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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chrysler Coolant Leak - 3.2L and 3.5L Engines






Here’s another installment of automotive inside baseball. Two vehicles, one a 2001 Dodge Intrepid with a 3.2L and the other a 2003 Chrysler Concorde with a 3.5L engine, stopped in for repairs at the end of September with coolant leaks. Both customers had noticed a drop in coolant level without a substantial puddle underneath their cars. The 3.2L and 3.5L Mitsubishi engines are basically the same. When they noticed slight drops of coolant showing up at the front and back of the engine, the customers brought them in.


It turned out to be the metal heater tube running from front to back on the engine underneath the lower intake manifold. The engine heat hardens and warps the o-ring sealing the heater tube at the front of the engine. The coolant then leaks into the engine well underneath the lower intake manifold, filling it up with coolant. Only then do the droplets begin to spill out at the front and rear. The upper intake, fuel injection rails, and lower intake manifold have to be removed to get at this goofy metal tube o-ring along with all the assorted parts like vacuum hoses, egr tubes, braces, etc.
The point of my blog on this is if you own a 2000’s Chrysler product with 3.2L or 3.5L engine and notice significant coolant loss without big puddles of coolant underneath, this infamous heater tube may be the cause. This repair is not one for the backyard. The pictures above show first the assembled engine top, second the upper manifold removed with fuel injection rails still in place, third the lower intake manifold removed showing the engine well that fills with coolant, and fourth the lower intake upside down with heater tube removed and suspect o-ring bulged out of its mounting on the right side of the picture.
As an added note, nearly everything on these engines is hard to get at. They are very expensive to repair and actual engine replacement astronomical.
That’s all for this update, but if you’re appreciative of the information, here is a link to my new novel COLD BLOODED for Nook and Kindle. If you’re kind enough to read it and like it, please review it on the site you purchase it from. Thank You! Every little bit helps my writing gig. :)

316 comments:

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Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

It's the undersized oil passages, Tim. I doubt there was anything you could have done differently.

Mike PotatoHead said...

I just borrowed my buddy's 2001 3.2 concorde lhi and its occasional smells of coolant when I stop driving the temp goes up past middle to about 3/4 to redline. No foam in oil, the reservoir is steaming but car temp gauge isn't too hot. is there a radiator cap somewhere blown? its' happening more frequently for the last two months.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

If the reservoir is steaming, it usually means bad news, Mike. One simple thing you can check besides foaming oil is to take off the oil cap and look at the underside of it. If there are any beads of moisture or cream colored goop, you're in trouble. That means you have a head or head gasket problem.

hhscard83 said...

Bernard, I bought my daughter a 2002 chrysler concorde lxi with the 3.2L. I change the oil frequently with syn blend oil, a couple of weeks ago on her way home the car started making a knocking noise coming from the passenger side valve cover. upon finding out what happened i went out and turned on the car which turned on quickly and ran smoothly with the exception of the knocking noise. What do you think this might be. There is no coolant in the oil either.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

hhscard83 - I'm sorry, but that's one I can't help you with from the Internet. It's very likely infrequent oil changes by the prior owner. The undersize oil passages are a real problem with that engine, but rather than guessing, I would advise you take it in to a reputable shop. It may also be a top end carbon knock.

Guy Mercier said...

Hi, lots if interesting read here. I own a 1997 LHS with a 3.5L and only 142000 kms on it (grandpa owned) I've experience all the lost coolant but no puddle symptoms, car was idling high (2800rpm). Car overheated one day to the point of knocking (sounds). Replace intake gaskets, everything looked good, ran fine (for 3 weeks) no lost of coolant, idles nice, runs and drives smooth and got my 20 + mpg back as well. Last night, car stalled at traffic light and wouldn't start (cranking really hard) thinking of dead battery, charged it over night, starts like a champ! BUT! (Idling still fine) There is a squeal coming from the front passenger side, after running for 30 seconds there is smoke (burnt rubber smell) coming from the bottom right side…almost like where the pulley to tension the timing belt is, if there is such a pulley?!?! (That i know of, timing belt as never been replaced. Any thoughts?

I hope this helps without getting too detailed. Thanks, Guy

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Guy, yes, a timing belt could be squealing. The water pump bearing could be shot. It's already been overheated, and it could get to be a real black hole for money.

Daniel Pacek said...

Hopefully you are still watching this thread..
I have 2000 300M with the 3.5 and it is indeed loosing coolant someplace my mechanic can't find. It has passed presure test three times. No steam out the tail pipe, no water in the oil or tranny fluid. runs smooth and great gas mileage so I'm not suspecting head gasket at this point, but I'm losing at least a gallon a month of coolant and can't find the leak. If the O-ring is failing would it still pass a preasure test ?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Hi Daniel. First off, have you looked at the underside of the oil filler cap? If there is any creamy residue or beads of moisture, I don't care what you have been told - that is a big problem. If there isn't any indication there, and you want a confirmation, you can put ultra violet dye in the system. It will show the trail with proper light (sold at any parts store). The o-ring leaking, even if pooling up under the manifold will leave signs on the ground in most cases though, but it would be my first guess if it does pass a pressure test. I'm betting under pressure, although the coolant doesn't pour out, it still loses pressure over a fifteen minute test.

Daniel Pacek said...

thanks, yeah the UV test was my next step as the Oil cap and oil itself look fine and i can smell coolant but can't see it anywhere. I think it may only leak at normal running temp and the pressure test has been happening at cold start and passes at 30 minutes.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Without the indications on the oil cap, I would really suspect the heater tube relay, Daniel.

Daniel Pacek said...

