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Im looking at buying a used 300C in the near future. I understand that im going to be getting a used 15 year old car and dont expect perfect. I do have a few questions though.
My budget right now allows for 2005 2006 300c's
So question number 1: How concerned should I be with the 5.7 valves? Ive read it isnt that big of an issue and happens rarely if you're extremely unlucky, Ive also read that the valves are a time bomb waiting to happen and the first thing you need to do is take the heads off and replace retainers.

I dont plan on daily driving the car. I want one because ive always loved the look and back when they came out I test drove one and LOVED it. Just not enough to warrant the monthly payment. Mainly im looking for one to do some bolt-ons and hit up a local 1/4 mile track a couple times in the summer with my daughter who will soon be able to race at the track. (She wants a 300C for her first car, seeing a theme here lol) So question number 2: RWD or AWD? My heart is telling me RWD, less things to go wrong with it. I wont be making so much power that drag radials on the back couldnt handle. Taking out the personal preference of AWD vs RWD, is the AWD platform reliable for what I want to do with it? I read on the forums here that a popular bolt on is changing the rear diff gearing. Thats something im interested in doing, is that possible with the AWD drive train?

Question number 3: Ive read that the front end is not very good. Mopar used cheap parts especially the rubber components. How true is this? Does this affect the RWD drivetrain or is it an AWD thing?

Question number 4: Pretty straight forward here. What are some uncommon things I should look for when looking at a 300C. Every car has it quirks and who better to ask than the ppl who own them :)

Question number 5: Mileage... I know it all depends on how well taken care of the car is. However, I see some very low mileage 300c's (100,000+) and others that are high mileage (200,000+) Oddly enough they all 'look' to be in the same shape so the car must age well. I only ask this because the colors I like all seem to have high mileage (Damn my luck lol) Its the colors I dont like (But could live with) that are low miles.

Anyway. Thanks to all the contributors on the forums here, theres so much awesome info here that im overwhelmed and will be reading for a great long time! Hopefully soon i'll be posting pictures of my new to me 300C!
 

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Im looking at buying a used 300C in the near future. I understand that im going to be getting a used 15 year old car and dont expect perfect. I do have a few questions though.
My budget right now allows for 2005 2006 300c's
So question number 1: How concerned should I be with the 5.7 valves? Ive read it isnt that big of an issue and happens rarely if you're extremely unlucky, Ive also read that the valves are a time bomb waiting to happen and the first thing you need to do is take the heads off and replace retainers.
Judgement call. The valve seats are sintered steel and they do drop from time to time, turning your engine into scrap in an instant. I've never seen any numbers on this. It's not that difficult to prevent, most shops familiar with first-gen 5.7s will replace the seats with stronger, more tightly fitted ones. So you may have your answer right there...if you're planning on bolt ons anyway, maybe you'll be doing some valve work. If not, a set of reman heads with a warranty start around $600 or so shipped, with core.

I dont plan on daily driving the car. I want one because ive always loved the look and back when they came out I test drove one and LOVED it. Just not enough to warrant the monthly payment. Mainly im looking for one to do some bolt-ons and hit up a local 1/4 mile track a couple times in the summer with my daughter who will soon be able to race at the track. (She wants a 300C for her first car, seeing a theme here lol) So question number 2: RWD or AWD? My heart is telling me RWD, less things to go wrong with it. I wont be making so much power that drag radials on the back couldnt handle. Taking out the personal preference of AWD vs RWD, is the AWD platform reliable for what I want to do with it? I read on the forums here that a popular bolt on is changing the rear diff gearing. Thats something im interested in doing, is that possible with the AWD drive train?
I own both AWD & RWD LXs, and I'll say this; the AWD launches like a catapult, even around curves. But I don't think that the Magna-Steyr 140 AWD setup is built to take a lot of extra torque. If you're planning for 500 HP or something like that, I'd go with RWD. If you're looking at 50 HP or so over stock, the AWD might be a good choice at the track. Personally, I'd probably stick with the RWD unless you're going to be driving in weather conditions where the AWD will come in handy.

Question number 3: Ive read that the front end is not very good. Mopar used cheap parts especially the rubber components. How true is this? Does this affect the RWD drivetrain or is it an AWD thing?
100% true. Take a good look at all those spindly, stork-like parts under there and you'll understand.

Some of the components are different for the AWD applications, but they're not dramatically improved. You'll probably need to replace sway bar bushings and end links at least once, maybe multiple times if you keep the car long enough. There are a couple of small improvements you can make, like using Moog Problem Solver sway bar bushings, but basically, these are cars with delicate suspension pieces that often turn into clunk-and-squeak monsters. If you do your own work it's not the end of the world, but if you pay someone to do it, you can spend a ton of money chasing noises.

