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Chrysler Crossfire Buyer's Guide

Chrysler Crossfire Buyer's Guide

Posted by Matt M. on Jan 31st 2019

Are you interested in purchasing a Chrysler Crossfire or simply want to learn more about your vehicle? We've written this guide with all the information you'll need to know when searching for your new-to-you Crossfire.

The Crossfire is a two seater, rear wheel drive sports car created in the midst of the Daimler Mercedes Benz and Chrysler partnership. The vehicle features an interesting mix of American design and German Engineering, borrowing its mechanical components from the R170 generation Mercedes Benz SLK320. The interior resembles that of the SLK230 with a similar seat and dashboard configuration. Construction of the car was outsourced to specialty vehicle manufacturer Karmann, in Germany.

Model Information

The Crossfire’s drivetrain begins with a 3.2L V6 (engine code W112 E32) pulled straight from the Mercedes Benz lineup. In Base or Limited models it delivers 215 horsepower and 229 foot pounds of torque through either a 6 speed manual transmission or an optional 5 speed automatic transmission. Power is then routed to the rear wheels via a 3.27 gear ratio differential. 

The Crossfire was marketed as a stylish alternative to other sports cars of the era, providing both sharp handling and a comfortable ride. Below, you'll find out more about specific models, options, and areas to look out for when looking for a Crossfire of you own.

Year By Year

The Crossfire lived a short life from its introduction for the 2004 model year through its last model year in 2008. Over the years, Chrysler made some updates to the model to address common issues and customer complaints. Let's take a look at what each individual model year offers:

2004:

For the Crossfire’s first model year you could get any configuration of Crossfire you wanted, as long as it was a Limited Coupe (old Model T joke there), as no other trim levels or body styles were available. The "Limited” badging was not used when marketing the vehicle since no base models were available at the time. Featuring all the same amenities as the later Limited models, with an additional auto-dim rear view mirror and pop out cup holder. The first year models did have their fair share of issues that would be resolved in the following years. The flimsy cup holder is easily damaged and interior plastic did not age well. Another common problem area is the crank sensor on the early 2004 models. Wear and age can cause these sensors to fail, resulting in a stalled vehicle that will not start. Chrysler sold the highest number of Crossfires during the 2004 model year.

2005:

The 2005 model year welcomed many new changes to the Crossfire model. Chrysler now offered the vehicle in Roadster form with a convertible soft top. The SRT-6 performance model was now offered as well in both coupe and roadster variants. The 2005 Limited packages consisted of the same features as the 2004 models. In addition to the Limited packages, you could now opt for the “Base” package which removed some amenities to lower the cost of the vehicles. Chrysler also made some revisions to the vehicle to resolve common technical issues during the first year. 2005 was another strong year for the Crossfire. A majority of the used vehicles for sale will be from either 2004 or 2005.

2006:

The 2006 model years featured no major revisions to the vehicle itself. The same coupe or roadsters body styles were offered in either Base or Limited specs. The SRT-6 variant would become a special order only model for this year. Vehicle sales were almost half the amount from the previous year, making the late models harder to find.

2007:

2007 models offered no major changes to the vehicle. Chrysler no longer offered the SRT-6 variant, so you will need to look for a 2005 or 2006 model for that specific trim.

2008:

2008 marks the final year of the Crossfire before being completely cancelled by Chrysler. The “Base” package was no longer an option, so all 2008 models will be in the Limited trim. Very few vehicles were sold during the 2008 model year.

Base or Limited

The non SRT models were offered in two trim levels, Base or Limited. But which one is the right choice for you?

The Limited spec vehicle were offered throughout the production of the Crossfire. These vehicles featured many of the luxury amenities that would be found in the Mercedes Benz SLK320. Here's a few of the distinctive features found on the Limited models.

  • Silver painted Windshield Trim
  • Silver painted Fender vents
  • Fog lights
  • Auto-dim Rear view mirror ( 2004 models only )
  • Manual or Automatic transmission available
  • Power adjusted and heated leather seats
  • 240 Watt Chrysler Infinity audio system

The Base was offered 2005-2007, and removed some of the luxury features to bring the vehicle cost down. You still get the same sleek styling and power, without all the luxury frills that may not be as important to you. The Base vehicles were only available with the 6 speed manual transmission. No automatic transmission option was offered. Read below to find what key characteristics define the Base package vehicles.

