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Cool tribute and track story RT!

Another Original Owner, 86k mile, 13+ year forum vet, here... still checking in from time to time. Love the old memories shared!

Ordered my PB5, no-sunroof, viper seats, SRT-4 in the summer of '03... from a cool online sales dude who found me here on the forums from John Elway Dodge in Denver. My wife had to take delivery of the car when it arrived in Oct '03 cause I was in Iraq at the time. I didn't get home until Dec '03. Not sure if I was more excited to see her or the car! :)

Right after getting it, I had installed 3m window tint 20% all around... which is still up and perfect. Also put on a 3m clear bra on the headlights and hood front. Still on 13 years later... and not looking too bad either. Also put a K&N in the stock airbox (still there).

In 2004, I and another forum member friend helped out the Factory-backed Dodge SRT-4 Pikes Peak Hillclimb team when they blew out one of their surge valves during testing on one of their S3R SRT-4s. As a thank you... Dodge Tweaker hooked me up with a Stage 1 re-flash on my factory, stock ECU.... right there in the parking lot with his fancy Chrysler ECU programming computer. I drove him to the airport after that... very cool dude!

Back in 2004... took my SRT-4 to the drags at Pueblo Motorsports Park (PMI) a few times. Best I could muster was a 14.5... though my better shifting fellow-SRT-4-owning friend got my car to a 14.3... and his SRT-4 to a 14.2(?)... so it was capable. (PMI is at 5000 ft elevation). Same year, put my car on a dyno in Denver... put down 247hp/274tq (corrected) at the wheels... seemed high to me... but my friends SRT-4 (a tad faster than mine when we raced) put down just a tad higher #s ... so at least that made sense.

At one time... I tried the Borla MP cat-back exhaust. Loved the sound from the outside... but the droning noise on the highway became too much. Ended up going with stock exhaust with the necked-down spaghetti splitter tail section cut off... and a Dynomax Super Turbo muffler with single tip exhaust. Still on it to this day.

Did the normal bugger bushings on the shift cables. Got a Perrin short-throw shifter with metal knob. Love that. Changed out the trans fluid a couple 3 times over the years. My favorite stuff was and still is Pennzoil Syncromesh (no other additives). I've never had any 3rd gear grind or pop-out issues. I do double-clutch most 3rd/2nd gear downshifts... to save on the syncros... and cause it's fun.

I also tried the blue "BOV" surge plate for a time... but eventually went back to the stock surge valve. Stock turbo still spools S1 perfect, peaking 18psi (right after shift) at least once per outing. Never a hiccup with it yet.

I too installed the factory cruise control. Everything works properly (except coast) with my S1 flashed stock ECU.

Love my SRT-4. Hope to never sell it. 8 cars later... and it's still here. Hibernating the winter away right now awaiting the Spring!

Thanks all for sharing the memories!

Cheers!
 

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Thanks for sharing your memories ripcuda and also for your service. It may be more difficult for the newer members, to understand the initial excitement and enjoyment that was felt by the early owners of the SRT4. The SRT4 was/is a lightweight, 4 door, turbocharged, FWD pocket rocket, that blew the doors off many higher priced performance cars and could be bought for under 20-25k at the time. Long live the SRT4.
 

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its time for my 2nd timing belt (200k+) on my DD.. its a fun car.. starting to show its age.. freezing cold here and yesterday the blower motor smoked.. car is amazing in the snow (w/snow tires)
wife thinks its funny when we get pulled over (most of the time) --
cop: you know why i pulled you over..
wife to me: nope, do you?
.. then a long discussion about how the exhaust is totally stock....


