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  #1  
Old 12-28-2003, 12:24 PM
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Location: Evansville, Indiana
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Off Topic engine sludge problem

A young friend of mine had his Christmas ruined by a $2100 bill to "desludge" his 2001 Dodge pickup engine (39,000 miles). Shades of the FSS thing, or what? Is this common, does anyone know, or has he been gouged by the place doing his oil changes (yes, he changes the oil).

Reason I ask is that the company I work for has used the oil change place he did for 20 years, and we have always gotten 300,000 or more miles out of our vehicles with no problem, and the oil is indeed fresh (he claims they put used oil in instead of new). I've checked, it's clean when changed (dipstick has clean oil on it, I'm suspicious by nature).

I've heard rumors of sludge problems on vehicles other than those MB has had with the FSS system -- those appeared to be related to using oil with insufficient life for extended use. This shouldn't be the case here.

Thanks!

Peter
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2003, 12:38 PM
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I don't know about the problem but if it was me I would be raising hell - $2100 on a truck that is less than 3 years old and 3k miles out of warrenty is just ridiculous. If Dodge doesn't help him with that one he should seek other remedies, as they say. BTW, what engine is it?
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  #3  
Old 12-28-2003, 12:47 PM
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Don't know what engine, but I've been googling since I posted, and premature sludging appears to be a serious problem with Chylser engine designs recently.

Probably due to the tiny oil capacity (imagine, a big V8 with a 4 quart pan!).

I only see the kid on weekends, will have to try to get in contact earlier, he's been ripped off twice -- paid way too much for the truck in teh first place (cheapest vechicle to make is a pickup), and then when the engine fails due to design failuire, they stick him for repairs.

I guess we are supposed to buy a new vehicle every couple years, eh, then dumpster the old one before it's paid for.

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2003, 12:50 PM
jsmith's Avatar
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a quick search shows that dodge dakotas, durangos etc. have sludge problems for a variety of other reasons...
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  #5  
Old 12-28-2003, 02:17 PM
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I would guess that all the vehicles with sludge problems would not have sludge problems if serviced properly.

The only way I would blame Chrysler on this is if they did all the services that THEY recommended. The recommended service intervals are marketing BS and the manufacturers should probably be held responsible, but I'll bet the kid didn't change his oil till his oil pressure light started coming on, repeatedly!

Its pretty cool with the new FSS system. I have been in numerous cars with 60-80k on them that show having 4 oil changes. I'll guarantee MB motors will make it out of warrantee and into someone elses hands before an owner that did NO oil changes had a sludge related problem on a MB with less than 50k.

This is why the manufacturers get away with their recommended intervals. The people who buy the cars new never see the damage they do and its only on POS brands that such problems even show up before the first hundred k.
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  #6  
Old 12-28-2003, 04:03 PM
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Sorry Steve, but he changed it at 3000 mile intervals I believe, with filter, at a good shop. The dealer told him the oil change place was putting used oil in the vehicles, something I know is not true (we use them for our fleet) -- unless it was done to him specifically, which I doubt (although I don't exclude that possiblity). How often he changed the oil was the first thing I asked, and even though he might have lie, I don't believe he's that dishonest -- kid is working two jobs to try to go to college with no help, and is very responsible as far as I can tell. He may have to wait another year to start now.

I've been doing some digging and this isn't uncommon. Appear there are several problems, including a recall in 2000 or 2001 for a leaking intake manifold plenum that caused problems with the PCV system (and probably sucked tons of dirt in). Too small oil gallaries, engine too hot for the oil flow, oil filter too small (some of the new ones are less than 250 CC), grossly undersized oil pan (4 quarts on a big V8). Oil pump failures at very low milage (30,000) is also common, and that HAS to be a manufacturing defect -- even crap oil shouldn't eat an oil pump that fast. Also reports that the "internal" water pump can leak coolant into the crankcase via the weep hole in the bearings (if true that IS a design defect -- instant Jello).

