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Dodge dakota sounds like its starving for oil on every startup

2004 dodge dakota 4.7 V8 228,000 miles

I just bought this truck for $500 as a project to play around with.
It was sitting for 2 years never started or driven because it needed work. Needs tires, brakes, and ball joints that I have no problem doing myself.
CEL is on but it is just emissions related (evap)

However, I am stumped on what I believe is an oil issue.

Every time I start it after it sits for more than a few minutes it sounds like its starving for oil.
If I turn it off and start it right back up it wont do it.
It only lasts for a couple seconds but it sounds like I’m dragging an anchor on the pavement.
The sound is much worse than the sound you get when you change the oil.
It has an oil pressure gauge that registers pressure as soon as it starts (about 20 psi) then it slowly climbs to 40 psi after about 5 seconds

The first thing I did before I started it was put in a new battery, checked the oil that was in it and it was on the full mark, checked all other fluids, and put in some fresh gas. After sitting that long it started right up. Idles nice a smooth and quietly. No valve tap or knocking or smoking.

I changed the oil and filter as soon as a got it home thinking the valve in the filter was bad or the oil might be sludged but that made no difference at all.

I was told that synthetic oil was always used. (I bought this truck off the original owner)
But he said that regular oil was put in by mistake at his last oil change over 2 years ago before it was parked.
I changed it right back to synthetic 10w-30 Not sure if that makes a difference but I wanted to put in all info possible

What do you think is wrong?

Thanks !

Does it change when you try a different octane gas?
Edit: never mind - I initially missed that it would go away after a couple of seconds.

Some oil filters don’t do a particularly good job of keeping the oil up there. Have you tried a different brand filter, perhaps? Blockage somewhere, maybe the screen?

Sounds like you probably have a timing chain tensioner issue. I say this because you describe the noise like dragging an anchor instead of like knocking. Try an oil flush.

Perhaps the dragging anchor was a little too much but its similar.
It sounds like there is no oil in it at all. like its all draining back into the pan and leaving the engine dry within minutes after shutting it down.

Are there any other symptoms a timing tensioner issue would cause? I am not familiar with a problem like that.

If it was the tensioner wouldn’t it me making some form of noise all the time?

Try a Motorcraft brand filter, they have very a good anti-drainback valve, much better than a Mopar or Fram in my opinion.

Tensioners on this engine are hydraulic. If one bleeds down it can pump up in just a few seconds. Could be a hydraulic valve lash adjuster. I’d still perform an oil flush first though before I got too tied up in it. Then do as Oldtimer recommended.

The cam chain tensioner(s) might be hydraulically actuated…It takes oil pressure to hold them in place. At 226K miles, the cam chains are probably getting pretty loose regardless…It would not hurt to take a look…

I think the can chains are a good idea, I also wonder though if your lifters are not bleeding down.

For the lifters… Would that be something I can take the valve cover off to check?

For the timing chain tensioner… Is it actually hurting the engine or is it just a noise?

I’m with the timing chain tensioner theory. I’ve never seen a filter with a non-functioning drainback valve, and even at that, oil sticks to stuff. You would have to take an oil lubricated part out of the engine and scrub it with dawn dish liquid twice to get the oil off. I really doubt that oil drainback would cause that much of a problem unless the thing sat for months every time it was started. I doubt that synthetic/conventional oil has any thing to do with this either. I’ve run cars nearly 200,000 miles with dino oil and the rest of the car fell apart before the engine.

How about the starter sticking for just a few seconds?

It is not the starter for sure. The noise is after it is fully started.

The oil filter on this engine mounts almost vertically…The oil can’t “drain back” out of the filter…

IF, that’s IF, the cam chain tensioner is actuated by oil pressure, that would be the first place to look…

they are hydraulic tensioners
is there anything that can be done to help them without taking the timing cover off yet?
Perhaps thicker oil or can an engine flush help?
Or perhaps just driving it for a while might get them a little better.
They were probably drained down and sitting empty for a long time.

If your sure the noise is coming from the front of the engine remove the valve covers and inspect for broken chain guides. Broken timing chain guides can cause exessive play in the chain and the the chain may “slap” during start-up.

Normally, the chain can’t get so loose that it makes noticeable noise before oil pressure pushes the tensioners into place…Sooner or later, something in the cam drive system will fail and you will have a real mess to deal with. There is no magic cure for a loose chain. I suppose you could install a pre-lube pump to supply oil pressure before you start the engine but that would be just a band-aid . The tensioner shoes are themselves badly worn and should one fail while driving you will hear some SERIOUS noise!

You need to decide if this truck is worth this much effort to you…

Hmmmm… That does not sound good.

Does anyone think that it could be anything else?

What else could make such a loud grinding noise on startup at every start after sitting for more that a few minutes.

I agree that it isn’t drain back from the filter because the filter is almost vertical.

Have you performed an oil flush yet?

Oil Flush?? Why???