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Just got your 2GNT and want to know where you should start? Ask the experts and they'll tell you, you should take care of all the basic_maintenance to make sure your car is healthy before attempting to increase power output. Yes, there are certain things which you can replace as part of your maintenance which will be improvements, but for the most part, you want to get the car running at it's best before you start playing around with it. It's the smart thing to do!

Before you get started, you might think about picking up some basic tools. A set of metric sockets, some box wrenches, a slotted and Phillips screwdriver, a pair of Vice Grip pliers, a pair of channel locking pliers, a flashlight, and maybe one of those neat little magnet things for getting dropped bolts out of nooks and crannies. You can also buy a nice tool box to keep them all in. You're practically a "car guy" already!

Cost | $20-$150
Power | No gains (although the car might run better).
Difficulty | 1
For some people, this is a piece of cake. All prices are approximate. In the interest of making this easier to read...

[b]*Spark_plugs[/b] ($5) - Forget what the guy tells you about Platinum or Iridium. It's all a fad. Save your money for things that will give you real value. Most people suggest using NGK-BKR5E. One range hotter than stock and suggested for NA cars that do a lot of short trips. NGK-BKR6E is stock temperature range and -BKR7E is one range cooler.

[b]*Spark_plug_wires[/b] ($30) - There's really no need to spend a lot of money on upgraded wires at this point unless you really want to. Autozone carries a nice set of Bosch silicone wires with a lifetime warranty for around $30. A lot of people will experience a misfire under acceleration caused by old wires in their lifetime. One of the easiest mods on the car, this takes all of five minutes and requires no tools!

[b]*Air_filter[/b] ($20) - Help your engine breathe by installing a new air filter. If you have $100 or so available and want to upgrade this now, take a look at Stage 1, below, and read more, but we're talking about installing a stock air filter, here.

[b]*Oil_and_filter[/b] ($30) - If you know what kind of oil was used in the engine before, use that, otherwise if your engine has a few miles on it, might as well stick with conventional oil or a synthetic blend. Synthetic oil has a tendency to find the smallest gap and begin to leak on older engines. Interesting trivia for you, we share our filter with the Dodge Viper! The Fram part number is PH16.

[b]*Thermostat[/b] ($10) - This allows the engine to warm up properly before circulating hot coolant through the radiator and heater core. Traditional, basic maintenance.

[b]*Radiator_cap[/b] ($10) - If your radiator cap wears out, heated coolant in the form of steam can get out of the system, causing the car to overheat in the summer and make your heater useless in the winter. Another no tool repair that takes all of two minutes to do. Just make sure the engine is cold before messing with the cooling system!

[b]*Coolant/Antifreeze[/b] ($15) - Why pay a shop $70 or more to "flush and fill" when you can do it yourself?

[b]*Fuel_Filter[/b] ($20) - Often overlooked, this can cause annoying problems down the road if you don't replace the fuel filter every so often. You might let it slide, but keep it in mind.

[b]*Transmission_fluid[/b] ($50) - Manual transmissions are best advised to use the fluid from the dealership. Automatic models can use just about ATF+3, but there is a dealership fluid you can chose if you like. It runs around $14 a bottle and you need, get this, 2.2 bottles for the manual trans. This is a good idea if your car has higher miles, but is not likely required right away.

Cost | $50-$150 to do it yourself (DIY), shops will charge $500-$800+ (Worth doing yourself!)
Power | No gains.
Difficulty | 3
Your 2GNT DSM comes with a Chrysler-made 420A engine that is what is known as an *interference engine* in the community. The timing belt is turned by the crankshaft and is routed, or timed, in such a manner as to ensure the intake/exhaust valves open at the appropriate time in relation to the movement of the pistons. Should the belt break while you're driving, there is a VERY good chance that your pistons will hit your valves, bend them and require you to fully rebuild or replace the engine. You don't want to HAVE TO rebuild the engine right after you bought the car, so give some thought to this job. The timing belt is scheduled to be replaced every 60,000 miles. If you've got more than 60k on your car and don't know when the tBelt was last changed, it is very important you get this done as soon as possible.

[b]Other_Belts[/b] (There are only two.)
Cost | around $30
Power | No gains.
Difficulty | 2
Power steering and air conditioning share a belt and the alternator has its own. Most auto parts stores will be able to tell you which belts you need.

[b]Clutch and Brake Fluids[/b]
Cost | $5-$30
Power | No gains.
Difficulty | 2-3
Not difficult to do, but you may need someone to help you bleed the system if you do anything more than top off the reservoirs. Both systems use DOT3 brake fluid. DOT3/DOT4 compliant fluid is okay too.

Cost | $50-$150
Power | No gains.
Difficulty | 2
Doing the brakes is a lot easier than most people know. You can get cheapie brake pads for $20 and front rotors can be bought new from auto parts stores for about $30 apiece. TIP: Take your car into a brake shop for their free inspection, then do the repairs yourself if you are able. Rear drum brakes have been known to last more than 170,000 miles, but rear discs will need service sooner than that. If your brakes vibrate or squeal when you go to stop, it's time for a brake system tune up.


Document statistics: Last modified on 2006-08-08 08:51:27 by DR1665

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