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  View original topic: A HEMI Nightmare
Chickensoup Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:33 pm

Ok, I'm seeking advice on this 03 5.7 hemi I'm working on. I will keep it as short as possible and still try to make sense.

Background- I'm helping get my dad's truck back on the road so he can sell it. It's an 03 2500 4x4. This truck has been the most unreliable POS since new. I've had many great memories in it, from age 3 up until he stopped driving it. 5 years ago it thru a rod. So he rebuilt it only reusing one of the heads because he had bought a low mileage engine with a head issue on the opposite side. Anyways, put everything back together, it ran strong. He lent it to the neighbor for a year or so, then it sat for another year until we were settled in from moving. It turns out our old neighbor let it run low on oil, so it knocked. Flash forward and 6 months ago he refreshed the bottom end. Used std crank, new rod and main bearings. Same cam bearings. New main seal, head gaskets, etc. Put it back in the truck. At the time I had no part of it so he had a helper do some of the work. This retard did things like hand tighten the rocker arm shaft bolts and tighten the bell housing to engine block bolts without the dowels aligned. So now it's my job to fix all the screw ups since my dad doesn't have time to take a shit.

Here's what I've done so far,

1. Installed a mechanical oil preassure gauge. Cold start idle is at 20psi. Warm idle is around 17. Not the best. But as soon as you give it even a little gas it jumps way up to above 40psi. Cold or warm.

2. Remember when I told you the "helper" hand tightened all the bolts on this thing? Yeah, 2 of the rocker arm bolts loosened, and a push rod slipped :shock: took the assemblies off, inspected rods for bending, rockers for warping, etc. I noticed this when oil was slinging out of the holes in the the valve cover and was burning on the exhaust :roll: put everything together, tightened to 18 ft lbs this time :wink: the ticking went away, oil preassure is the same.

3. Checked oil level, it was overfull by two or so quarts :roll: drained the oil, which was slightly metallicy, which I'm guessing is from the new bearings?

My ISSUE- this thing smokes like crazy. And its oil 100%. After draining the oil and filling it up the safe line on the oil stick, the oil preassure seems to of dropped 3 or 4 psi, but it could just be that it was still warm.

I just pulled the spark plugs, number 5 and number 1 are oily :shock: keep in mind, this truck does not have mds. I was hoping that putting the correct amount of oil in it would help the smoking, but everything seems the same. Number 5 and 1 are each on different sides of the engine. The rest of the plugs look fine. They are covered in carbon, but not wet with oil. Another thing to note is, there are different brands, and two different styles of plugs. I'm about to run a compression test once the battery finishes charging.

So, what can cause this besides a bad oil control ring and valve guide seals? I wouldn't see how a bad pcv valve could cause this. Being it's only two cylinders. Last thing I want to have to do is drop the engine again and remove the heads assuming its guide seals. Not unless I can try the rope trick or something to keep the valve from dropping.

Help would be appreciated, it seems 80bpercent of the folk over on the hemi forums are um, not helpful :lol:

vwracerdave Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:53 pm

Don't come back from lunch and let him figure it out himself.

Chickensoup Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:22 pm

Alright, back from lunch and chores. Thanks

modok Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:19 pm


one does not simply "refresh" the bottom end, and leave the piston rings alone.
Especially if it has a LOT of run time on it already

I would have checked the piston ring grooves for wear, deglazed the cylinders and installing new rings. Any time you MESS with the stroke, you can potentially disturb the piston rings....if the pistons and cylinders were good enough to even do that. Changing anything to do with the crank, the rods, or the pistons can make the piston ring travel slightly different than it was before.
At the top of the ring travel, where the top ring stops, always is some cylinder wear, there is a "ridge". If you wear out a rod bearing the piston is now flinging both higher and lower than it usually travels.......
Top ring BANGING into that wear ridge, can damage the ring or piston :shock:

Abscate Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:49 am

The cold reality is fixing up a messed up engine is uneconomical in both time and money compared to a new engine swap

There is no limit to the number of things that can go wrong in a butcher job.

Wait thatís mathematically not true.

Letís agree on

n(things go wrong) >>> n( number of ideas you can solicit of the inter webs)

[email protected] Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:29 am

have your priced a long block direct from dodge?

reason I ask is....believe it or not many mfgr's practically give away long blocks. I have a friend with a BMW shop and he was like "dude, guess how much a LB from BMW is, my cost?" I thought it had to be 10-15k... he then told me "oil pan to oil cap with a turbo, drop in ready 3900.00"

granted, it was a BMW engine that was junk from the word go, and they were selling a shit ton of replacements.

pretty sure if I were in your shoes I wouldn't fiddle fuck with something that has been fiddle fucked with as may times as that engine seems to have been "repaired"

spend your time, or spend your money....don't spend both. besides, trucks seem to print their own money... drop a new factory LB in there, detail under the hood so it looks like you pulled the window sticker off yesterday and collect a nice payout.

either that...or stop now sell as-is and let someone else fool with it. only you can do the cost benefit analysis on the thing.

