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Dodge Durango 5.7 Hemi Engine Failure



  • I hear that! My main car is a BMW 2001 X5. It has 174000 miles on it and still runs like a dream. Dodge could learn a lot from a quality auto maker. they just make junk.
  • We purchased our '04 Durango to replace our beloved 1995 Grand Cherokee. We wanted something with a bit more interior room and something with more towing capacity to pull a small camper.
    The ONLY reason we got rid of the Jeep was it had 200K miles on it and it would NOT run on gas with ethanol added; but ran fine on 100% gas. It was hard to find in my area so we decided to stop fighting the issue and upgrade to a newer vehicle. I found the Durango at a local dealer and the price was slashed because it was when gas prices spiked a few years ago and everyone was in a panic getting rid of big vehicles with V8s. Dealerships couldn't get rid of them so I was able to score a major deal and got it of 12K when it booked for nearly 17K.
    The Jeep had a 5.2L Magnum with was the modern MoPar 318; an engine that has been around since the 60s. At 200K miles it still ran great (on pure gas) but since this vehicle was pre-OBDII, it didn't have the newer technology (knock sensor) to deal with poor quality gasoline. So when you filled up with 10% ethanol gas, it knocked and pinged like crazy. We really, really regret selling the old Jeep now. I actually wanted a WJ (99-04 Grand Cherokee) but my wife wanted something bigger.
  • I have an 04 Durango with the HEMI. Everytime it rains or I run it through a car wash, it dies. It misses real bad, stalls then check engine light stays on for weeks. My mechanic said it is the o2 sensor but he has changed them all. The throttle body sensor was replaced and the crank positioning sensor was replaced. The damn thing keeps leaving me stranded. We are doing another car wash test on Friday. Take it to the car wash and hook the computer up to it and see if we get any error codes. The dealer was useless. They don't have a clue. I love my Durango but I hate being stranded. Time for a new car?
  • mjbuddmjbudd Posts: 9
    we had the same exact problem w/ our 04 durango for months. ideled really hight in the rain or after car wash and then started even stalling. check engine light would go on, no codes were coming up, nobody could figure it out, we once found a service bulletin saying it was the cowling, and we ordered a new one from dodge. 2 days later our engine blew. be careful i don't know if there is any connection but we replaced the engine w/ a jasper engine and it has never done it again.
  • My Durango was running ruff after a car wash or a good rain. My mechanic pulled the coils and found rust on the last two spark plugs on the right side of the engine. I think they are cylinders #7 and #8. Number 8 had thrown a code so I replaced the coil and my mechanic put silicon gel around the coil tube
    to keep water from the spark plug base. I did not replace the coil on #7 but we did gel the outside of the coil tube (coil tubes have a ribbed rubber ring to keep water out of plug port). These changes seem to have put an end to the ruff idle when the roads are wet. Coils were @ $45. I did the above repairs about 3 weeks ago. I do plan to check every coil and silicone each coil tube this coming week. This is a very easy task. There are 2 little set screws holding down each coil. Once screws are removed pull up on coil tube. Then silicone rubber ribs. Carefully push tube back on to spark plug. Of course, disconnect wire to coil and only do one coil at a time.
  • Today driving my just bought 2weeks ago as a as is no warranty Durango driving down the highway doing 72 mph then all of sudden bam clank and a whole bunch of smoke out the back. No signs of anything no lights no noise this truck ran great and very very clean. Thats why I bought it. So now I had it towed to the Dodge place to have them look at it. I do see the rod out the passager side of the engine block. I wish I would have looked at the problems with the 04 durangos with the hemi. So I guess If anyone has any answers I would love the help. And myself being a mech I looked this Durango over very good and did many test before I bought it.Funny everything checked out great. Thanks
  • Pull the cowl off and get some black adhesive from auto store. Run a bead along the windsheild (Bottom) And replace cowl. OR the dealer sells the new version cowl.Water is running into engine compartment and getting engine/coils/wires. wet..Causing the engine to stall and hard starts after rain or car wash...
  • bassmaster57bassmaster57 Posts: 13
    edited November 2011
    Keeter, I and the other Durango owners feel your pain and fustration. The Durango 5.7 is a great vehicle and now that I have replaced the motor with a low mileage 08' power plant I have not had another critical failure. As a mechanic (not professionally) we check the the rings, listen for knocking, etc. Unfortunately, piston rods don't make a noise until they totally fail. If you read through the other 04' Durango forum members whose motors have failed we all have the same comment "the motor was running great and then....). There is a forum member that wants to launch a class action suit against Chrysler. I replied to his blog that I would join the suit if it ever comes into play. You could do the same but at the end of the day, I got the most relief from knowing that my analysis of the truck was on spot as was our other Durango brother and sister owners. Cost of repairs were @ $6,000. I had a warranty luckily so my out of pocket was about $2,000. The truck has been generally great since the replacement.
  • Can I use a 08 engine for my 04 Durango? I do not want to reapir this car to have the same problem with a used motor. The 04 engine is made with garbage metal! Were the problems fixed with the 08 engine?
  • Unfortunately later Hemis are not a direct replacement.
    There are some difference in the electronics and some internal (for the better) differences. Not impossible, but a bit more than an easy swap.
  • Can someone please tell me how many spark plugs are in a 2004 Dodge Durango Hemi? Thanks!
  • There should be 16 spark plugs
  • It makes feel a little better that I am not the only one with this problem. Shame on Chrysler for trying to sweep everything under the rug.

