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Infamious dodge 2.7 in a 02' Stratus with 127k

Ok this thing has been intermittently puking coolant, (emphasis on intermittently) and has been parked for the most part of 2 years because of it.
Now other more potentially expensive repairs to another car recently have force it back into service.

SO I’m attempting ( in process)…to replace the Thermostat…after excavating componets out of the way to get to this thermostat. (BTW… The coolant system is clearly the work of someone of less than intelligent design and little to no practical common sense.)

To help shed light a bit, more back ground;…about a month ago it had the upper radiator hose housing on the engine replaced which included a new temperature sensor and new battery. In the most recent coolant overflow…it was parked for about a week, until when I had time to come over to look at it…I checked the oil and was clean, so was the under side of the oil cap, meaning no tell tail signs of coolant in the oil, white milk shake look. more coolant was added and started no rattling no rough running, no plumes of white exhaust…ran quite smooth, SO it was driven to my place where I could work on it, aprox 10 miles…This is where it gets interesting…It did not get hot at all…the temp gauge didn’t even wiggle nor did it produce any heat inside but ran normally. upon arrival…it did not loose any more coolant after it was shut off.

I’m more concerned that it is the water pump…which will require more excavating involving the timing chains. Ugggh

Am I spinning my wheels going after the easier things to fix?? { I use the term “easier” loosely, as nothing on this is easy to fix.}
or should the water pump and or the head gaskets be the true target?

thanks for any comment

" ...about a month ago it had the upper radiator hose housing on the engine replaced which included a new temperature sensor and new battery."

You didn't say why this was done or by whom. You didn't say if anything happened 2 years ago to start the problem.

These are good engines unless somebody doesn't change the oil regularly. We have 300,000 miles + on ours. Your cooling problem is out of the ordinary. With that said, it sounds like you've got air in the cooling system."Am I spinning my wheels going after the easier things to fix??" Maybe, Maybe not.

Chrysler had to issue a 3 page TSB on cooling system fill procedure for 01-02 Strati. They even came out with a Miller Special Tools #8195 (I've ordered from these folks online) Cooling System Filling Aid and special instructions.

This could be the problem, but I don't know what happened to begin your coolant issue, originally. Do You know what happened to introduce air into the system ? That needs to be addressed.


The issue from about a month ago was the upper radiator filler neck was cracked and weeping…another friend and I replaced it. and bled the system then to the point of solid coolant coming out the bleeder valve. and all seemed good then. Until about a 2 weeks ago when the owner shut the car off and everything seemed normal, until about 1minute later coolant was running out the over flow…which was what was happening approx 2 years ago & was parked because of it. until then no issues with the car. I’m not sure what introduced air into the system orignally…If I knew the how and why…I probably wouldn’t be asking questions on a pubic forum. I was not present with 1st occurrence (nearly 2 years ago), so I can only speculate that the cracked upper radiator hose housing was missed.

It Might be possible that there still was and air pocket in the system…but driving it daily for a month…certainly would/should have worked it through or showed symptoms prior.

If you’ve gotten 300k out of yours…hey that is super!…but I really doubt that is the norm for this particular engine (2.7) . Many well documented cases of early failure, agreed, yes mostly due to neglect. Fact is that what ever the 2.7 is in and no matter how well it is maintained…the resale value is lower than if it has a different engine 3.0 or 3.5 or 3.2 depending on the model .

and really… 3 pages of TSB on how to fill the coolant system…with a special tool??? & that doesn’t spell issues to anyone else??. It tells me Chrysler knew that they had issues with engine from the gate. I respectfully disagree with this being a good engine…the brain trust that designed the water pump internal to the engine, and if that wasn’t enough, then decided to intergrate the timing gears on the water pump as well…on a dual over head cam… clearly had no practical common sense about the internal combustion engine and the eventual repair of it.

I plan on doing a compression test on the front bank cylinders…this will also allow me to to inspect the spark plugs for unusual discoloration. Depending on those outcome will determine if the rear bank will need investigating as well.

I was hoping that I would tap a group of others that had similar issues & what they did to correct it

Any 2.7 engine problems are ones that are owner inflicted. You're way offbase by stating that Chrysler is solely at fault for special tools, procedures, integral water pumps, etc, etc.

