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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been a Mopar fan all my life. My 1st car was a 1974 Dodge Dart sport with A 318. Most recently I have had 2 2002 300 M My 1st being a 300 M special. I love the car until a woman hit me head on in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. To my dismay the car was totalled. My replacement 300 Just had a Head gasket failure so I am now looking at a 2011 200 S convertible. I've not Had the opportunity to drive the car yet And I'm curious as to what I should be looking for as far as potential problems with this car. It has the 3.6 l V6. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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2016 Chrysler 200 S, 1998 Sebring JX
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Welcome to the forum. As with any 12 year-old used car, it should be driven & looked over. Make sure that you trust the owner, the reason for selling, the story (c'mon every car has a story) & the maintenance history.
The new car prep checklist gives a fair general idea what to look at:

Does the car show signs of being cared for? No strange noises, behaviors or odors? Everything works? Spend a couple of minutes with the dash controls. A quick 'doll-up' can try to hide neglect or damage. Fragrance can try to hide a wet carpet or a smoker.
Look underneath for any hanging drips, like oil or coolant leaks. Get a VIN check to make sure that things are 'legit' and no open recalls. I would not out-right condemn a car if it were in an accident, as long as it was repaired competently. Body panels line up? Doors latch & unlatch smoothly? Top operation OK? Owners manual present?

A good practice on a car with an unknown past is a complete fluid/filter change. Engine oil should meet Chrysler MS-6395. Transaxle & power steering are ATF+4 meeting Chrysler MS-9602. Coolant is a HOAT meeting Chrysler MS-9769 mixed 50/50 with distilled (or soft) water. Brake fluid (DOT 3 or 4) should bleed until clear.
MS= material standard.

As for things that may be common problems are electrical & oil leaks. At this age, any wear & tear items have to be considered maintenance.

The 'S' is a nice package. The ride may be stiffer than the more luxury 'C'. The package contents are upper level with leather, sound system & driver conveniences, etc.
I had a '98 Sebring JX that was a V6. The car was a blast to drive in nice weather. It was 'right-sized' for me.
 

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Take along a good OBD scanner and look for active/stored/pending dtc's that may not light any lamps - engine/trans, abs, and srs/airbag at a minimum. Also check the emission monitors are all 'ready' as 'not ready' or incomplete may indicate they were recently cleared.

Carfax is a good for source for registration and mileage tracking. Maintenance records are a hit/miss proposition as are accident reports as a shop may not report to Carfax. Case in point, bought a used car a number of years back. Carfax was clean but there were signs of front end damage such as an after-market headlamp, missing front license plate bracket (Illinois), missing emissions lablel and missing push-pin fasteners on the hood pad. Car got totaled a couple of years back and the insurance record listed 2 prior insurance claims. neither of which showed on the Carfa report.

Sometimes your insurance company will run the VIN through their system and be able to report on any prior insurance claims from any company (they like to cover their behinds and watch out for each other).
 

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2016 Chrysler 200 S, 1998 Sebring JX
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VIN reports are only as accurate as what has been documented. Some things do get under the radar. It is important to be your own Sherlock Holmes sometimes.
If you PM me the last 8 characters of the VIN, I can probably get you what Chrysler knows about the car.
 
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Very important - open and close the convertible top. The EVIC should note 'top operation complete' in both cases. Not certain where you are located but if the temp is below 32F, the top will not open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for your response. I have seen several things on the Internet suggesting that 200's are prone to shutting off while driving for no apparent reason. My brother has a 2015 4 door 200 and has not experienced this problem. Is this really an issue with all 200's?
 

