This forum is awesome and has a wealth of information. My son was given a 2006 Dodge Stratus from a family member. The car wasn't running but they thought the starter and/or battery was done for. We replaced both after testing the starter and finding it faulty. The car started and ran good, so we replaced all the fluids and filters. Well, he drove it around town a day or two when it died. We towed it home and noticed the oil on the dipstick looked a little like a chocolate milkshake. So, we drained the oil and it looked like a chocolate milkshake. We read the forums here and noted the information regarding the water pump leaking into the oil pan.
We ordered a new water pump and timing chain set. Which brings us to today. We completed a cylinder compression test before taking off the intake manifold and valve cove. Compression was good. Under the valve cover was a lot of oil sludge. Is this engine done? I attached photos showing the oil sludge.
Any opinions are appreciated.
I'd say "no." Mine was worse. You just have to clean it the best you can, make sure your sprays, tensioner weep hole, and head drains are open. You can get some B-12 Chemtool spray and a nylon toothbrush and clean that stuff out then run some wire (e.g. coat hanger) thru the drains. Spray plenty of spray around to push all that crap into the pan then spray some in the front of the pan with the drain open to make sure it all comes out. There are sprays in the back of the heads (in little holes drilled in what look like freeze plugs) that may need to be poked open plus one on each rocker. Chemtool is your friend. Also when you take your tensioner out you can jack some chemtool into it a few times (then I soak it while doing the rest of the job).
Before I do the final assembly I do a test run by just sticking the plugs/coils back in, tacking the plenum down, hooking up the wires, dropping the radiator in (to hook up the tranny cooler lines to it) and slapping on the ducting to the airbox. I also put a little shield of aluminum foil over those rear sprays otherwise they'll soak your hood and engine compartment in oil.
Make sure you have good oil pressure with this test run cuz your pickup tube could be plugged with sludge or your oil pump shot.
Before I do my test run, I fill my oil filter with oil and put it on, then put the proper amount in the crankcase (filling from the front cover area) then pull the plugs and crank the snot out of it to make sure the tensioner is fully extended (should be solid when you try and pry on the top of the right hand guide). Also, don't forget to put in a cam chain block so if the sludge does return to block your tensioner your timing doesn't jump and grenade your engine.
During your test run make sure you don't hear any rod knock, cuz if you do, now is the time to fix it. Its not that hard to pull the pan (and you can then clean it and the pickup tube) and replace the rod bearings usually before any damage has happened to the journals (make sure and plastigage them). I've heard an upgrade is to use the deeper and baffled 2009 pan and pickup tube which helps prevent the engine from starving for oil during spirited cornering when it might be as little as 1/2 quart low. What I'm doing is relocating the oil filter into the battery box and putting on a bigger PH8A style one and reducing my battery size by using an ultracap array and a gel cell UPS battery (with a few other widgets to limit the current transfer between them plus a disconnect in case I'm going to leave the car for a long time so the caps don't discharge the battery).
I'd only run 0w-40 Mobil1, perhaps with a little chemtool (maybe a half a cup) to keep that sludge moving on into the oil filter and change it out every couple thousand miles for a while. Also make sure your PCV system is thoroughly clear and the check valve is working good (again with Chemtool).
Oh, another thing I did was to slather both sides of the water pump gasket up with RTV red and just finger tighten it on overnight then come out the next morning to torque it. I don't want to take ANY chances of that gasket leaking.
Make sure and use HOAT anti-freeze in the system to slow down the erosion of the water pump seal (and help seal up any microscopic leaks the system may come up with). Actually I pressure tested it thoroughly overnight before I reassembled it because overheating is terrible for these engines.
If you've got a good compression test (or as I prefer, leakdown test), then you should still be able to get plenty of miles out of it.