Actually heard steam from that area of the manifold today after I shut the car off and the resorvoir almost empty. Gonna order the O-ring and new gaskets today and attempt the job myself next weekend. Mechanic quoted my $400 to do the job. Any special tools I need ? Tips tricks and gotchas ?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Daniel, that is not a job for a beginner. $400 is very reasonable. If you decide to do it, please get an OEM manual first.

Daniel Pacek said...

finally got it to show me the leak. I topped of the coolant and parked on a slope and ran it up to normal running temp and the coolant start dripping out the back of the engine.

I got my AllDataDIY subscription for the car and it provides detailed instructions and diagrams of intake manifold removal and replacement. Ordered a new set of gaskets as well as the O-ring. Will attempt the repair next week. I have also enlisted the help of another shade tree mechanic who has better tools (including a torque wrench) . Wish me luck. Thanks again for this blog.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Good luck, Daniel. Slow and careful. Take multiple digital pictures from all angles. Never force anything. If something resists, stop and find out why.

Daniel Pacek said...

Success !! took it all a part and it was indeed a failed o-ring. What an insane design. BTW the new part number for the o-ring is 68164687AA and they are scarce. Took about 4 hours but saved between $400-$500 doing it myself. Thanks again for this blog,

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Thanks for the update, and the new part number, Daniel. I'm glad it came out good for you. Insane is the word for it.

Kelly said...

Bernard- Would this cause engine overheating? We have a 2002 Concorde 3.5 and have replaced the thermostat, it overheats unless the heater is on. Lately it has been blowing cold air at stoplights as well. Any advice?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Kelly, it would only cause overheating if the coolant was low due to the leak. I believe you have head problems. Look at the underside of your oil cap. If there's a creamy substance or beads of moisture, you're in trouble.

Tony Davies said...

would this o ring cause anti freeze to get in my spark plugs?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Only after it blows the head gasket due to the leak lowering the coolant level to the point of overheating, Tony.

Tony Davies said...

ive done a head gasket before on a honda. would this be something worth takcling without paying for a shop?

Ugina Nash said...

Wow im glad i came across your post benard because I'm having the same issue with my Chrysler 300m coolant leaking from under neath the oil housing i can feel it but it doesn't drop on the ground and. When i first turn it on to warm up it will steam there for a bit then go away im gonna try wat u said and if that dont work i will get rid of this headach thank u

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

If you have an OEM manual, Tony, and all the tools needed. I have no way of knowing whether you could do it or not. I would make sure the lower end isn't damaged before attempting it though.

Ugina, by your description, it seems like this fix is what is wrong with yours. Don't forget to look at the oil cap's inner surface for cream colored foam, droplets, or coating. That would mean a much bigger problem.

Ugina Nash said...

Hello benard i fix the oring probem which was a success thank u. now i need to fix on my tranny either my shifter or tcm because its hard to shift sometimes easy n sometimes hard what do u think?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I couldn't even take a guess, Ugina. You'll have to take it in to a good transmission shop, have it scanned for codes, and probably serviced so they can see if there's any debris in the transmission pan.

Bertram Kettles said...

A little steam from top i notice coulpe of dropps of water behind the engine and running a little temp. But didnot over heat. I crank up the car to check for leak couldnt find one help

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I can't help you find the leak from here, Mr. Kettles. Yours may very well have a leak at the heater tube as in this post. Make sure before you tear into it that there is no indication of creamy, coffee colored residue on the underside of the oil cap. That would mean you have much deeper problems than a leaking heater tube.

tribbles said...

This was exactly the cause of the leak with the 3.2L in our '99 Concorde. I'm five months post-stroke so it took me three days to get it done, but so far so good. I knew what I was in for because I'd previously had to pull the upper manifold just to replace a bad cam sensor (another bad design decision IMO).

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Sorry about your stroke, tribbles. I'm glad you were able to fix the leak. Thanks for posting. That is indeed a bad post stroke job.

Rene said...

Hi Bernard, my car has a oil smear similar to the one in your first picture (at the center front of the engine picture). Any ideas on what is needed to fix this ? I would guess there is an o-ring that may need replacement in there... but have not found any info. Thank you !

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Rene, about the only thing I know works well for finding oil leaks is to get a florescent dye kit. Add the dye to the oil. After driving it for a while, the leak trail should show up under the kit's ultraviolet light.

GreyRock said...

Great blog! Thank you. After reading all the comments and questions, I decided to replace my 2002 Intrepid 3.5 intake gasket, heater tube and o-ring. I'll replace the #1 fuel injector due to a slight miss and occasional CEL code P0301. There is No exhaust gas in the coolant and no coolant in the oil, I've triple checked. No obvious leak either but I'm losing coolant and I suspect it's being sucked into #1 due to a bad intake gasket (coolant passage is right next to the #1 intake port) and the P0301 code and I have seen some vapor in the exhaust confirming that. If it turns out to be more serious, I'm calling it quits. I've replaced the transmission solenoid pack and the removed the dash to replace the AC evaporator (no easy task) but I won't do the heads. I've owned it since new and it has 303,000 miles on it. Part of it's longevity is oil and filter changes every 3000 miles along with the usual timing belt and tune-up schedules. I'll post my results. Thanks everyone!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

GreyRock, Yeah, that Evap and heater job on one of those is not for the faint of heart. With that many miles, I don't blame you for not wanting to tackle the heads. You could add some Bar's Leak as a last resort.

Joe Sleeth said...

I have a 2002 Concorde with 2.7 I put a 99 3.2 in it a couple plugs are different what do I do

Joe Sleeth said...

