Stuff to Know about the Dodge Magnum
- The Dodge Magnum nameplate was used by various vehicles. The name was used for a large coupe sold from 1978 to 1979 and for a rear-wheel-drive station wagon for the 2005 model up to the 2008 model year.
- The late 1970s Magnum in the US and Canada was sold as the XE and GT. It was based on the Chrysler B platform, making it the last vehicle to use this in its design. The Magnum looked like a rounded off Charger. It was designed to be more aerodynamic to be able to compete at NASCAR.
- The design for the Magnum came about when the Chrysler team thought of more aerodynamic designs for the race track, specifically the 1978 racing season of NASCAR. Petty Enterprise created test cars that can run up to 190 mph. Richard Petty clinched the second spot in Daytona 125 and was very hopeful. However, after leading more than 30 laps in Daytona 500, the front tire blew up. The small-block Chrysler 360 V8 didn’t have sufficient factory development support, and this eventually became a problem.
- In 2004, the Magnum nameplate made a comeback as a 2005 station wagon based on the Chrysler LX platform. The then-new Magnum was a version of the Chrysler 300. It was built at a plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. In the US, the Magnum became the last mid-size station wagon to be marketed by an American automotive brand. In Europe and Australia, however, the Chrysler 300 Touring was sold.
- Although the Magnum wasn’t always a hit with its design, it also earned some recognition after it was revived. For 2005, for instance, Car and Driver included Magnum in its Ten Best list.
- The Dodge Magnum was discontinued after the 2008 model year, along with the Crossfire, the PT Cruiser convertible, and the Pacifica. This was part of the restructuring plan of the manufacturer. The revived Magnum had about 39,217 units sold in 2004 based on the US sales chart, followed by impressive sales of about 52,487 units in 2005. In 2008, however, sales plummeted to just 6,912 and in 2009, only 113 units were sold. After its cancellation, the Dodge Magnum was succeeded by the Dodge Journey.
Usual Problems of the Dodge Magnum
Before any problem gets serious, you should be able to figure out what’s wrong with your car before it wreaks havoc on your overall driving performance. You wouldn’t want your engine to sputter, your brakes to fail, your car to idle roughly, or your steering and suspension to be unstable. If you’re driving a Dodge Magnum or are set to buy one, it’s best to know the usual repair troubles of the car for preventive maintenance. We’ve read through some of the common complaints and reported problems by Magnum owners and came up with this short list.
Squeaks when turning the steering wheel
Whenever the steering wheel is turned, some Dodge Magnum owners would hear some squeaks. This usually happens when turning at lower speeds, such as when parking the vehicle. If squeaks seem to come from the steering column, the problem may have something to do with the steering shaft’s lower seal. To fix the problem, this seal has to be lubricated.
A good number of Magnum owners have reported electrical/lighting problems. The driving lights would come on and off or the lights on the dash totally won’t work. Interior features may also fail to switch on or work properly. Some would have the alternator checked and repaired if needed. But most of the time, electrical and lighting problems would be solved through software updates.
Leaking rear differential/axle seals
Dodge Magnum seems to have an issue with rear differential and axle seals. Users have reported repeated leaks coming from worn-out or broken seals. Even after several replacements, some would have to change the seals again. When replacing the broken seals, you have to choose high-grade replacement parts. They should be a perfect match to the rear differential and the axle, so they can properly lock and secure these parts and prevent any occurrence of leaks. The rear differential and axle should also be thoroughly checked for any other problems.
Transmission electrical connector leak
When there’s a transmission fluid leak, some would often blame the transmission oil pan gasket. However, the real source of the problem is often the automatic transmission’s electrical connector. This may cause the transmission fluid to leak.
Keeping your Dodge Magnum Running
It may be a while since you've had your Dodge Magnum and you would, of course, want it to be running flawlessly. But in order to get optimum performance from your car, you should also give your best in looking after it. You can't just parade it around and not keep it well maintained. Here are ways on how you can keep your Dodge running well and at an optimal condition:
- Pay attention to your brakes.
