2004 Dodge Stratus 2.7L V6 Engine Limited to 2500 RPM

crash227crash227 Member Posts: 46
edited February 2017 in Dodge
I seem to be one of the few owners of the infamous Dodge 2.7L V6 engine that is relatively happy with it. It is in a 2004 Dodge Stratus SE (VIN 1B3EL36R64N243813) that I purchased new off the dealer lot. It presently has 205k miles on it and I have done most of the maintenance & repairs myself. I changed the oil every 5,000 miles using Mobile 1 full synthetic and a high-quality oil filter every time. I noticed the water pump leaking externally (luckily) in 2016 and I paid to have the timing chain, gear set, tensioner, water pump & oil pump changed. New spark plugs, PCV, air filter and fuel pump / filter were also installed. Also replaced rusty & leaky steel coolant lines at the time of the timing chain work. The engine has always performed well and run strong even with 205k miles on it. Amazingly, the transmission is original and still working well.

A few months after the work described above, the engine suddenly lost power while traveling at 75 MPH on I-75. My daughter was driving and was able to get safely off the expressway and park it. I picked it up with my tow dolly and since that day I have taken it to three (3) mechanics (Dodge Dealer Last) and have spent nearly $1,000.00 with no diagnosis for the problem. The engine runs fine until about 2500 RPM then it sputters, surges and generally malfunctions until the RPM drops below 2500 RPM and runs smooth again. I am amazed how quiet and smooth the engine runs at idle and below 2500 RPM with no clicks, rattles or misses.

The Dodge Dealership initially diagnosed (more of a guess) that the PCM, Crank Sensor & Cam Sensor were bad. They had no codes or real evidence that any these part were bad and admitted as much when I asked if the $1,800.00 they quoted would be guaranteed to fix the problem. They said no guarantee so I let them install new cam & crank sensors. Still, the engine problem at 2500 RPM. After that the Dodge Dealer said they think the PCM is OK and that the problem is and internal engine issue and they would have to tear the engine apart to diagnose it. I declined.

I have had Great Success in maintaining my Jeep Liberty CRD for eleven (11) years with lots of help from forums such as this. I HOPE someone out there has a solution to this problem to share.



Comments

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,535
    Are there any codes setting in the PCM or TCM?
    Do you have access to a scan tool? If so does it show the status of the cam and crank sensors during the failure?
    Does the TCM report the transmission gear selection correctly?
    What is fuel trim doing during the event?

    Exactly what did the dealer report was going on? Did they say that the system reported a loss of the cam or crank signals? Did they have any codes to work from at that point in time?

    Here is the best question. If you speed the engine up in Park, is it cutting off and turning back on just like it is doing when driving? The system does have a rev limiter that activates in Park at about 2300-2500 rpm. If the switch state on the transaxle reports that the transmission is still in Park when you are driving that rev limiter will prevent you from going over that limit. This is NOT a diagnosis, this is something that needs to be looked at and proven first so don't just throw the range sensor in and come back and say that it did or did not fix the car. You need a capable scan tool to see what the TCM and PCM are seeing and then you also need to make sure whether the sensor or the wiring for it are operating correctly or not.
    crash227 said:

    A few months after the work described above, the engine suddenly lost power while traveling at 75 MPH on I-75. My daughter was driving and was able to get safely off the expressway and park it. I picked it up with my tow dolly and since that day I have taken it to three (3) mechanics (Dodge Dealer Last) and have spent nearly $1,000.00 with no diagnosis for the problem. The engine runs fine until about 2500 RPM then it sputters, surges and generally malfunctions until the RPM drops below 2500 RPM and runs smooth again. I am amazed how quiet and smooth the engine runs at idle and below 2500 RPM with no clicks, rattles or misses.

    This is part of why it hasn't been diagnosed IMO, I suspect that the shops/techs assigned to the job have been informed of the previous work and been basically led to believe that this symptom is somehow related to the previous work. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. A solid routine requires the techs to forget what has been done previously and prove just what the car is doing right now, then after it is figured out someone can play around and try and see if it was related or not.
    crash227 said:


    The Dodge Dealership initially diagnosed (more of a guess) that the PCM, Crank Sensor & Cam Sensor were bad. They had no codes or real evidence that any these part were bad and admitted as much when I asked if the $1,800.00 they quoted would be guaranteed to fix the problem. They said no guarantee so I let them install new cam & crank sensors. Still, the engine problem at 2500 RPM. After that the Dodge Dealer said they think the PCM is OK and that the problem is and internal engine issue and they would have to tear the engine apart to diagnose it. I declined.

    How much have you spent? Earlier it was $1000, now it is $1800?? Typo?
    I asked earlier if they had any codes even though you wrote that just to be certain the information is accurate. There is a cost for techs not getting paid correctly to do diagnostics. The cost is that there is no reason for them to invest in the tools and develop the skills that let them, heck encourage them take a disciplined approach to each and every repair. The current system has them make more money doing brakes and flushing fluids for a given period of time than it does for them to investigate an off the wall symptom.
    crash227 said:


    I have had Great Success in maintaining my Jeep Liberty CRD for eleven (11) years with lots of help from forums such as this. I HOPE someone out there has a solution to this problem to share.