I have a 2002 Concorde with 2.7 I put a 99 3.2 in it a couple plugs are different what do I do

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Seriously, Joe, I'd love to help you, but what you've done is illegal in California. I'm certain it has to do with the emissions system, because there were numerous changes from 1999 to 2002. The only thing I can suggest is buy the OEM manual for both vehicles, and figure out what the plugs do and where they go.

GreyRock said...

Success! My problem was the lower intake gaskets and not the head gaskets. Not a bad job but you must have the right tools and torque and tightening sequence specs for reassembly. I cleaned most of the carbon deposits the best I could from the valve ally just past the intake passages. I caught any big deposits I thought would be too big to pass through the converter. I cleaned all the fuel injectors and was able to reuse the o-rings. After a minute or two of a rough idle and what sounded like a lifter noise (went away after warm up and I know it has no lifters) It's been about 30 days and all is well as of today, June 19, 2014. The coolant has not dropped an ounce! I check it every day and even marked coolant reservoir to show any change, none. My downfall may have been from using Dext-cool (orange) coolant for many years. I recently heard it could cause more harm than good. The rubber seal around the old gaskets were practically disintegrated when I removed them. I remedied that situation by using the proper coolant.
So I wonder how many people have been told it was their head gaskets when it could have been the intake gaskets like mine? I had no water in the oil, no exhaust gas in the coolant, no overheating, (as long as the coolant was full) occasional white vapor in the exhaust, a rough idle due to a wet and fouled fuel injector. If these are your symptoms, seriously consider replacing the lower intake gasket (air intake plenum too), it's a cheap fix if that's all it is. Good luck!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Not many, GreyRock. By the time they see creamy residue on the oil filler cap, the damage is done. You may have made yourself the exception by using DexCool. Nicknamed 'Orange Mud', it was never meant to be used in Chrysler products. Supposedly, they have improved it for use in the GM vehicles it was intended for. I'm glad things worked out for you.

Rico Robinson said...

Benard
i have a 1999 chrysler 300m with 100k miles on it it has been starting to overheat recently i checked the coolant level and it was low i put coolant in the car and it rode fine but after a while it started to overheat again and i began to hear a boiling noise and my car started leaking what appears to be coolant from underneath the car.
i am thinking about replacing the thermostat but after reading your blogs i beginning to think its not going to be that simple
Any suggestions?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Rico, I doubt it has anything to do with the thermostat. If you've read the other posts, you know you need to take the oil cap off and inspect the underside for creamy residue or beads of moisture. That means you're in real trouble. Another dead giveaway of head problems is if the coolant is full, but your heater doesn't work. Another thing to check is if the cooling fans are working.

Shawn Rimerman said...

Quick synopsis...driving my 180k mile 2004 300m at highway speed and temp shot up, idiot light lit up. I limped it to my mechanic (stopping and letting it cool before going another mile, stopping, etc. took 45 minutes to go 5 miles.)
Mech says there's no coolant in oil but that first cylinder on driver's side is losing all coolant and is only one overheating.
Tried clearing small coolant passage behind thermostat, unsuccessfully (?).
Doesn't overheat with cap off of reservoir, but does under pressure.
Thoughts?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Shawn, short of a major tear down, this is the procedure for the tiny passage from the thermo:

Drain the coolant. Remove the thermostat housing and thermostat, located on the lower left side of the block. It may be necessary to relocate the accessories on that side to gain access. Remove the upper radiator hose from the aluminum lower intake manifold water outlet (gooseneck) on the top side of the engine. With the thermostat removed (lower left of engine) one will notice a small drilled hole, in the upper part of the cavity, about the diameter of a pencil. Use shop air and blow air into this small hole. The air should exit at the top of the engine on the left cylinder head out the lower intake water outlet (gooseneck). Use shop rags to catch debris from re-entering the cooling system. Due to the different design of the 3.5L, it may be necessary to remove the lower intake and possibly the left cylinder head to remove the debris. There is a machined pocket in the cylinder head that can trap material. Debris can be aluminum chips and casting sand. Flush the entire cooling system as well. It is likely the radiator has some debris in it as well.

It's not for the faint of heart, and if it doesn't work, the heads have to come off.

Shawn Rimerman said...

Thanks...we have tried all of that. Another blogger said that there's probably a head gasket blown...only blows out the coolant where it's broken and under pressure. That's why without the radiator cap there's no real pressure.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

The only thing short of tear down, Shawn is making certain the radiator isn't plugged with the same debris.

mjt11860 said...

hi bernard. is it possible to drill the oil passages out for better oil flow & if so, do i have to remove the engine or just remove the oil pan, etc.? thanx.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

MJT, I'm sure it's possible to do it with the engine completely dissembled, by a rebuilder, but I don't know if it's feasible. It's certainly not something to be attempted in the backyard.

Clint Augustine said...

Hello, I have a 2002 Chrysler 300m. The coolant reservior appears to be overfilling and smells like transmission fluid. Transmission fluid is clean, but low. Hoping that a transmission cooler leak in the radiator is the culprit. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. Great blog, very informative. Fingers crossed. This car has a 3.5L engine unfortunately.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

My advice is don't drive it until you find out for sure it's a trans cooler leak, Clint. Check the underside of the oil cap too, just to make sure there's no coffee colored goop on there. They had plenty of trouble with those trans coolers leaking into the coolant, so I'm hoping for your sake you're on the right track.

Clint Augustine said...

Thanks for the quick response. The underside of the oil cap is clean and dry. Guess we will be replacing the radiator. Be driving a little Nissan truck again till the car is fixed. Nice car but, all the problems others have had are a bit unsettling. Thanks again.

GreyRock said...

Clint, double check and make sure you do not have any trans cooler line going into the radiator. My 2002 3.5 does not, it has it's own factory isolated trans cooler in front of the radiator, like all 98-04 300M, Concorde, LHS and Intrepids should. let us know!

