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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All -

My wife's 2014 T&C in recently had the CEL come on and it is only showing the P0302 code. I found a good video on YouTube and went in and swapped the coil pack to one cylinder and the spark plug to another, but the error still indicated cylinder 2. From my earlier research, I figured that it was probably a fuel injector, and didn't feel like getting back into it and took it to my mechanic. My wife also said that she has noticed that the exhaust smells bad recently.

I received this back from him late yesterday afternoon:
Cylinder 2 has about half compression so the damage is internal. #2 compression is under 100, #4 in the center front is at 150. The leak down test shows blow by past the valves, out the tail pipe. So the valves are not seating, bent or other problems.
I called him and he recommended swapping in a new engine as replacing the heads is not going to be "significantly" cheaper and he is not sure if there is damage to the cylinder. (I think that a couple thousand dollars is significant, but I get his point. He has not torn it down far enough to examine the heads and/or cylinders.

This has led to me frantically researching to see if I have any alternatives to paying well over half of the value of my van for a new engine. In the last couple of hours I have learned that there appears to be a rocker arm design issue with the generation of engine. I created an account here to ask you folks if you think that based on the compression test and leak down test results mentioned above, if I might be able to replace the rocker arms (and most likely a cam shaft at this point) and keep this thing on the road? Or does it sound like there might be other issues that might require the heads and/or engine to be replaced?

Please feel free to point me to other posts that you think might be helpful, as I mentioned, I was just recently forced to start down this path and I appreciate your patience with me if I am asking a question that has been answered 1,000,000 times before.

Thank you for your help!
 

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Here is a thread that’s similar. It turned out that one valve had weird damage that would cause it to leak. OP was able to repair it himself.

but it doesn’t matter what anyone posts here, it would be a pure guess. In order to know exactly what’s going on, the head has to come off. If your mechanic would rather sell you a junkyard engine, I would probably look for another one.
I would ask how much he wants for pulling the head and seeing what the issue is. Since it’s holding some compression, the valve cannot be badly damaged, but who knows?

P0300 without ANY other codes even after replacing plugs...
 

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Sounds like a dropped exhaust valve seat, which was the issue they had a recall on the #2 head... Unfortunately the warranty extension for that has expired and being a 2014 it wouldn't have been on the list for it anyway.

No need to toss the whole engine. Pull the heads and have a machine shop work them over with new valves, guides, seats, and seals. You'll spend a few thousand doing it, but it'll be cheaper than another engine that could potentially have the same issue later on.
 

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No need to toss the whole engine. Pull the heads and have a machine shop work them over with new valves, guides, seats, and seals. You'll spend a few thousand doing it, but it'll be cheaper than another engine that could potentially have the same issue later on.
Exactly. A used engine is very likely to suffer a similar issue or even worse, and that’s not even counting how it was maintained.

I would try to get this mechanic to do the head, or find someone else to do it. Now that it has been diagnosed, it should not be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thank you both. I appreciate the input. I spoke with the shop yesterday and the tech told me that in his opinion it was not the rocker arm issue because he would have heard it. He said that he could see some bubbling around at least one valve during one of the tests, so that seems to line up with what you both are suggesting.

In order to know exactly what’s going on, the head has to come off. If your mechanic would rather sell you a junkyard engine, I would probably look for another one.
I would ask how much he wants for pulling the head and seeing what the issue is. Since it’s holding some compression, the valve cannot be badly damaged, but who knows?
Agreed. The heads will need to come off to truly diagnose the issue. The shop was trying to make sure that I still have a working vehicle at this point, so they didn't tear it down to the point that I would be on the hook for a few thousand bucks to get the car back. At this point, I have spent a little over $100 for the diagnostics mentioned above and still have a working vehicle with a CEL lit. They are certainly willing to tear into it further, but as they are not Dodge specialists if they go into it thinking it is a head job, and then find that there is damage to the cylinder, we're both stuck until more parts are purchased... I have no idea if it is likely to have damage beyond the heads, and neither do they. The fact that neither of you mentioned possible cylinder damage seems to be good news for me.

it'll be cheaper than another engine that could potentially have the same issue later on.
I had not really considered the possibility of a "new" engine developing the same problem or worse. Thank you for pointing that out.

They are not Dodge specialists, so they don't really have a good feel for Dodge issues like my Subaru guy (who has been working on Subarus for 30 years) does. I'm leaning toward taking it to a local Dodge dealer that has a pretty good reputation just because they should be familiar with this engine and common issues... And they are likely to have any parts needed on-hand. I'll pay a premium (especially on the labor), but maybe the reduced time in the shop will make it "worth it"?

So, should I have the lifters and rockers done "while they are there"? Any other work that I should have done while a tech is in it up to their elbows?

Thank you again!
 

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Doesn't really matter if they specialize in Dodges or not. If they are good mechanics that do things by the book, they can do a head job on a 3.6. Might want to tell them that removing engine accessories and the upper oil pan are not actually required as the book says, though you do need to lean back the power steering pump and alternator... could reduce the labor time/cost slightly.

There is a chance this is still a rocker issue that just got to the worst point and chewed a cam lobe off. You won't know that until the #2 valve cover is off. But if the mechanic sees that, they should inform you that you need 1 or 2 cams and a set of rockers and lifters. I would try those alone before doing the head, if damage is found. Being it's a '14, it did not come with the most recent rocker revision (AH), so it would be a good idea to replace them regardless of issues.

If you have the money for it, it would be a good time to knock out all the plastic parts that are prone to failure: oil cooler, coolant crossover, heater Ys. All of these have all metal Dorman replacements on the market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Doesn't really matter if they specialize in Dodges or not. If they are good mechanics that do things by the book, they can do a head job on a 3.6. Might want to tell them that removing engine accessories and the upper oil pan are not actually required as the book says, though you do need to lean back the power steering pump and alternator... could reduce the labor time/cost slightly.

There is a chance this is still a rocker issue that just got to the worst point and chewed a cam lobe off. You won't know that until the #2 valve cover is off. But if the mechanic sees that, they should inform you that you need 1 or 2 cams and a set of rockers and lifters. I would try those alone before doing the head, if damage is found. Being it's a '14, it did not come with the most recent rocker revision (AH), so it would be a good idea to replace them regardless of issues.

If you have the money for it, it would be a good time to knock out all the plastic parts that are prone to failure: oil cooler, coolant crossover, heater Ys. All of these have all metal Dorman replacements on the market.
Great info Sienile, I appreciate it very much.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
 
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