Chrysler and Dodge Oil Sludge

2.7L V6 Engine Problems

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 sieve. If there was a textbook way to make oil sludge, that’d be the recipe on page one.

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

What Causes the Sludge?

There’s a few things. Any of which could cause sludge, but most likely it’s 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?

Class Action lawsuits

In 2009, five separate class-action lawsuits against Chrysler were consolidated in a New Jersey court. There was some concern that Chrysler was going to get a “out of jail for free” card during the company’s bankruptcy proceedings.

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