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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried posting this earlier this week, but for some reason it didn't post, so I'll try again.

Let me start by saying that I bought my PM new in 2014. Overall, I've been happy with it - it's made me some money driving as an expeditor and courier, but it has had its fair share of troubles. Before I go further, I would like to disclaim that I am not one to complain - I would not be writing this post without good reason.

I have a 2014 PM 2500 159" hi roof with the gas engine. I bought it with just 13 miles on it. In just two short years I've racked over 141K miles. I've always maintained to spec according to the manual and I've also performed recommended maintenance from my Ram service center. I started using synthetic oil that he recommended almost immediately. I don't drive her too hard and I don't load her too heavy. I would say it's only loaded about 50% of the time and my average payload is probably less than 1,000lbs. I would also estimate that at least 80% of the miles on her are highway. I've recently started doing more local pick up and deliveries as a courier, but still, she's on the highway most of the time.

I've had a number of small issues with it since I bought it. Namely a leaky transmission that was under warranty and fixed by the dealer, a leaky radiator that was replaced by the dealer, also under warranty. I've had an electrical issue that was traced back to a computer installed by my old company where the vehicle would lose all electrical power if left sitting more than 48 hours (apparently the computer drew too much power from the battery). I've gotten a handful of CEL that were related to simple fixes such as cleaning the air filter and replacing ignition coils. Finally, I had a light ticking noise coming the engine, thought it was a sticky valve or lifter. I don't remember what it was, but the dealer took care of it after having it for a few days.

Again, these are minor issues that were solved quickly.

But last Thursday, September 8, with approximately 141,941 miles on the OD, I received a flashing CEL immediately followed with a "Service Engine" message. The van start running really rough and started making a very loud knocking sound.

I was on the interstate at this time and empty. I slowed down, got in the right lane and go off at the next exit. After pulling into a parking lot, I shut down the engine and popped the hood. I thought maybe the radiator fan had broken or that something was hitting it. That wasn't it. I thought some how I had ran out of oil, so I checked all the fluids. Fluids were good. I waiting about 30 minutes before attempting to restart. When I did, the knocking was a lot louder. I could see the engine shaking. I tapped the gas to see what would happen at a higher RPM - the noise got louder and faster. At RPMs higher than 3,000 the knocking noise is accompanied by what I can only describe as metal to metal contact.

I had a OBD tester so I checked the codes. The only code that came up was for a Cylinder 1 misfire. I called my mechanic and told him what was going on and he told me that I should not drive on it and I should get it towed.

So, after waiting 5 hours for a tow truck, it was towed back to home base, about 90 miles away.

The next day, my mechanic took a look at it. Sure enough, cylinder # 1 was destroyed and the whole top of the engine was coming apart (according to him). He said the knock I was hearing was from a blown bearing and the loud thuds I was hearing was from the broken piston.

I then had another mechanic take a look at it as I wanted a second opinion. Sure enough, his opinion was the same.

This caught me completely by surprise. There was no indication anywhere that there was an impending issue. I've always maintained it to FCA spec and always changed the oil as soon as the light came on.

After doing some research on this forum, it looks like I am not the only one that has experienced a similar issue. I'm not sure what you guys did to fix it (replace engine, repair, etc) and I'm not sure who paid for it (you or Chrysler). When I called the Ram Customer line, I was told that because it's out of warranty they "decline to provide any assistance." I've called them several times and spoke with several people, they all said more or less the same thing. When I asked if there was any record of this happening to other customers they said no. My service tech at the dealer basically told me there isn't anything they can do and that they can't even look at it until next week. I'm not paying dealer prices just for them to tell me the same thing and charge me $3-400 to open it up again.

Clearly this should not have happened. I'm curious what you guys would do in my situation and what those that have experienced this have done. As I said, It's at 141,947 miles - almost 42K over the warranty. I've been quoted $7-9,000 for an engine swap.

The really sad thing is that the van only bluebooks at about $9-10,000. The rate at which these depreciate is a whole other conversation, but the trouble is I still owe $27,000 on it and now it's completely worthless without an working engine.

Any ideas or suggestions?
 

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I think the only option is to hope for closer to $7k for the replacement engine, keep driving and budget for another engine in another 141,947 miles.
 

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Unfortunately engine failure in any brand vehicle with 141k miles is not unheard of, and in 2 years would jut seem more common to me. I do not know of any manufacturer who would warranty an engine with that many miles. I know Sprinter does not.

I believe Sprinter engine replacement is near $20k, I know of 1 replaced at 105k miles
 

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How about getting a used engine from a salvage yard? You still have to pay the labor for the swap, but the used engine should only be about $1000-$1500.


I'm sorry to hear of your troubles, but your rate of accumulating miles is unusual. It's not surprising that you'll be dealing with stuff sooner than other owners.
Going forward, perhaps build up an emergency fund for expected future repairs.
 

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I can't offer any help, but maybe we can learn something from you.

Any idea at what mileage interval the change oil light was coming on at?

When you heard light ticking noise before and dealer fixed it, do you know what they actually did to it? Could the issue be related to final failure.
 

