Replaced cylinder head, intake manifold. Car still shakes during idle

2012 dodge caravan. Bought it used last year with 27k miles.

-Day after I bought it, it threw a misfire code. They said the spark plugs got wet when they washed the under carriage. Dried it out, cleared the code.

  • For the next month the car went from a slight shimmy during idle…progressed to strong shaking (its shakes, pauses, shakes…etc.) Finally another misfire code. Took it in and this is what the report says.

" Cylinder misfire on #4. Performed compression test found #4 cylinder compression at 100 PSI. All other cylinders at 150 PSI. Recommend to replace front cylinder head. Has burned exhaust valve seat. Replaced left cylinder head assembly."

  • About 2 months later check engine light comes on, car is over heating. Coolant bone dry. Replaced coolant, took it back in. They replaced the intake manifold??( can’t find the paperwork at the moment, this is what my husband said)

  • Been slowly losing coolant. I have to replace it about every 2-3 months. I notice the car shakes worse when the coolant is low, with minimal shaking when coolant is replaced. Finally took it back in a few week ago when my husband got back from deployment. They said it was a loose bolt on the intake manifold causing the slow leak. They couldn’t verify my complaint about the shaking.

  • Now, car still shaking. Its minimal on start up, gets worse the longer I idle. I can only feel the shaking while in idle. If I restart the car it goes back to minimal before progressing again. Took it back in. They verified the shaking, hooked it up to a computer, no codes or anything. Told me its normal. It CANT be normal, right? I neglected to check the coolant level before I took it back in. I left it with them saying they will look it over, but they don’t think anything is wrong. This is exactly how it progressed when they ended up replacing the cylinder head. I have 1k miles left on the warranty, and am moving in 2 weeks 1500 miles away. I don’t have time to wait for another code.


Trade it in before you move…This car has all the earmarks of a classic money pit…

Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to make that possible right now. Is that really my only option? I was considering the very expensive lifetime bumper to bumper manufacturer warranty. Maybe I can call the manufacturer directly, complain, and maybe get a discount on a warranty?

I’m in a serious bind at the moment. We are moving 1500 miles away in less than 2 weeks. My husband HAS to report for duty by then.

Rent a U-Haul tow dolly and tow the van behind you when you move. If that’s not possible, pay someone to ship it for you. That way you won’t exceed the warranty mileage. Meanwhile, write down all the problems you’ve had, with dates, service visits, receipts, etc. When you get to your new location, contact your regional Dodge manager and send them a copy of your documented issues. Tell them this is a warranty problem and you expect them to honor the warranty by either fixing the problem permanently or giving you a new engine.

At the very least it sounds like a leaking gasket, possibly a head gasket. That would explain the shaking idle and loss of coolant. I’m not sure I would accept the “loose bolt” explanation you were given.

These people are lying to you and “blowing you off”. The engine has a serious problem and they know it.

If it were mine, I’d get it to an independent shop, give them the history, and have them evaluate it and provided a detailed report as well as repair estimates. You’ll then have the information you need to talk with a lawyer and have him/her write a letter requesting compensation for the necessary repairs.

Be aware however, that you have absolutely no legal grounds for a recovery unless you can prove fraud. My guess is that’ll be impossible, my guess is that they’ve covered their butts pretty thoroughly. Crooks usually do, and the law in most states for used cars is “as-is unless otherwise specified in writing”.

Bottom line: try to get some money from them, but plan to either sell the vehicle or pay for the necessary repairs yourself.

Sorry. I wish I had better news.

Your vehicle should have a 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

This may be something that is only covered by the basic (3yr/36K) warranty, it depends on what the failed part turns out to be. The warranty will be extended untill this current problem is resolved (within reason).