Given the reports of the same problem in Japanese cars, I'd guess it's a 'mainstream' manufacturing choice -- inadequate lubrication is cheaper than good lubrications, given that the owner will dump the vehicle at the end of the 24 month lease.

I'm going to recommend that he change to Mobil 1 0W-40 and change the oil filter every 1000 miles with oil changes at 3000 (normally excessive for synthetic) and LOOK at the oil each change rather than just have it done.

I remember similar problems in the 70's when engine temps went up for economy reasons -- someone towing a trailer with their pickup would stop for lunch and come back to find the oil solidified. Cure was to use better oil then, who knows what it will be now.

Peter
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1972 220D ?? miles
1988 300E 200,012
1987 300D Turbo killed 9/25/07, 275,000 miles
1985 Volvo 740 GLE Turobodiesel 218,000
1972 280 SE 4.5 165, 000 - It runs!
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  #7  
Old 12-28-2003, 05:09 PM
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Toyota has had problems with sludge build-up recently, too.

I don't know if it was called a "recall" or not, but they had to replace engines or do rebuilds that were waaay out of the warranty period.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2003, 08:02 PM
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The 1996 to 2000 I think. Camry's sludged like crazy, there was a design oops with the crankcase vent that caused this. I think there was a recall but am not sure.
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  #9  
Old 12-28-2003, 08:14 PM
LarryBible
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This is unreal. I didn't work at the Chrysler house very long, but I believe that I would have seen or heard of such a problem if it was at all common. Being in Rural Texas, probably60% or more of our service business was on pickups. Most of them only getting oil changes no more frequently than 5,000 miles.

I agree that the filters and pans are too small. But I also agree with Steve in that if the oil is changed at all, most any car will certainly go 'til lease or loan end without trouble.

I think this was an anomally for some reason, not common to Dodge trucks. It sounds like either the used oil scenario was true for some reason, or something else that he will never know about was the cause.

It really irks me that a young guy, working and going to school has to deal with something like this. I've been there and done that. The only difference being that I had the GI bill to help some.

Good luck to your friend.

Have a great day,
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2003, 12:14 AM
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Location: Joliet Illinois
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Dirty Engines

I have heard of so called "Dirty Engines" (such as in some Toyota Tercels) that have chronic sludge problems. I have not heard of such a problem with Chrysler trucks and if it is indeed the case, I would look into other possible causes such as too cold thermostat or short trip driving or even coolant leaking into the cylinders.
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2003, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
[i]



I'll guarantee MB motors will make it out of warrantee and into someone elses hands before an owner that did NO oil changes had a sludge related problem on a MB with less than 50k.

[/B]
About 1990 when I was at the dealer for the normal monthly warranty work visit on my '88 109E 2.6 a same vintage 190E 2.3 pulled into the service lane with a nasty sounding ticking noise. My service advisor later told my that the car had about 25K miles, and the owner admitted to NEVER changing the oil. Of course, those cars used conventional mineral based oil and the change interval to maintain warranty coverage was 7500 or six months.

I never did ask if they warrantied any work they did or had the customer pay, but clearly this problem was the customer's own fault, and he was fully responsible.

I had an excellent working relationship with my service advisor, the shop foreman, the service manager, and the MB service rep. I did my own regular maintenance including oil changes, and it showed. Though I kept meticulous records, they never asked to see them, but none of my many problems during the warranty could ever be caused by lack of oil changes or other recommended/required maintenance.

Duke
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2003, 10:13 AM
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I have seen repeated sludge problems on both the Dodge product and Toyota product this past year. The Toyota's are primarily the 3.0 liter V6 used in about 6 models, even crossing into the Lexus line. The Dodge problem I have seen span Minivans, Durango's, Dakota's, even fullsize Ram's with the 360ci motor. In almost all cases these were off lease vehicles, owned by the Manufacturer, or their financial arm, and were repaired. I am speaking of vehicles at Auction, that are prepped for sale for the Franchise dealers, after thorough inspection.

FQ
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