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I am about to buy my first Viper, owned Porsche till now. Question is,
what were the changes from the 2003 to 2004 and later? Some very good
deals on 2003's with low miles out there right now. Is it worth the
extra 5 to 10k for a 2005?

Herc
 

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Herc said:
I am about to buy my first Viper, owned Porsche till now. Question is,
what were the changes from the 2003 to 2004 and later? Some very good
deals on 2003's with low miles out there right now. Is it worth the
extra 5 to 10k for a 2005?

Herc
Herc, aside from the standard warranty expiration date coming sooner, I think there are no real differences aside from some of the early 2003 cars had some kind of recall with the valve machining or something like that. Probably some of the guys on the SRT forum could tell you exactly what it was. Good luck and you will not be disappointed with any of the 3 years you are contemplating! :thumb:
 

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Once you get past the few mid-early build 2003's that were missing the second machining process on the valves - those cars have been very reliable. The 2004's seemed to suffer more with SCARY issues like the cam bolt recall and other manufacturing / assembly issues.

Not too much word on 2005s yet, but no news is good news.

I'd take a 2003 with a known history and a few K miles.
 

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About 200 2003s had to get the valve machining mentioned above.
I've heard 2003s had better internals, not sure if it is what BC said though.
2004s+ got trunk carpeting IIRC.
2004s have had the cam bolt recall and maybe other issues I can't recall.
 

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Mine still hasn't had the valve recall done, but it needs it. I'm making 716 at the wheels without fixing it, so I think I'll hold off. ;) I figured I'd wait until I'm ready for heads and cam so Dodge can pay for the labor!
 

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2003: No trunk carpet and no convertible boot. Black brake calipers. Issues included valve grind on +/- 200 cars (as described above), flickering headlights (PCM reflash), and slight bog between shifts (also a reflash).

2004: Trunk carpet and convertible boot included. Red brake calipers, ribbed belt on the engine pulleys, revised gauges (oil pressure and oil temperature). Airbox seal on hood changed to different material. White Mamba Edition issued and sold quickly. Black Mamba Edition issued and did not. Issues included a cam bolt recall and what some said were damn near every bolt on the engine (loose and applied with no Loctite at the factory). More than a few of these cars shelled the engine as a result of the crank pulley bolt literally falling out. Many on the market with new or rebuilt motors (better prices, most with full warranties).

2005: New radio head unit, knock sensors (2), 2005's now come with 0W-40 Mobil 1, crank case breather system has been switched to the front of the valve covers instead of the back, exhaust insulation upgraded (possibly a mid-2004 change), new crank shaft (grooved for knock sensors), crank sensor relocated, lighter connecting rods and crank, and more horsepower*. Yellow introduced as a color, orange to appear soon, Silver Mamba Edition available, and Red Mamba Edition now arriving. Special "VCA Edition" yellow sold in August, with only 50 made. Only known issues so far are rough running over 5,000 RPM's (PCM reflash - not a problem on recent builds), and turned metal flange on underside of trunk (can tear the convertible boot).

* Okay, so I made up the horsepower part, however my bone stock 2005 dyno'ed at 464 rwhp and 504 rwtq with less than 1000 miles on the clock.

So which would I go with? Dollar for dollar the 2003 is probably your best bet. Besides a relatively harmless issue with the valves, they are pretty solid. The 2004's are dropping in price, however the bolt issue scared off a lot of buyers. Look for one with a new or rebuilt engine AND a warranty and you will do well on the price. White Mambas are pretty hot, as they have not made a "regular" production SRT in white - yet. 2005's are more expensive simply because they are new. No telling if they are indeed stronger as a whole or if mine was a fluke. There were certainly a number of changes on the motor which can be plainly seen when looking at it.

Finally, the one thing to watch out for on the SRT is the carrier pin (I think that is the correct pin) in the rear differential. As far as I know it was strengthened slightly in 2004, but still the weakest link in the SRT driveline - assuming all your bolts were tight. The result of this relatively weak pin was to have it shear off and then completely destroy the rear end as the car was moving. More than a few cars have been wrecked as a result. I recommend that the pin be changed if/when you upgrade your gears: 3.55 are recommended as the stock 3.07 is too tall for the bigger rear wheels found on the SRT.

Hope this helps!
 

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2005 cranks go back to the gen 1 and 2 style crank sensor with pick up in center of crank.
 

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2003 had forged cracked connecting rods (best of any year viper) and the large bolt crank damper. 2004 went with the small bolt crank damper (do not supercharge without some change). Running 2004 changed the connecting rods to cracked PM (Hemi rod) (do not supercharge or raise red line). 2005 added knock sensors (only good for 4000 rpm and lower so no significant benefit for power adders).

If you plan on supercharging 2003 is the best choice. Otherwise they should all be similar (but tighten the crank damper bolt regulrly for 2004 and early 2005).
 

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Cris said:
2003 had forged cracked connecting rods (best of any year viper) and the large bolt crank damper. 2004 went with the small bolt crank damper (do not supercharge without some change). Running 2004 changed the connecting rods to cracked PM (Hemi rod) (do not supercharge or raise red line). 2005 added knock sensors (only good for 4000 rpm and lower so no significant benefit for power adders).

If you plan on supercharging 2003 is the best choice. Otherwise they should all be similar (but tighten the crank damper bolt regulrly for 2004 and early 2005).
That's what I was shooting for up there! :thumb: BTW, (pm) is powdered metal, for those folks that don't know.
 

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Cris said:
2003 had forged cracked connecting rods (best of any year viper) and the large bolt crank damper. 2004 went with the small bolt crank damper (do not supercharge without some change). Running 2004 changed the connecting rods to cracked PM (Hemi rod) (do not supercharge or raise red line). 2005 added knock sensors (only good for 4000 rpm and lower so no significant benefit for power adders).

If you plan on supercharging 2003 is the best choice. Otherwise they should all be similar (but tighten the crank damper bolt regulrly for 2004 and early 2005).
Just a quick note on this post- it is mostly correct, just with a Date mixup. 2005 recieved PM conn rods from the Hemi, not 2004. 2003-2004 utilized a particular connecting rod/piston part number, which ran from AA to AD from the begining of 2003 to the begining of 2004. If you go to any dealer, you can check and see the prices from AA to AD never changed, as well as AD is the superceeding rod to replace any and all AA-AC if they fail. No manufacturer would ever mix rod types in an engine, that alone points to the rod never actually changing major construction through that time period. On top of that, I have an AD rod in my hand right now, and it certainly doesnt appear to be PM. Now, 2005 recieved a completely new piston and rod assembly which costs less than HALF what the AA-AD rod/pistons cost. That certainly sounds like the result of going PM to me.

This information was also confirmed by someone who was supposedly in the "know", and also in the businesses of Conn Rods. I was also told by this individual that when he ran some numbers on the "hemi" rods, the results were quite scary. He said watch out with FI applications, and do not raise the rev limiter.

(Y2K5SRT- You asked!)
 
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