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Old 06-29-2011, 07:46 PM
simicar simicar is offline
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Default 2003, 4.7L V8 w/ 100K miles..solid engine or full of sludge?

Looking at getting a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 4.7L V8 with 106,000 miles. I have been reading a lot about the problems with oil sludge build up and the resulting engine failures. How common is this problem really? What's the best way to spot this problem before I buy it? 106K is a lot of miles, but the price is right. I am hoping to engine can get to 200K miles if I treat it right, is this reasonable?
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:25 PM
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I'd drain the oil, check the intake manifold, pull the valve covers and pull the pan. If there is sludge, you'll see it.

No telling if this specific engine will make 200K as neither you nor I know how it was maintained.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:39 AM
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Do you know any history on the truck? The reason I ask is that the sludge problem is only really an issue on trucks that haven't been properly maintained...in specific, the oil not being changed at the proper intervals. If it has been properly maintained then it won't have a sludge issue. I think Maddog is right. If you don't know anything about the truck's maintenance the only real way to tell if it has a sludge problem is to get a peek inside. Pulling the oil pan shouldn't be too bad but I don't know how the owner/dealer will feel about that, lol.

Also, if you open the oil filler neck and see a whitish thick milky crap built up in there, that isn't sludge related. These trucks develop condensation and then the milky buildup there, especially when driven on short trips where you may not reach full operating temp.

I agree with Maddog that there is no way to tell how long an engine will last but if it has lasted this long there probably aren't any major problems and if it has been maintained well and not hotdogged all it's life it should last you 200k easily. Good luck!!
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:54 PM
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+1 on the only way to tell being a peek inside (this is where one of those $100 borescopes from Harbor Frieght might come in handy.) Even an oil analysis won't always tell you if there's sludge built up in an engine.

Personally, I do NOT think the 4.7 is any more prone to it than any other modern engine. The 2.7 Chrysler V6 WAS prone to sludge, and I think its reputation kinda spilled over to the 3.7 and 4.7, even though they are completely different engines designed by a different group within Chrysler.
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:32 PM
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Thanks for the info. I bought the truck and I am loving it. I bought from a Dodge dealer and its VERY clean and runs very smooth. They also had fairly complete maintenance records on it and a clean carfax. The truck was well treated. I was going to pass, but I decided to make a firm low ball offer and they took it and I had them include a 2 year, 24K mile powertrain warranty at no extra cost. Still going to open it up this weekend and check for sludge.
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