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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've searched the forum and it appears the cost to replace both cams and all rockers is $1500-2500? Am I correct? I was able to get my van into a dealer today that can get the work done on Tuesday/Wednesday but they want $4400 to replace them all including spark plugs. At that price I'd rather have a new motor for $7200. Only problem is motors are on backorder with no ETA. I think I'd rather just run it and take the risk of messing up the motor. Any thoughts? @Kip-on-truckin what you think?
 

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I've searched the forum and it appears the cost to replace both cams and all rockers is $1500-2500? Am I correct? I was able to get my van into a dealer today that can get the work done on Tuesday/Wednesday but they want $4400 to replace them all including spark plugs. At that price I'd rather have a new motor for $7200. Only problem is motors are on backorder with no ETA. I think I'd rather just run it and take the risk of messing up the motor. Any thoughts? @Kip-on-truckin what you think?
Are you still under the drivetrain warranty?

Having had the pentastar tick resolved twice, the 1500-2500 price sounds about right from a dealer. Caveat, that did not include all cams and rockers. Take note that if you ignore this tick, it may take out your "Cadillac converters". And it does not take long to destroy a CC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Are you still under the drivetrain warranty?

Having had the pentastar tick resolved twice, the 1500-2500 price sounds about right from a dealer. Caveat, that did not include all cams and rockers. Take note that if you ignore this tick, it may take out your "Cadillac converters". And it does not take long to destroy a CC.
No I'm not under warranty. I'm at 168,000 miles. I just can't see putting $5200 (including the belts and pullies) in a motor with that many miles when a new motor costs $7200.
 

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2018 159 High Roof gas, BC, Canada
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No I'm not under warranty. I'm at 168,000 miles. I just can't see putting $5200 (including the belts and pullies) in a motor with that many miles when a new motor costs $7200.
I'm constantly amazed at what prices people are reporting it costs to fix the Pentastar "tick". Not to insinuate your dealer is being greedy (though maybe I am...) And it looks like in your case, you are also replacing the 2 camshafts.

In my case, it was in my 2011 Dodge Caravan but it is the same family of engine (exactly the same actually), and I caught it very early so no camshaft damage and they didn't need to be replaced.

But my out-the-door bill, including tax, for replacing ALL the rocker arms and lifters was only $1600 CAD. And that's from a Dodge dealer, not an independent. (I did negotiate nicely with them.)

I replaced all the rocker arms even though it was likely only 1 was bad because rocker arms are cheap. And so I replaced all 24. I didn't want to be redoing this job anytime soon. Because my 2011 had the 1st model year Pentastar engine, I was hoping that replacing all the rocker arms with new ones would bring them up to date with the latest improvements (if any).

Your $4400 USD cost would be $5500 CAD. I am wondering why replacing 2 camshafts over what they did for my Caravan engine costs an additional $4000 CAD.

Isn't a camshaft about $300 USD? Two would be $600?

Edit: I don't know why the above link is not opening for me but here is a screenshot of it:
Rectangle Font Screenshot Magenta Parallel


Assuming 2 camshafts and fiddly bits cost $1000 CAD, what's the rest of the $4000 for? Labour? $3000 in labour?

If so, unless their shop rate is astronomical, I would need to see a mechanic slaving away for DAYS on this. In my case, when I asked them how long the job (no camshafts) would take, they said "it should be ready tomorrow"--and it was.

Because you are also replacing all your sparkplugs (smart!) I should mention they did 1/2 of the spark plugs also (I told them to do the hardest-to-do side; I can't remember what side that was; in hindsight I should have had them do them all as the "easier" side does not seem to be that much easier...)
 

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No I'm not under warranty. I'm at 168,000 miles. I just can't see putting $5200 (including the belts and pullies) in a motor with that many miles when a new motor costs $7200.
Im on the fence about this type of repair.

Some people think every little sound from the engine compartment means something is wrong. Fuel injectors also make ticking noises and valvetrains certainly make noise in any engine.

I would just keep on running it, I wouldn't fix it unless there was substantial proof of a mechanical problem.


Volkswagens turbo 4 cylinder engine of later years also had camshaft wear issues due to a high pressure fuel pump being powered by the camshafts lobe.

Moral of the story, a few engines failed, but many made it 150000 miles or more. Thats good enough for odds as far as an automaker is concerned.
 