Thanks for sharing your memories ripcuda and also for your service. It may be more difficult for the newer members, to understand the initial excitement and enjoyment that was felt by the early owners of the SRT4. The SRT4 was/is a lightweight, 4 door, turbocharged, FWD pocket rocket, that blew the doors off many higher priced performance cars and could be bought for under 20-25k at the time. Long live the SRT4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
I too installed the factory cruise control. Everything works properly (except coast) with my S1 flashed stock ECU.
Cruise was never intended to work, I forget the story of how someone found out that it did. The stock ECU and Stage 1 would support it. Stage 2 and 3 ECU will not because the section of the computer that runs cruise control was replaced with the "toys". Nobody has working "coast" though, but seriously, you are in an SRT-4, who slows down? ;)
 

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its time for my 2nd timing belt (200k+) on my DD.. its a fun car.. starting to show its age.. freezing cold here and yesterday the blower motor smoked.. car is amazing in the snow (w/snow tires)
wife thinks its funny when we get pulled over (most of the time) --
cop: you know why i pulled you over..
wife to me: nope, do you?
.. then a long discussion about how the exhaust is totally stock....
Two timing belts club :surprise:
 

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I just do the motor at about 100k...it usually has a hole in it right about that mileage...
 

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Great post RT

As an original owner since 2003 this car has been and will always be a member of my family. From the first time I road shotgun in a friends SRT-4 I was on the phone to dealers to find one even before I got out of his car. 2 weeks later I had one of my own.

This car is simple in its design, and that's what always loved the Dodge brand. My car now has only 33,500 miles and about 15,000 mile have been hard track miles from VIR to Topeka to No Problem Raceway and Little Talladega. This is a car that many know that it can take a beating and always comes back for more. It's like an old dependable dog always at your side.

I have made friends that I would never have seen if it wasn't for this car. It's like a Band of Brothers.

In the early days of this board it was always looking for the next thing for the SRT-4. Who's the first to get the Mopar BOV from UniqueTwin and having the first non-national meet in late 2003 in Atlanta at the Tuners Gone Wild meet and seeing Ethan testing the at that time the Stage 1 prototype.

Also the fact that engineers talking with everyone here and helping out where they could. I have never seen any forum where the designers were so open to help and also take feedback from the members here. And to be at the National events with them as well was amazing.

Then at Topeka Ethan was walking around asking stock SRT-4 owners if they would like a tweak. Then plugging in the magic box and BOOM they now had Stage 1 for free ( for the 2004 and up owners)


I could go on and on .. but I'll keep this short. Maybe for the next Nationals we can have an Old Farts section of the original owners/member to talk about the good old days :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Also the fact that engineers talking with everyone here and helping out where they could. I have never seen any forum where the designers were so open to help and also take feedback from the members here. And to be at the National events with them as well was amazing.
I am sad now that the current leadership at Chrysler has discarded the small car group entirely, especially for the fact that the SRT-4 was dead before it ever even literally got off the paper. I know a lot of people here were all stoked about the GLHS name, but I was not. That to me was a cop out by Chrysler to remove the 4 cylinder from the SRT lineup, which was garbage.

Then of course to add insult to injury they entirely canned the Dart. Now if they come out with a great replacement, as seems to be the rumor (on an alpha chassis), then I'll stand somewhat correct, but I hate when they drop something before they have a replacement. I often wish the Dart would have been the replacement for the Neon, or perhaps just have kept the Neon name in a new platform, like most companies do with their car lines.

It is frustrating to be Mopar at heart and watch the company bouncing around through several ownership periods with differing views of what route the "ship" so to speak is going to take. It is very difficult to maintain any sort of continuity or even a belief in the company amongst even the most hardcore employees/fans in such an uncertain future.

It's bittersweet really, watching these amazing Hellcat vehicles, and now an even more ridiculous Demon version, it is awesome, but are they going to sell 25,000 of those vehicles, even combined, like this little beast of ours did? I understand that the halo like that helps to sell the V6 and lower level hemi versions (still hard for me to think of the SRT-8 anything as the "little brother"), but I can't help but think that the lack of an SRT version of the Dart hurt the car in the long run, not as much as the quality issues but still...

Anyways, I'm rambling negatively, so my apologies. If anyone feels differently, you can chime in, I have thick skin. I am just worried that Dodge might be sliding so hard it may not recover. True car fans wouldn't want to see any of the Big 3 in the USA fail, I sure don't want to see it.
 