Contact customer service found in your warranty booklet. Explain that the problem with the vehicle has not been resolved and you are relocating. They will open a case file and assign you to a preferred dealer at your destination.

what does the oil on the dipstick look like? head gasket would be my guess too

I haven’t checked the oil. I know nothing about cars. I did just have it changed a couple of weeks ago when I took it in for the coolant loss. Which reminds me, I reset the “change engine oil” thing on the fancy read out twice, but it keeps coming back. Not on every start up…maybe every 5 start ups. I thought it just went by mileage, but google is telling me it goes by oil pressure? I did mention this to the mechanic when I took it in today. He said I must not have done it right. I told him it beeps and clears…he said that was “odd” and would have somebody reset it for me.

oh, this is the dealership mechanic, and its still under manufacturer warranty until 36k. Its at 35 k. I was under the impression that they get paid by the manufacturer for repairs, so why would they be blowing me off?

im sorry to say that the more info you give, the worse this sounds to me. there are some real experts on this sight tho, and they are very helpful. keep this near the top of the message board and you ll get plenty of good advice before the night is thru.

Sorry, I don’t know how to edit. It actually says “oil change due”. I reset and clear it, and it pops back up after a few start ups.

They get paid only for approved warranty work or recalls. But it’s up to you to get Chrysler corporate to admit that you have a valid warranty claim. Otherwise you will continue to get the runaround.

Here is the warranty info for your vehicle. Section 7 tells what to do for warranty claims:

As Nevada said above, you have a “limited powertrain warranty” up to 5 yrs/100k miles.

The “oil change due” does not go by oil pressure. It goes by a variety of parameters measured by the computer. Apparently it’s malfunctioning. That’s one more thing to fix. Meanwhile pull the dipstick weekly and check the oil color. As long as it’s golden/brown, not black or gray, it’s OK, and if you change it every 3,000-5,000 miles it should be fine. Ignore the “oil change due” light until it gets fixed.

Keep all your repair records and document any discussions you have with the dealer.

Since all the repairs made so far were performed under the manufacturers warranty, even if the vehicle goes out of warranty and the issue still isn’t resolved, the vehicle is still covered under the original warranty.

This is called an Ongoing Warranty Issue. This is a consumer protection law that prevents dealers from stringing a customer along while the vehicle is having problems while under warranty. And then once the vehicle goes out of warranty the dealer says they can’t help you because the vehicle is now out of warranty.


You state the engine was overheated and the coolant was bone dry 2 months after the cylinder head replacement.
That could have negated any improvement due to the replacement head.

There’s also an issue with the compression numbers. A 150 PSI is not that good on what is assumed to be a low miles engine. You state it had 27k when purchased. Left unsaid is the current mileage, oil change regimen, and how often the oil level is checked.

Warranty may or may not step in on this. If problems are caused by the oil change regimen (or lack thereof) and the regimen cannot be documented then warranty may be dead and buried.

Tough spot to be in especially considering the time factor. Would I consider driving that thing 1500 miles? Not for a New York minute.

not to be critical, but if you drive a car, and want it to last, you have to learn how to check the oil and coolant. they should be checked often.

it has 35 k miles. I have had the oil changed twice. I have the receipts, plus oil can henry’s can print them out for me. Recommended oil change is every 6 months or 6,000 miles.

They just called. “Absolutely nothing wrong with the car, no codes or anything.”

I asked if they checked the compression and the gaskets. They said yes, they “checked everything”.

Forget about them. They’re hopeless. Worry about your move and getting the van hauled/towed to your new hometown. After the move, start again by calling the Dodge/Chrysler consumer assistance number and opening a case file for a warranty claim.

I have the car back. The oil looks good, and so does the coolant level. They said they did a visual inspection for leaks, and scanned it. Unless it throws a code or has a visible leak, they can’t do anything.

I’ll be taking it to a local shop Monday. Thank you for all of your help.

I wish you sincere best. Please let us know how you make out. We do care.

And do learn how to check your fluids and develop a routine for doing so. Because of the vehicle’s history, I’d suggest checking the oil daily until you have an idea of how much oil the vehicle uses. You can adjust the schedule to something more realistic at that point. Although I have to admit to checking mine two or three times a week… much more often than necessary… and topping it off whenever it gets 1/2 quart down. Basically, I fill mine 1/2 quart at a time rather than one quart at a time. It isn’t really necessary, but I’m OCD about my oil.

Oh, and the more BS you pass on from the guys you bought the car from is the more I realize how dishonest they are. What they told you is unmitigated bologna.