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Old 02-19-2009, 10:21 AM
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Default This is embarrassing...hemi gurus?

I own a 2003 Doge 1500 5.7 hemi pickup. A couple weeks ago I started getting a "check gauge" light that would announce itself with a "ding" and then go away. The top right gauge on my instrument cluster is the oil gauge with was reading exactly in the middle where it should be. When the "check gauge " light momentarily came on, I noticed that the oil gauge would immediately become "unpowered". This only happened for a second, then the check gauge light disappeared and the gauge powered itself back up. I thought that the problem was a loose wire somewhere, maybe on the oil level sender, maybe the back of the gauge itself. I called the dealer and they said I needed to bring the truck in for an OBDII checkup and the truck would tell them where the problem was...but they agreed that it sounded like a loose wire somewhere. Truth was, that they didn't sound very confident, and I wasn't keen on paying them $95/hr to chase down a loose wire. I have only used the truck recently as my daughter is now driving and she has claimed my daily driver, so the pickup has been pushed into service.

Here is the bad part. The truck started to make an unusual noise the other morning...sounded like valves. I checked the oil and it was low. Added 1 quart and 2 quarts. Oh my gosh...3 and 4 quarts! It was 4 quarts low. I figured that the noise might have been the hydraulic tappets or lifters that were wanting oil. It quieted down for a day or so, but now when I drive it, the sound has come back. At idle it purrs, but under load above 1000 rpm the "tacking sound" comes back. My local auto parts store told me to use an oil detergent as running the oil low might have caused grime in the bottom of the engine to get sucked into the tappets/lifters and caused them to get jammed up and not function properly. The truck still pulls nicely, but I am worried that I have done serious damage to it. There are no oil leaks anywhere and it doesn't make sense that the oil disappeared. Additionally, the oil level gauge (for what it is worth) never showed a low oil level...always right in the middle. Why the check gauge light kept bouncing on...I don't know. And the truck never overheated...not even close. Now that the oil has been added, the check gauge light no longer comes on. What I needed instead of a check gauge light, was a check oil light. I put 10w 30 in to bring the oil level back up...should I use 20w50?

I could really use some help and suggestions to fix this . I am very mechanical, but my expertice is with oil cooled cars. Can some of you hemi gurus weigh in here? Could this be main bearings, rod bearings, lifters,tappets...valves? I just don't get it...maybe coincidence that the sound came along with the low oil level...or not. Could a couple of the valves be sticking?

Much appreciated.


Last edited by speedo; 02-19-2009 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:59 AM
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Nobody? C'mon guys...someone has got to have a suggestion?
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Old 02-21-2009, 02:49 PM
Danstona Danstona is offline
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Vehicle: 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 5.7L
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I thought the Hemis were suppose to get 5w-20? I have had a similar thing happen to my moms 98 Breeze, it ran low oil a couple of times, the dealer said it was the 40,000km ago replaced head gasket that needed to be done again.. I knew it was the rear seal, but my dad let them go ahead with the gasket. They did, and 2 weeks later the light came on again, only on acceleration and hard braking I might add. Took it back, and low and behold... lets charge them another $900 for the "proper fix" this time! Dealership went under a couple years later after being bought out. The car has been good since. Another current situation is a friends '07 Magnum with 3.5L, using ol like a freaken pig... After about 2000km its low, valves are ticking but no light... checks oil and finds its below min.. sometimes not on the dipstick. Dealer says nothing is wrong, yet after 3-4 fuel fills, its low again! Figure that one out! This is definately not just regular oil consumption. Someone chime in on this!
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:03 PM
cerres cerres is offline
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Vehicle: 2006 4*4 3/4 Quad, 5.9 Auto
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The only factory approved oil is 5W-20 for all gasoline fueled Chrysler products as every internal part is machined and toleranced for the oil specifically... including the oil pump. If there was any amount of oil still in circulation within the engine's galleries chances are the bearings, etc, including pistons, may have survived. If it's using oil at an astounding rate, check the crank case breather, PCV, etc... if there's puddles under the vehicle you've a leak that has to be addressed....
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:42 PM
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Default 5.7 noise

I talked with a friend who thinks that I might have starved the main bearings. He thinks that the fact that the engine revs nicely while in neutral, but makes the tapping noise under load suggests the mains may not be happy. His first suggestion is to do an oil change and put the correct oil 5-20 in as well as a container of "marvel mystery oil" to help clean some of the smaller oil galleys out and see if the noise goes away.
If it turns out that the mains are bad, can this be fixed with the engine in the vehicle from underneath? Or is it an out of the truck job? What should I expect to pay to have these replaced? And the real question do I know that the noise is the mains vs the rod bearings? I plan to cut open the oil filter to see if there is any metal...what color am I looking for? And is the drain plug on the bottom of the oil pan pretty obvious? I am very mechanical (air cooled engines), and the prospect of being charged $50 for an oil change doesn't appeal to me. All I need is 8 quarts of 5-20 and a filter...yes?
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:56 PM
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Default Noise is getting worse.

I thinkI killed the engine. The knock is getting louder and I can now here it at idle. I checked around and can get a used engine (6 mo warranty) for $2300, or a rebuilt longblock for $2800 (3 yr warranty). I am very mechanical, but don't have a lift...but I can rent one. The shops want $2000 to swap the engine. Am I better off to get a used engine and hope that if it grenades it will do so in the 6 months? Or should I go the rebuilt route and swap all the crap off the existing engine onto the longblock. And the big question...Is there any rocket science to this? Any special tools I need to access before I dive in? Will I need to remove the radiator or anything else for that matter? I presume I will need to remove the hood. Tell me I am nuts
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:36 AM
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CajunDodge CajunDodge is offline

Join Date: Jan 2009
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If it were me, I would go the rebuild way. First, obviously the warranty coverage is better, but even so, besides the parts that have been machined/rebuilt, all the rest is new. $2800, does that price include the core charge? If so, not bad. Just check with them to make sure that it has been runout tested, compression tested, etc. and if you are buying the longblock, that once it has been tested, that it is shipped in ONE piece, ready to drop in. I contaced a company once on an engine for someone else, and yes, they run tested it, then shipped the block and the head separate??? Why tear it back down if the end user is just going to have to put it back together, and have it tested again??? That makes about as much sense as ticks on a wooden horse. Yeah, $1400 plus core charge was not a bad price, but not worth it for the work that would have to be done. That's just the cheap .02 cents from someone who has done some research on the subject. Good luck.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:18 AM
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Default engine swap

Do I need any special tools? Or basically take the hood off, disconnect everything and pull it out. Am I going to face anything weird disassembly issues with the 4x4 trans axle? Or does the engine separate as easily from the transmission if it were just rear wheel drive. If I do go the low mile used swap dead engine is now a core...suggestions on where to sell it? Maybe to the companies that rebuild these things? What should I expect to get for a complete core engine?

Thanks guys

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