2012 Cherokee 5.7L Camshaft Lifters/Rollers Destruction

Hey all…My step daughter has a 2012 Cherokee with the 5.7L V8 Hemi with 162k miles. The lifters/rollers ate the camshaft. At this point she doesnt know what to do with the vehicle. It is an Overland edition and it is excellent shape. She was quoted between $3500-$5000 to repair it but the book value on Jeep is around $7k. Doesn’t seem worth it to fix. My question is what do I do with it? I’m thinking of selling it to get enough money to buy something else but we have no idea what it’s worth in this state of disrepair. Because her vehicle can’t be driven, she can’t work her Uber/Instacart jobs so we have to make a decision soon.

We are at a loss and hoping for some advice. Thank you in advance for any advice you all may have for us.

Here’s what the engine sounds like today.

Find a used motor, $2k, find a shop with reasonable rates, and sell it asap.
Next buyer won’t give a rip if it has new or used motor.
You will net the most this way.

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Tough decision, but right now and probably for the next year or two car prices are inflated. But a ten year old Jeep is just not the best vehicle for Uber/Instacart. At that age and mileage more things will need repair/replacement.
If she can afford it, trading it in on a new smaller sedan/SUV might be best.
A used vehicle may require repairs, if going for used, pay to have it inspected by an independent mechanic.

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In todays market 3 to 5 thousand will not get you much of a vehicle that you could count on . Selling it as it is now will not get much and may take a lot of time to find someone who even wants this thing. I might just have it fixed and start looking for a replacement for something more economical to use .


Book value is $7K, Repair is $3500 to 5K. Value is book minus repair or $3500 to $2000. Closer to the $2000.

Sell as a mechanic’s special.

Tell your daughter not to use a Hemi V8 as a delivery vehicle… the increasing gas cost and terrible fuel economy of the V8 will destroy her profit. Think… 4 cylinder!


For most people, a vehicle is a consumer good, like a television or home appliance, and one must evaluate the repair/replace decision solely on the basis of repair costs versus replacement cost. Any money paid is going to be using after-tax dollars, and there are no tax write-offs for a vehicle which is used for general household purposes.

If a person “works for” Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, etc, they are an independent contractor for tax purposes, and can write off for tax purposes the repairs and upkeep on the vehicle used for this “job”. Because of this fact, it would make sense to crunch the numbers using estimated 1099 income and estimated vehicle repair/upkeep costs for the year to see if writing this off will result in a large enough tax savings to make it worthwhile.

Assuming that the math makes sense, I would find out exactly what the proposed repairs entail. Given that the problem has likely resulted in metal shavings getting into the oil, and being circulated throughout the engine, only a full rebuild or replacement with a different engine (used or remanufactured) is likely to result in long-term reliability. Simply replacing the damaged parts is unlikely to result in an engine that will run properly for very long.

Assuming that the math does not make sense–meaning that even taking into account any tax benefits of paying this expense, the cost delta between “repair” and “replace” is small or negative, I’d get rid of it and buy something else. In today’s inflated used car market, it should be possible to sell the Jeep “as-is” on Craigslist as a mechanic special for at least $1500-2000.

Little overpriced?

Or, for almost 3 times that price…

It’s 6yrs newer and has 120k less miles. So, there is that.
A 2012 Laredo is about $7-8k. A v8 overland is worth more.
Don’t know what OP’s is worth.

With all of the dirt looks like an Okie Dust Bowl car…

Does repair it for the price mean camshaft and associated parts only? If so, no way would I do this piecemeal repair on a 162k miles vehicle if the paragraph below applies.

My assumption could be wrong in this case, but most camshaft/rollers/lifters/whatever damage is caused by irregular oil changes and/or running the oil level low while never checking it. Eventually the hard coating gives up and lobe/lifter failure is soon after. Something to keep in mind for a future car if it leads to that.

Used engines are options but also carry risk as you do not know what you are getting in spite of glowing claims. If it can be heard to run or the seller provides a written warranty then maybe. Depending.

High miles and damaged Hemi may not bring what you think it will unless you get the right DIY buyer. Whether that will be enough to buy something other than a similar headache; who knows. Craigslist and see what happens?

I’m of the opinion she needs something other than a Hemi Jeep. Not many years ago a guy here was driving a near new Porsche 911 Carrera and delivering Domino’s Pizza. Had to be a horrendous cost per mile to operate that car.

Thanks everyone for the help and opinions. She bought the Jeep with 120k on it so who knows how it was maintained before that. I took her to a local Jeep dealer today and they looked at it and told us they would offer $4500 for it towards a trade so we are exploring that option now. It’s a step in the right direction I guess.

Gonna list it on Craigslist tonite and see what type of offers we get. We are going to be completely transparent so maybe the right DIY’er will come along and try to fix it.

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If you can’t sell it as a mechanic’s special or parts car, probably the best bet is to have it hauled away to the auto recycler’s yard and move on. Good idea to check w/your state and DMV b/c they may give you a rebate incentive. I don’t think it is gonna pay to hire a mechanic to install a used engine, then sell it as a running car. If done as a diy project it probably would pay, but not if you hire the work out.

Cam and lifter failure is pretty common on this family of engines. I think the problem is poor quality materials, I’ve seen cam failure at 80,000 miles on well maintained engines.

Have you had the pleasure of replacing one of these cams? There’s nothing piecemeal about it, the heads have to come off to remove the lifters, the oil pan will have to come off to retrieve the mushroomed lifter that can’t come upwards out of the bore.

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do you know if the new challenger engines…5.7 and 6.2 still have these problems. one of my choices for a new car next year so im wondering

I’m not sure, failures under warranty end up at the dealer. I think the newest one I’ve seen was a 2016 6.4 in a pickup.


Just for my information. The current Chrysler Hemi’s still have the camshaft in the block?
The last Jeep I had was a ‘72 304 AMC powered CJ5.
The last Dodge I had was an 84 Dodge Rampage with the 2.2.
I know I am drifting away from the OP, I liked my Rampage, hated the dealership.

The 5.7L has been available since 2009 and the 6.2L since 2015. Check safercar.gov for recalls, investigations, complalints, and manufacturer communications. That’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it for a high cost car like a hemi Challenger. You might also check on line forums for the car.

Don’t want to morph into dealer theories here, but. They offered 4500 and it’s based on you buying what? A new car? A used car? So, they sell you a car they bought for less then the sale price. So they have that profit minus your trade. Your Jeep runs so it can at least move thru auction lane, wonder what it will fetch?

I have not worked on these and in all honesty have no desire to. From what I have heard this is a major job so I am aware of it.
This is what I meant by piecemeal. Top end vs low end.

The Jeep has 162k miles on it and purchased with 120k on it. No one knows how it was treated in a prior life. The majority of vehicles are neglected to the point of the hood never even being raised to check the oil level so gambling odds are against it.

What if that sum of money was spent and issues (compression, oil pressure, etc) related to the low end crop up? Spend 5 grand and new parts fail due to low oil pressure?
My comment about lubrication can be illustrated by the following. Aircraft related but applicable and I’ve had this conversation with 2 separate oil company chemists.

The best thing an owner can do to prevent camshaft and lifter problems is to regularly fly his or her plane—at least once a week in humid climates. Each flight should be long enough to get the oil temperature up to at least 180 degrees to evaporate any water in the oil system. Changing the oil regularly and often is a good preventative maintenance practice. The addition of an anti-corrosion additive also helps.

Just my personal opinion is all and not meant in any way to be argumentative. :slight_smile:

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