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Reliability as a Daily Driver?


helloha1
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I was looking for a good car to use as a daily driver (about 20-30 miles a day) and the TC Caught my eye. I did a lot of research and i found a lot of conflicting opinions. Is this car usable as a daily driver? how about in winter. Also, I was wondering, if I do choose this car, which powertrain (the Mitsubishi 3.0 or the Maserati engine) would be the most reliable and cheapest/easy to maintain? from what I am seeing, it seems like the mitsubishi is prevalent in many chryslers of that time period so i was thinking that might be better - but I wasnt sure. Also, I am the type of person that services my cars at a dealer - not one to do repair work myself. Is the TC a car that I can drive to a Chrysler every 3-5000 miles for service, or do they not know how to work on them? and as far as the parts availability - will I have a huge problem there or what do you guys do?

Also, i heard about problems with the limp-home mode on the 4 speed auto (probably the one i would be buying as I want airbags and the manual seems quite hard to find). Is this major/common/fixable?

Also, any tips if i do purchase one - what problems to look out for on the cars when buying, suggestions to do after purchase, etc. would be helpful.

Sorry for the long post, im interested in the model but had a lot of questions and couldnt find answers for them.

Thanks

Edited by helloha1 (see edit history)
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I've been driving my 89 4 cyl three speed auto trans daily for years. Winter here in California is more like spring elsewhere but I have encountered NO problems. Well there is a pesky intermittent leak at the corners. Every time I try something it works for a month or so and then....drip drip drip.

Most of the engine parts are readily available; trouble starts with body parts. God forbid you bugger one of the headlights especially the passenger one.

It is a great auto and I love driving it. Here in Cali the top comes down on most days (today included). I put the hard top on only when rain threatens for many days in a row and even then I am reluctant, as it takes two to put the hardtop on. It was only on for a month in 2009.

If you are having the dealer look at/ service every 3-5000 miles you will have no problems.

I have no experience with the 6 cyl motors but they are very common and even I (a ham handed mechanical Neanderthal) can do most of the work on my engine.

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I have a 91 T/C v6. I have the top off eleven months of the year. I take the car to a reliable gas station for the oil changes, as for any major work I am lucky to live close to Hemi (DR. T/C) in Ventura who services my car. I have driven my car as a daily driver for 15 plus years and no problems. Have over 180 K miles, still looks like new. Enjoy the ride.

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Thanks for the insight, barelyfit and mark! I only have 1 thing that worries me which is The fact that theres a TC on here right now with low miles that seems to be in good condition that is being parted out instead of sold whole. Also, anyone else have opinions on this car? Thanks!

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edit:

i found a couple threads (http://forums.aaca.org/f144/questions-potential-buyer-284192.html and http://forums.aaca.org/f144/interested-tc-but-dont-know-much-196913.html). I was reading them and found this:

These are nice cars and fundamentally well engineered but I would recommend one only if your a car enthusiast and:

a. You're mechanically knowledgeable and handy, a Do It Yourselfer.

b. You have GOOD friends with the above if you do not.

c. You have a mechanic who is experienced and is truly "Chrysler knowlegable"

d. You have at least a couple of thousand extra dollars available for "contingencies"

e. The car appears to be well cared for inside and out.

f. You are not discouraged by small niggling things that may need replacement and repair.

g. You really like the uniqueness of the Italian-American nature of the TC

h. You have money to burn.

I am not a DIYer, as I said earlier I plan on taking it to a dealership. Would a chrysler dealership fall under category b, or would a TC be too much to handle? I really like the car from what ive heard and seen so far, but i dont want to get into something that I cant handle.

Thanks

Edited by helloha1 (see edit history)
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ANY 20+ year old automobile is going to have occasional issues. Most are solved with regular maintenance. The rest are usually covered with a parts swap. Diagnosing issues is usually the toughest part of the entire equation. Qualified mechanics and especially old school Chrysler mechanics typically have no problem. Just about every problem has been covered here and a simple search of these forums will ferret out just about any solution.

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edit:

i found a couple threads (http://forums.aaca.org/f144/questions-potential-buyer-284192.html and http://forums.aaca.org/f144/interested-tc-but-dont-know-much-196913.html). I was reading them and found this:

I am not a DIYer, as I said earlier I plan on taking it to a dealership. Would a chrysler dealership fall under category b, or would a TC be too much to handle? I really like the car from what ive heard and seen so far, but i dont want to get into something that I cant handle.

Thanks

I'm responsible for the "laundry list'. I may have gone a bit too far with the money to burn line, BUT, while mechanically these are straight early 90's Chrysler with readilly available and reasonably priced parts, body and trim parts are available only through the internet and are not shared with any other Chrysler product, except for the windsheild. A minor fender bender can easily put the car out of commission while the scarce ( and typically pricey ) replacement parts are located. Not a great scenario for a car needed for daily driving duties.

On a second note, these cars are more susceptible to rust than their American counterparts like the LeBaron. The bodies and trim, especially the bumpers are much more intricate and complex than the typical American car and the plating of the fasteners is typical european hardware and rusts more readilly than the American stuff. I would say "Not Recommeded" for winter driving conditions.

George W.

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I have had rust issues with both of my cars in the tops of the rocker panels at the front edge of the internal rocker panel trim. It appears that it's due to water friction and some dirt build up from where it drains at the side of the cowl. I have seen others rust at the bottoms of the front fenders because of clogged drains.

I think George W's list is very realistic. I use both of my cars as daily drivers year-round (except for ice/snow) but these, as any other 19-21 year old cars have issues which could cause a lot of headaches for a non-DIYer. The last place I would take these vehicles is to a Chrysler dealer UNLESS you know there is a knowledgeable mechanic working there. A good independent garage would be preferable, and even then, you may wind up educating him on some points. Good luck with your decision.

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Greeting from the Uk;

I drive my 89 TC 2.2L daily.

Yes I have had head a gasket problem and break problems with the car since it arrived in the UK. However it 20 year old and I enjoy keeping her running.

My car has 85,000 miles and I figure I can run it for another 20,000 miles with out having to many problems.

Best of luck selecting your TC.

Cheers,

Bob

Suffolk England

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so does anyone have any suggestions for a reliable daily driver that I can just take to the dealership and have no hassles? i was looking at the 1-3k range and the TC popped up, thats why I was looking here.

Thanks for all the advice.

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These little cars and their bullet proof engines really are quite reliable. If you are going to use a dealer or other competent garage just about any car choice will be fine. Trouble starts when shoddy or no maintenance is allowed to degrade the overall condition. They are well made and a ton of fun to drive.

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