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. I think I'd rather just run it and take the risk of messing up the motor. Any thoughts? @Kip-on-truckin what you think?
As opposed to a $4400 repair on an engine with nearly 170k miles? I'd just run it! Even if the engine does go, you always have the option of taking it to an independent shop and having a low mileage used engine installed for close to that. The only scenario where I might do things differently is if you are working with the van and downtime at an inopportune time might be too costly. In that case I still don't think I'd spend $4400 just to rebuild part of the engine, I'd probably still go with a used engine or complete rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Josh, given that we are only about 4,000 miles behind you, what was the symptom and when did it start?
I might have heard a very faint tick earlier but honestly I couldn't really tell if it was because it was so quiet. Just started actually ticking about 4000 miles ago. We're out West so no choice but to drive it until I get it home or get it fixed out here.

Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm constantly amazed at what prices people are reporting it costs to fix the Pentastar "tick". Not to insinuate your dealer is being greedy (though maybe I am...) And it looks like in your case, you are also replacing the 2 camshafts.

But my out-the-door bill, including tax, for replacing ALL the rocker arms and lifters was only $1600 CAD. And that's from a Dodge dealer, not an independent. (I did negotiate nicely with them.)

Your $4400 USD cost would be $5500 CAD. I am wondering why replacing 2 camshafts over what they did for my Caravan engine costs an additional $4000 CAD.

If so, unless their shop rate is astronomical, I would need to see a mechanic slaving away for DAYS on this. In my case, when I asked them how long the job (no camshafts) would take, they said "it should be ready tomorrow"--and it was.
I can't figure it out either. When she gave me that price I told her I've been told it should be $2k- $2500 and she said maybe $2k in parts. She said book time on the repair is 13 hours. She didn't give me an actual quote on paper so I don't know where the big price was coming in.

I was recently quoted right at $1700 to replace brake pads and rotors all the way around at an independent shop. They were doubling the parts. Labor was $350. People wonder why no one trusts shops to work on their cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As opposed to a $4400 repair on an engine with nearly 170k miles? I'd just run it! Even if the engine does go, you always have the option of taking it to an independent shop and having a low mileage used engine installed for close to that. The only scenario where I might do things differently is if you are working with the van and downtime at an inopportune time might be too costly. In that case I still don't think I'd spend $4400 just to rebuild part of the engine, I'd probably still go with a used engine or complete rebuild.
I hear you and am tempted but the problem is when it goes where an I going to be? 4 - 6 hours from home with a boat behind me or in Montana. All of which would require an expensive tow. If we're out West, a rental car and most likely plane tickets home and back to get the van plus all the headache of a messed up trip. That adds to the repair quick.
 

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. . . what was the symptom and when did it start?
MsNomer is was a very subtle 'tick". We didn't even hear it unless we walked in front of the van . . . son Timothy heard it. He advised against driving it that way . . . and fearing a catastrophic on-the-road let-down in some back-country location, we replaced all of the rockers. If anyone is interested, there's a short video of our rocker on our YouTube channel: RW and VJ. Can't really comment on the cost . . . as that same son did the repair.
 

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Fwiw
Just make sure it's not the purge valve that's ticking.
 

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Kip said this last year:

"The ticking is caused by clearance between the rocker arm and the lifter. This, in itself, is totally harmless. One of my vans ticked when I bought it used with 88k. It still ticks with 560k 4 years later. The sound will be worse when it’s cold, getting quieter as it warms.
If the clearance gets worse, or the clearance causes wear in the rocker or lifter, eventually it will start affecting that valve’s lift, usually an intake valve. This will cause a single cylinder misfire. The definitive test will be a compression test, which will show that cylinder low. It will take about 5-10 thousand miles of misfiring before it gets bad enough where you wont be able to hold speed in high gear. Eventually, it will suck and eat the valve, and your motor is toast.
Solutions: once it has compression loss, there are three stages of repair. If the bad cylinder is toward the trans side, it may be possible to tip up the cam and get that lifter and rocker out. $20 in parts and maybe 3 hours labor.
If that doesnt work, you need a new cylinder head. Dealers charge a reasonable $300 for the head and it comes with a 150,000 mile warranty. The problem is the labor. It’s a big job, and probably books at 12-15 hours, possibly more.
The worst case is the valve drstroys the engine. Junkyard engines with less than 40k on them are $1600. Labor is the problem - something like 20 hours.
This valve tick problem is the achilles heel of the pentastar. It doesnt affect all engines, but it’s common. Maybe 5%? It seems like it pops up at 110-140k. If you dont have it by 140, odds are you’ll never have it. Both my vans have over 500k. One had it twice, the other never (and the never one is the ticky one!)
Advice: go to a dealer and stick your head under some jeep hoods to get an idea of how much a brand new engine ticks. This way, you’ll know what you are listening for when looking at used vans. Also, get a cheapie code reader and read stored codes on any van you are looking at. Any van that comes up with misfire codes is to be avoided, or discounted deeply."
 