Question number 4: Pretty straight forward here. What are some uncommon things I should look for when looking at a 300C. Every car has it quirks and who better to ask than the ppl who own them :)
Financially, the cosmetics can wreck you. You might think, "Eh, so the chrome door panel spears are bubbling, the headlights are chalky and faded, and some of the exterior trim is shot, but how much can that stuff cost?" The answer is, "Plenty". The door panel spears are welded in place, clean used HID headlamp assemblies are around $300-500 each, and good luck finding used door panels that match yours and are in nice shape. Just that chrome "lip" on the rear bumper cover is over $100 on the aftermarket, and like all the other bumper pieces, it's attached from the back, meaning you have to take off the cover to replace them. The (usually faded and warped) black trim on either side of the windshield looks like plastic, but it's actually made from unobtainium. Most of them have leather interiors, and the driver's seat is usually shot. Again, good luck finding a clean replacement. You can either put some shiatty aftermarket cover over it or have it professionally repaired. In my part of the country, you're looking at anywhere from $300 and up, and that's with you taking out the seat and delivering it to the shop.

As far as mechanicals, check the service history. A well-cared-for 300C that old should have had its transmission serviced at least once. Ask the owner what kind of coolant has been used in the car. If he or she answers, "I don't know, like regular coolant" or anything other than, "HOAT, of course", that's a big red flag. Chrysler switched from HOAT to OAT antifreeze in 2013, and as a result, many owners and mechanics (even Chrysler-trained ones) sometimes top off their cars with with incorrect coolant. Check the car cold, take off the reservoir cap and look over the tank very carefully. If it looks like someone vomited in it, that's a sign that it was run low on coolant. If there's sludgey goop in it, that may just be a lot of rust that's dropped out of suspension and into the reservior, or it could be a sign of incompatible coolant mixing. Hopefully they'll have service paperwork showing that HOAT coolants were always used, and the reservoir is reasonably clean. Look for smoking on cold start, as valve stem seals tend to go on these cars. Not a big deal if you're reworking the heads, of course.

Also be sure to scan for DTCs with an advanced scantool that can read everything; powertrain, body, and communications errors. A great investment would be a cheap, ELM327-compatible Bluetooth adapter for $15-20 or so and a free demo copy of AlfaOBD for Android (although the full-blown version, at $50, is well-worth it for any LX or LD owner). You'd be amazed at the info stored on your modules, and some of it is invaluable to a used car buyer.

Question number 5: Mileage... I know it all depends on how well taken care of the car is. However, I see some very low mileage 300c's (100,000+) and others that are high mileage (200,000+) Oddly enough they all 'look' to be in the same shape so the car must age well. I only ask this because the colors I like all seem to have high mileage (Damn my luck lol) Its the colors I dont like (But could live with) that are low miles.
My experience has always been that mileage is a poor indicator of overall vehicle condition. The best running cars I've ever owned have had high mileage, and some of the worst were low-mileage garage queens. It's getting a little bit easier to know which is which...later-model LD cars show you the engine hours right in the EVIC, so all you need to do to do is divide the mileage by the hours to know if the car had mostly hard city miles or easy highway miles. But I tend to favor one-owner cars with solid, documented service histories that have been stored indoors vs. multiple owner cars with little or no documentation that have sat outside 24/7, particularly in places with wide temperature swings that lead to corrosion in places you can't easily see.

Good luck!
 

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Thank you for the very detailed reply. It really helped me out.
So with the coolant I'm a little confused. Is that starting with the 2013 model? Or should I be making sure on the first gen that they were using to correct coolant as well?
Also, I remember reading somewhere that they fixed the issue with the heads in 2008 but I can't seem to find that information anywhere now. Is that accurate?
 

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Or, I am getting ready to sell mine, and you can buy it......black 06 300C SRT8 that has had nearly everything updated within the past 2 years and about 10000 miles (cost around $4000) and is all now in good order. It had a bad cam and lifters when I bought it from my Grandson two years ago January and, previously, nothing had never been touched. It's pretty much stock except now has a mild performance cam, a bunch of new components, everything recently serviced, Foose wheels, and a performance engine and transmission tune.


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Thank you for the very detailed reply. It really helped me out.
So with the coolant I'm a little confused. Is that starting with the 2013 model? Or should I be making sure on the first gen that they were using to correct coolant as well?
Any year 300C can have improperly mixed coolant in it. A pre-2013 could have had OAT added to the reservoir, a 2013-up could have had HOAT put in. Either way, they're not compatible, and you can wind up with a mess on your hands. Even if it's always had the correct stuff, they are sensitive to the fluid level. When they are run low on coolant, especially in the case of a leak, any exposed metal in the water jacket will corrode almost immediately. When the system is refilled, the coolant will wash off that rust surprisingly well. Unfortunately, it will only hold it in suspension for so long, and then it will dump it, where it can collect and cause clogs and other problems.

Also, I remember reading somewhere that they fixed the issue with the heads in 2008 but I can't seem to find that information anywhere now. Is that accurate?
No. The problem was addressed to some degree with the introduction of the improved Eagle hemi in 2009. But the Eagles aren't perfect either, although they're generally accepted to be somewhat more reliable than the early Hemi.
 
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