Last post on Sep 16, 2009 at 12:39 AM
You are in the Dodge Caliber
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Dodge Caliber, Wagon
#1595 of 1634 question about dodge caliber sxt?
Feb 07, 2008 (8:07 pm)
Does anyone know why you can not find the Dodge Caliber SXT without all of the extra stuff? I was told by a dealer that the msrp and invoice price on the sxt is a base price of a car that essentially does not exist. What I was told is that all SXT's come from the factory already packaged with additional items so it is impossible to get a regular standard dodge caliber sxt unless it is ordered from the factory. Does anyone have any information about this? Please help me out
#1596 of 1634 Re: question about dodge caliber sxt? [harmonychic]
Feb 08, 2008 (7:36 am)
I had to ordermine from the dealership... SXT, manual trans, with fog lights
#1597 of 1634 21,000 Mile Update
Feb 25, 2008 (9:37 am)
Still have a noisy trim rattle from the right rear passenger compartment. Dealer unable to duplicate noise on test drive (funny how American dealers with limited warranty $$$ to spend can't find this large noise, but Toyota and Honda both quickly identified and fixed trim noises on my Echo and '03 Civic).
My door still occasionally fails to latch when I close it (manual locks). It just bounces off the latch. I then have to pull the handle out slightly to shift the internal parts and it latches and locks. This also happened, fortunately, when I was a block from the dealer filling up with gas - so I drove over there holding the door closed with my hand, showed the service rep, and he "ordered" the parts although the computer didn't show any "TSB's" (technical service bulletins) on the issue. One year later and several calls to the dealer, still no parts - stonewalled.
The engine, or drive train, or heat shield, or something in the engine compartment still makes an occasional (1 in 20 times) "pocka-pocka-pocka" noise when started up cold (I have the 5 speed manual 1.8).
The dealer did flash the ECM (engine control module) with the revised engine control program very early in the car's life, and it ran smoother.
Never had any stalling issues. Engine is VERY smooth and has gotten stronger and stronger over time. Design seems to be good.
I was running Pennzoil Platinum 5-20 with 5,000 mile oil change intervals (no oil consumption) with dealer oil changes until my last oil change, when I went to 6,000 miles (maximum permitted by owner's manual) and had the service work done at Firestone (they did a nice alignment and wheel balancing for me and didn't try to "upsell" me so I have decided to take the car to them - since the dealers don't do warranty work anyway. ).
I made the following upgrades:
1. Very early, changed to top-rated (by Consumer Reports) Falken Ziex 512's. Stiffer side-walls than the stock tires, which made up for the higher profile on the stock 15" wheels. Supposedly America's Tire Stores did a Hunter GSP 9700 "Road Force" balance but I felt some irregularity in the tires at freeway speeds - in other words the new set up wasn't as smooth as stock. This was corrected by a very ecomical re-balance (with 9700) at Firestone a few weeks ago, the tires are very smooth now.
2. Had to push to get the ECM re-flashed. Worth it, no more tendency to lose rpm at idle and "stumble". Also no more occasional "power outages" where the ECM seemed to "choke" and shut down the motor for a millisecond at slow speeds.
3. Replaced the stock shocks/struts and springs with the R/T shocks/struts and springs. I just copied down an R/T VIN off the internet, found a discount Dodge dealer on the internet, and ordered the parts - actually much cheaper than buying after market performance parts like Eibach or H&R, plus I got a firmer suspension without losing ride height (I LIKE the stock ride height). This is not the first time I have upgraded the suspension in a cheapy base model trim line to the performance trim lines components. It is one of the reasons I still buy American small cars, they usually have a performance version and for less than $600 (parts and labor) you can have essentially the same suspension (except sway bars) as the ritzy version. And still have the smaller, more fuel efficient engine.
4. Replaced plugs at 22,000 miles. Our cars use conventional spark plugs with a 30,000 mile service life (city or highway driving). But when I was a Neon owner, the forums all recommended 15k replacement intervals to maximize performance (or gas mileage, if you drive it easy). The Firestone shop replace the conventional plugs with Bosch Platinum for $63 parts and labor, much cheaper than the conventional plug replacement at the dealer. I really can notice a difference - when cold, the engine now runs like it is warmed up, smooth and strong, and when warm I can "lug" the engine down to very low rpm in each gear, or rev it up high with more perceived smoothness.