Clint Augustine said...

This car does indeed have trans cooling lines entering the radiator. While shopping for a new radiator I have found some that have trans cooler and engine oil cooler in radiator. Cooler in each end cap. This car does not have engine oil cooler in radiator. These trans cooler lines appear to be factory installation, it has metal lines that have molded hoses on about the last foot or so.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Thanks for the update, Clint. I'm glad you don't have the one with the engine cooler too.

Pete K said...

Dear Bernard

Thank you so much for all the useful information. I own a 2004 Chrysler Concorde Limited with the 3.5L High Output engine. I live in Europe, and as these vehicles were never officially exported to Europe many mecanics do not want to touch it. As you would imagine the official Chrysler dealer is alos not much of help, as they would very much prefer i bought a new one.

I Have 65k Miles on the vehicle and quite enjoy it as it is quite nice looking and exotic, at least over here.

I had the timing belt and the water pump replaced last year as sugested by the manual.

Does the problem you describe also apply to the high output version of the 3.5L?

I am experiancing the following problem with the cars heating and am wondering if you could give me some advice.

The heating works well initially and the vehicle heats up to the desired setting on the climate control. Once the vehicle has reached the set temperature it starts to blow ice cold air into the car, making it freezing cold and unbearable. If i inrease the setting by 1 degree there is immediately warm air coming in again until the wetting is reached.
This means that on a 1 hour dirve i start out setting it to 70F and end up with 80F and freezing inbetween. This is the case wiht the auto and manual setting as well as with air only circulating inside the vehicle. I am now wondering if it might be the heather core and if it is a realively easy part to exchange.

The engine temperature indicator shows normal temperature.

The offial Chrysler Dealer simply hooked up his computer and told me that the system is not showing him any problem and suggesting that I just might be sensitive. I also keep getting a check engine light indicating some problem with the HAVC System. Dont know it that is related or could be related to the problem described in your blog.

Kind regards from Switzerland

Peter

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Unless you're leaking coolant, Pete, your temperature problem in the car would not be related to my post here. The check engine light being on, and setting an HVAC code would be related to what you're experiencing. If you find out what HVAC codes are being set, it's possible I can offer some idea as to the problem.

lklaeren1H said...

Hello Bernard!

I came across your blog and figured I'd ask for your opinion on this forum.

I bought a 2002 Chrysler Concorde LXI with the 3.5L V6 engine with 43K in December 2012. I've be VERY meticulous with the oil being changed every 3,000 miles. I've had no problems with her, the only major repair being a new starter and new tires.

It is now November 2014 and she just rolled 85K miles. That being said, I'd like to complete a laundry list of repairs as a preventative measure. (Some of which are at 100k anyway). So far I'm going to be changing: timing belt/tensioners, water pump, AC belt, Serpentine belt, valve cover gaskets, head gaskets (along with the heater tube/gasket), new thermostat, new radiator hoses, new coolant, new oil/filter, and new trans fluid/filter.

That being said, are there anymore things you suggest I service at or around 100K? I ask because I really love this car, and have had no problems so far. -And looking to keep it that way! She's in excellent shape for living in Michigan (originally from down south before I owned her), with now corrosion or salt abuse. I'd like to keep her running a long time, just wanted your opinion to see if there's anything else I should do while I'm at it. Thank you!

-Logan

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

IK. I can understand you doing the timing belt job with all of its associated parts, including the water pump and thermostat. I also think it a good idea to do the upper manifold and heater tube job. I don't understand why you would do the head gaskets unless you have had a bad overheating situation or a valve problem.

I admit to being prejudiced against any Chrysler product with the old 2.7L, 3.2L, or 3.5L engines. They have undersized oil passages, and will break your heart when least expected, even with maintenance. I hope yours will be an exception. If you haven't already, switch to full synthetic oil, and still keep the every 3,000 mile oil changes. Also have the transmission flushed with filter replacement, and use full synthetic trans oil in it.

lklaeren1H said...

Bernard,
Thanks for the response! I appreciate your input! As far as my reasoning with the head gasket I figured if it came with a gasket set just replace it. But I have not had any overheating issues, so I'll probably just leave it alone. I certainly will convert to full synthetic oil the next oil change! As well as full synthetic trans fluid during the 100K "tune up"! I must say, I haven't come across anyone who has complained of the heater tube issue. (I guess because not many people think or know to check that)! So I'll be sure to replace that! I also forgot to ask, should I also bother to replace my fuel injectors while I have the engine torn down? And as far as the small oil passages, is there anything you've heard of or used to successfully counteract that flaw?

And if you don't mind my saying, most people who talk about the 3.2 and 3.5 engines say they are dependable engines. (Compared to the 2.7). Personally, I've seen them go to 250K+. -Granted they have their issues by then if not serviced regularly. Perhaps it's because I've not looked into the engineering of the engine itself, but from my research it's a generally reliable engine if maintained properly. I understand you have personal experience with these engines, and I agree that there are the obvious flaws of the heater tube and oil passage size, but do you think there is the care from the owner that factors into it at all? Maybe how it's driven, (used/abused)? Or is the engine just entirely a poor design?

Thanks for your help and knowledge on this forum, I have certainly learned a lot. I Look forward to hearing your answers! Thank you!

-Logan

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Logan, there's nothing you can do about the oil passages, except make sure you keep the oil changed often with the best you can buy. As to the injectors, if there are no random misfire codes, I would leave them alone too.

I won't debate the engine question. You're right. I have too much experience with them. They are hand grenades waiting for a pin pull. I hope you get 300k miles on yours without any problems. Taking care of it as you are gives you the best chance of achieving it.

lklaeren1H said...

