Dodge Avenger

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Auto Defects > Dodge

July 2000

Dear Chrysler Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your Chrysler Sebring, Sebring Convertible or Dodge Avenger. All three models make the Car Book's worst car complaint list. Although called a Sebring, the convertible is based on the Cirrus/Stratus built by Chrysler while the Avenger and Sebring are built by Mitsubishi in Illinois. CAS has received many complaints from consumers concerning premature brake/rotor wear, steering drift, engine, electrical and body problems on their Seebring, Avenger.

Engines have numerous driveabilty problems led by stall, stumble and hesitation. Electrical problems include sunroofs that open on their own, malfunction indicator lights (MILs) that send the wrong diagnostic codes and remote keyless entry systems that don't work. The electronically controlled transmissions have major problems going into or finding the right gear. Chrysler notified dealers but not owners about these problems in Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs). CAS has listed many of the major TSBs in the enclosed Fact Sheet which tells you how to find any other TSBs on your vehicle.

The brightest spot for the Avenger/Sebring is its crashworthiness. It obtained the best 35-mph front crash test score for any compact car with driver and passenger having less than a 10% chance of being killed or seriously injured in such a crash. The Sebring Convertible did not do nearly so well with its driver and passenger having a 25% and 19% likelihood of being killed or seriously injured in a 35-mph crash.

You'll find more information on these and other Sebring, Avenger problems below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Chrysler on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide.


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

Sebring Sebring Convertible Avenger
Chrysler Technical Service Bulletin are listed in brackets below.

Body/Paint: Info on paint, water or air leaks, go to Chrysler Paint.

Brakes: Noise 1995-97 All models (05-09-96); Pulsation, shudder 1995-99 Avenger, Sebring (05-08-98).

Electrical/Instruments: Malfunction indicator light (MIL) with variable diagnostic codes 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (18-07-97); MIL illumination 1995-97 Sebring, Avenger (18-22-97); Remote keyless entry inoperative 1997 Sebring Convertible (02-07-97), 1995-97 Sebring, Avenger (23-38-97); Intermittent theft alarm activation 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (08-44-95).

Engine/Driveability: Thump/chuggle/creak from rear 1995-97 Sebring, Avenger (02-01-97); Intermittent single cylinder misfire 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (18-10-97); Sag/hesitation or engine miss with 2.5L V6, 1995-96 All models (18-08-97); No start 1997 All models (18-24-97); Cold engine stumble/buck, shift cycling 1997 All models (18-11-97); Replace intake air sensor connector 1996-97 Sebring, Avenger with 2.0L (18-22-97); Stumble/miss @ 2 minute intervals, shift cycling 1996 All models with 2.5L (18-26-97); Engine compartment pop or knock 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (25-01-96); Timing belt wear 1996 Sebring Convertible (09-11-96A); Ticking noise in engine compartment 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger with 2.0, 2.5L (18-01-96A), 1995 Sebring, Avenger with 2.0L (18-02-96); Driveability problems, false MIL, 1996 Sebring, Avenger (18-07-96); Poor performance, erratic idle 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (18-04-96); Miss 1995 Sebring, Avenger with 2.0L (18-17-95A); PCM whistles up to 8 minutes after car turned off 1995 Avenger, Sebring with 2.0L (18-13-95); Driveway stall, long restart, rough idle, surge 1995 Sebring, Avenger (18-14-95); Speed control cutout 1996 Sebring, Avenger (18-40-95); Engine damage after repair 1995 Sebring, Avenger (09-01-95); Head gasket replacement 1995-99 Sebring Convertible with 2.4L (09-05-08).

Steering/Suspension: Rear shock noise 1995-97 Sebring, Avenger (02-01-97); Pop, knock or clunk in front suspension 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (02-08-96); Steering wheel vibration 1996 Sebring Convertible (22-01-96); P/S belt irregular wear & noise 1995-97 Sebring, Avenger with 2.0L (19-05-97); Steering drift or lead 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (02-13-95); Squeak or rub from rear 1995-98 Sebring, Avenger (02-02-98); Intermittent pop in front end 1996-98 Sebring Convertible (02-05-98); Light knock or tap from rear 1995-98 Sebring, Avenger (02-07-98); Rattle or clunk from column on turns or over irregular surfaces 1995-98 Sebring Convertible (19-01-98); P/S noise on cold starts 1996-98 Sebring Convertible (19-03-98).

Transmission: Shudder during torque converter lockup 1995-96 All models (18-09-97); Gear noise 1997-98 Sebring Convertible (02-07-97); 41TE/42LE transaxle shudder during EMCC shift 1995-97 All models (21-05-97); 41TE/42LE 2nd/Reverse only for first few minutes 1996 All models (21-08-96); 41TE/42LE shifts into limp-in mode 1996 All models (21-05-96A), 1995 Sebring, Avenger (21-10-95), 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (21-15-95); 5-spd manual hard shift to Reverse 1995 Sebring, Avenger (21-16-95); 41TE/42LE shudder during 1-2 upshifts 1995-96 All models (21-11-96A); Fluid deterioration, harsh shifts/ torque converter engagement, shudder during EMCC operation 1995 Sebring, Avenger (18-24-95); 41TE/42LE shift cycling with speed control on 1995-96 All models (08-15-95A). For more complete list of 41TE transmission bulletins, go to Ultradrive Transmissions.

Other: Trunk lid support rod missing fingers 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (23-42-97); Binding of HVAC controls 1996 Sebring Convertible (08-17-96); Erratic wiper delay intervals 1996 Sebring Convertible (08-08-96); Number read through on leather seats 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (23-05-96); Moisture in taillight 1996 Sebring Convertible (08-37-96); Sunroof opens by itself or sticks open 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (23-22-96); Sunroof ratching sound or jerky operation 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (23-25-96); Sunroof won't fully open or close 1995 Sebring, Avenger (23-3-95); W/S wiper arms hit A-pillar or cowl or stop too high 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (23-55-96); Interior window film buildup 1995-96 All models (23-74-95); Door glass scratched 1996 Sebring Convertible (23-59-96); Convertible top actuation delayed 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (23-60-96); Door glass binds or makes crunch noise 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (23-62-96); Squeak in body mid-section 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (23-67-96); Squeak from door sill area 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (23-72-96); Door rattle 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger (23-74-96); Musty A/C odor &/or inadequate defroster 1996-97 Sebring Convertible (24-14-96).

Copies of recalls may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Brakes: 22,500 1996 Sebring JX Convertible with 2.5L engine - Disconnected power brake booster vacuum hose causes increase in engine idle speed & loss of brake power assist (96V-123).

Fires: 39,000 1996 Sebring Convertible - Electrical contacts of power mirror switch short (97V-015).

Seats: 600+ 1997 Sebring, Avenger - Head restraint support bracket breaks (97V-081.002).

Steering/suspension: 140,000+ 1995-97 Sebring - Lower control arm ball joint separates with loss of steering (97V-201); 150,000+ 1995-96 Sebring, Avenger - Lower control arm ball joint separates due to rubber boot damage (99V-066.003).

Other: 10,00+ 1998 Sebring, Avenger - Throttle cable sticks (98V-045.002); 200+ 2001 Sebring - Passenger airbag door separates (00V-306).

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