Oil Sludge & Engine Failure

Chrysler Engine Oil Sludge
Oil Sludge in a Chrysler 2.7L Engine

Chrysler's 2.7L V6 engine is known as the "engine that kills dreams."

OK, I made that up but there's no denying that this thing is a serious pain for its owners. It has small oil passages, a higher than normal operating temperature, and it leaks like a sieve. If there was a textbook way to make oil sludge, that'd be the recipe on page one.

So it should be no surprise that the most commonly reported problem on CarComplaints.com – dating back to 2001 – has been engine failure or timing chain problems in Chrysler's 2.7l engine.


Vehicles with the 2.L V6 engines

Make Model Years Engine
Chrysler Concorde 1998-2004 2.7L V6
Sebring 1998-2005 2.7L V6
Dodge Intrepid 1998-2005 2.7L V6
Stratus 1998-2005 2.7L V6

Anyway you slice it, this engine is a dud. Here are the sludge-related complaints reported by Chrysler and Dodge owners to CarComplaints.com:


What Causes the Sludge?

Think of it like a heart attack for your engine: thick, oily sludge clogs oil passageways in the cylinder block. The clogging of these passages leads to oil starvation for moving parts such as valves, pistons and camshafts.

The sludge is most likely a combination of:

  1. Chrysler admits there’s a problem in the crankcase ventilation system which allows hydrocarbons to enter the oil and break down additives.
  2. A water pump gasket failure allows coolant to leak into the oil. If those leaks aren’t addressed immediately, the owner is taking a one way ticket to the crusher.
  3. Chrysler warns that any missed or late oil changes can cause sludge. That’s because these engines don’t have enough oil capacity and the margin for error is tiny.

Chrysler’s Response

DaimlerChrysler hired a 3rd party company to handle the wave of defective 2.7L engine warranty claims. In the process, they made it extremely hard for any owner to ever win a claim.

To even receive consideration, the owner needs to have records indicating an oil change occurred every 3,000 miles. Oh, any by the way, if those weren’t done by a certified Chrysler or Dodge dealer you’re SOL. According to them, if you changed the oil in your car it’s your fault. If you had another mechanic change the oil in your car, it’s his fault. That’s some mighty impressive finger-pointing.

In a 2005 interview with The Plain Dealer newspaper, a Chrysler engineer, Burke Brown, stepped up and said that oil capacity may have been a factor with this engine’s oil sludge defect. According to the him they started using a smaller oil sump so consumers could save on oil, giving the engine a five-quart capacity instead of six.

Despite all of this, DaimlerChrysler continues to deny any defect with their 2.7L engine. Instead they blame the issue on poor maintenance. Unreal.

In May of 2005, Chrysler spokesman Sam Locricchio said the automaker had only 600 complaints on record and that some of those may be duplicates. A sharp contrast to the 2,800 complaints on record at the Center for Auto Safety, according to its executive director, Clarence M. Ditlow. Who do you believe?


What Owners Are Saying

“Like EVERY OTHER 2000 DODGE INTREPID my car broke down on me while traveling at very high speeds on the freeway. Shame on you Chrysler for not taking care of your customers first, it’s been so obvious that the engines have bad problems … Engine is toast. It got a lot of miles, but the sludge seriously ruins this car and makes it worth nothing.” — 2000 Dodge Intrepid Owner

“We have had major oil problems with this car and now (sludge). Now our car is dying as each cylinder blows. C’est la vie. We will never purchase another Chrysler again. We even can’t afford to fix this one. THIS IS DISGUSTING. WHAT COMPANIES DON’T TELL YOU. — 2001 Chrysler Sebring Owner


Actions You Can Take

This step is crucial, don't just complain on forums! The sites below will actively manage your complaints and turn them into useful statistics. Both CarComplaints.com and the CAS will report dangerous trends to the authorities and are often called upon by law firms for help with Class Action lawsuits. Make sure to file your complaint on all three sites, we can't stress that enough.

  1. Step 1: File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases. Add a Complaint

  2. Step 2: Notify the Center for Auto Safety

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits. Notify the CAS

  3. Step 3: Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues. Report to NHTSA

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Chrysler Group Customer Care

P.O. Box 21-8004 Auburn Hills MI 48321-8004