The Dodge Viper is perhaps one of the most recognizable vehicles to be produced by an American auto manufacturer in the last 50 years.
With its massive engine, stunning design, and supercar-like performance, the Dodge Viper continues to have a cult following.
We’ve previously looked at How long a Dodge Viper will last, and now we’ll look into some of the most-common issues with these fantastic cars.
While the Dodge Viper can become legendary, there are some common issues that future owners should know about. Here, we will take a look at five common issues found on Dodge Vipers.
Table of Contents
1). Piston Ring Issues
Early Viper models including the 1992 and the 1993 edition had piston ring issues.
This led to high oil consumption issues. Some early Dodge Viper owners reported that they had to get their engines replaced while the vehicle was under warranty.
Those who had purchased the Dodge Viper as a second or third owner had to deal with engine replacement issues before the 100,000-mile mark.
Piston ring replacement
One of the first things that a Dodge Viper owner should do is take a look at having the piston ring replaced. Since this could lead to major engine issues down the road, the earlier this issue can be rectified the better. The labor cost is not cheap. You are looking at spending upwards of $2,500 on this type of job.
The other option is to simply have the entire engine rebuilt Of course, this would be a major undertaking since the Viper has a large V-10 engine. You are looking at a total cost of around $6,500 to $7,000. The one good thing about such an investment is that the engine should give you optimal performance for a rather long time.
2). Sagging Doors
One of the reasons why the Dodge Viper was so relatively affordable was that some vehicle parts were sourced from other Chrysler vehicles. However, this because a double-edged sword since some of these parts could not handle some unique demands of the Viper. One case in point is the motor that operated the power windows.
Due to the weight of the power window motors, the lightweight doors on the Viper would begin to sag. This causes an awkward fit that makes it hard to easily close the doors.
Adjusting the hinges
The easiest solution is to adjust the door hinges.
By making the hinges tighter, the doors will move back to their original position to make them easier to open and close again.
Replace the doors
Another option is to replace the doors. Now, you should only consider this option if the doors have been damaged due to the prolonged realignment. Now, you will have to consider that the Dodge Viper is no longer in production.
Therefore, you will have to spend a long time (and potentially lots of money) to get the doors replaced.
While you may be able to find a third-party company that can sell you doors compatible with your Viper, you may not want to consider that option if you are a purist.
3). Wind Noise and Water Leak From Top of Windshield Frame
Owners of Dodge Viper roadster models have reported wind noise coming from the top of the windshield frame.
In some cases, water also begins to leak from this area. This case appears to be more apparent as the vehicle ages.
Installing adjustable top latch handles
Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this solution. All you have to do is install some adjustable top latch handles and the windshield noise and leaks should stop.
The total cost, including parts and labor, should not exceed $250.
While some may be able to live with a little extra wind noise, you must have the latch handles installed if you are in an area that gets lots of rain.
Excessive water damage to the interior of the vehicle can lead to more expensive repairs down the road.
4). A/C Airflow Switches To Defrost During Acceleration
Several Viper owners report that the A/C switches to defrost mode when the vehicle is accelerating. The main cause of this issue may be a vacuum leak.
While this issue is not critical to the overall performance of the vehicle, it may create an uncomfortable cabin experience at higher temperatures.
The best course of action is to have a complete A/C inspection on the vehicle.
While the issue may be fixed by a simple seal to the vacuum leak, it is a good idea to check for any other issues related to the Viper’s HVAC system.
5). Oil Forced Into Make Up Air Hose (MUA)
Several Viper owners have reported that oil is forced into the Make Up Air Hose (MUA) at higher speeds and higher RPMs.
This issue was handled as a recall in 2015.
However, you may find some models for sale that did not have the recall service. If that is the case, then the issue will need to be rectified right away.
New Oil Management System
The best solution is to get a new oil management system. The total parts and labor cost of this type of fix will cost around $2,400
Relocating the MUA
Another solution is to relocate the make up hose.
6). Water Pump Issues
An owner in the Viperalley.com forum mentioned that Vipers have bad impellers on their water pumps.
This can cause the vehicle to run hot and eventually overheat.
Replace the water pump
Since Dodge Vipers naturally run pretty hot due to its big V-10 engine, you don’t want to risk overheating because of a water pump issue.
Therefore, the best course of action is to simply have the water pump replaced. The cost of their job, including parts and labor, should cost around $380 to $750.
Dodge Vipers Pros and Cons
As you can imagine, there are lots of great reasons to own the powerful Dodge Viper. However, there are some reasons why the Viper may not be the best vehicle option for you.
Here’s a look at some of the top pros and cons of owning a Dodge Viper.
- The massive V10 engine offers an incredible amount of power
- Race-car like handling experience
- One of the last pure sports cars that were ever produced under a supercar price
- Stiff and uncomfortable ride quality
- Very little visibility
- Fire seats can create an uncomfortable ride.
- Poor fuel economy, even by performance car standards
What Do The Reviewers Say?
“Supercar and reliable are rarely paired together, specially when classic and/or used models are involved. It’s a similar story—or at least, some think it is—where reliability is concerned.”
“With a massive 8.4-liter V10 engine, a cockpit that wouldn’t be out of place in a race car, and all the civility of a hungry bear, the 2017 Dodge Viper is a lot more than just your basic sports car. Driving one is a raw, visceral, and aggressive experience like no other.”
Dodge Viper Resale Value
The Dodge Viper is no longer in production. Because of this, the price of Dodge Vipers is beginning to accelerate.
While some of the newest models are in the six-figure range, you can still find some older models in the mid-high five figures.
What To Know Before Buying A Dodge Viper
The Dodge Viper is one of the most expressive and powerful domestic vehicles ever produced. Because of that, it is not regarded as your typical daily driver.
Therefore, there are some things that you need to consider before purchasing the vehicle.
The Super Hot Side Exhaust Pips
Some owners have reported getting their legs singed exiting the vehicle due to the hot side exhaust pipes. While many owners love the unique look of the side exhaust, they can be a safety hazard. Therefore, you should be extra careful entering and exiting the vehicle.
This Is An Extremely Fast Vehicle That Can Be Tough To Handle
There’s lots of power and little in the way of computer-assisted driving to help you stay on the road. Therefore, you have to know what you are doing behind the wheel. There is more than one Viper diver who has wrecked their vehicle due to its massive, unexpected power.
Not Designed for Daily Driving
The Dodge Viper is an excellent weekend vehicle. However, its tight interior fit, high fuel consumption, and lack of cargo space do not make it the ideal vehicle for daily driving duties.
Knowing More About The Dodge Viper
Overall, the Dodge Viper is one of the most visually impressive and fastest vehicles on the road.
However, the vehicle will require regular maintenance to preserve its impressive performance.
Go back: problems for all Dodge models here.
ⓘ The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.