dodgeboy9dodgeboy9 Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Dodge
I have a 1999 Dodge Durango with the 5.2L engine. I've had it into the dealer 3 times because the engine pings. First it was just doing it when I was running around 60 mph, now it's getting worst at lower speeds.
The dealer checked the factory specs and set the computer. They told me that it should be fine. No it didn't fix the problem.
Then the dealer told me that the fuel was causing the proble to increase the octane. I did that and it still pings. Next they tell me it pinging because of my tires. I put a 3 inch suspension lift in the Durango and added bigger tires. I say they are crazy with the tire answer.
I'm taking it back in on Friday, has anyone else had this problem and if so what did you have to do to get rid of it?
I love the Durango, but the pinging has to go.


  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    or a worn out one would cause it, or other parts of the emissions control system. I don't know where you live, but in CA. a car's warranty on certain pollution control items can go all the way to 80,000 miles.That tire thing is B.S.Perhaps they're just not interested in fixing your problem until YOU have to pay for it
  • I don't know if there is a fix, I have a '92 van with a 5.2, it pings under acceleration only. My brother in-law has a Dakota with the same engine and ping, so does a friend with a Ram P/U. I have tried everything to get rid of this on my van, no can do. I replaced the EGR, Exhaust system including converter, ignition coil, tune up timing checks out ok, but it still pings. I installed a loud stereo to remedy the problem, it seems to be inherent to the engine.
  • ryanbabryanbab Posts: 7,240
    "Next they tell me it pinging because of my tires"

    That has got to be the funniest excuse i have ever heard. Did you laugh at them?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    We figured out in another discussion that the science behind tires causing pinging was tht the tires were so big they created air resistance, thereby putting a load on the engine.

    "Pinging" should be correctable. If it gets too bad, it can be very destructive to an engine.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    I dunno, maybe big tires could cause it to ping. I presume by big they are also of a larger diameter. The gear ratios are changed if bigger tires are fitted. So, it might be causing the vehicle to lug harder. Just a guess though. I don't know anything about those vehicles but they might be fitted with a piezoelectric knock sensor - most late model vehicles are. Maybe it has croaked? There is no easy test for this sensor and it can only be checked out by an apropriate scan tool or other data stream monitor. You could check the continuity of the wiring from the sensor to the PCM. If that didn't solve the problem the best way to go would be for the dealer to change it.
  • I have a 2001 Cobra that pings like crazy. I haven't tried to fix it myself because I feel it is Ford's job considering this is their performance flagship BUT...several others with this problem have installed copper (instead of platinum) plugs and/or installed a one temp range colder plug. This greatly reduced the pinging.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    You said that you were taking your Dodge to the dealer to fix the pinging. What happened and is it fixed now?
  • I once had a 78 monte carlo witch had a ping. I changed gas,timing ,egr valve,timing chain, cam, carb, and cat converter to no avail. I stumbeled onto the problem when I changed a leaking basepan gasket. It was a piece of piston which had broken of and caused the piston to become unbalanced.This goes to show that there are many causes for a pinging engine (just hope this is not your cause)
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    Two reasons come to mind,
    1. Old wires were routed wrong and caused inductive cross fire.
    2. Wrong wires replaced with correct wires. Old wires too low in resistance = same problem as 1. caused by too much secondary current.

  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    it's an engine management thing that Chrysler can't cure - been to court for several arbitrations over the issue.

    Technicians have recommended everything from higher octane fuel (foolish because the ECM won't read the higher octane) to fuel additives (ECM doesn't understand detergent). That tire comment could make sense if they related the extra load the larger diameter places on the drivetrain, but it's still an engine management issue.

    No fix that I know of - good luck.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    A sensor which seems to get little mention here is the knock sensor. Most modern cars including my humble 99 Cavalier has one. As I said before, I don't know if Chrysler uses them but I imagine that they would. This sensor is a piezo-electric device and is no different in operation to a piezo-electric microphone. It is mounted about midway up on the engine block. The input circuitry from it to the ECM is tailored to respond to the unique noise made by the engine pinging. The ECM closed loop control will in turn retard the timing to eliminate the noise.

    One test to see if the sensor is working is to connect an oscilloscope to the output of the device and with a suitable tool, rap the engine block near the sensor and see what the output voltage of the sensor is. In theory, rapping the engine block while the engine is idling should retard the timing and a change of engine note will be heard - just do not hit the sensor itself ! Regarding larger diameter tires, it's quite possible that the extra torque needed to drive them puts the capture range beyond the capabilities of the sensor control loop.
  • pinging is a result of preignition firing. when this happens several things can be done.

    1.. wires if weak cause fuel not to burn as do plugs.