  • Black painted windshield trim
  • Black fender vents
  • Cloth interior
  • Manually operated seats
  • Base audio system
  • No fog lights
  • No Automatic transmission option

Options

When purchasing a Crossfire new, buyers were not offered a wide range of options to customize their own Crossfire. Purchasers could choose either the base or limited package to add creature comforts to the vehicle. The base package vehicles were all equipped with the standard dark slate grey interior and cloth seats. The Limited models had a few more options regarding interior trim, as shown below. The SRT-6 models were the only Crossfire’s available with a micro suede upholstery on the seats. The optional trims were always paired with Dark Slate Grey panels.

  • Dark Slate Grey
  • Dark Slate Grey w/ Cedar Red
  • Dark Slate Grey w/ Medium Slate Grey
  • Dark Slate Grey w/ Cool Vanilla

The Crossfire was also offered with a small selection of different exterior paint colors. The Base models were only offered in the Black or Blaze Red exterior paint options. The availability of the following exterior paint colors varied depending on the trim level and year of the vehicle.

  • Black
  • Aero Blue
  • Machine Gray Clearcoat
  • Sapphire Silver Blue Metallic
  • Alabaster ( NO SRT-6 )
  • Blaze Red Crystal ( NO SRT-6 )
  • Classic Yellow ( NO SRT-6 )
  • Oyster Gold Metallic ( NO SRT-6 )
  • Graphite Metallic

What about the SRT-6 ?

If you are looking for something that provides sleek styling and that extra kick in power, then you should consider the Crossfire SRT-6. While slightly more expensive than a Base or Limited model, you certainly get a much better package with the SRT tuned Model. Here are the key features that make up the SRT models

  • AMG supercharged v6 making 330 hp / 311 tq
  • 5 speed automatic transmission only
  • Lower and stiffer suspension
  • SRT exclusive 15 spoke wheels
  • Larger Ventilated Brakes
  • SRT exhaust
  • Limited Slip Differential
  • Fixed spoiler
  • Front and rear aero package
  • Exterior trim / Front grille
  • Micro-suede SRT badged seats

The SRT-6 models are a well rounded package offering that little bit of extra performance for enthusiasts. The models only major downside is the automatic transmission, which left some buyers wanting for more of a performance car feel. 

What to look out for

No vehicle is without its inherent design flaws and mechanical problems. Prior to purchasing any used vehicle, we recommend having the vehicle professionally inspected through a PPI ( pre-purchase inspection). The combination of American design and German engineering makes the Crossfire platform fairly reliable. However if components do fail, repairs can get expensive quick. Below are some of the more common fail points that should be addressed during a PPI.

  • Crank Sensor: The early 2004 models faced crankshaft sensor problems which could cause engine stalling and problems starting.                                                                                                                                                        
  • Relay Control Module (RCM): A faulty module can cause the car to not start, sometimes intermittently. Requires the replacement or DIY repair of this module to correct the issue.
  • Central Locking Vacuum Pump: Another problem point is the Vacuum locking pump. The pump is located at the bottom of the trunk and can be easily damaged if water leaks in the trunk area.
  • Rear Spoiler: On the exterior of the vehicle; the rear spoiler motor on Base or Limited models can have problems functioning. This can either be caused by the motor itself or the switch located in the interior of the car.
  • Windshield Trim Panels: The Crossfire features three silver or black trim panels surrounding the windshield. These panels are held in with plastic clips which can fail at highway speed. This failure is very common and the trim panels are expensive to replace.
  • Ignition Cylinder: It is a common issue for the key or ignition to become worn and damaged. This will cause the key to not turn properly in the cylinder requiring a new key, fob, cylinder, and related module. Due to the anti-theft modules in place, this will require all replaced components to be reprogrammed by the dealer, which can get expensive. Alternatively, you can also find a used, matched set of the key, fob, ignition cylinder, immobilizer module, and ECU, which will allow you to replace the components without having to reprogram them.
  • Dealer Maintenance: Finding a reputable dealer to service your Crossfire can be challenging. We recommend finding a small local repair shop who specializes in German vehicles or Mercedes Benz products if you are uncomfortable performing service or repairs yourself.

Aside from mechanical problems, the Crossfire does have a few design flaws which may turn away some consumers. The vehicle features a recirculating ball steering system which provides lazy steering feel. The steering column itself lacks any height adjustment making it difficult for taller drivers to fit comfortably inside the vehicle. As the cars age, the soft touch plastic panels throughout the interior will visibly show signs of wear and discoloration. The soft touch plastic is known to wear easily and become sticky to the touch.

  • Replacement parts and maintenance can be difficult to find since Karmann no longer produces replacement body panels. The factory Mercedes Benz parts are still available, albeit expensive if purchasing from the dealer.

We hope we have provided you with the necessary information to help make your Crossfire buying experience better. If you found this information helpful, feel free to share, and check back with RedlineAutoParts.com if you need any quality used parts for your Crossfire.

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