Bernard,

Thanks for the reply! I'll certainly take your advice on leaving the fuel injectors and consistent oil changes! And I would certainly like to get 300K out of her! I truly appreciate the advice you've provided to me and this forum! I'll be sure to send some of the folks on the LH forums here so they can hopefully find there answers here! Again, thank you for your help! Good luck with your writing, I will certainly be checking out your work!
-Logan

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Thanks, Logan. Good luck with your car.

640guy said...

HI, Do you Recommend getting rid of a 1998 Concorde Lxi with blown 3.2 with 145k miles...Rod bit it after I limp moded the car home from tranny that went out...car running Wlamart 5-30w full synthetic at time and always. Took Motor apart. Clean. Rod blew after the new tranny was installed and running for a couple weeks Doa!!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

640 if you've read any of the prior posts, you know I think those vehicles with 2.7L, 3.2L, and 3.5L are hand grenades with the pin pulled half way. Think of it logically. Even if you put a brand new engine in a 1998 Concorde, it will not be worth even a quarter of what you spend the day after you do all the work. Put the money toward a non-hand grenade.

640guy said...

Thanks. My only saving grace is that I do the install myself and on a motor no more than 400.00 or so. 145k miles and interior is mint and every option. You are right...You have no idea what you get in a used motor...I suppose teh next motor also comes from either a wreck or a car taht had tranny go out..so the last guy ran his in limp mode--causing same destruction to the rod bearings.

Barry Moore said...

I had a 3.2 go at 375,000 miles after reving to 6500 while passing in a tight spot - I had just changed oil from synthetic to Castrol synth blend. Rather than repair the engine, I replaced it with a 300m HO engine of 135,000 and did the timing belt, ported and polished the lower intake manifold and matched ports to the plenum. The only problem was installing the thermostat backwards - the factory one is opposite apparently. It took a couple of days and a few boil-overs to sort that out.

It runs smoothly now with lots of power and about the same litres per 100Km as the 3.2. Now I want to use 3.2 heads on a 3.5 block. I know they fit, but is the cam 'High Output' like the 3.5HO?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Sorry, Barry, but I do nothing but right from the factory repairs. I don't swap engines to other sizes, engineering specs, or anything requiring other than by the book repairs. I would suggest a Chrysler/Dodge forum where they do modifications.

Ron Soldano said...

Hey Bernard. Sweet Blog. First off what is cover of book look like? I seen a couple with same Name.
Im Ron And I have 06 300 3.5 that wont turn over. 1st thing was a engine light a month earlier for low coolant. So i added, light didnt go away. Wife drove car home spuddering one day. it had more codes for crank and cam shaft sensors and I changed. nada. It still has map sensor code..... there is sludge in overflow. I drained it. I found radiator leak after doing a coolant pressure test. But coolant was not draining anywhere in block. did compression test and had 100 psi on right side and 100,90,110 on left. So now engine wont start and right when I turn it over(cold start) after about 6 seconds of starting I get white smoke that dissipates very quickly, from where header meats block. I also blew out cylinders to check for water, nothing but a bunch of small salt like, maybe carbon deposits in each cylinder and at intake. So no water in oil or cylinders. it ran at idle fine when I moved it. well it took awhile to start but codes...p0340.0335.0108.0128

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Ron, I'm not sure what you mean by 'what does cover of book look like' - what book are you referring to?

The compression is lower than normal on your car. Have you looked at the underside of your oil cap as mentioned in these comments many times? If there is coffee colored goo on the underside, you have engine problems no matter what things you've done.

If the cap is clear of goo, take it to a shop. I don't think you will be able to pinpoint what's wrong, and I believe you will spend more money parts changing without fixing, along with the possibility of doing more damage. They have many intake plenum problems with those engines where plugged catalytic converters cause back pressure and heat sometimes burning the area around where the EGR tube goes in. This is not one you should guess on.

Gary Mace said...

Sir, you seem to know these Chryslers well. We got my son a 1995 Chrysler Concorde with a mere 101k. It has the 3.5L. With no warning, the car grenaded lower end.

Since rest of car looks and runs almost like new, we were considering dropping in a used 3.5 and keeping it. But now I read here and elsewhere these 3.5's were a trash design.

However, if I read right, the 3.3's offered in these cars was a fairly sound engine.

My question, do you know if dropping in a used complete 3.3 would be fairly easy, or would a lot of mods be needed?

I appreciate your time!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I confess I don't do that type work, Gary. Knowing how they shoehorn the 3.2 and 3.5 into those cars with a trans-axle designed specifically for those engines, it would be a bad idea to try putting a 3.3 in there. Then there is the electronics (sensors, computer, etc.) - all different. On a 1995, it would probably be best to junk it.

Tina Byrd said...

I have a 2005 chrysler pacifica and the crankshaft sensorhas broken off flush. Nothing I am doing is making it budge and I dont know what to do.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Sorry, Tina, but that's one you'll have to have towed into a reputable shop to have repaired.

Corey B said...

Glad I came across this - thanks for sharing your expertise. Is the later 4.0l the same? (Pacifica, minivan)

Ron Soldano said...

does the car still run with this problem with tube?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Corey, the 4.0L engine was based on the 3.3L engine, so no.

Ron, it will run. It will simply leak coolant, leading to engine damage if the coolant is not replenished. The 3.2 and 3.5L engines will not take any abuse whatsoever. They have undersized oil passages, and are susceptible to immediate engine damage if overheated due to low coolant level.

Random Person said...

can this be prevented?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

No, Random. It is only a matter of time before it happens.

William Hays said...