    2.. Oxygenates are added to increase the octane of gasoline and MTBE is the most common. Oxygenates are added to more than 30 percent of the gasoline in the United States, and by the end of this decade, it is estimated that oxygenates will be added to 70 percent of the gasoline. MTBE is being replaced with ethanol. These oxygenates help reduce pinging by creating a better burn. that's why type of gas can be a culprit in this problem. a dead give away is to add an octane boost to your high octane fuel and see how that affects it.

    3. timing.. if timing is advaced too much can cause it to fire at the wrong time. one thing with these computer controlled systems is to get a little radical and retard the timming to a high extreme which is more than the computer can compensate for and see if it affects your problem.

    4. one other thing that can affect ignition is carbon build up in the cyl. this build up can act like a piece of coal that is extremely hot and can ignite and vapor gases in the engine. alot of times when this is present it tends to allow the engine to run on even after you have turned your key off.

    normally #2 or #3 is the problem but any of the above can play a role in it.

    wish you luck.

    bob in jville.

    Lubricant Specialist


  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    94 Towncar with 99,000 miles. Now able to use 87 rather than 89 octane, at sea level.
  • Please tell me what it sounds like.


    Al Saadallah
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    It sounds like a piece of chain has been tied to your front bumper and is dragging and bouncing on the ground as you drive.
  • taasstaass Posts: 40
    1. Inductive crossfire from incorrect plug wire routing is a known issue. See if it applies to your Durango and correct according to TSB.

    2. ECM flash upgrade is available and generally the first thing a dealer tries because it's quick and easy.

    Important to realize:
    A. THERE ARE NO KNOCK SENSORS ON THE 5.2/5.9L engines. Don't try to replace them, 'cause they aren't there.
    B. BASE TIMING IS NOT ADJUSTABLE ON THESE ENGINES. So, rotating the distributor is not recommended (or possible - I think).

    Timing is controlled by (among other things) crank shaft position sensor signals sent to the PCM.

    The "big tires" excuse is a joke. A properly tuned engine - even under load - will not ping excessively (at all) at highway speed. It's no different than imposing other loads like trailer towing, or a stiff headwind. Think about it.

    Carbon buildup is a possibility. Higher cylinder pressures and hotspots on the cylinder walls could cause pre-ignition. This is unlikely given the age of the vehicle, unless there is an underlying problem to cause excessive buildup of deposits.

    Poor grade fuel could cause detonation. However, we're talking Uncle Jesse's Moonshine swill. If you are using major brand gasoline there should be no problem. This engine should not demand premium fuel if properly tuned.

    This is a shot in the dark, but perhaps the crankshaft sensor is "overly sensitive." In otherwords, maybe the PCM is receiving a voltage-high signal to allow spark prior to proper crankshaft position. I've not looked at how the sensors are mounted or explored possible manufacturing defects with the sensors to see if this is a possibility.

    And finally! I have a 5.9L and experienced "pinging" under load. Re-routing the wires according to the TSB didn't help, but the PCM flash did. Good luck.
  • 79377937 Posts: 390
    So Chrysler doesn't use knock sensors on the 5.2/5.9L engine. Well boo to them too. maybe if they fitted them they wouldn't have so many complaints about pinging.
  • FWIW, My Windstar started pinging the first summer I had it (delivered 6/1/99). The dealer "fixed" it with a program change to the ECM. It was OK until the next summer when it started to warm up and started to ping again. This pinging was not under a heavy load but only while cruising at highway speeds. The dealer couldn't do anything more about it so I just lived with it. I finally decided to get rid of the van since it had many electrical/electronic problems that the couple of dealers I had working on it couldn't fix. As I was leaving the dealer for the last time, I saw a tech doing something under the hood of a Windstar and the smoke was really rolling out the back. I stopped and had a talk with him. It so happpens that some Windstars have a problem with the valve cover on the PCV side that allowed too much oil to be sucked into the intake plenum and pool there and overflowing into the intake runners and loading up the engine with carbon. The fix for that was replacing the valve cover and flushing out the oil from the intake. This is what he was doing. Too late, I traded the Windstar for a Honda. I had stopped by the Ford dealer to check on a Focus but they had none in stock. BTW, Ford doesn't use a knock sensor on the 99 Windstar engine. The timing is strictly controlled by the curves built into the program.
  • taasstaass Posts: 40
    My sister has a '95 Cherokee with the 4.0 I-6 and it just began to ping under moderate load at high speed. I've recommended that she use hi-test until I have a chance to bring it into the dealership to flash the computer. I'll keep you updated and let you know if this works.

    I think the 5.2L has been replaced by the 4.7L SOHC V8 (at least in the Durango). The 5.9 is still the towing motor. The 5.9 is admittedly aged, but a workhorse and, in my opinion, bulletproof. Why DC hasn't updated the engine management systems to incorporate proven knock-sensor technology is beyhond me. It just makes sense to get the best fuel economy and power through optimum ignition timing. I've not read specs on the 4.7, but imagine that it is a more up-to-date powerplant.

    I just thought of another TSB regarding engine knock on the 5.2/5.9 engines. Apparently there was an intake manifold leak . . . not sure of all the details. It was on some earlier Durangos and Rams. Check it out.
  • taasstaass Posts: 40
  • mdeymdey Posts: 90
    I've had three Fords in recent years with pinging problems, two of them with the 3.8L V6, and one with the 4.0L V6. All were very prone to pinging. Until recently I lived in areas where oxygenated fuel was the norm in winter. The earlier versions of that fuel were a problem, but it turns out that the higher octane fuel is worse. Why?

    Higher octane fuel ignites at a lower temperature. Hotspots in the combustion chamber, like carbon or an irregularity in the metal surfaces in the engine, can cause premature ignition. Putting the engine under a load and heating up the surfaces of the combustion chamber contributes to the problem.

    Premature ignition causes, among other things, carbon build up. More carbon means more pinging. It's a viscious cycle. Once the combustion chamber is "fouled", it doesn't matter what you put in the tank, the engine is going to ping.

    I was using the mid-grade and high octane stuff, and my pinging problem was getting worse. Then a wise service writer at the local Ford dealer explained the lower flashpoint issue of high octane fuel to me.

    He then outlined the solution to my pinging problem:

    -properly tune the engine, making sure all of the sensors are within spec
    -clean the combustion chamber agressively (the Ford dealer literally "hosed" the cylinders with cleaner by removing the plugs and fuel injectors and inserting a probe, and added a multi-tank fuel additive to the fuel tank)(change the oil afterwards)
    -Buy gas per your car's specifications from high-volume stations (if it calls for 87 oct., that's what it should run on)
    -I put a bottle of Techron in the tank about every other oil change (6,000 miles)(the guy at the dealer says every 3,000, but for me 6,000 is working fine)

    There are certainly other reasons why an engine would ping. For example, the only time I've had a pinging problem since I made the above discovery is when the thermostat stuck open on one of the cars. The engine was running too cold, which created a different set of problems relative to the engine management system. Changed the thermostat, problem solved.

    Don't let a mechanic tell you to try a higher octane fuel unless the car requires for that fuel and you're using something different. Otherwise, the higher octane fuel may in fact contribute to the problem, not solve it.
  • Years ago I bought this Explorer at auction. There is this plug which is indicated as an octane adjust in the Haynes manual. It came with no jumper or cover. I have seen some Fords with the plug in and some out. Could never find any information on its use. Anyone know?
  • mdeymdey Posts: 90
    re: Octane adjustment plug 92 Explorer

    That is the octane shunt. With it out, the computer manages the engine for 87 octane fuel. With it in, you can use the higher octane fuel and get a little bit better horsepower out of the engine. So says a friend of mine at the local Ford dealer who works as a service advisor. I trust him.
  • chevyk10chevyk10 Posts: 12
    I just read all of your problems with the Dodge engine pinging. I'm not sure if a colder plug is available or if it will work without fouling with the stock ingnition system but this might help. A more expensive option may be to upgrade to a new ignition system such as one made by Jacobs Electronics Inc. or MSD Ignition.
    Hope this helps.
  • taasstaass Posts: 40
    Despite what you may have experienced, octane rating is an indication of anti-knock properties. The higher the number, the better the fuel is at resisting knock. Flame front speed is not influenced by octane - that's a fuel formulation thing. If you did experience more pinging with higher octane fuel it could have been the brand, or some other factor. If the fuel was properly labeled at the pump (and the fuel was in fact good), then higher octane would certainly not have contributed to your problem.

    Putting 93 octane in a car that requires only 87 won't hurt it - you'll just be throwing money away. By that same token, on today's modern engines with knock sensors, etc., putting 87 octane in one of those engines may just decrease performance.

    Lean mixtures can also contribute to higher cylinder temperatures, and thus, spark knock. A faulty O2 sensor, mass-air, MAP sensor, or coolant sensor could cause a spark knock condition. Cold, dense air requires more spark advance, so anything that makes the ECU think that their is colder, denser air in the engine than really is could be a problem. O2 sensor could cause an engine to run lean, but those sensors are generally prone to failure leaving a car running rich.

    You might be interested in a Car and Driver article a few months ago (the month escapes me) where different grades of fuel were compared in detail with different engines on dynos and under fairly strict experimental control. It may be englightening.
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