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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Sad 2.7L Help

Hello everyone, I just signed up and could use some help.

I'm having a serious problem with my 2002 Intrepid SE, and I'm afraid she may be a goner, here's my story...

The car was owned from about 20k to 98k miles by my brother, who claims he ran it with synthetic oil (so I've come to learn), I've owned it since then (currently at 128k). I have not had any known engine issues with the car but recently did an oil change and went with a synthetic oil instead of conventional. I put in 5w-30 Royal Purple with a RP filter. The oil light has always flickered (mostly at low RPMS) even after oil changes and changing the oil pressure sending unit, but it had come on and stayed on longer than normal while driving this past week. Temperature was fine, no weird smells, no weird noises, car actually seemed to be running best and I checked for leaks and did not see any. Anyway, I'm almost home, and I turn down the radio and hear a very faint noise, sort of sounds like a knock, but not sure. I then hear a loud noise and I basically coast home, though the engine is still turning. I immediately shut it off, still confused as to what just happened. My father has looked at the car, though I'm unsure what he has done. I believe he checked the oil pressure and determined that the engine is not receiving oil, and has called for a slew of parts including oil pump, oil pan gasket, timing chain, and some other stuff. However, he has not dropped the pan or took the engine apart. I'm concerned with ordering these expensive parts without knowing if it will fix the problem or not, and he's getting older and does not have any way to protect himself from the harsh weather outside, so ripping everything apart really just isn't going to happen. He's also blaming some of the problem on using 5w-30 synthetic oil, and insisted on putting 10w-30 conventional in it, but that solved nothing.

Sorry if I sound like an idiot who just destroyed his car, but does anyone have any thoughts? I've basically accepted that this thing is toast, so just give me the straight talk. Any input is appreciated.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 09:34 PM
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Well let me start off by saying welcome from a fellow 2.7 owner. Syn isnt your issue, I've been strictly running it in mine every 3k miles since I bought the car with 42k on it. It now has a little over 105k. You're right to assume that the sending unit causes the flicker, but a good Mopar one fixes that right up. Tell us what you know about the service history. Has the waterpump ever been changed? TC tensioner? Coolant in oil? Oil pump failures are relatively unknown for these cars, as are headgasket failures. What I'm betting is that your waterpump failed and was pumping coolant into the oil. If its knocking, it either needs a complete rebuild or a new motor, I suggest a 3.5 swap.


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Treatin' my lady Trep right: One in the Pink (K&N) and Two in the Stink (Dual Exhaust)
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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My brother bought the car used in 2003 I believe, so he owned the car for the majority of it's lifespan. Between himself and I, I have no knowledge of the water pump, TC tensioner, or anything like that ever being serviced. Personally, the only things I've had to do were to get the thermostat housing swapped and the sending unit changed, as well as tie rods and a serpentine belt.

My father basically thinks that since the oil light came on, I drove it without oil and damage ensued. At least, I think that's what his assumptions are. I'm frustrated that it went from running great to sounding terrible with essentially no middle ground. I don't know about coolant leaking, I mean the coolant was somewhat low recently but I'm not a big car guy, so all I can tell you is that the car never overheated nor did it get to the point where I was dumping a quart of coolant in every few weeks either.

I'm poor, I can't swap the engine. Nor can I afford to blindly throw money at the issue without knowing what sort of internal damage ensued (and I'm guessing it would be quite costly just to do that). With that said, I would like some sort of conclusion I suppose and if there is any hope, I could put out the funds to bring her back to her former self.

Anyways I appreciate the response, please keep them coming.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:54 PM
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The only definitive answer is to drop the pan and check. A bad waterpump wont necessarily cause overheating. When it starts to leak, it leaks straight into the oil because its housed within the timing cover and the engine oil is used to lubricate the timing chain. With a bad WP, 9 times out of 10, there is no middle ground. Coolant leaks out slow enough to not really notice and it mixes with the oil thereby causing the oil to not be able to lubricate properly and causing some decent lower end damage. Drain the oil and pull the pan. If the oil looks like milkshake, its toast. If you have any metal shavings in the pan like the picture below, its toast.



