotors on my other 3 vehicles.  It isn't my driving style.

 

Resolution:  I kept replacing them.

my expense.  They are not a warranty item after about 12000 miles.  The brakes on this vehicle are grossly inadequate for a car claiming to be a "Sports Sedan".  It's only a car that looks like a sports sedan and comes with a list of flakey options that put it in that class.

Sound

Deadener

Failed

Problem:  Excessive noise complaint.  Sound deadener damaged and out of place.

Chrysler places a molded foam sound deadener in the front wheel wells.  Apparently it is just laying in there.  It gets loose and hangs on the doors when you open and close them.  The drivers side was severely mangled and the passenger side torn.

Resolution:  Fixed temporarily the second time.  Nothing ever gets resolved the first time.  

bulletI complained about excessive road noise.
bulletThe dealer passed it off as another one of my complaints and said it was normal, no problem found.
bulletI started looking for things and found the sound deadener foam out of place and damaged in both front wheels.  After showing them what to do, they finally replaced both pieces on yet another trip to the service department.
bulletRoad noise was reduced slightly.  It is still excessive for a car in this category.

UPDATE:  The foam was starting to come loose again at 50,000 miles.

 

Dash

Glare

On

Windshield

Problem:  Blinding glare from the dash.

All cars have some glare off the dash.  It's almost impossible to eliminate.  This car has a lot and in the wrong places.  

The glare off the dash under bright lights and on a sunny day is incredible.  In addition, the dash is divided into two parts, a metal price close to the windshield and the plastic dash cover near the driver.  This division leave a nice line reflected directly in your line of sight looking ahead.  The differing reflectivity of the materials in annoying.  The entire windshield is one big glaring mess at times with no way to temporarily position yourself around it for a clearer view.

The problem is so bad that I have been blinded by the overhead lights in a parking garage at night!

It wasn't just my complaint.  There are numerous complaints about this problem on the NTSB site.

 

Resolution:  Nothing can be done about this and I didn't expect anything from the dealer. 

It's a design defect.  Style over function won.  Too much dash surface, too much glass, wrong angle, etc..  Maybe the materials are not the right ones.  Who knows.  Get yourself a pair of polarized sun glasses and wear them day and night!  Do not put any kind of shiny protector on the dash.  You will only make the problem worse.

 

Squeaky

Sun

Roof

Problem:  It squeaks incessantly if you dont' lube it.

If you don't keep the lip of the sunroof lubricated, it will squeak when it is closed if you can hear it over the excessive road noise.

 

Resolution:  Nothing can be done permanently.  It's a design defect.

Style over function won.  They should not have placed a rubber seal directly against the flat metal roof.  It's an oversight.  There is nothing to support the heavy glass.  I'm not a designer, but a better design would have the front lip locking into a V shaped channel.  That would have cost an extra buck or two probably.

Carry a can of lubricant in the car at all times to spray all the squeaks and window channels so they don't stick.

 

Disappearing

Passenger

Door

Lock

 

Problem:  So cheaply built that locking the door caused it to be pushed inside the door panel!

 

 

Resolution:  I fixed it myself while fixing another broken window motor.

 

 

Shifter

Lock

Cable

Jammed

 

Problem:  The cable to the shifter jammed.

You can't change gears.  Another failure that shouldn't occur in a vehicle of this class and one located in a climate (S. California, away from the coast, no snow) that should not contribute to its failure.  But mine failed weeks before I traded it. 

Based on the email received, I'm not the only one that had this problem.

 

 

Resolution:  Replaced a cable that should not have failed.  My expense.

$250 labor plus a cable.

I decided to test another 5-star dealership since this repair was on my dime.  They took several days to install fix it and return the car with the cable completely out of adjustment.  The "Autostick" couldn't be used because they had it adjusted too far forward.  It barely went into park.  Drive was at the Neutral location.  Basic sloppy repair.  What a deal.  

Took it back again, explained the problem of the adjustment.  They apparently ignored my problem because the car came back still out of adjustment.

Called the 5 star and explained my dissatisfaction in great detail.  They said bring it back when the "transmission guy" is around.  My reaction?  Tell the      'transmission guy", they one that screwed up the repair 2 times, to get to work and fix it when it is convenient for the customer!   I traded the car before it went back for a 3rd attempt to fix it.

Typical 5 Star Service.  I've seen this at 2 different dealers in S. California.

 

Stuck

Ignition

Key

Problem:  Another cable problem.

Not sure if this a problem or a feature.  Maybe it is Chryslers way to get rid of lemons.  Jam the key in the ignition so the owner can't get it out.  Maybe a thief will see it and take the car!  I wasn't so lucky.

Resolution:  Another cable problem.

One of the few problems that got fixed on the first attempt but it was also part of the 2nd trip for the transmission cable problem which did not get fixed.  I don't understand why it should have been a problem in the first place.  This car came back stinking like WD40.

Interior

Noise

Level

Problem:  Way too much road noise.  Worse than my Ford Explorer SUV!

To my ears, the interior noise level is unbearable, especially over some road surfaces.  Some people complain about wind noise.  I wish I could hear the wind noise instead of the noise transmitted through the chassis by the tires.  It only gets worse as the tires wear down.  

Should a TRUCK be less noisy than a premium sports sedan?  I think not but it is the case.  My Explorer transmits less noise to the passenger compartment.

 

Resolution:  Nothing can be done to fix a bad design once the car has been built.  That's my opinion.

Dash

Lights

Flicker

Problem:  The dash lights will flash between bright and dim.

It is not the switch position as some owners have suggested.

Resolution:  Never resolved.

Hell, if the big problems can't be fixed, I doubt they can fix something that only happens every couple of months. 

This is another example of a sensor or computer glitch that shows up in several options on the car.

 

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This site was last updated 09/11/06

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