5.7 refresh for a high mile 2007 Ram

644 Views 10 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Kern Dog
Hey there,
I'm closing in on 395,000 miles on this truck:

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While the 5.7 runs fine, it has been sending MIL codes for cyl 5 misfire, cyl 6 misfire, low oil pressure and sometimes I smell coolant in the exhaust. It has been a great engine but is nearing the end.
I bought a used 5.7 from a wrecking yard and tore it down. The pistons have these markings on them:

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I think that this means that the engine has been bored .015 oversize, a number that seems quite unusual.
The cylinders still have some cross hatch and there is no ridge atop any of the cylinders.

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I'm going to have my machinist check out the heads and the short block. I've read of the risks of dropped intake valve seats so I'll have those "staked" along with cleaning everything up. For the short block, I'll let the machinist decide if the short block is good enough to run as is.

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I'm going to need some parts though. Head bolts are one time use....."Torque to yield". Exhaust manifold bolts, lifters, gaskets, windage tray and the usual gaskets, oil, anti-freeze-spark plugs.
Who has good prices for factory quality parts?
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This project has been in the making for a few years now. As far back as 2019, I was testing the waters to learn as much as I could about these engines and the lessons keep on coming.
I've had guys suggest that I swap on Eagle heads, swap in a complete 2009 and later engine, use a 6.1 intake and cam, install a stroked crank, etc.
No. I can't do any of those things due to the strict California emissions standards.
First up, the "Eagle" heads. Yeah, they would fit the engine but would bump the compression ratio to over 12 to 1, requiring premium fuel all the time. The Eagle heads don't have EGR so simply due to emission compliance reasons, that option is out.
Secondly, a 2009-2023 engine swap would probably come with a whole host of incompatibility issues due to differences in wiring, connector design differences, fuel injectors, engine computer and who knows what else.
Thirdly, the 6.1 intake may not have a proper port match at the heads. The 6.1 cam is pretty wild but is non MDS so again, that is out. The stroked crank actually is an idea that I've considered but it adds around $2800 to the build.
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I brought the heads and the short block to the machinist. He says that unless they are abused, most late model engines run a long time. He liked how the cylinders walls looked but plans to take a micrometer to them to see if the engine has been bored over. That weird 21_015 number has to mean something.
He thought the heads looked fine at first glance but will disassemble and check the valve guides and report back.
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I've has a slightly rough cold start and the truck has been sending codes for random misfire, cyl 5 and also cyl 6 misfire but only when the engine is cold.
After it has been warmed up, the engine runs fine and posts no codes.
I suspect that the injectors may be dirty and not flowing enough during cold start where they are expected to flow more. Maybe the lifters are not pumped up enough at cold start to fully open the valves? Not likely....there is no clattering and the oil pressure gauge reads normally.
I took the injectors from this used 5.7 to be cleaned.
YouTube has a bunch of videos about the 5.7 engine. I've seen numerous videos about rebuilds, upgrades and the differences between the 2003-2008 and the 2009 and later engines. I wish that I knew that I could just swap an entire 2009+ engine and not have PCM issues, wiring differences and all the frustration that comes with that. The later engines are rated at 50 HP more as well as having 40 lb/ft more torque. I don't know how much that would be felt in a 5000 lb truck though.
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It appears that this topic means nothing to the members of the forum.
First time I have seen this post, interesting. Yes living in California is a pain and limits what you can do to an engine. Good luck.
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I have yet to hear from anyone that has logged more miles on their original gas engine.
Yesterday I rolled over 395,000 miles.
Each cold start brings a MIL. That is Dodge/Mopar speak for Malfunction Indicator Light.
Everyone else calls it a Check Engine light but I try to follow what the Dodge owners manual dictates.
The MIL is always a random misfire or a cylinder 6 misfire. Once the engine is running a couple of minutes, the idle smooths out and it idles great. You'd never know that the engine has this many miles on it. It does blow a little steam if it has been ran, shut down and restarted a bit later. I suspect the head gaskets are leaking a minute amount of coolant into the chambers. I smell the sweet tang of coolant from the exhaust pipes even if it isn't pushing any steam.
Power seems on par with what it has been for years but it may have incrementally slowed down a bit. I'm tempted to run it on a dyno before I pull it for the swap, just to have a before and after comparison.
The machinist has had the replacement engine for almost 3 weeks. I don't know if he has done anything yet. I'm going to check in with him tomorrow. I don't like to be a pain in the ass to people but I also don't want this to drag out 3 months. I want to have the engine here before THIS one craps out.
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I did a similar swap on my 2002 around 297k miles. It was running good and wasn't throwing codes but the circle of blue oil fumes swirling around my tailgate as I drove was embarassing.
The junkyard reman motor I swapped in lasted 400 miles so I ended up rebuilding the original motor and it was still going strong at 326k miles when I sold the truck.

I replaced pistons, rings and the timing system but I think I could have gotten away with just doing the heads. The oil was coming from the valve stem seals, not the pistons. The bottom end was immaculate and the aftermarket timing set I bought was junk. I fought a rough idle and other gremlins for weeks until I replaced the timing system again with a Cloyes set.
Lesson learned, OEM internals only, at least for the timing components anyways.

Good luck on the engine swap. I did mine in just under 10hrs on a saturday, drove it 200 miles on Sunday to go surf riding with the boys.
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Thank you.
I texted the Machinist today and he is almost done with the heads. The bores in the block are all within 1/2 of a thousandth of an inch for bore taper. That is amazing. It means that I can leave the bottom end alone and simply replace the oil pan gasket/windage tray and bolt the heads back on.
I was expecting a shock when I went to the dealer to check on price & availability of what I need to reassemble it all.
$1160 for lifters.
$250 for head bolts.
$208 for valve stem seals.
$207 each for the MDS solenoids.
Total for what I needed, $2800.
No thanks.....I went to a NAPA store.
$176 for a Fel Pro Cylinder Head gasket kit including 2 head gaskets, valve cover, throttle body, thermostat, intake and exhaust, all the valve stem seals and a few more things.
I got the oil pan gasket/windage tray, head bolts, exhaust manifold bolts and ONE MDS solenoid. $507.
I decided to not replace the lifters. I'll clean them and put them all back in the same bores they came from.
Looking at the price list, I don't know how these engines can be bought, torn down, machined and cleaned, then reassembled with new parts for the $3000 prices that I have seen. There has to be short cuts in those builds.
I paid $2400 for a running, complete engine. I'll be into the machinist for at least $600. Add in close to $700 for aftermarket (versus dealer) parts and even doing it myself, I'll be closing in on $4000 when it is running.
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I have never swapped an engine in a newer fuel injected vehicle before. I've done numerous classics though. Some of the YouTube videos make it seem like these trucks are easy to do swaps with all the room in there,
I'm hoping that once I'm ready to do the work......

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The replacement 5.7 is ready to bring back home. I had the fuel injectors cleaned and they are ready too.
I'll have to wait for the swap though. I'm working on the house and trying to get it ready to sell.
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