    Yeah, I do. The solution is to have a trade that rewards techs for what they know as well as what they have to do and not just how many parts they can install in a day. To get there the blame has to be focused on the management specifically and not point any fingers at the techs. Meanwhile we also have the issue of taking the knowledge, education, discipline, and skill that would have a tech qualified to work through your issue with the Stratus efficiently and somehow turn that into something that is worthless (as in has no reciprocal value) to the tech(s) that did put in effort far above the norm.

    The odds are that the range sensor has failed. By just handing you that information instead of another technician learning it from taking a disciplined approach to the diagnostics that answer serves to make it less likely you will have a qualified tech to help you out when the next problem occurs. Web forums have been doing a great job of stripping away the last remnants of an already poor career value and with new job opportunities that everyone is being promised even less incentive for anyone to consider becoming a career technician. Without someone who first figured that sensor issue out and then shared it there would never a silver bullet answer in the first place and the trade is justifiably really starting to run short of people who have no need of silver bullets to figure out what is wrong with a given car.

  • crash227crash227 Member Posts: 46
    The Chrysler Dealer charges $106.00 per labor hour for Diagnosis on their manufacturer specific OBDIII and scope, etc. It is outrageous that they can't find & motivate / pay qualified technicians. The service manager would not allow me to talk directly to the tech and they couldn't even tell me if they checked the catalytic converter.

    My experience with the Chrysler Dealer was a Suck-A-Thon. Nothing useful from them and a total failure to diagnose the problem, plus $450 charges for replacing cam & crank sensor with no improvement. Worse yet, they gave me no useful information about what they did as far as diagnostics. The final atrocity is that they GUESSED that it needed a new timing chain set, despite me telling them that it was done a year ago. The previous mechanic has a solid reputation and his own shop, but he said the PCM was bad and only a dealer could address that. The first mechanic did a great job of installing the full timing chain kit, new fuel pump and a bunch of other things in previous years. They had it for over two (2) weeks.

    2004 Dodge Stratus has a PCM which does the work of the ECM and TCM on other vehicles. I have a full set of Factory Service Manuals that I bought on EBay for $150 when the New Car Warranty expired at 36k miles.

    Shortly after picking it up from the dealer I took it to AUTOZONE to have it scanned. See attached photo of that report. Someone on another Forum suggested that a weak battery may be causing DCTs because apparently MOPAR PCMs are sensitive to that. So, I bought the best battery Autozone had for my car ($150) and installed it. By that time I had received my $100 BlueDriver Scanner and I used that scan and save all the codes. Then I cleared the codes and only the P0202 fuel injector code appeared. Drove it and cleared codes a few times and that is the only one still there.

    I am presently checking & cleaning all the wiring from the injector back to the PCM. I will also check the wore connection & boot at the PCM because that was a problem on some vehicles. If that all checks out OK I will replace the #2 fuel injector and see if that fixes the problem.

    The last thing I will replace is the PCM, after I have ruled everything else out. The Dealer cost was $1,200.00 for the PCM but I have found them online with lifetime warranty for about $300. They advertise that they program to the VIN number with everything needed, but some people seem to doubt that and say I will be forced back to the DEALER to complete the programming.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,535
    crash227 said:

    The Chrysler Dealer charges $106.00 per labor hour for Diagnosis on their manufacturer specific OBDIII and scope, etc.

    Since techs can make a time bonus in a flat rate system with easy work, and at best get straight time for diagnostics if anything at all, there is significant incentive to never learn how to do the more difficult work.
    crash227 said:


    It is outrageous that they can't find & motivate / pay qualified technicians.

    You haven't seen anything yet. Just imagine what is going to happen if the promises of new manufacturing jobs here in the USA becomes a reality.
    crash227 said:


    The service manager would not allow me to talk directly to the tech and they couldn't even tell me if they checked the catalytic converter.

    The time that the tech would spend talking to you would be lost time towards his/her pay for the day.
    crash227 said:


    My experience with the Chrysler Dealer was a Suck-A-Thon. Nothing useful from them and a total failure to diagnose the problem, plus $450 charges for replacing cam & crank sensor with no improvement. Worse yet, they gave me no useful information about what they did as far as diagnostics. The final atrocity is that they GUESSED that it needed a new timing chain set, despite me telling them that it was done a year ago.

    A technician properly tooled and educated can do a relatively straight forward test and prove exactly what the camshaft timing is. Here is an example of how that would be done, no guessing required.

    http://www.automotivetestsolutions.com/pressure-transducer-articles.html



  • crash227crash227 Member Posts: 46
    Update - The Stratus is still rpm limited but OK to drive around our town 50 mph or less roads.  I became disgusted with lack of results so I stopped working on it.  We did determine that the ASD relay is being tripped and limiting the rpm.  Unplug the ASD, reinstall it, and the engine rpm goes to 3500 no problems for a few seconds.  Then the ASD trips and it’s RPM limited again.  I’m planning to check the transmission range sensor next.  I wonder if the range sensor triggers the ASD relay?  I’ll pribably get back into it this spring.
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