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"Now if they come out with a great replacement, as seems to be the rumor (on an alpha chassis)".

I thought the Dart was based on an Alpha (alfa romeo giulietta) chasis?.
I still like the look of them and can only wonder what could have been...
But there again, a Dart California (appearance package!) was $25K here with the usually "dealer markup" (skid marks in the underpants!).
Lots of better cars to choose from now at close to those prices...kinda partial to a Subaru Impreza WRX for example...
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
I still think the Dart looks amazing. It's kind of funny how much attention my SRT4 gets from Dart owners. It is also humorous when a Rallye version rolls up alongside and receives a 0-40 mph two car length spanking without even having to get on it much.

I don't think the "HOLY *@#$ those ARE fast" comment ever gets old, and it happens more as time goes by because, at least around here, you just don't see many SRT-4 anymore.

I actually enjoy visiting with people who follow me into a gas station or store parking lot just to talk for a couple minutes about the car. I think I've mellowed more about it as I've gotten older. Used to freak me out haha.
 

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Good to see you're still here! Nice writeup as always.
I only come around here when things need fixing, but I'm also keeping mine forever. 195k and I got stranded for the first time this morning -.- Battery died while coming to a stop. After changing it on the freeway, it seems my ignition got fried in the process
 

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Great post! I sold my '04 PT GT 5-spd last year and miss that mod friendly engine so much I am now looking for a replacement
 

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Thanks for the memories!

Great stories, all! Here are a few of mine.

Always liked the idea of cheap speed, and in 2003, the SRT-4 seemed to fit that description perfectly. I wanted silver, because yellow and red say "please pull me over", and black is too hot in Florida. In April 2003, I went online, and told all the nearby dealers I would buy from the one that gave me lowest bid. Several didn't answer, a few said they already sold out their few SRT-4's, and one... said he would sell to me for $18,975, about $1K below sticker. Drove there fast as I could without getting a ticket. :lol:

True to his word, the salesman sold it at that price. He also said one of the sales managers screamed at him because he should have made more on it. (At the time, dealers were marking them up $2K to $3K over sticker). Drove out feeling like I got a steal.

After a brief break-in, wanted to start drag racing it and modding it. Took it to the track a few times, and best time bone stock was 13.9. Wrote the Drag Racing Fundamentals sticky as my only claim to fame. Well, maybe one more. There was this one early incident...

Back then, we had a War Stories forum. I didn't realize it was moderated by a few LS1 nut-huggers who liked to make fun of the SRT-4. Someone posted that he roll raced a Camaro and beat it, and he thought it might have an LS1. The moderators and a few others started pounding him mercilessly, so I stepped in and said, "Hey! It's possible. A well-driven stock LS1 runs about 13.5 in the quarter mile, and a well-driven SRT-4 runs about 13.9, so a crummy driver in an LS1 vs. a good driver in an SRT-4 could make it a very even race.

Of course, they started pounding me mercilessly, and the OP slunk away. Worse (or better) yet, someone cross posted with ClubSi, and all their infamous War Stories trolls started pounding me, too. I was getting thoroughly trashed in two forums.

Thing is... I was a long time member of ClubSi under a different username, and they didn't know it. I wrote the ClubSi Drag Racing Fundamentals sticky, so I had at least some credibility there. I posted on the ClubSi War Stories forum, but they all kept saying what a complete idiot I was. A stock SRT-4 could never, ever, ever, ever, ever beat a stock LS1 powered car. Ever. Period.

I went drag racing the following week, and as luck or Providence would have it, the first car I ran against was a 2001 Firebird Formula. He ran 13.9 and I ran 14.2, but my reaction time was nearly 3 tenths better, so he only won by .05 seconds total. I talked to him a bit -- very nice guy. We decided to run again. Nearly identical result, only this time, I beat him by .04 seconds, again with a better hole shot.

I posted the slips on ClubSi and told the story. I didn't have video to prove it, but they apparently believed me. All the trolls on both forums shut up. :jester:
 
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