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Discussion Starter #1
The story:
My other PM and driver were heading to a pickup. CEL came on 50 miles from destination. He's new and doesn't carry a code reader, so I advised him to keep driving. 5 miles from pickup the low oil pressure warning came on! Yowsa. He gets there, and sees that the entire back and bottom of the PM is covered in oil. We call another truck to handle the load.

I put the kids with a babysitter, and race out there to see what can be done. The code read "camshaft B position disagree" or something like that. It drinks 4 qts of oil and then it's good on the stick. I limp it to a Ram dealer, luckily only 3 miles away. It makes an oil slick all the way there, but the motor is fine.

I take an educated guess that it's an oil leak relating to the oil cooler. Pressurized oil is leaking, and since the cam phasers run on oil pressure, they can't track right. I guess it's not a cracked head, cracked block, or blown head gasket.

Dealer takes 4 friggin' days to get around to looking at it, but when he does he determines that the oil cooler has cracked. It's located in the V of the engine, and it forms the housing for the oil filter canister. Apparently, it exchanges heat with the coolant, so it's more of an oil warmer than an oil cooler. Dealer says that it's a common problem.

Common? I never heard of it. So I go digging. I find on a Jeep board that yeah, it was super common for the first run of 2014 Jeeps. Those were all failing at very low miles, but mine is at 96k. Mine is a super early build, I wanna say October of 13. From what I gather, the part is about $150 and it's 3-4 hours to install because the upper and lower manifold have to come out.

I'll have a written estimate next week, so I'll know the exact amounts. I'll try and get a VIN sequence out of them since I know some of you guys have early builds as well. It took FCA a few months, but they fixed the cracked coolers under warranty and they revised that part, so I doubt newer ones have the problem.

If you get a CEL and can't read the code, it behooves you to pull over and look at the back of the block on the drivers side. If it's drenched in oil, you know what you've got. Failure to stop will drain the pan in fairly short order, and I felt pretty lucky that we didn't blow the motor or spin a bearing. The Jeep guys tape a q-tip to a coat hanger, and run it into the V from the oil filter housing to check to see if there's any puddling that might be a tell tale.

I'll keep you posted.
 

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4 Days? So much for Business Link.

How do you tell when your build date was?
 

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Kip, just wondering, did your rearch dig up any instances of guys who simply added an aftermarket cooler/heater and re-ran the oil lines to it rather than the factory one? I realize the cooler supposedly heats and cools but...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The build date is somewhere on the door sticker.

I thought about that too; just using a different cooler. But i dont think its that easy. The tube that houses the oil filter is the top of this assembly, and its not the cooler that fails its the whole assembly body. Its like a complex manifold where oil and coolant and the filter all meet. The cracks are NOT caused by overtightening the filter cap - they occur elsewhere on the housing.

The jeep guys pieced together that for MY 2014, FCA revised the design so they could use 1 oil filter for every pentastar. Best i can tell, only the jeep and pm use this cooler, but i could be wrong about that.

The jeeps were failing at super low miles, so they were all covered under the 3/36 warranty. The powertrain warranty goes to 100k, but im the second owner. Buried in the fine print is some bs about having to fill out a form at time of purchase to transfer the warranty. Im going to try to get it covered, but who knows. What i really want is for them to cover the cooler, then ill pay for new spark plugs since the manifold has to come out anyway. We'll see.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
More research reveals that the problem occurs on ALL Pentastars. The part is a complex piece that warms the oil with coolant, but also contains the oil pressure sender and a temp sensor I believe. So far, no TSB found but the Jeep guys starting getting a PN ending in AB (instead of AA, meaning a revision) around January of 2015 for their '14 Wranglers. The Jeep guys are in fact getting this covered under the 100k powertrain warranty, though we'll see if that applies to me.

You'd have to be pretty bored, but here's a video that illustrates what's happening. This is on a 14 Avenger, which appears to have a slightly different upper intake, but what do I know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIQHGWrcpM4
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm trying to piece that together from the Jeep guys. Best I can tell, the problem was identified in the fall of 2014 and the revised part was in circulation by Jan 2015. I guess that means if your build date is Jan or later, you are probably ok. When I have the truck back in my hands, I'll see if I can get some shots of the housing and the part number as it sits, so we can check them visually to see which revision we have.

