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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The 5th Generation have a variety of plastic parts in the engine bay that are concerning. They have been mentioned numerous times on this and other Forums. How concerning are they and what is their performance record on average?

Specifically:
- oil cooler housing that can crack if the oil filter cover is overtightened or may leak due to plastic fatigue or poor quality?
Cylinder Auto part Machine Plastic Engineering


- thermostat housing that may leak due to plastic fatigue or poor quality?
Camera accessory Gas Cylinder Auto part Composite material



- coolant tube that thermostat housing fastens to that may leak due to plastic fatigue or poor quality?

Bicycle part Tool Auto part Composite material Metal


- Y shaped connectors for rear heating system containing plastic parts that may leak due to plastic fatigue or poor quality?
Bicycle part Eyelash Cable Wire Twig



Dorman has a line of products with the logo OE FIX attached to their description saying:
"OE PROBLEM
The original equipment design uses plastic material, prone to cracking and leaks" or "original equipment heater hose connectors on certain Chrysler and Dodge minivans are made of brittle plastic that cracks and leaks".

WOW!
Dorman coming to the rescue? Is that what a quality OE product is all about? The aftermarket doing a better job than OE? What is Chrysler doing in response?

How long are these parts lasting before failure (miles or kilometers)? What is the rest of the story? Only you can tell the story as it has happened. Please do.
50,000
100,000
150,000
200,000
250,000
300,000

Does the Owner's Manual require any regular inspection or replacement of these items or are they basically "limited lifetime warranty", sort of?

Are the failures safety related? Are there any "class actions" in place concerning poor quality plastic parts?

How will companies ever learn that poor quality plastic parts are "big" quality issues, costing the owners needless time and money?

Speaking of "class actions", here's a recent one and it isn't safety related either. It's all about lack of expected quality and additional time/money loss to Owner's Even Honda has to face up, or better said "been made to face up" to poor quality.

The document: "HONDA EARLY PAINT DEGRADATION CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT APPROVAL NOTICE1".
 

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I've never seen a thermostat housing damaged. It's often a failure in the coolant crossover that gets confused for a thermostat. The brass fittings that the thermostat bolts into have slid out and the crossover itself has warped from the heat.

Oil cooler was the longest lasting (aside from thermostat, which failed because of the element, not the body) on mine. It was removed right around 120k as preventative maintenance.

Ys failed around 50k, crossover at about 70k (though it may have been leaking a while before I noticed).
 

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No problems with any of these in over 8 yrs and 86K miles...so far. I frequently check these items as best as I can, however, as we've begun our move back to Texas (lots of 1,000-mile back & forth).

Like Sienile, I am planning to proactively replace all of the above at or near the 100K-mile mark, which should come next year. Can do the plugs, coolant exchange, and more while it's all apart. Planning to use the upgraded Dorman parts. Should make for a nice two-day project.
 
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Although they represent an option for same cost replacement. The metal that is used in the Dorman parts is not high quality, and they are relatively new and few in use. It stands unproven if they are subject to the same failures over time as the plastic pieces.

Before you use the Y-pipes, look inside and ream out the burrs and metal flakes in the seams.;)
 

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CCiman, you make all great points. I'm always concerned about installing potential junk. With some luck, I have another year before my planned replacement, so hopefully there's some kind of track record by then.

Makes me think about all the talk here on the improved Dorman oil coolers over the past few years. Surprised I haven't seen a thread from folks who have installed them and their opinions so far.
 
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Maybe no posts on the aluminum oil coolers because they actually work? I thought I saw someone post about one leaking once, but it may have turned out to be installation error. I suggested that one could make up some sort of plugs and an air coupler fitting, hook up a regulated pressure air line set to just over operating pressures, and leak test it by dunking in a tub of water and looking for air bubbles. I would think they are tested like this at the manufacturer though. Then again, maybe not the chinese knock-offs.

Metal not high quality? Do you know the grade, or something else to make that determination? It's cast aluminum, and not much to do about quality of that except for the grade/where the metal caster gets it's ingots from. I worked in a plastic injection/die casting (zinc and aluminum) and secondary machining/testing shop for 6 years. Cast aluminum can still be porous and leak, but that's a result of gasses that can't escape the "mold" when being cast. There are vacuum pumps/chambers that can be utilized to help suck the gasses out of the die when the part is cast, and that helps.