The brake system doesn't particularly need high maintenance if you drive in rural highways—a safe bet would be to have your brakes checked every 6 months. Urban driving, on the other hand, will require you to have your brakes checked more often due to the crowded streets that force your car to stop a lot. But with Magnums, it's going to be a bit trickier since they are muscle cars; and with muscle cars come powerful engines. That means your brakes will have to work harder in order to stop your car. The brake pads could easily become worn out and that is something you have to watch out for. The first sign will be a squealing or screeching noise. Once you start hearing that whenever you use the brake, you should have your car checked immediately. Worn out brake pads cause the caliper to rub against the rotor, which in turn is being slowly destroyed from all the friction it is receiving from the caliper. So, instead of only having to replace your brake pads, you are now at risk of losing your caliper and rotor if the issue is not immediately addressed.
- Keep your engine cool and clean.
Keeping your car engine in check is vital for an optimum performance, especially with high caliber engines such as the V6 and V8. Have the oil changed regularly every 6 months or every 10,000 miles. Disregard the 3,000-mile myth, wherein it says that you should change oil every 3,000 miles. That's not just pricey; it's also bad for the environment and completely unnecessary. Make sure to check the coolant level too, so that your engine won't overheat and cause further damage in time. If you need to replenish the antifreeze, try getting the recycled one. It works just the same, but is more eco-friendly and a lot less expensive too. Check if all the wirings are properly secured and all the connections are intact. Don't hesitate to replace anything that needs changing because your car needs the right equipment to run properly and efficiently.
- Check your transmission regularly.
The greatest issue that the Magnum has encountered was regarding its transmission. It's no secret that the 2005 Magnums have problems when it comes to getting the gear out of park. You may have encountered this problem already and have tediously worked on it to fix the issue. Unfortunately, there is still no guarantee that it won't happen again. So, always have your transmission checked whenever your car goes to the auto shop even if your car is supposedly only there for tire maintenance. It is always better to be ahead of things rather than be sorry and caught off-guard.
The Evolution of the Dodge Magnum
Since its inception as a two-door coupe in the late 1970’s, the Dodge Magnum has undergone a complete transformation for its release in 2004. The Magnum of the 1970’s was a muscle car powered by an oversized engine that made it roar through the highways of America. This car was the stuff that American dreams were made of. The Magnum of the twenty first century was a stylish station wagon that oozed class.
1978: First Generation
The first Dodge Magnum released had an engine lineup that included the 145-horsepower 5.21-liter V8, the 155-horsepower 5.9-liter V8 and the 190-horsepower 6.6-liter V8. The Magnum was available in the standard XE model and the performance GT, which came with an improved heavy-duty suspension and a special axle. GT’s had a special badge attached to it to set it apart from the base Magnums. After just two years, the Magnum was scrapped by Chrysler.
A modified Magnum was used for the 1978 NASCAR. The Chrysler team used it to replace the Charger, which was deemed ineligible to compete. The performance of the Magnums was inconsistent at first, to the chagrin of a number of drivers. During its NASCAR run, the Magnum managed to rack up a respectable number of wins.
1979: Other incarnations abroad
The Magnum may have been scrapped in the United States, but other versions of the vehicle were being sold abroad. In Brazil, Magnums were modeled from the Dodge Dart and sold from 1979 – 1981. In Mexico, two generations of the Magnum have been sold from 1981 to 1988.
2004: Second Generation
The second generation Dodge Magnum was released as a station wagon. The vehicle came in four trims, the SE, equipped with a 200-horsepower 2.7-liter V6, the SXT, equipped with a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, the RT, equipped with a 340-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, and the SRT8, with a much larger 425-horsepower 6.1-liter V8. Lower trim levels had a four-speed automatic transmission while the better trims had the five-speed automatic. All-wheel versions of the Magnum were offered for the SXT and RT trims.
Reviews of the Dodge Magnum were mostly favorable. Many praised the handling capabilities of the Magnum, its superior build quality and excellent performance. The V8 engines were powerful though they consumed copious amounts of fuel.
Unfortunately, memories of the old Magnum have embedded themselves deep in the psyche of many Americans. This left many disappointed with the new Magnum, leading to very slow sales and its eventual demise.