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DjGreggieP New Reader
11/18/15 11:56 a.m.

Hey guys, my name is Tim, been a long time lurker (finally decided to join!) and usually pick up the magazine when I see it on the shelf. I have been going thru a lot of the build threads and this place is full of very talented individuals!

Bit of backstory, my car, on paper, looks like a sure fire winner from factory, wide track, long, high revving small displacement v6, and with a low drag coefficient it would appear to be a fiercely competitive vehicle!!

Can you guess what it is yet?

Her drawbacks are vast, very vast.

The body, while sleek, is bulbous and heavy.

The high revving V6, while adequate was under-powered and plagued with reliability issues.

She has a minimal aftermarket support, and very few see use for anything other than a daily driver. Worst of all, available with ONLY a 4 speed automatic.

I have hopes of changing that, because with minimal work the car is decently competitive on the small time attack set up I have been able to attend.

Attached is a picture of when I first acquired her roughly 9 years ago.

If you haven't guessed it yet she is a 1999 Chrysler Intrepid base model.


captdownshift UltraDork
11/18/15 12:34 p.m.

welcome aboard, there has never been a more fitting thread title for the vehicle located within. Does the intrepid share the same 6 cylinder with the avenger, or is it possibly Mitsubishi derived If so was the avenger or galant available with a manual? I'm trying to think of some possible OEM parts bin improvements for you, but have to admit that I know very little about the platform other than it's the second generation of "cab forward design" marketing malarkey and that Eagle and it's Vision had been killed by the 2nd generation.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
11/18/15 12:45 p.m.

I have dreams of using this drivetrain in a Porsche 914. So I'll be watching to see what you do.

bigdaddylee82 SuperDork
11/18/15 12:54 p.m.


We had one of those in the family, started life as a slightly used, new car for dad. Took several family road trips, all across the U.S., that trunk is like the TARDIS, enormous inside. Was great for road trips.

Dad's came with a 2.7l that died a sudden and mysterious death like most seem to. It got a junk yard, 3.2l swap, but the old-timer, retired mechanic, family friend, that did the swap for dad couldn't get the 3.2l ECM to work, my guess is it was an immobilizer issue. So dad wound up with a 3.2l running via the stock 2.7l ECM, yes there was always a CEL on, but it ran, well, and deceivingly quick.

My younger brother lost his license for 6 months in that car, was clocked at 100 mph, young, dumb, invincible, teenager, he claimed he was doing much more than that, but slowed down when he saw the cop.

The Intrepid became the family "extra car," if anyone needed it, it was there, my sister used it for a summer right after college, and I used it for a few long trips that weren't ideal for Jeep travel.

My folks just sold it a couple years ago, yeah someone actually paid money for it, 200K miles, blower motor only worked on full blast, CEL indefinitely on, etc. I couldn't believe it either.

Thanks for the Intrepid trip down memory lane.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/18/15 12:58 p.m.

My mother had a first year (93) Intrepid. It spent so much time at the dealer Chrysler eventually ended up buying it back...

DjGreggieP New Reader
11/18/15 2:32 p.m.

(I may need to come back to editing for picture adding, photobucket acting up at work currently)

Thank you guys for the positive feedback thus far, will be a little boring with mostly text to stare at, I do apologize!

Well, she started life as a Base with the 2.7, had the usually '20 year old owned' modifications, K&N intake and straight piped! She was loud, but still no power house and after 6 months of regular police enforcement encouragement she had a 'thrush styled' muffler welded in.

After a bit of bag driving thinking I was 'too cool' to go to a track the first engine blew up, so I sourced a parts car and swapped engines and around the same time I started looking at possible parts options to make it 'better' (I use quotations because at this point I had no actual idea or direction that I wanted from the car) so I looked to the forums.

They were of little help, they focus on appearances, I wanted to eek out a little more performance from the big car. But I was pointed towards the 300M special that had upsized front and rear sway bars so my first suspension update was decided!

(most likely going to jump over stuff because its been a build over a few years)

The first engine swap went swimmingly and she fired and ran great, made it to my first drag race. 1/8th mile ran 11.7 seconds and I thought that was awesome! Got one run in and got called to work.

Fast forward about a year or so and I spectacularly killed the second engine, two connecting rods exploded, third bent and cracked, hole in the block the whole 9 yards. Strangely enough she still ran and idled, just didn't hold oil very well...

