Owner’s Tips for the Premier/Monaco....
These are some of the compiled tips from my own experience and experiences of other owners….
engine oil: switch over to synthetic fluids:
simply the best protection and best insurance for keeping your car on the road a long time - if you want to change your oil
every 6000 miles, then use Mobil 1 Tri-Synthetic. I’ve been changing my oil every 7500 miles and now use Mobil 1 0W-40.
The engine is one of the Premier’s strongest assets but it must be kept cool and lubricated, and synthetic oil is the
way to go here. This new Mobil 1 was designed for European engines. So far, its working great with much better startup lubrication.
Some owners have switched to 20W50 in older engines experiencing piston-slap knocking at startup, but isn’t recommended
for cold climates.
transmission: the ZF4HP18 transmission may
be the weakest part on the Premier, with reported complete failures as early as 30,000 miles and almost nobody seeing above
100,000 miles without a replacement; so what can you do to make it last as long as possible? 1) be sure the throttle kick-down
cable is adjusted correctly, if its not, you’ll experience flares between shifts, harsh shifts, and many symptoms of
a ‘burnt’ transmission - tip: setting the cable slightly longer than the factory spec measurement can reduce engine
flare between the 3-4 shift on higher mileage vehicles. Always start with the cable adjusted to exactly 1.55" before tweaking.
2) change to synthetic transmission fluid by Mobil 1 or Amsoil, do a complete system flush (many quick lube places now have
these fluid exchange machines), change the filter screen, and go synthetic; it will run cooler and keep your expensive transaxle
going strong. Adding an auxiliary trans oil cooler is also a must, especially if you're in the mountains. If you stick with
petroleum based fluid, change the fluid and filter screen every 15,000 miles. The design of the ZF transaxle was intentionally
‘sporty’ with aggressive shifting patterns. This abrupt ‘feel’ is quite different than most typical
front wheel drive cars like the Taurus, some owners like it, some don’t. The later models (91/92) have a redesigned
valve body which shifted smoother to respond to owners complaints of the transmission being too harsh.
oil filters - while you can purchase a replacement
oil filter just about anywhere for the Premier, we recommend sticking with the factory Renault filter from the Chrysler dealer.
Why? Well the Renault filter was redesigned to help reduce the initial engine ‘dry-start’ knock most Premiers
have. The best non-dealer filter available for the Premier is the Mobil 1 MA207 (AutoZone). The Amsoil oil filter is also
an excellent choice. If you try to purchase the smaller Renault filter from a dealer, make sure you specify, or you'll get
a larger stock Mopar Jeep filter.
air filter - install the K&N filtercharger
air filter unit, it is a great air filter for any car; the Amsoil foam oil-wetted filter is another great choice here. Both
filters are lifetime filters, you just wash and re-oil them as necessary. A product called the Tornado air management system
is also available for the Premier and I’ve tested it and saw a 1.5 mpg increase using it. Combined with the Amsoil air
filter, and 0W-40 Mobil 1, I’m currently averaging a respectable 25 mpg city. Cruising on the interstate, I’m
hitting the 31 mpg mark. Quite impressive for such a large car.
antifreeze & coolant system: try switching
to the new DexCool ‘orange’ antifreeze, it’s just better in aluminum engines. Be sure not to mix different
types of antifreeze (orange and green). If you make the switch to DexCool (orange) be sure to completely flush/chemically
clean/and refill. Most important thing about the coolant system is to properly ‘bleed’ the air out of the system
any time a hose, part, or thermostat is changed. Air in the system is the #1 cause of overheating in the Premier engine. Also,
make sure your vehicle has the recall kit on the heater hose assembly and installed properly. It’s sad to say, but most
of the recall kits I’ve seen were installed incorrectly by the dealer. I will send diagrams on proper installation at
request. Just email me. Just goes to show it’s up to the owner to make sure it’s right. Instructions on the correct
position of this valve are available by request via email. Overheating problems are commonly the cause of a cracked pressure
bottle, be sure to check this for any cracks/leaks before tearing into a head gasket.
Peeling Paint: a very common and irritating
problem with many Chrysler built vehicles in the early 90’s has surfaced with ‘peeling paint’, everyone
has seen these and it’s a very common problem. The paint just starts popping off, and if left untouched-up, will just
keep spreading till you have huge sections of gray primer showing. The only solution is to root strip the peeling area with
chemical stripper, and have the panel repainted. According to most resources, Chrysler and their dealers aren’t really
helping consumers with this problem any more due to the age of the vehicles. Because of the current value of Premier vehicles,
a good option is to have MAACO paint your car (around $500); it won’t be show quality but it will look great for the
price. Take off all of the trim and lamps yourself, this keeps over spray off and is an easy way to make it look better.
Electrical Challenges: One of the most frustrating
part of the Premier is the electrical system. Most of the problems are the result of corrosion in the various connectors,
broken wiring at flex points, and inconsistent part quality. The wiring connecting the driver’s door to the body is
a common (but easily fixable) trouble spot where the flex causes the wires to crack and break causing all kinds of problems
like inoperative power mirrors, speakers, locks, and windows. If you follow basic electrical diagnosis, virtually all Premier
electrical problems can be isolated to broken wires, bad grounds, or dirty connectors. If you are experiencing a ‘no-start’
condition (engine turns over but won’t fire), try unplugging the crank sensor, cleaning it with electrical contact cleaner,
reconnect and start. This has worked for me more than once on several Premiers. Other owners have reported that just tapping
the black map sensor on the back of the firewall has ‘cured’ their no-start condition.