Bernard, you post couldn't have come at a better time. I've got a 2002 Dodge Intrepid with 3.5L HO that was overheating, nothing serious but still none the less. Dumped alot of money into new overflow, new radiator, new thermostat, new waterpump/timing belt, etc...

I will definately be looking at this issue over the weekend to see if this is my issue.

I do have another question for you. The one thing I have noticed since replacing all these parts is my gas mileage has gone somewhat to crap. My daughter drives the car to work 15 miles one way and home and has been complaining about how much gas she is using; so I drove her to work the other day and sure enough I could literally watch the gas gauge move down as I was driving it. Used almost a quarter tank of gas just going there and back. What in the world would cause this.

FYI - the only reason I have put so much into the car is cause it was given to us and so far I'm still less into the parts and my labor than it would have cost me to buy a better car.

Bill

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

A couple of things, Bill. First off, remember, this post is about overheating due to a coolant leak from the heater tube under the manifold. If you're not seeing a coolant leak or noticing the coolant level going down, then the heater tube by itself won't cause overheating. Have you checked the underside of the oil cap for creamy residue? If you see the creamy residue, you have big problems.

As to the gas mileage dropping right after the major work, if the power is the same, it may be they put a cooler thermostat in it, which can affect gas mileage. If the car warms up to normal operating temp, and there are no engine misses, then it may have a fuel injector spraying too much. A scan should turn up an intermittent fault code concerning overly rich readings. If power is not the same, then it may be they're one tooth off on one of the cams when they did the timing belt.

William Hays said...

Thank Bernard! I should have been a little more thorough in my first post, my bad.

The oil is good, nothing under the cap (no moisture, no creamy residue, nothing); and the oil is full synthetic and still looks perfect. Oil changes are happening everything 3000-3500 miles. The overheating we are facing has been ongoing since we got the car, i'm a little more mechanically inclined than my family member that's why i didn't walk away from it when they offered it to me. I am still overheating about once a week, and still losing coolant somewhere. My father-in-law and I were talking valve cover gaskets but on a 30 min pressure test it doesn't move, also no combustion gases in the coolant either (confusing). But we can still smell the coolant burning when we turn the engine off. We've replaced all the hoses, the thermostat, the overflow tank/reservoir and cap, the radiator (cuz a genius mechanic said it was plugged), and decided to do the water pump and timing belt cause not sure when it was last done. While this seems a little tedious, it will be worth the time to make the car last till she gets out of high school.

As for the fuel issue, I haven't lost any power; if anything it's performing better with more power. As for the fault codes, well there are none; which is what is making this so much more difficult to decipher.

Again, thanks for the feedback and thanks for the post. Just wish I would have found the overheating thing back in February when I bought the car, lol. Thanks again!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

If you're smelling the coolant then the heater tube may be the cause. Many times when it leaks, it pools beneath the manifold.

An over-spraying injector may not set a code, but would go through gas. Oxygen sensor readings and fuel trim readings could give you a hint with a fuel injector problem.

dblsecretprob said...

Hi Bernard, the old 2000 Jxi is leaking coolant from the freeze plugs at 99K now, any suggestions on repairing them? Two on the rear side 1 large small leaking, thanks, Greg

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Greg, I'm sorry, but there are no magic solutions for replacing freeze plugs. With adequate coolant flushes, it rarely happens anymore. Anything preventing access to the leaking freeze plug must be removed. After that, the removal and replacement can be a chore not to be done by amateurs. I recommend taking it into a professional shop for replacement.

Cero Bill said...

I have a big problem. The water pump is mounting in a aluminium housing, I mean, have two cover this engine. Rear cover, for timing gear and then front cover with common belt, well behind this cover have three O-rings, the big one for water pump and two small for each water duct bank. This O rings leaks water and change the water pump dont fix the problem. This O.ring is not for sale in any place, any store or online sell:
The right name is (rear timing belt cover to engine block o-ring) Please, could somebody lets me know what is a part number for this? My mail is cerobill = Gmail dot com.
https://flic.kr/p/xHdaoA

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Take the picture and the Vehicle ID Number to your nearest Dealer, and they will find it for you, Bill. Even if someone sees your post here, they couldn't help without your VIN or year, make, engine, and model description.

VickieS Vickie said...

i have a 03 chrysler sebring lx 2.7 that the motor blew up so i took my daughters 2.7 out of her 04 sebring thinking everything was the same but after getting it put in found that the wiring harness was different and same with the intake so we changed a few things around on the wireing harnedd and used the old intake. tried to start it and its tuning over but is not getting feul to start Can someone please tell me where to go from here thank you.

d burrows said...

Bernard, on your 2nd pic (the one with the intake plenum removed), there are 2 vertical black (from oil) nipples on top/back of the valve covers. There are round grey seals on these nipples that are deteriorated on my 3.5. Do you know what these are called or happen to have a part number for them?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

No, I don't, D. If they don't come in the Fel Pro Intake gasket set, you may have to take a digital picture to the dealer to purchase them.

cs5111 said...

Hello Bernard
I have a 3.5 r/t intrepid. have you ever heard of oil going into the radiator?
I was told the head cracks by an intake valve that causes this. Is this true???
Roger Wilson
Winnipeg MB

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

CS - Yes, oil can usually get into the coolant from the trans oil cooler. If it's not the trans oil, then any of the oil passages will overcome coolant pressure. The 3.2 and 3.5 have had monumental problems with undersized oil passages. The first thing to do is find out which oil is contaminating the radiator coolant for certain.

cs5111 said...