So the car then sat, for a year, and this time I purchased 2 parts cars, one lending to its new moniker, the other was to be scavenged for the engine. This time around I was done with the 2.7L so I opted for finding the 3.5HO and luckily I found a write off roughly 30 minutes away from me for under $500. The donor this time was a 2000 300M that turned out to be the biggest and by far best donor for me.

Fun fact for you Bigdaddy, the CEL was most likely because of something really... well funny actually.

On the 2.7L the power steering pump has a piece of harness that runs to it, on the 3.2 and 3.5 there isn't, so the CEL comes on because the PCM/ECM is looking for a signal from the PS pump to so everything is A OK! no harness, no signal, and a CEL is illuminated.

I will leave off here, will try to get photobucket to cooperate after work and I can update with more pictures and more info. There is still lots to tell!!

pimpm3 Dork
11/18/15 2:56 p.m.

I am parting out a 300 m special if you need anything...

DjGreggieP New Reader
11/18/15 3:09 p.m.
pimpm3 wrote: I am parting out a 300 m special if you need anything...

Thank you for the offer, but i have the parts I can use from a Special already on my car. Previous posts are a 'catching up' to date for my car.

Mike Dork
11/18/15 3:47 p.m.

Stand tall, because what you have is, in fact, a Lamborghini Portofino.

The0retical Dork
11/18/15 3:50 p.m.


I can safely say this is the first time I am interested in what is about to happen to an Intrepid. Show us some updates when you have time!

mazdeuce PowerDork
11/18/15 3:54 p.m.

I thought these were awesome space ships when they released the first images of them. Didn't Chrysler go directly from the K platform to this? I guess they had the Shadow/Spirit and it's variations in there somewhere too. None the less, these seemed like such a massive leap forward.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/18/15 4:06 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

Yep. I remember being in the dealer with my mother when she bought hers... and then looking at the full-size van next to it and mentioning to her, "Look! It has the same HVAC vents as your '71 Demon had!" The previous year, I rented a K-car Spirit in CA.

It was a weird time for Chrysler...

It was a nice car. Shame the first-year bugs were so brutal.

pres589 UberDork
11/18/15 7:16 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

No, they went from the AMC/Eagle Premier to this, so the car is more Renault 25. Not sure if any K-like engineering exists in the Intrepid. Maybe very minor details?

mazdeuce PowerDork
11/18/15 7:25 p.m.

In reply to pres589:

No, I mean the showrooms went from having K-cars to having these wacky future cars basically overnight. It was weird. I remember how huuuuuge the dashboards were. You could camp out on them.

pres589 UberDork
11/18/15 7:30 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

Ooooh. Yeah. At both the low end of these cars vs. the K-stuff before, and then the high end. Looking at a 1993 New Yorker and then a 1994 LH-based New Yorker really goes with what you're suggesting.

DjGreggieP New Reader
11/18/15 7:44 p.m.

So I now remember why I stopped liking photobucket, photos always fail to upload maybe my Flickr works...

While I figure that out, this may be more to catch up on...

When we last left off I had blown up the 2.7, again. So I bought a couple donors because it was worth the money, I had hit wildlife and I bought a clean body car for $500 and a engine donor for $500.

Fast forward a year while I let all three cars sit and I drove my loud truck instead until I discovered you know, paying for gas every other day gets old. So I started the push to get things done.

The 3.5HO swap went well, the cats had to get cut out because they wouldn't line up and I pulled the rest of the A/C stuff. And as noted before the 2.7 computer stuff will run the bigger engines.

After the engine went in is when everything started to go a little crazy.

I swapped in the Special front sway bar, then put in a set of H&R drop springs matched with KYB GR-2 struts all around.

Brakes up front got upgraded to powerslot items, NAPA ultra premium rear rotors, Hawk HPS pads all around.

Exhaust went thru another rendition.

I finally got around to wiring the auto stick option properly. And swapped everything over from the front of the body panel donor because I wanted foglights and a mis matched color bumper looks funny so may as well make the whole front end one color, right?

Roughly how she looked after all of that, any guesses as to her new moniker she received?

So I finally had her running better, got the kinks work out, to her out to the drags. Ran a 10.6 and I thought that was pretty fast! And she was noticed by someone that changed the face of her forever.