Horn Blowing by Itself: a common problem
seen by many Premier owners is the horn sounding by itself. When this happened to me, I tried just about everything to diagnose
the problem. The symptoms, other than the horn blowing, was a fuse constantly blowing , causing the AC display to be inoperative.
If you replace the fuse and it keeps blowing, start by disconnecting the horns one at a time. A shorted out horn can cause
the constant fuse blowing, simply replacing the defective horn or leaving it disconnected can solve this problem. Now for
the root of the problem. The horn pad has a pressure switch under the vinyl. The two brass contact plates are separated with
foam. The foam deteriorates over time and the contacts can touch, causing the horn to starting sounding. This leads to the
aged horn blowing out, and thus the fuse blowing. The fix: simply remove the horn pad, pull the vinyl cover off, and stuff
new foam between the plates and put it back together.
Anti-Lock Brakes: although a great feature,
the anti-lock system used on 1991/92 Premiers has proven to be troublesome and costly to repair. Chrysler has issued a recall
due to the numerous complaints and a NHTSA investigation. The recall extends the warranty on all ABS components to 100,000
miles or 10-years, and lifetime on the pump motor and internal hydraulic assembly piston and seals. Now, finding a dealer
willing to do the repair is another story. If you have trouble getting yours fixed, simply contact the Chrysler consumer hotline
and they’ll help you get going. Some owners have even scrapped the entire ABS system and installed the standard power
brake system. On any ABS system, it’s a good idea to flush and refill the entire brake system at least once every 3
years, something common in European cars, but for some reason, domestic makers haven’t really made this a part of a
Electric Seat Belts: this was one really
bad idea mandated by the NHTSA, all 89 through 92 Premiers and Monacos have motorized outboard shoulder belts. Be sure to
lubricate the tracks at least 4 times a year using a synthetic lightweight grease. If they stop working completely, they are
covered by a factory recall so take it to your local Jeep dealer and hope they help. A common problem when they stop working
is simply a fuse (under the dash), a relay (under the drivers side seat), or bad solder connections to the motor behind the
‘b’ pillar panels. On my 1991 Premier, I spent hours checking this problem just to find the soldered wire to the
motor had simply popped off from vehicle vibrations over the past 10 years. Best bet here is to find a 1988 model in a junkyard
and scavenge the standard 3-pt belt system and retrofit your car with it.
Odometer Stops Working: we can blame this
one on poor quality materials from Valeo; there is a tiny plastic gear attached to the electric motor which turns the odometer.
The teeth on this gear break off from age and thus the odometer stops. The repair takes a while but isn’t hard to do,
but requires buying a used cluster to disassemble just for the small plastic gear. You can also purchase replacement gears
online from several sources, be sure to spec the ‘Volvo’ style gear with 25 teeth; visit www.odometer gears.com.
Engine turns over but won’t start:
many owners have reported their cars just suddenly stop starting, the engine turns over but it doesn’t fire, or if it
does, it sputters like it isn’t getting gas. 95% of the time it is related to the crankshaft position sensor and usually
simply disconnecting it, cleaning the terminals, and reconnecting it will get you back going. If after cleaning the connectors
it still doesn’t start, you may have to replace the sensor - a common part from Chrysler with hit or miss quality. Other
owners have simply ‘tapped’ the MAP sensor on the back firewall to start it back up. (black box w/vacuum hose)
Doors won’t open from the inside: it
happens with no warning; you simply try to open the door while sitting inside the car and it won’t unlatch. A troublesome
problem stemming from age and inferior plastics used in the creation of the door latch cam assembly. The problem is the molded
on extension which connects to the actuator arm simply starts bending and eventually just breaks off. You can replace with
a new part from Chrysler, but a few years from now, the same thing will happen because the ‘new’ parts are just
leftover from 15 years ago. Here’s my fix, I’ve done this on two doors and so far they’ve held together
wonderfully. Here’s steps to fix: 1) first, remove the door panel—start by removing the trim panel around the
electrical window/lock switches, pry up using a thin screwdriver at the rear edge of the panel; remove the torx screws holding
the switch assembly, disconnect electrical and remove switch; remove the three torx screws hold the door handle and remove
the handle; remove the single screw inside of the armrest pocket; remove the door lock knob-lower the glass, using a small
blade screwdriver press in on the snap lock and pull the knob up and off; remove the mirror trim panel by gently pulling the
top out and pushing up on the trim piece; using a trim panel pry bar, remove the trim panel carefully and lift up to remove
from the door—be careful not to damage the panel; using a razor knife, trim away the plastic around the largest open
area of the door; pull up on the barrier to expose the screw holding the cam assembly. Remove the screw holding the cam assembly.
Reach in the large opening of the door—be sure the glass has been raised back to the up position—unsnap the lock
and pull the actuator rod out of the cam assembly, then remove the assembly from the door. THE FIX: push the broken piece
out of the cam arm; drill a small hole in the center of the main cam piece (the half which originally had the extension on
it). Using a round head 1” bolt and washer, press the washer into the cam arm until it seats in the bottom of the hole;
insert the bolt in the rear of the main cam assembly and screw the two parts together—make sure the alignment of the
part matches its original position; now for the critical part-using Gorilla Glue or similar polyurethane glue, place several
drops into both sides of the cam assembly-once dry, this keeps the bolt/nut from moving once in place. Once dry, install by
reversing the installation instructions—be sure to test the cam before installing the door panel.