You will find those complaints apply to every make and model to one degree or the other.

As to any problem that may exist there's not enough info known about the complaint or the reasons for performing any task. Changing the thermostat on a wild guess?

The engine may have a blown head gasket or the coolant puking could be from a weak radiator cap. A cracked radiator neck can lead to overheating and a blown head gasket very easily because the vast majority of drivers will flat ingore the temperature gauge or any symptoms of overheating and motor on instead of stopping.

The generation 1 engines had some issues, generation 2 had fewer issues but the generation 3 engines were pretty solid. Yours in a generation 3.

Since the engine did not warm up to normal operating temperature, I’d agree that you need a new thermostat. When you fixed the upper radiator filler neck so you probably fixed the overheating problem. Considering the age of the vehicle and the 2 year hiatus, a new radiator cap would be a good idea, cheap insurance.

The early engines had issues with the main bearings, especially when a little owner neglect was added. The remaining issue with these engines, and I think the gen 3 engines are included is the timing chain tensioner. They are usually good for 300k with care, but with neglect, they can seize sooner. When they go, so does the engine.

I had a neighbor with a 96 Concord, gen 2 engine. It went 300k+ but the tensioner got him in the end.

To those who doubt that there is issues with this engine, as to what “generation” that is unclear. I would agree that the gen 1 would most likely be at the forefront. yes… Chrysler needs to own up to this!!

This is not a owner neglect issue. Besides the owner bought this used several years back…since then change oil
every 2000-2500 miles ( a full 1000 miles earlier than necessary) and was very particular about maintenance of it. The only reason he, the owner, can
not take care of it now & I am, is he fighting for OUR freedom and
his mother was in need of spare set of wheels while she can save up to
fix her car.

And yes agreed every manufacture has issues with something, somewhere, sometime. Those who stand up and correct them and and make adjustments are the ones whom care about customer satisfaction. Remember WE tax payers bailed out this company twice over the years…hmmm . Advancement in technology and manufacturing have advance so dramatically and we as consumers demand & expect better products.

I understood this to be a gen 2…no matter.
Now the T-stat and radiator cap was replaced and compression test was performed…the firewall side showed 2 cylinders that were slightly lower…a possible sign of head gasket getting weak…and new spark plugs installed. After re-bleeding the coolant system, the temp remained steady and did not present any further flu like symptoms…so far so good.

A class action suit does not mean crap nor does it mean there's is really a problem with whatever the suit is about. Some suits have merit; most don't. It's not difficult at all to find a lawyer to go after someone with deep pockets.

You state the owner bought this car used and maintained it well. That brings up several points. One is that depending on driving habits and enviro conditions even 2500 miles may be too long an interval. Time is a factor also. Two is that the orignal owner could have generated this problem. With used cars, it's always a coin flip even if the car is inspected by a top notch mechanic.

A 10 year old Stratus with 127k miles is not going to last forever and if you weed out cars with integral water pumps then the roads are going to be pretty much deserted. So being very particular about maintenance means this car has had a timing belt job, along with the obligatory water pump/tensioners?

As to bailouts, my opinion is that Chrysler should have been allowed to sink the first time and the same applies to the second go-around. Ditto for GM.

You are right about yours being a gen 2 engine. Oops.

I’m glad you got this one running and thanks for helping the guy serving out country. I don’t know if you too are a vet, but it can be real gut wrenching when you are stationed overseas and something goes wrong at home. It is a very helpless feeling. Having a friend like you is a big comfort.

I know of no other engine that has the water pump sealed inside the engine like this one…Internal…not integral. Meaning, one can’t see it at all on the outside of engine & is mechanically seal inside… Yes every vehicle that has separate cooling system on the engine, the water pump that circulate coolant is intragal…or meaning vital.

This engine has no timing belt it has timing chains and the drive…can’t speak about other generation models, presume that they didn’t change that…but yes the associated tensioners and guides will be addressed if and when it gets replaced. It is a 7-10hour job to do this water pump, as quoted to be by a master technician. I know of no engine that is recommended to have engine oil changed every 2000-2500 miles or less…Chrysler even recommends 3000 miles…but apparently it has revised this interval several times.

Yes it does have some age to it…but and if it were mine…well it wouldn’t be. but isn’t

Keith…my Son-In-Law thanks you & I thank you