We have a problem at work with leaking valve covers that are die cast aluminum. We switched suppliers, but are still having the same exact problem. Turns out it's the tooling, because that was reused. I wish they'd consult me with problems like that, but I'm just a lowly assembly line worker. We have a 30% failure rate, and that parts have to be tested now before they go to the line. They could be sealed in a pressurized vat of some kind of heated sealer, but I think they just scrap them instead. When I worked at that other place for 6 years we would have to send out batches of leaking diesel fuel heater blocks to be sealed that way. We'd retest them and nearly all of them would pass, so it works. This was back in the late 90's.

The brass threaded inserts pulling out of the coolant crossover makes me wonder if they used the correct inserts? I'd think there should be a big shoulder on the end inside the part to keep it from pulling out. Maybe the plastic cracks when the bolts are tightened? Not a great idea to use plastic anyway, with a part threading into it with bolts that can rust. I can just imagine the insert turning inside the plastic and having to replace everything because it won't come apart doing a simple thermostat change.

Plastic valve covers and intake plenums have been around for quite a while now, and they mostly seem to be holding up. Maybe the low operating pressure helps with the longevity?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
168,400 km / 104,600 miles, 2754 engine hours on the 2016 DGC Crew so far with all original plastic in the engine bay.

I have had the aluminum Ys for a couple years now and looking to install them this month. Then again, I said that last year this time. :( I keep the oil filter (32,000 km rated) on for two 10,000 km oil changes, so that lessens messing with the oil filter housing. An oil change is about 160 engine hours

They say that Iridium spark plugs are good for 3,000 to 4,000 engine hours, so the spark plugs are a consideration as well. A transmission fluid/filter change is in the near future, with a new pan with drain plug going on. So much stuff and I just noticed my right strut is leaking. So much for Mopar quality on that strut.

I figure Chrysler service intervals are based on about 55 km per engine hour and I average about 62. Do the math but don't ask me how I determined that. :) I'm 246 hours short of 3,000 engine hours = 15,250 kms. Good for another oil change plus. o_O

The oil filter housing leaks may not be due to cracking after all.
Many of the assemblies returned under warranty were not a leaking part. FCA released this bulletin to try and stem the wholesale replacement of housings by having the tech try o-ring replacement first:
So, how good are the Dorman O rings? :)
 

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The 2019 GT we bought for my mother is taking a road trip this upcoming summer to the Grand Canyon.
My mother has never been to the south west so at 78, we have decided to take her on a family trip...
I am on the fence about proactively replacing any of these parts, but have it under consideration.
Certainly going to inspect them in the very least.
72k mi on the clock right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CCiman, you make all great points. I'm always concerned about installing potential junk. With some luck, I have another year before my planned replacement, so hopefully there's some kind of track record by then.

Makes me think about all the talk here on the improved Dorman oil coolers over the past few years. Surprised I haven't seen a thread from folks who have installed them and their opinions so far.
The Jeep Wrangler sites are an informative source of information on the Pentastar engine. They speak their minds there.
This MotorCity Mechanic video has some very detailed information on the oil filter housing and its various problems including leaking coolant.
 

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...
Makes me think about all the talk here on the improved Dorman oil coolers over the past few years. Surprised I haven't seen a thread from folks who have installed them and their opinions so far.
I installed one of the very first ones. 3rd batch that RockAuto got. No leaks, no mixing coolant and oil.

Maybe no posts on the aluminum oil coolers because they actually work? I thought I saw someone post about one leaking once, but it may have turned out to be installation error.
...
I believe that was @AeroZ. The shop he had install it used RTV, which is not called for in the install instructions. He's the only person I have heard of experiencing an issue.
 

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I just want to add some whining.
1) Wouldn't it be great if vehicle companies fixed mediocrely designed parts instead of wasting their resources and ours on toy options which always need to be superceded for style etc.
I know options sell cars and define trim levels so there's no need to scold me for being idealistic. Still, wouldn't it be nice if all the basics worked.

2) as alluded to above: Are there bad O-rings and seals out there? The oil cooler has ~12 seals and some hoses!
What would happen if all the passages to/from the oil cooler were permanently sealed leaving only the ports for the oil filter? I know that's not practical as one would have to be a super-proficient plastic welder. I'm just wondering if the engine would indeed overheat its oil.

3) I'd love to know how many of these coolers are stressed/cracked by filter installers either failing to oil the large O-ring or simply overtightening the filter housing.
 