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Reading Kip's breakdown reminds of something Mark Twain wrote...paraphrased here - Don't put off until tomorrow that which can be put off just as well until the day after.

That's how I plan to play it if my van develops the tick at some point, especially with mileage that high.

Edit - although seriously, since I haven't built a time consuming/expensive camping/living setup in mine (that I'd hate to lose) I doubt I'll keep it that long, opting for something newer that meets my needs whenever the time comes, assuming there will be anything affordable and/or available then.
 

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Thanks. This is a really loud tick that changes as the rpms go up. I'm pretty sure it's the rocker.
Could also be a water pump with bad bearings, connecting rod, wrist pins, piston slapping, crankshaft bearing, lots of stuff.

It will be a glorious event when it finally goes! Embrace it.
 

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I can't figure it out either. When she gave me that price I told her I've been told it should be $2k- $2500 and she said maybe $2k in parts. She said book time on the repair is 13 hours. She didn't give me an actual quote on paper so I don't know where the big price was coming in.

I was recently quoted right at $1700 to replace brake pads and rotors all the way around at an independent shop. They were doubling the parts. Labor was $350. People wonder why no one trusts shops to work on their cars.
I'm wondering if she noticed out-of-town plates and took the opportunity to swing for the fences. $2000 in parts???

Here's a cut and paste of the email from my Dodge dealer for the work of replacing all the rocker arms and lifters and 1/2 of the spark plugs in my Caravan, prices in CAD.

It is 24 rocker arms and 24 lifters

Rocker arms $346.80
Lifters $148.08
Labour 5.5hrs $687.50 (this time includes the diagnosis time, you have to remove the camshafts)

Total $1182.38

(Note: the total is before taxes and the shop supplies, etc., which is why I said that all in, it was $1600 CAD. Not in the list above were also 3 spark plugs at $20 each, some valve cover gaskets, etc., if I recall.)

Doing the math, the rockers come out to a bit more than $14 CAD each. Kip said he gets them for $5 USD. In my post above, an OEM Mopar camshaft is sub $300 USD each.

How did she figure the parts got to $2000 USD???

Re: 13 hours labour. Is she claiming that it will take 6.5 more hours to replace the camshafts? And why is that? The camshafts are right there. Would they replace the rocker arms (and in my case, also the lifters), put everything back together, and then remove them all again just to do the camshafts???

I believe you are on the road and thus may have limited time. But if you do have some moments, ask around for a few more quotes.

Our engines are all Pentastars just like my Caravan. I'm thinking that any Dodge dealership can do this repair. Often Dodge/Chrysler dealers are not allowed to do warranty work on Promasters and sometimes they blindly decline all work on our PMs simply because they don't have hoists big enough to lift them up, but engine work won't need the lifts.

Maybe call an independent or two.

Update: it gets better. As I type this, I asked my wife to kindly find the invoice for my Caravan work. The taxes in, out-the-door price was not $1600 CAD, it was only $1348 CAD (or in today's exchange rate) $1081 USD. Even if both camshafts are replaced (again, mine were not because I caught this problem early), I can't see Josh's job costing more than $2000 USD.
 
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Thanks. This is a really loud tick that changes as the rpms go up. I'm pretty sure it's the rocker.
Similar to @Winston, my (Caravan's) tick was subtle. Though freshly having watched some videos on the topic, I knew what it sounded like and thus caught it early. Maybe it gets louder when the affected rocker(s) gets more worn.

I'll take the opportunity to 2nd @el Jefe's warning about this problem taking out the cats. It could be that you will need $7200 for a new engine and money for the cats too if you wait until the engine fails altogether.
 
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