Chickensoup Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:50 am

modok wrote:
one does not simply "refresh" the bottom end, and leave the piston rings alone.
Especially if it has a LOT of run time on it already

I would have checked the piston ring grooves for wear, deglazed the cylinders and installing new rings. Any time you MESS with the stroke, you can potentially disturb the piston rings....if the pistons and cylinders were good enough to even do that. Changing anything to do with the crank, the rods, or the pistons can make the piston ring travel slightly different than it was before.
At the top of the ring travel, where the top ring stops, always is some cylinder wear, there is a "ridge". If you wear out a rod bearing the piston is now flinging both higher and lower than it usually travels.......
Top ring BANGING into that wear ridge, can damage the ring or piston :shock:

Madok, tell me about it :D I wish he would of just done it right thr first time, but money for us is tightish and I also have little say in the budget. The crankshaft is the same stroke, but maybe they aren't all exactly the same and could be off just by a few thousand?

Also, this engine is a new used block, with one of the old heads. My guess is that the oil control ring is simply toast on those cylinders. We will see.

Chickensoup Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:06 pm

Compression test showed promising numbers, but still wont tell me if a oil control ring is toast. gonna try the valve seals. its getting sold either way. still no knocking, have a feeling my gauge is off.

Pruneman99 Sat Aug 08, 2020 5:24 pm

If an oil ring caught a ridge at the bottom of the stroke they could have broke. Or who knows what could have happened when moving them around to put the new crank in.

Sometimes you get away with a short cut. Sometimes it bites your ass.

ach60 Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:34 am

Dump it as is, or put another lock block in it, and use it for a few years.
https://www.jegs.com/i/ATK-Engines/059/VDF3/10002/-1
I see little point in fixing a car or truck to sell it.
It's a 17 year old 4 x4, some High School Kid will love it !

mark tucker Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:46 pm

get engine off flebay.cheep&usualy atleast 90 day warranty.

Chickensoup Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:55 pm

mark tucker wrote: get engine off flebay.cheep&usualy atleast 90 day warranty.

Maybe...

I have to pull the engine either way.

Zundfolge1432 Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:30 pm

Many years ago a younger me had a 66 Chevy truck w/ stove built 6 cylinder engine and about 170k miles. Ran ok except for a burned valve so I got the idea to just fix that head cheap, fix one seat, lap the rest, knurl the guides. Definitely ran better and as a bonus it collapsed the oil rings and the thing smoked like a mosquito sprayer using a qt every 20 miles. You live and learn. 😀

Chickensoup Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:52 pm

If it were an old I6 it would of been fixed a long time ago :)

Chickensoup Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:16 pm

Idk, compression reads great on all cylinders. It could be. But it is only two cylinder filling with oil which makes me think it ls a valve seal but I wont know until I take it apart.

busdaddy Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:45 pm

Sure those 2 cylinders aren't closest to the crankcase breather ot PCV outlet into the manifold?, maybe the oil is coming from above?

Chickensoup Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:09 pm

busdaddy wrote: Sure those 2 cylinders aren't closest to the crankcase breather ot PCV outlet into the manifold?, maybe the oil is coming from above?

i replaced the pcv valve, and no change. i forget the cylinder numbers but if you look towards the windshield from in front of the truck,

the bad cylinders are,

the cylinder closest to the fire wall on the drivers side, and one in front of the cylinder closest to the fire wall on the passenger side.

but, that doesnt explain 0 oil preassure at hot idle.

[email protected] Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:52 pm

compression means absolutely NOTHING when it comes to bad oil control rings.

devbear12 Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:20 am

BTW normal oil pressure is 10-20 idle above idle it should quickly jump to above 40. Why at the end did you say no oil pressure hot. (indicates the bearings crank clearances are shit) The cylinders are @7&8 and i would say you have bad cylinder wall from either bad rings and time or the not correct repair job. Reringing it isnt going to fix sxxt. New rings and old cylinders dont work. Just my 2cents

mark tucker Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:40 am

my brother has probably 6 of those trucks....all bought extra cheep.dead motors.I watched him go through his 2012 dodge hemi other than that I know nothing about those motors.



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