As a pattern failure though, I'm not sure if anything is going to be concrete. The failure rate was very high in the fall of 14, maybe more than 10%. But some never failed, or haven't failed yet. Seems like most failed at or near their first oil change, so under 5k miles. Saw one that failed at 37k. Mine failed at 96k. The good news is that, unless they try to screw me at pickup, it's included in the powertrain warranty so you've got 100k. The downside is that mine blew with zero warning (other than the CEL) under zero stress conditions (highway cruise, empty, good weather). Best I can tell, I have 1.5 qts of oil still in the engine after 60 miles, but another few minutes of driving and we could have easily grenaded the motor. The Jeep guys are all up in arms about "What if I was in Moab 100 miles from a Pep Boys!" line of thinking.

Supposedly, I'll pick it up tomorrow and we'll see what's what. My thinking is that IF everything the Jeepers went through turns out to be true for the PM, then my advice would be to watch it for leaks like a hawk until 100k when it needs plugs, and then swap the cooler when you are halfway there for the plugs anyway. The part isn't super expensive, and the job is pretty easy once you have the intake off anyway. It also forces you to replace the coolant at the same time, which is spec'd at 10years/150,000.

It may come down to this rule-of-thumb: every 100k just expect to do a major preventive service on the PM. Plugs and possibly coils, serpentine belt, oil cooler if it's never been done, coolant, and trans filter and fluid. That's a lot of stuff, and a lot of money, all at once but other than tires and brakes there really isn't anything else to do as far as preventative goes. For me, 100k is only 11 months, but I have no problem spending $1000/yr on maintenance. That's a pretty cheap date in the big picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
OK. Got the van back today and all is well, replaced oil cooler under warranty even though I'm at 96k and even though I'm not the original owner. Since they already had the manifold off, I had them do the plugs, and they promptly robbed me for $320. Win some lose some.

Enclosed are some of the literature I managed to get my grubby hands on. The short of it is that if your build date (door sticker) was on or before Jan 20, 2014 then you may get the cracked oil cooler. Since the PM went on sale in Jan 14, you'd have to be a pretty early adopter to be in danger. Mine was an Oct 13 build.

Should you worry? I'm of the mind to say "a little". Ideally, you actually want it to fail so you can get them to replace it under warranty. What you don't want is to wait till 150k and then it fails. But the upside is when it does fail you will have plenty of warning. Aside from the large puddle of oil, like me you should get a camshafts disagree code first, then a low oil pressure warning. Of course, this only helps if you happen to be carrying oil with you. Otherwise, do NOT even think about driving it with low oil pressure.

Note that on the work order, the current part has an AC suffix. This means there was an original part, a revised AB part, and now an AC part. So if someday you buy one on ebay, make certain to get an AC. I can't get a picture, but the PN is cast right into the housing so you can be certain.
 
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Well mine just failed. It's a Oct 2013 build and has just under 7000 kilometers (4500 miles). I noticed that the transmission was covered with oil so I called the dealer and told him I was bringing it in. I refilled the engine oil and started out for the dealers location which was about 3/4 hour drive. As I approached one of the bridges, 6 police cars passed me at a high rate of speed and some of them stopped at the apex of the bridge, got out and were peering over the railings at the water underneath. I guess there was a jumper. Of course traffic slowed to stop and start and I was having visions of my engine running out of oil and seizing up right in the middle of all this.

Made it to the dealer and left it with them. Hopefully they'll get the van back up and running pretty quickly.
 

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Its a pretty quick job - a few hours. Whats perverse is Im glad it happened and its fixed, because now I dont have to worry about it!
 

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Same for me! It didn't take them long. I don't know how good these guys are at looking for problems. I took it in and told the service dept that there was an oil leak. Got a call later in the day that they couldn't find the leak, and my guess is that they only looked under the van. So I told them to look at the top of the transmission and in the valley of the engine. The next call was that they found the leak and had started the repair.

Now if they could only find the cause of the "Check Brake System" light that only occurs if I'm driving. They billed me for the last time because they couldn't get the indicator to come on.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I might add that I sweetened the deal for the dealership on mine, which occured at 98k. Since the manifold has to come out to get at the oil cooler, i told them if they could cover the cooler under warranty, i would have them do the spark plugs. The cooler would be warranty by the miles, but I am not the original owner and i think authorizing the plugs is what got the job done under warranty. Plugs are about a $500 job every 100k, but the dealer only charged me 330 or so.

On the other hand, i dont know if there is a time component to that 100k engine warranty, so this may not apply if you dont rack up a lot of miles.
 

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Yes, thats for plugs and coils. The manifold is a two piece design, so tge upper half comes off and that gives access to the plugs. There are no plug wires - the coil terminates in a long rubber boot that mates to the plug. Most modern coil-on-plug engines like this recommend replacing the plug and coil as a unit. Plugs themselves are iridiums, and are spec'd at 100,000.
 
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