Oil Sludge and Engine Failure in the DaimlerChyrlser 2.7L Engine

Key Points

  • The 2.7L DaimlerChyrlser is notorious for oil sludge problems.
  • Sludge is a thickening of the engine oil that increases friction and heat, leading to early engine failure.
  • Chrysler hired a 3rd party to handle sludge-related warranty claims, and that company very rarely approved claims.
Yeah, I see the problem
Posted on
Author
Scott McCracken
Tagged
#engine

Since 2001, one of the most commonly reported problem on CarComplaints.com has been engine failure or timing chain problems with Dodge's 2.7L engine, all caused by oil sludge.

What is Oil Sludge?

Think of it like a heart attack for your engine: thick, oily sludge clogs oil passageways in the cylinder block. The clogging of these passages leads to oil starvation for moving parts such as valves, pistons and camshafts.

This can cause parts to seize and lead to engine-destroying failures. Read more about the messy problem on OilSludge.com.

The Problem with the 2.7L DaimlerChyrlser Engine

In theory, preventing oil sludge should be as easy as regular oil changes. However, certain engines are predisposed to this sticky situation.

DaimlerChrysler’s 2.7L V6 engine has a leaky, poorly designed water pump. When coolant from the pump mixes with oil it speeds up the sludge process. The engine can be found in many early-2000 Dodge vehicles, including:

  • Dakota trucks, both gen 1 and gen 2 (1999-2003)
  • Durango SUVs, late gen 1 (1999-2004)
  • Intrepid cars, gen 2 (1998-2004)
  • Stratus cars, early gen 2 (2000-2004)

We put the Intrepid in bold because from 1999-2001 you were pretty much guaranteed to get sludge.

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Dodge generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 6th Generation Charger

    Years
    2006–2010
    Reliability
    48th of 54
    PainRank
    27.35
    Complaints
    443
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Charger
  2. 2nd Generation Dakota

    Years
    1997–2004
    Reliability
    37th of 54
    PainRank
    18.19
    Complaints
    606
    Continue
  3. 3rd Generation Dakota

    Years
    2005–2011
    Reliability
    28th of 54
    PainRank
    10.29
    Complaints
    223
    Continue
  4. 1st Generation Durango

    Years
    1998–2003
    Reliability
    51st of 54
    PainRank
    33.59
    Complaints
    1410
    Continue
  5. 2nd Generation Durango

    Years
    2004–2009
    Reliability
    44th of 54
    PainRank
    22.05
    Complaints
    829
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Durango
  6. 3rd Generation Grand Caravan

    Years
    1996–2000
    Reliability
    29th of 54
    PainRank
    11.8
    Complaints
    224
    Continue
  7. 4th Generation Grand Caravan

    Years
    2001–2007
    Reliability
    40th of 54
    PainRank
    20.2
    Complaints
    1085
    Continue
  8. 2nd Generation Intrepid

    Years
    1998–2004
    Reliability
    54th of 54
    PainRank
    59.62
    Complaints
    1871
    Continue
  9. 2nd Generation Ram 1500

    Years
    1994–2001
    Reliability
    42nd of 54
    PainRank
    21.3
    Complaints
    2060
    Continue
  10. 3rd Generation Ram 1500

    Years
    2002–2008
    Reliability
    52nd of 54
    PainRank
    57.14
    Complaints
    3501
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a Ram 1500
  11. 2nd Generation Ram 2500

    Years
    1994–2002
    Reliability
    24th of 54
    PainRank
    5.9
    Complaints
    519
    Continue
  12. 2nd Generation Stratus

    Years
    2001–2007
    Reliability
    43rd of 54
    PainRank
    21.54
    Complaints
    531
    Continue

What Owners Say About This Problem

Add me to the pile of Dodge owners who had a car that literally became worthless in just seconds ... it lasted me 2 years and about 30,000 miles before the engine simply locked up while I was driving 45mph on the highway (it's never in a nicely lit, easily accessible area, is it...?)

Intrepid is 10 years old but I did all the required oil changes in the timely manner. I bring the car into Firestone for a leak and suddenly they are looking at $4000 in engine repairs. Said they saw something similar in an Intrepid a few weeks ago … 2 days later I am driving in the Jewel parking lot and the car quits. I could not restart and I had it towed back to the dealer.

I have had engine replaced 3 times, oil is changed every 2500 miles and still oil sludge builds up in the engine what am I to do now ... replace the engine again?

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA