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2004 Dodge Intrepid 2.7 liter engine - Timing Chain problem

I recently bought (last Nov.) a 2004 Dodge Intrepid (2.7 liter) despite being warned of "timing chain" problems it might have. The car has 130,000 miles on it (mostly highway). After five months of no problems, I started noticing the oil light coming on occassionally. So a mechanic put in a new oil pressure switch. Now, anytime I drive the car for a few minutes, the oil light will come on and stay on if I'm at a stop sign or idling. It goes off when I step on the gas. Someone has now told me that it's likely that I'll need a six-hour repair to fix the "timing chain" and to put in a new oil pump and also while I'm at it, probably a new water pump.

Is anyone familiar with this or might I be fortunate enough to have a lesser problem ?

Thanks.

Mark

Comments

  • edited April 2008
    these 2.7 engines have a TERRIBLE history of "oil sludge buildup"

    this problem is often fatal and irreversible, causing damage and failure.

    have the engine checked out ASAP. you may need help from a good mechanic to clean out the pan.

    is the check engine light on? any codes?

    i sounds like you have a failing/failed oil pump.

    take it to a mechanic. (not diffylbe, or poopboys) and it can have an oil pressure test done and get correctly diagnosed.

    who was the mechanic, a local shop, or a friend? and who else ("someone") said the timing chain was related to the oil pressure? i would be surprised that the timing chain was related to anything else but the timing and waterpump.
  • edited April 2008
    Dear Cappy208 -
    The check engine light has never been on. Just the oil light. Not sure about codes (I don't see any shown if that is what you mean). The mechanic that looked it over was from Monro Muffler (not the dealership). He said that the timing chain "flakes off" and then clogs the oil pan and I would have to have the big 6-hour labor intense job to clean out the oil pan (and I think he meant to "fix" the timing chain, too; not sure if that is what he said). I also called my local dealer's service shop, which has a great reputation and is excellent, and talked to a service tech there. I explained the oil light coming on to him. He said that it sounded like I needed a new oil pump and this was also a six-hour job to get to it and replace it. He also said something about the timing chain being a problem with these cars. I'm still confused about how the timing chain, the oil pump and the water pump are all interrelated and what actually might be the problem with the oil light coming on. What do you think I need to fix - just the oil pump and not the timing chain and/or the water pump. Sorry for my ignorance. Thanks again.
    Mark
  • edited April 2008
    Dear Cappy208 -
    The check engine light has never been on. Just the oil light. Not sure about codes (I don't see any shown if that is what you mean). The mechanic that looked it over was from Monro Muffler (not the dealership). He said that the timing chain "flakes off" and then clogs the oil pan and I would have to have the big 6-hour labor intense job to clean out the oil pan (and I think he meant to "fix" the timing chain, too; not sure if that is what he said). I also called my local dealer's service shop, which has a great reputation and is excellent, and talked to a service tech there. I explained the oil light coming on to him. He said that it sounded like I needed a new oil pump and this was also a six-hour job to get to it and replace it. He also said something about the timing chain being a problem with these cars. I'm still confused about how the timing chain, the oil pump and the water pump are all interrelated and what actually might be the problem with the oil light coming on. What do you think I need to fix - just the oil pump and not the timing chain and/or the water pump. Sorry for my ignorance. Thanks again.
    Mark
  • edited April 2008
    Cappy is right. When installed in the Intrepid and its LH body siblings, the 2.7L had serious sludging problems, apparently due to a design flaw in the oil drains. They didn't work properly when the engine was mounted longitudinally (as in the LH bodies); the sludge problem rarely occurred in the cars with this engine mounted transversely (in the so-called "Cloud cars": Dodge Stratus, Chrysler Cirrus, Plymouth Breeze, and their replacements).

    Bottom line: You need to find out the actual oil pressure. I have a feeling the light is indicating an actual oil pressure problem, and the engine is in bad shape.

    If you want to keep the car, the best solution is swapping the 2.7L for a rebuilt 3.5L. This problem is so common that there are kits available to do this swap.
  • edited April 2008
    to be honest with you, the two issues are often fatal to this model auto.

    i was reading up on this engine this morning after you first posted, and the sludge problem is around 80k to 110k miles. since you don't mention whether this was done by previous owner, or the chain, then they are two REAL ASAP things to do.

    the replacement of the timing chain is really important. BUT... if the engine has the dreaded 'sludge problem' and is partially seized and messed up inside, then the timing chain replacement is too late.

    it needs to be trouble shot at a mechanic. take it to your mechanic. mention the sludge problem. mention the timing chain. mention the oil light.

    one of the reasons you mentioned as 'timing chain flaking off;' find a new (less flaky) mechanic. that reason totally ignores the reputation of this engine.

    (if the guy didn't know about the sludge, and the relatively low mileage timing chain breaking..... find a new one)
  • edited April 2008
    Ok. Thanks to both of you for the information - cappy208 and NYBo. I will take it to the dealership and not the local muffler place that only specializes in brakes and mufflers.
  • edited April 2008
    I answered your other post, but there is new information here, but it doesn't change my answer. If the oil system is clogged up by sludge, the problems occur at high rpm, not low. An oil light at idle means a bad oil pump or bad bearings. This engine has a history with the latter.

    The water pump is driven by the timing chain, so the theory is that if the water pump were to "freeze up", it would break the chain. This is highly unlikely if the car is driven regularly. On cars with timing belts that drive the water pump, a leak could cause the belt to slip so the water pump replacement is a little more valid, they are more likely to leak than to freeze up.

    The timing chain itself is generally reliable, the tensioner is the weak point in this engine, but that is not the cause of the oil light. To get to the oil pump, the timing chain is one of the components that has to come out, so you might as well replace it, and the water pump while your at it and definitely the tensioner. With that much work, you might as well go for a complete reman, except this engine doesn't rebuild easily so a good reman is hard to get and very expensive. Do consider that 3.5 instead.

    I still recommend switching to 15w40 diesel oil and run the engine till it quits. I had a neighbor get over 200k on his 2.7, the timing chain tensioner got him in the end. His was a gen I engine, he rarely changed his oil, but being a diesel mechanic, guess which oil he did use.
  • edited December 2009
    2007 dodge stratus timing chain marks
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