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A used engine from a salvage yard is going to be much cheaper than rebuilding that one if it had coughed up a wrist pin bearing and shattered a piston. Just cleaning the debris out calls for a complete disassembly. Yours is an anomaly as these engines will do much more than 142K but yours is a goner none the less. There is one on Ebay now with 8000 miles for $2500. Probably a good buy. Good luck.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/RAM-PROMAST...ash=item4b059b1b75:g:YgQAAOSwARZXo5NA&vxp=mtr
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the help! I will check out the EBay motor.

I forgot that a lot of the owners here use their PM for different applications. The kind of mileage is very common for those using it as transport vehicle (couriers, expeditors, etc.), but at any rate, I'm sure this is more of an anomaly.

I've thought about going to a salvage yard and finding a used one, but according to my mech, he hasn't had any luck finding one that would fit into the van. Yes, the Pentastar engine is a common engine, but they are not the same configuration to fit into the PM.

Having a maintenance fund is a brilliant idea and I hope others learn from my mistakes. I had one set up but stopped putting money into it since I was barely making enough money.

The oil change light comes on between 7,000 and 9,500 miles - depending on driving conditions. I would always get the oil changed as soon as humanly possible when it did come on.

The ticking sound was a sticky valve and the dealer ran an additive in the oil and it went away. I asked if it had anything to do with the failure and he said that it's not likely... But who the **** knows.

Thanks again for your input.
 

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Yes, they are all the same configuration! One of the design goals in developing the Penastar engine was having as few parts as necessary to fit it in as many applications as possible. I am positive that any difference in parts would be salvageable from your van. That being said I don't think you'll find more than 5 ProMaster specific parts differences between Pentastar engines across all the models that engine is available in.

.
 

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According to a police magazine article about cop cars with pentastars, Chrysler rates the Pentastar for a 150,000-mile lifespan.

:-(

Also this should be posted in the engine life thread
 

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I could see that in a cop car where they are constantly driving in the city and idling a lot of the times. Cop cars get abused! Under normal driving conditions I think we should expect 2-3 times that lifespan.
 

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I could see that in a cop car where they are constantly driving in the city and idling a lot of the times. Cop cars get abused! Under normal driving conditions I think we should expect 2-3 times that lifespan.
300-450k miles ????? no car maker will ever expect their cars to regularly reach that mileage
 

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300-450k miles ????? no car maker will ever expect their cars to regularly reach that mileage
The last 4 cars I've owned have made it to 300k. My last work van (that the ProMaster replaced) went 460k when I sold it to a friend. Honestly, I was a little worried about selling it to a friend but he said he knew how well I maintained my vehicles and wasn't concerned so now he has put over 100k more miles on that van and loves it! I guess I just get lucky...
 

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I am lucky too. My last three vehicles have reached the 225K-275K range, an F150 w/5.4 sold with 230K 2 years ago and I have seen it on the road still, a Toyota 4Runner, 3.4 w/235K I have and still running great, a Ford explorer which I sold with 225 and was still running w275K. I think all will reach the 300K mark. All had minor issues but nothing internal in the engines needed work and none burned oil at the mileages I had them. I also believe we live in the times most gassers will get well over 200K and many reach 300K with no engine work. I tend to buy them with 125-150K from the doubters cheap.
 

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Does the Pentastar 3.6L has a timing belt or chain? I thought about buying a VW Weekender last year, but the same problem bearings/Rollers and timing chains can blow up anytime after just 40k miles totally turned me off.

Any one here purchased an extended warranty on the pm and at what cost?

PS: my $600 1991 Toyota Previa has 310k on it and I think it has another 200k life in it...
 

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The article is in an online police magazine but they weren't talking about specifically about cop cars when they said "Chrysler rates the Pentastar for a 150,000-mile lifespan" (they got thier info from an engineer who helped design the engine.) and based on the figures posted in the forum so far, they barely make it over 100k.
 

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Does the Pentastar 3.6L has a timing belt or chain? CUT....
It is a chain and that is a good thing. Generally a chain and clean oil mean life-of-the-engine with less/no service. In engines which the chain and tensioner are failing you can hear it, such is the case in my Suzuki 2.5 V6, although mine is OK at 170K and so I keep clean oil in it!.
This Pentastar is an interference engine, so if that chain fails, and it won’t, then the pistons and head are goners. We have not heard of a chain failure here but have had a few camshaft failures probably caused by insufficient lubrication and/or perhaps poor camshaft hardness.
 

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I think if you use a full synthetic oil you stand a better chance of it lasting longer. We have 6 cars in the family at a time, I've had timing belts go, timing chain tensioners go both causing engine failure below 150k, 3 transmissions all below 160 ( one at 75 ) , 2 head gaskets, 1 needs a $1000 fuel pump now. And then there is the rust issue.....
 

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According to a police magazine article about cop cars with pentastars, Chrysler rates the Pentastar for a 150,000-mile lifespan.
This is pretty standard throughout the auto industry ... including for engines that are known to last considerably longer than that in actual field service.

Also, 150,000 miles is considered to be the lifetime of the emission control system by the EPA.

In no way does this imply that the engine will explode at 150,001 miles ... it only means that the OEM has only tested it to 150,000 miles. What happens beyond that is not their problem, maybe it keeps going, maybe not.
 
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