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Temperature fluctuation, pressure fluctuation, mechanical expansion/contraction, vibration....

Millions of chrysler / dodge cars with millions of miles between them-- yes some have failed oil coolers and cracked y-pipes. Can aluminum parts have less incidence of failure under the same accumulated miles? You will need many years to know-- .

I don't know.
 

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Due to the passive design of the cooler housing, if you removed the cooler block and replaced it with a block off plate, nothing changes aside from having deleted the cooling ability of it. Both coolant and oil have straight through passages under the cooler block.

...
Millions of chrysler / dodge cars with millions of miles between them-- yes some have failed oil coolers and cracked y-pipes. Can aluminum parts have less incidence of failure under the same accumulated miles? You will need many years to know-- .
...
Put both in an oven for an hour at 250 degrees. Which one comes out looking just like it did going in? Of course the metal will outlast the plastic. This argument is pointless.
 

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The fault in the design of the oil cooler may not be in the material, but the length of the tube that holds the oil filter. Significant stress is transmitted down to the mating surface of the body, when the oil cap is torqued on or off, with nothing to counter the forces at the base. The cooler base also is mounted on a flat deck of the aluminum block, rather than insets cut into the block for a thicker o-ring to compress into-- so sealing is the o-ring mashed against the flat metal.

Just some observations.

The y-tube failure point seems to be at the crook of the Y, where I suspect vibration of the side hose over time makes it fail.. If one were to reinforce that crook-- say with a wad of epoxy putty in and around the center of the Y, it may last a longer time.
 

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I'd say any design that can be fixed by a change in material is inherently flawed. You're likely right about the leverage on the filter tower being a main cause of failure, but that's not al issue when it's made of metal. And it would be nice to have channels for the o-rings on the block side, no matter what material the housing is made of.

My Y popped right at the hose. The entire assembly would need to be thickened. Say 1/2" ID with a 1" OD instead of the 5/8" OD of the existing OEM Ys. Pretty sure several 1" to 5/8" hoses are more expensive than a couple aluminium Ys.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Plastics lose their plasticizers over time depending on quality. When a plastic starts feeling wet and sticky, the next step is that it completely falls apart. Picked up an old pair of plastic ski boots once, the soles didn't join them. :)
The failure rate of Tyrolia plastic ski bindings, and other brands, was high back in the 80s/90s. Skied on them one year, the next year they fell apart when touched.
There's no excuse for poorly designed plastic. Plastic has been around too long. Its limitations are well known.
I don't think aluminum loses its aluminizers. :)
 

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"The y-tube failure point seems to be at the crook of the Y, where I suspect vibration of the side hose over time makes it fail.."

The one I replaced was splitting lengthwise on the parting line, on the Y behind the thermostat on a 3.3L. Coolant had been spraying through the crack and was all over the engine, since that parting line was facing up. No real stress on it, just a molded part that lost cohesiveness. Aluminum won't do that. I replaced them both with aluminum so I'd never have to mess with it again. It wasn't even my van and we're not friends with the owners anymore, so I guess I really won't have to mess with it again. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It wasn't even my van and we're not friends with the owners anymore, so I guess I really won't have to mess with it again. :ROFLMAO:
Wrong side of COVID or politics? :)
 

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Yesterday I replaced the heater hoses containing the plastic T's on my 2016 DGC. The van has about 66k miles on it. I figured that since the van is coming up on 7 years old I would change out these parts at my convenience rather than wait for the Y connections to fail when I least expect it (that's how my luck usually runs).

I've read about the cracking of the Y fittings on these parts so I bought the hoses from Rock Auto for a van without the rear heater. Since I am in central Florida I really have no need for the rear heater so now I only have the front heater hooked up. The new hoses are just 5/8" heater hose molded with some twists and bends. I could have just used regular old-fasioned 5/8" heater hose but the cost difference wasn't that much between the regular and the molded hoses. I capped off the metal tubes under the hood that go to the rear heater with 5/8" rubber caps designed for this purpose and to prevent any damage to the rear core and plumbing I drilled a tiny hole in the caps to let the pressure equalize due to temperature changes.

Why must the car manufacturers use plastic for pressurized cooling system parts? I can understand things like intake manifolds where there is just air flowing through them but why on a pressurized cooling system? Possible answer: At least the vehicle [usually] makes it out of warranty so then it's the customers problem, especially if an engine gets cooked because of a failed cooling system part that an inattentive driver ignores.
 
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