    2004 Durango 5.7l Hemi just hit 100,000 miles

    2 weeks ago we get stranded out in very rural eastern Washington, truck would start (with a jump) then immediately die, ended up having it towed 61 miles to the dealership where they said the computer needed to be reprogrammed for the key fob and that was what was causing the security system to kill the ignition. Had to replace the battery. Other than needing to think about new brakes sometime soon, the dealership said the truck was running great.

    1 week and 300 miles later, my wife goes out to the truck and starts it up and there is a ticking sound coming from the engine. I go out and listen to it and it sounded like a lifter ticking. I told her not to drive it and I would get to it later in the week.

    1 week later, I go out this morning to see what might be the problem, started it up and an awful knocking sound comes from the engine. Immediately shut off the engine knowing something other than a lifter is the problem. Now there is an oil pool in the driveway.

    My wife starts reading online and finds this forum....

    Now considering what to do next, I guess start looking for a new truck. Definately not a Dodge. What a load of crap!
  • Omg! I drive my 04 Durango (Hemi) every single day. Not one time have I had a problem. Ok So yesterday was my birthday. I load my 2 kids into the vehicle to head out. Start the car. Blam! Ticking. It was a great birthday for me! I had to get a ride to work. Was almost late. When I got home, I saw there was oil everywhere on the passenger side. A nice pretty hole through the motor. Now I see there are TONS of people like me out there! The car dealer where I got the car from said, "Sorry!" What is wrong with these motors?? I wanna be part of the lawsuit
  • bassmaster57bassmaster57 Posts: 13
    edited November 2011
    There are 16 spark plugs. Two per cyclinder.
  • I have an 04 Durango sitting at the dealer right now because they say a rod broke and they have to change out the small block on the Hemi. Not sure on the cost yet because of the holiday but guessing at least $5k. Sad thing is-it only had 80000 miles on it and every recommeneded maintenance was done on it at the same dealership, plus my wife drove it 95% of the time and she is extremely good to her cars. I am so irritated I could spit nails. I will not be buying another Durango for sure. I owned a Durango before this and 2 Dakotas but am pretty condifent that I wont be buying more Dodge products. I am SO disappointed, peed-off, and frustrated, especially after reading the other posts. The mechanic was surprised when he told me what the problem was "because a Hemi should run for 200000 miles"-yeah, right.
  • YES!!!! and holy crap.
    If I would have known I would have all these problems after I bought this POS I surely would not have...... after I got all the recalls fixed, (instrument cluster, A/C switch, radio) my wife goes out today to take my kids to lunch and it sounds like a rod is comming through the block. Of couse I am at work. I have always wanted a Darango and with 5 kids it was a wonderful fit. Now even with regular oil changes and recommended matinance I am paying for have an expencive boat anchor. I seen someone was taking class action sign me up........ I can't aford another vehical or to replace an engine every 97k miles.
  • so now what...who can aford to replace this engine everytime it goes down...... is anything being done to correct this problem? If not why not?
  • Really the only recourse we will have is if the Government leans on them and makes them do something!

    The early generation Hemi engines are -L E M O N S- and usually fail because of a broke connecting rod. This type of failure is usually UNHEARD of unless an engine is run without oil or severely abused.