I am sure those of you with kids or experience with kids will understand they are very good with color association, well my hairdressers boyfriends daughter excitedly exclaimed 'It looks like Ironman' when she was with her dad watching the races and poof, the name 'IronTrep' was formed and having the parts I later swapped the rear bumper and trunk lid and went for a pseudo Ironman look, and now a little boy of about 4 goes crazy when he gets to see the 'Ironman car' at the races

Also, I got tires for the 18's I had sitting since I blew up the 2.7.

After all that, I kinda just drove it and enjoyed it, then I took it to a 'Time attack' day the local BMW club puts on at a go kart track and discovered a major flaw. My drivers seat has zero support under hard load. I spent my time on track steering with one hand and holding my bottom in place, so it necessitated the need for as far as I know a world first. I have this habit of searching Kijiji for used parts I may be able to make work for my car because of the zero aftermarket support, and one day I happened across a Recaro seat for $125. Needless to say, I messaged him about it quick and arranged a day to pick it up.

Not the prettiest thing, but it fits the cars rough and ragged attitude.

And it looks right at home!

With the seat I actually shaved 3 seconds off my time around the same track, so I will say that a good seat is worth the investment.

And that brings us roughly up to date with the car, she is tucked away for winter months here in Saskatchewan, and I am slowly stockpiling parts. I have some maintenance to do and we are looking at adding a GT2860 salvaged from an R32 GTR when the owner upgraded his turbos. So as things come together with that (mostly a pile of parts at the shop I work at currently) I will keep this updated. It may just be a place to post hey parts arrived!

Thank you for looking, any insight or advice is appreciated!!

DjGreggieP New Reader
11/18/15 7:48 p.m.

Oh, also swapped over the electronics over from the 300M to get the full potential from the 3.5HO and discovered that the donor was a PHP car so the electronics were tuned slightly more aggresively and actual has no top speed limiter (which I discovered by accident) so as I said it was well worth the money I paid for the engine donor.

egoman New Reader
11/18/15 8:04 p.m.


Wondering how to make one of these fast and light? Here's what I did for a project a few years ago. Myself and a man who did a Vanagon swap are amongst a small group of people who have these drivetrains in running order away from the donor.

Dusterbd13 UberDork
11/18/15 8:17 p.m.

Egoman, your project has inspired many bad ideas for me. Thank you for building it.

Op: how responsive is the autostick in a track day situation? Does it do what you tell it when you tell it, or does it have a mind of its own/lag/etc?

simontibbett Reader
11/18/15 8:24 p.m.

Turn it into a super touring car style build.

Not an Intrepid but still big body American muscle!

DjGreggieP New Reader
11/18/15 8:35 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13, its upshift is decently snappy response wise compared to other autostick set ups, and the downshifts are about on par to a basic manual downshift (ie 5 speed basic cobalt) But I don't know if that is a by product of the PHP (Performance Handling Package) tuning it has or not, most other Intrepid owners don't really drive uh... spiritedly? so it's hard to get an idea from other owners.

The track I get to run on its a second gear track for most cars, with one sharper hairpin to a straight that needs to drop to first for better acceleration out of it, so it's only been on highway tested for the most part so far

DjGreggieP New Reader
11/18/15 8:39 p.m.
simontibbett wrote: Turn it into a super touring car style build. Not an Intrepid but still big body American muscle!

I don't know if a Stratus is really big body or muscle lol

But Intrepid's did do a stint as Nascar bodies in the early 2000's so I can get some fibreglass pieces still. Plan was something like a super touring car but still daily drivable because I love driving my car!

AntiArrhythmic New Reader
11/19/15 3:49 a.m.

Interesting! a friend of mine had a Intrepid R/T back in 2002/3 (I had an SHO). I remember researching very hard for parts to make it fast, but I wasn't able to find much.

Kylini HalfDork
11/19/15 9:28 a.m.

Sweeeeet jeebus. Thank god you switched to the 3.5 L. Here's mine:

The Monroe Sensastruts work well on our car (still floaty, but not blown thank god) but they messed up and sent a lot out where both fronts use the same side upper mount! Needless to say, a passenger shock with a driver-side upper doesn't install too good. Actually check to make sure you have good parts BEFORE wrenching and leaving your car totally disassembled in a friend's driveway.

I have no performance suggestions other than buy another car. But what's the fun in that.

DjGreggieP New Reader
11/19/15 9:58 a.m.

I went with OEM uppers and one still failed! And I need to get an action pic of mine, the sway bars help immensely!! Car looks good, is it still going?

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