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Treatin' my lady Trep right: One in the Pink (K&N) and Two in the Stink (Dual Exhaust)
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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I need to speak with my father to see exactly what he has done but I believe he used something to check oil pressure and determined that the engine was not getting oil, but for some reason thought the lighter oil had to do with it. He drained it and put 10w-30 in, which solved nothing but he did not report any weird findings when draining the oil. The pan has not been dropped, so that is the next logical step, after that what should be next to inspect?

Thanks for your help.
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:24 PM
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My $0.02:

The oil pressure switch in these cars is known for going bad and making the oil light flicker when idling in gear at full operating termperature, and as Squlliam said, oil pump failures in these cars are pretty much unheard of. Also as he said, get that part from dealer - not aftermarket (aftermarket ones are crap).

It will probably cost more to rebuild it than to buy a good used 3.2 or 3.5 and put in it. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but likely true.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:27 PM
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the oil is not the problem, at least not the weight of it it. When you say it solved nothing, do you mean you started it up and it was still knocking? Oil light on constant? Have you replaced the oil pressure switch? Shoot a video of it running and post it up.
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:30 PM
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Drain the oil and look at it?
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Basically I need to find out if the engine is indeed shot, this determines everything. The fact that I'm hearing some sort of awful noise basically makes me think I'm SoL so I don't have high hopes, but I want to confirm it.

I will try to take a video tomorrow, but for now all I know is the oil was drained, nothing funky was reported to me, and new oil was put in and the noise remained. No idea about the light or not, I'll get more info tomorrow.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 06:52 AM
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The best case may be that the chain tensioner is collapsed and the noise you're hearing is the belt tension arm is clacking back and forth as the cams cog over.
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-17-2012, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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My father dropped the oil pan today. I don't know what went wrong, but he said 'there was more metal in the oil pan than something from the junk yard' or something like that. So, it's toast.

Last edited by adam220891; 11-17-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-17-2012, 09:24 PM
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replace the engine with a 3.2 or 3.5 - it's the way forward, I'm intending to do that when my 2.7 dies (hopefully it will do so while under warranty with the garage that fitted this 2.7)
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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-17-2012, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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I would love to, it's a fun car to drive and it looks good. However, I work part-time and am in college, and there's just no way I can afford to do it, nor do I want to make my father, who is approaching 60, take on a project this large (I do not have any knowledge of cars, however, he is a diesel mechanic). I'm basically without a car until I can save enough money to buy a used car (probably something reliable like a Saturn). Life's never easy, it seems.
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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-17-2012, 10:33 PM
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"Reliable like a Saturn"? Now there's a POS.....don't forget that GM closed that brand out along with Pontiac & Hummer. The reviews I've seen and the people I know who have owned them don't show that they're anymore reliable than other GM products. Might want to do a little research on that!
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 11-17-2012, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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To each his own. No reason for a car that was driven mostly highway and had routine maintenance to have the engine go at 128k. This car should've at at least another 10 years left in it, so of course I'm going to be a bit disappointed and bitter right now. Hell, the fact that my dad bought a '95 Saturn for 700 bucks when I got this car five years ago, and his still runs with 240,000 miles on it with absolutely no money put into it, has me wishing I had the Saturn and not the Intrepid. Of course, I know several other people with very high mileage Saturns and there's a plethora of them on CL, fact is just they just seem to last. At the end of the day, I loved my car, I took great car of it. I was convinced it was the best car ever made, and loved the look of it. But it doesn't run anymore, and while I laughed at my brother for his little Cavalier and my dad for his little Saturn, they still run, and haven't required anything even remotely considered major as far as repairs go. Performance/reliability > style. Anyway, I don't want to start an anti-dodge thing on a dodge forum, my other brother has a 2012 RAM and I think it's great, but I'll be sore over this catastrophe for quite some time.

Thanks for your help everyone.
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