  • I experienced the rod failure 6 months after buying my 04' Durango. Luckily, the dealer strongly reccomended getting a used car warranty that he offerred. Should have known something was up then but as everyone on this blog says this is a great truck until.....BANG rod shoots through the block without any warning. The warranty replaced it with a used 08' Hemi with 35,000 miles. Cost for replacement $2,000 for complete used motor, $4,000 for labor, fluids, spark plugs (16), and wires. Knock on wood, I'm coming up on 2 years and the motor is running great. Does anyone know if the more newer motors have the same problem? What little research I've done it seems the problem is with the 04's. If that is the case then it means Chrysler knew of the problem and fixed it. HOPEFULLY! Let's get that law suit started!
  • I have done quite a bit of research on these 04 Durango and why the engine 5.7l hemis die in these vehicles and generally not the trucks even though the engines are identical and the vehicle weight is about the same. What I'm finding is it has something to do with the AWD system in many cases. Most trucks have part time 4wd, but many of the Durangos are equipped with AWD. All wheels driven all the time. In this case if one or more tires are a little low this effectively is giving a smaller diameter tire on one of the axles. This translate in to a high load on the engine and high load at a less than ideal gear ratio on the transmission means engine lugging. This is when the engine is subjected to high loads when it is not in it's power band (low RPM). Picture this as driving a car with a manual transmission and trying to start off in 3rd gear rather than 1st. The engine will struggle getting the mass of the vehicle moving because it makes little power at low RPM. This is NOT good for any engine. Many newer engines (Dodge, GM, Ford alike) use a manufacturing technique and press connecting rods from powdered iron. These rods are NOT up to the stress of a forged rod which is what has been used in the past.
  • I replaced my '04 POS with an '05/55K mile durango engine. That was 2+ years ago and I've put 30K miles on it since with no problems. However, I seldom take it on long trips because I have this nagging suspicion that its going to crap out on me again. God willing I'll soon be able to get rid of it for a used Toyota or Nissan full sized SUV. (after I've checked the blogs for problems with these vehicles)
  • I know guys that race their hemi trucks and cars (Chargers) and even use NOS, with no issues. The issue is very rare with vehicles newer than 2005. This is an early production problem.
  • I think that we have become the latest victim of 2004 5.7 engine failure. After a week of dashboard engine trouble lights and codes that had me change the EGR valve and air cleaner and also heaing a slight rocker arm clatter the big problem happened. When my wife started the car this morning it clattered and banged as if it has a valve was inside of one of the driver side cylinders. It still runs but there is a HUGE problem. ( and when I say it runs I mean for a total of 10 seconds) I guess that I will call Dodge in the morning.
  • An issue that is rather common in 5.7L Hemis, but not as catastrophic is valve spring failure. I have seen several cases where a simple valve spring replacement fixes the problem. In some cases it will cause the engine to swallow a valve but that usually does not happen. The symptoms are usually it is "missing" on a cylinder and there is valve train noise.
  • We have our fingers (and toes) crossed that this might be the case. In the short amount of time that I did hear the engine run (and I do have a glimmer of hope because it sill runs and is not pouring out oil) I noticed that other than the very loud ratteling and banging it was running smothley with a one cylinder miss. T.B.C.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    If the noise is a "very loud ratteling and banging" then it's probably a broken rod, it just hasn't punched through the side of the block. Also, a rod punching through the crankcase won't necessarily cause oil to "pour" out, since it's mostly down in the oil pan.
  • The hemi holds 7 quarts of oil, if you actually throw a rod, it is going to knock a hole in something and the oil will be hitting the ground. A loose rod will make a racket too, but since it is still connected to the crank and piston it won't destroy the engine. The common failure is a rod just breaks for no good reason.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Some oil will come out of course, but only what drips out flowing down the sides of the crankcase or thrown out by the crankshaft while it's still spinning. If the broken rod spins around and punches a hole in the oil pan (not likely) then likely more oil will be thrown out. My understanding of the rod problem in the 5.7 is that it breaks up close to the wrist pin and the majority of the rod stays intact, and when it drops down below the bottom of the bore it gets forced against the side of the crankcase and punched through.
    Agreed though it could be a loose bearing, but by the description it doesn't sound that way.
  • I have owned my 04 Durango with the Hemi for a little over 2 years and haven't had any problems. Until 1 cold (about 36 degrees) morning my wife went out to start it for work and it made a loud clank. I went out to inspect and to discover the 5" hole in the side of the block. Always kept fluids changed and motor tuned up. There were no signs of it going to throw a rod. What's even worse is the SUV only has 120k on it. From what I have read on the internet my problem is not anything new. This sounds like a common problem with the 04 model and Dodge should be held responsible for their product. If all the owners that has had this same issue would get together and file a class action law suit maybe we could get them to fix this major issue. I don't have the $4k-6k its gonna take to fix this motor that Dodge knew was an issue.
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