Bernard
It is engine oil. my buddy has been a mechanic for 35 yrs and has never experienced motor oil going into antfreeze. its white and sticky. This car has no extra engine cooler in rad. we thought that it might be coming from the rad also. I took it to a rad shop get flushed and they wouldn't do it because you have major problems. My question is there a test that you can do on this motor to see which head is cracked or would the block crack ? we did a compression test and one cylinder was a little lower than the rest but nothing serious. Thanks for your in put.
Roger Wilson

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

CS - If it were my vehicle I'd dump it with a major engine problem precisely because of all the comments on this post. They have zero resale value and the cost for major engine repairs is astronomical. A lot of models came with engine oil coolers. If there are four flex hoses going into the radiator then you have an engine oil cooler too. There is no test for internal cracks other than tear down. Dye kits can be purchased for external leaks.

cs5111 said...

Hello Bernard
On that 3.5 r/t 2001 I have, been reading your blog and your saying the block can crack as well and cause engine oil to go into anti freeze ?? Which is more common block or head failure on those motors??
Thank you for your comments, much appreciated.
Roger Wilson
Winnipeg,Mb,Canada

Ron Soldano said...

Do whatever Bernard says. I didn't and I had shop replace engine and they put on old oil cooler which was the original problem. (Oil in water)So new engine went bad. They replaced it. And 4 months later and $4000 gone. I'm driving it on eggshells.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Wow, sorry that happened to you Ron.

Roger. They fail because of sludged undersized oil passages (famous fault - just google it), cracked heads and block failure without warning - they are (in my opinion) hand grenades with the pins pulled. As Ron pointed out, his had an engine oil cooler. Make sure you don't have an engine oil cooler. Look for the 4 flex hoses going into the Radiator. If you have four, two will be engine oil cooler lines.

Larry W Sr. said...

Bernard,
I have a 2010 Dodge Journey with the 3.5L. It has these same symptoms no heat and antifreeze leaking from what appears to tne the freeze plug at first until I read your blog. I took many pictures under the lower intake on each end but I cannot see this tube you refer to? Did they go a different route on the 2010 model? Or is there a valley pan that it is under? When the o-ring fails, the coolant leaks out around the tube and drops into the valley area and flows out the drain holes on the end of the block, correct? That is why there is no heat? I want to repair it this weekend but appears the oring is a dealer only part? Ive done many repair jobs from complete engine and trans rebuilds to ball joints and water pumps. I have warranty on the truck but dont want to mess with rental car and towing etc. Please tell me if this tube can be seen while still on the engine and where exactly. Thank you so very much.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Larry, take my advice and use your warranty no matter what hassle you have to go through. I think you have more serious problems than any kind of heater tube. Check the underside of the oil filler cap. My guess is you will have coolant moisture beads or creamy residue on the underside. No matter what, please take it in for the warranty work.

Chrystlerdood400 said...

To anyone still trolling this blog to fix your old junk Chrysler here is a video showing you how to take it apart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMVxtMU9yQc

Good day to you.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Thanks for the input, Chrystlerdoo400. The only thing missing was I wish it had shown the other side of the lower manifold where the heater tube is attached. Secondly, that Intake job should never be done without removing the heater tube, inspecting it for damage and CHANGING the o-ring seal. I hope the guy who did the video also did the heater tube. IF he didn't, the job will be back for the o-ring leaking and he will have to do the whole job over again.

Brent(eesha) said...

Hi Bernard,
Sorry to revive such an old thread. I hope you don't mind. I am having both the oil loss and coolant loss without puddles mentioned in this blog and I was hoping you could give some advice. I have a 2001 Chrysler Concorde. I purchased it Sept 2013 with 95k, and now in Jan 2016 I have 135k. I am a little heartbroken finding this thread, because I LOVE my car and hoped it would last forever. Anyhow, I'm now trying to determine if it's worth investing any more money in. My oil loss has been pretty consistent during my ownership -- it needs about a quart added in between each oil change. However, I think the coolant loss may be getting worse. My first winter with the car I had no issues. During the second winter, I was experiencing intermittent heat loss which was attributed to low coolant. I found that my overflow tank was leaking and had it replaced. Sadly, that didn't fix the loss. This is now my third winter with the car and I've had to add coolant three times now. I've got about 1/4 bottle of premixed coolant left. I can tell it's getting low when my heat goes cool at idle and comes back with higher throttle. I'm weighing my options here because I've put new suspension and front ball joints ($1200), new tires ($450), and a new radio/speakers ($700) in the car. I'd like to continue driving it so all that money wasn't a waste, and also because I'm not done paying all that off and can't really afford another car currently. Do you think it would be worth replacing the water pump and timing belt in an effort to prolong the life of the car? Or do these repairs only help before the oil and coolant problems begin? It's going to need some minor trans work (either speed senors or solenoids, most likely) when the weather warms up and the erratic shifting comes back... but now it's sounding like I shouldn't waste the money. Any advice you have would be welcomed. Thanks so much in advance.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Brent, I'm sorry you have so much tied into the vehicle, but you've probably read what I think about these vehicles with the 3.2L or 3.5L engines. You are already 15K miles past the recommended timing belt and water pump replacement interval. If the timing belt snaps, it takes the engine with it. You could very well have a heater tube leak as posted originally - another expense. Transmission jobs are VERY expensive on that vehicle - well into the thousands of dollars. I have one rule of advice - never spend more on a vehicle than it would be worth the day after all the repairs are done. Yours doesn't even come close as an exception. If it were mine, I would trade it in on a nice little Toyota Corolla before it doesn't run at all.

Destiny Denney said...