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2016 Chrysler 200 S, 1998 Sebring JX
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There are several NHTSA/FTC investigations & class-action lawsuits against different automobile manufacturers, foreign & domestic, FCA included. That said, while it can happen, I don't think that the 200 is any more prone to it than many other models.
Stalling without warning is a safety concern. There are recalls for it. The worst thing for a manufacturer to do is to deny that there is a problem. GM took a big hit when they denied the ignition switch issue. The power steering & airbags would also quit when it shut off. People died.
The 2.4L MultiAir has a valvetrain that is actuated by oil pressure. Some had oil consumption issues & if the oil level was allowed to get low, stalling was a possibility.
The recall was a software change that holds the throttle open slightly to reduce intake manifold vacuum during deceleration. The problem was oil getting sucked past the (low-tension) piston rings into the combustion chamber.
The low-tension rings reduce internal engine friction losses to improve fuel-efficiency.
Not all of them have this problem which also helps to explain why this potential defect wasn't caught in early testing.
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Crankshaft position sensors can also have issues:
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I don't think that the problem would be so bad if this were found and fixed on the first shop visit. The problem is that sometimes a unexpected stalling problem is usually 'intermittent'. It may not trigger any fault codes and may not be repeatable in the shop. This can get very frustrating if it keeps happening.
Many stalling issues have to be diagnosed on a case-by-case basis. A tune-up rarely fixes a stalling problem. Fuel can and sometimes that is beyond the automakers control.
I have used a 'data-recorder' (Co-pilot) plugged into the diagnostic connector to make a recording of what the PCM did or didn't see leading up to a stall. It can take up to three 90-second recording that can be analyzed back at the shop.
The worst thing to do is to start guessing & replacing parts. Diagnosis can get involved & may require tools that only a shop has, but it is a good feeling when you can 'prove' the problem and repair just the problem.
An example:
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ggoose is right - check the full function of the top! Open and close the trunk, windows, etc. until you're sure. Something like "Top Complete" message to confirm, both up & down.
I've had multiple problems with the top; never expensive, just annoying. 2011 soft-top.
The other thing is the pass-side ventilation blend door motor. I've replaced mine twice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just a quick update and thank you to everyone who has responded to my post. I am still attempting to buy the 2011 200 hard top convertible , and the more I read posts on this forum The more convinced I am that I want this car. The salesman told me the battery was down to 10 V and they were going to put a new battery in and try the reset on the windows. That's really the Only thing that is keeping me from buying the car. Hopefully, I will be informing you this week sometime that I have purchased the car and I am very happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The dealer at the used car what is hosing me I think. Can the AlfaOBD be used to reset the convertible top and window issues? I offered to split the cost of having a Chrysler dealer diagnose only Any problems with the car. I believe hes trying to wait until the weather warms up so he can get more for the car. I am thoroughly impressed with this 200. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. You guys have been amazing so far. Thank you
 

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2016 Chrysler 200 S, 1998 Sebring JX
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I worked at dealerships for decades (in the service dept). Convertibles can command a higher asking price in nicer weather. And yes, sales can yank your chain.
Many times, late Autumn is when the car comes off the road & the owner has to decide whether to put it in storage or sell it (like owning a boat).
If the salesperson is waiting for Spring to command a higher price & making the car harder to get for you, I would discuss one more final offer with Sales, then see what happens.

I agree that this particular 200 appears to be a real jewel. It would be a shame to lose the deal. If it came down to dropping the request for a Chrysler dealer diagnostic visit, would that be a deal-breaker for you? Is this a sticking point for the salesperson?
I don't think that the salesperson is trying to hide a known problem from you. He's probably working with thin margins on all the cars on the lot. Would you have a 30 day warranty upon purchase? The top & window (related) issue may not be a serious issue, we just don't know. The new & used car business (& financing) is more crazy than usual right now.

I am not familiar with either the Alfa-OBD or Appcar-DiagFCA tools. I have only used the WiTech tool at the dealer. I can't imagine that these tools can't at least help diagnose & calibrate the top/window (PTCM & door modules).
The battery will need to be fully charged to start with. A common problem with vehicles that sit for days.
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Have you been able to drive the car? You noted they were looking to reset the windows and convertible top. What issues have been noted and reported to you? Waht messages appear in the EVIC message display when the top is operated?

It is well known that Chryslers do not tolerate low voltage conditions and a weak/failing battery will cause all sorts of issues.

Unfortunately I do not believe the dealer has the resources to work these issues. A Chrysler service dept would be able to pull any diagnostic codes from all of the computer modules (there are over a dozen) but may not be able to diagnose due to a limited exposure to convertibles.

In my opinion, the appcar-diagFCA would be a better app for diagnosing convertible top issues. Not certain I would pony up the $100+ for the OBD link and app for a vehicle I may not be buying. On a related note, I am not aware of a 'reset' procedure for the top. There is a reset/relearn for the Smartglass feature (window drops 1/4 inch when door is opened). The repair guide posted by 200_s_awd is a good resource when paired with appcar-diagFCA.

Unfortunately is it hard to diagnose when the car is not in your possession.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This car is really pretty impressive. I don't want to miss an opportunity to buy it if all it takes is to go through the relearn process on on the windows and top. I'm going to ask the dealer if I can take the at the mechanic run the return process and see if that does any good. The same dealer had a Dodge Nitro that I was looking at and When I took it to my mechanic we found out the frame was rotted out beyond repair.
 
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