5. Switched to premium fuel about 3k miles ago, and noticed a big difference in smoothness, ability to "lug", ease of hitting high rpm. Yes, our engines put out a lot of horsepower for their displacement - they have a lot of technology in them, including a sophisticated variable valve system licensed from their former owner, Mercedes. Yes, apparently our ECM's are "adaptive" with knock sensors and will although different spark advance etc. based on the knock-resistance (octane) of the fuel we use. While I never heard actual "spark knock" on regular, running premium really unleashes the potential of our motors. Considering the money some people drop into cold air intake systems (I haven't) or performance mufflers (I haven't - can't stand the extra noise), using premium gas is cheap.
All in all this is a well designed car, of average to below average build quality, with terrible manufacturer and dealer support. The only compelling reason to buy this, is the fact that there isn't any compact/small car that pulls off the "midsize" car imitation so well - it is wide enough for two child seats in the back with a 12 year old back there too, and has plenty of leg room. In fact we even took it up to Tahoe instead of using our minivan, when I couldn't get chains in time for the minivan, and it hauled a family of 5 plus our junk just fine, and got 30 mpg (my usual commute mpg is 31 mpg). The closest competitor is the Toyota Matrix, which costs more, is smaller, and didn't have side curtain air bags before (I think the '09 finally has them).
I have a feeling that I am stuck keeping this one for the foreseeable future (the used car auction market is glutted, and this thing has depreciated $2,000 more than my typical econocar). Fortunately while the defects it has are annoying, they aren't reliability threatening, and the parts that count - brakes, engine, suspension - all seem rock solid.
If the Japanese made this to their usual standards instead of Chrysler - or if a Toyota dealer even took care of the defects instead of the "stonewall you" Dodge/Chrysler dealers - this car, for its design alone, would be a top pick.
And yeah, I'm through buying American cars just to be patriotic. If those jerks can't fix the defects (I'll accept the fact that they can't build defect free) after the fact, on a single visit, life is too short to deal with them any more.
#1598 of 1634 Re: question about dodge caliber sxt? [harmonychic]
Mar 01, 2008 (3:21 am)
hey on www.andersonautogroup.com they have an sxt with no real extra options for $14,187 i think. it's on their lot in lincoln,ne. great dealership, i'm very pleased with them, joshua starr is out sales guy.. i almost bought it, but went with a malibu maxx instead. i think theyd go down to about $12,000. great shape.
Mar 03, 2008 (6:46 am)
Can anyone give me a comparison of the two vehicles please 1.8L? Manual tranny not interested in the CVT. Thanks
#1600 of 1634 Re: 07 vs 08 [specked]
Mar 03, 2008 (7:52 am)
I had both a manual 1.8 and the CVT 2.0 and I can safely say the CVT ran much better than the 1.8. It was smoother and faster, had less engine issues such as stalling, tac drops, etc.
#1601 of 1634 Re: 07 vs 08 [caliberchic]
Mar 03, 2008 (8:44 am)
Can anyone else give their opinions on this? I wanted to stay away from the CVT because I don't really trust the technology yet. The "professional" reviews from autos.msn.com say that manual is the way to go.
Also what are the differences between '07 and '08?
#1602 of 1634 Re: 07 vs 08 [specked]
Mar 03, 2008 (9:49 am)
never mind I found out thanks
Mar 09, 2008 (1:12 pm)
Just wondering if anyone has had a wierd smell coming out of the vent on startup. it only lasts a few seconds...I have tried spraying lysol in through vent in firewall as suggested by dealer, but it hasnt done anything to fix the problem. Air smell is so bad I have to open the windows....even in below zero temps here in Northern BC
Have been to the dealer a few times and they have not been able to fix it yet.
Anyone have any suggestions or experience with this?
#1604 of 1634 Re: Wierd Smell on start up [canadacaliber]
Mar 09, 2008 (3:36 pm)
The smell you are having is from mildew/fungal buildup on the AC/DEFROST
evaporator which located in the dash about at its center.
The problem arises from using the ac/defrost cycle both of which
use the evaperator to remove water/humidity from the cabin area.
You can help prevent it by running the HEATER only on high for
several minutes before turning the car off.
If you spray Lysol with the fan on mid setting spray it thru the
cabin airfilter access behind the glovebox,you can spray the cabin
airfilter itself with Lysol or do as I did by placing a FEW drops of
liquid car scent (something you can live with) onto the cabin air filter.
I have owned Chrysler cars since 1984 and this crops up in some
models more than others.
Since scenting the filter and letting it run on heat only for a few minutes
I haven't noticed it all winter.