Dear Bernard

I am been on a hell ride for the past year I was hoping this year would be better. My previous car had a interference engine and the timing belt broke on it we could not afford to fix it and it was or only car. My husband had a good job in the city about 25 miles from home. Thank god we live in a small town and no buses not thankful for that. He lost his job cause of the car problem. We were using or bike to get around town to grocery store and my job at the salon. I am now the owner of another car that was given to my husband and I. I am pregnant and he just got a good job again. We own a 1998 Chrysler Concorde LXi whatever that means. We had a wobble tire needed new bushing and inner outer tire rod replaced bla bla. any way after picking up the car it over heated and the antifreeze was practically pouring out like a little water fall. I am very sad this is happening to us we just spent 800 dollar on repairs. We put new anti freeze in it tonight. I do not know how to check for a bad thermostat on this car either I can not see the radiator. the oil is not milky which is good sign and the fan is working. please help me.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I'm sorry, Destiny, but this is a simple blog on the internet. I can't wave a wand and make things right where you are. I can only give you this advice - if someone gives you an old Chrysler product with the 2.7, 3.2, or 3.5L engine in it run it until it quits and leave it by the side of the road. They will break your heart every time. Don't throw any more money at it. You'll have to find a way to make do until you can get on your feet financially and get a decent car. I don't have any idea how you'll do that, but I hope you won't waste any more money on the car you have because it will break you.

Dean Kelli said...

Hey Bernard Just replaced the heater tube on a 94 3.5 Chrysler New Yorker. Still have water gushing from the transmission and between the motor and transmission. No leaks from the heater tube replacement. I know there are 3 freeze plugs in that area. Could it be that. Being that it leaked before engine is started I didn't think that was the case because the water hasn't gotten to the block yet unless the thermostat was stuck open. What do you think? I didn't replace the O ring but I thought the O ring was at the front of the motor. Also the water coming from the transmission is pouring through a vent hole at the bottom I guess. Thanks, Kelly

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Kelly, I think you should do what you should have done before starting the job - pressure tested the cooling system or used an ultraviolet light kit to find out where exactly it was leaking before the work.

If you replaced the heater tube without replacing the o-ring seal, you will have to do the job over again. Without the o-ring sealing the tube, coolant will gush out and down the back of the engine or front, depending on tilt of vehicle. The reason I recommend finding the place coolant is leaking exactly, in addition to it being the logical course, is that you could also have a cracked block.

Joseph Whitehead said...

I need some help can you email me please .. I know your a busy man but I have a story to share and would love your advice..joe3253639@gmail.com

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

My email address is posted on the top of my blog, Joe. If you have a story to tell about a problem, email it to me, or write it in the comments of the most recent post.

Rob Cooke said...

I'm in the middle of a timing belt replacement. The car overheated and was towed, in between it was attempted to be started with no luck. When I took off the timing belt cover (3.2l) the belt had shredded and wrapped around the crankshaft pulley. To remove it I rotated the CrankShaft back and forth to clear the shredded cables.(I do not think I went 360 degrees, maybe 270 CW, then 270 back). I put in a new water pump and the original belt tensioner appears to be extended but not touching the back of the tensioner pulley. The passenger side camshaft is between the marks but the driver side is 180 degrees away. The FSM says to rotate with a wrench in the direction of the closest to the marks of the rear camshaft cover.
Which way to go?
CAUTION: If camshafts have moved from the timing
marks, always rotate camshaft towards the direction
nearest to the timing marks (DO NOT TURN
CAMSHAFTS A FULL REVOLUTION OR DAMAGE to
valves and/or pistons could result).
Hope you're still on this thread and can help with advice. Rob.

Rob Cooke said...

Still confliced about the direction to rotate the cam shaft on the drivers side, which is 180degrees off. Also, the belt tensioner was not contacting the pulley, maybe this was the cause of the belt failure?? Sould I replace that just becuz??

Rob Cooke said...

I should have noted, the first sign of trouble was the coolant tank cap seal had melted and I added new rubber to cap the tank. This worked for a while and I bought a new tank and installed it, thinking that the problem was with the cap leaking under pressure causing the car to overheat. The first full run after installing the tank the car overheated 14miles from the house, I went to pick it up but after waiting for it to cool down it failed to restart. Tow back to house, the next replacements were the cam shaft sensor and I was about to replace the crankshaft sensor when I checked for spark. No spark so I dis-assembled the timing belt cover and confirmed no timing belt.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

You're in way over your head with whatever vehicle you have, which you never mentioned, Rob. You need a factory manual to work on those shoe-horned engines. Check the underside of the oil filler cap. If it has coffee colored creaminess as mention hundreds of times in this comment section, cut your losses, and get rid of it. If there's no moisture or creaminess on the underside of the oil cap, it probably won't matter because you were driving it when the timing belt failed. That means bent valves. The 2.7L, 3.2L, and 3.5L Chrysler engines are hand grenades waiting for the pin to be pulled. Yours has been pulled. Dump it.

Rob Cooke said...

It's a 2000 Dodge Intrepid 3.2L with 120K, the water pump was the original mopar.

Rob Cooke said...

There's no creaminess under the oil cap. I recognize your suggestion -- but saying that I was still going to try and figure this out, the question about the direction to rotate the Drivers side cam, which is currently 180 degrees off still stands.

If it was at 90, the nearest timing mark would be counter-clockwise, and if it were 270 the nearest would be clockwise, but right at 180 I'm not sure which way to go. Could you offer any insight as to the direction to turn?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

No, Rob, I can't. You need not only factory directions, you need the holding tool for the twin cams. Believe me, if you were on the road when the timing belt went, you'll have bent valves in that thing.

Rob Cooke said...

Finished the R/R of the timing belt, buttoned it up and started the car, Code p1776 is the only code the scanner finds, rough idle, stalls. Is this what you meant by bent valves, a loss of power at idle?

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Rob. The only way to know for sure is to do a compression check.

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