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Dodge Stratus

Old 12-23-2011, 09:42 AM
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Hey everyone. Need to scratch your brains.

My wifes car/my car is a 96 Dodge Stratus ES with the 2.4 DOHC engine. we bought the car 3 years ago with only 18,000 miles on it! The car had sat in one spot for 5 years in a nursing home parking lot and never moved. The little old lady that owned the car never really used it. Long story short she died and we bought the car from the state.

When I start up the engine on a cooler day 50 and below I get lifter noise and engine miss.

I believe the lifters are not pumping up correctly and the intake/exhaust valves are not opening correctly caussing the engine missfire. There has always been a light lifter noise from the engine. When I bought it she was a quart low and dirty. It didnt help they drove it to my house this way after not being ran for 5 years. A month later had to change the head gasket because there are prone to blowing out oil. A month later replaced lower control arms and sway bar links and water/pump timing belt. List goes on and on. I hate Chryslers........but it was cheap $1500.00 and looked brand new!

When I had the head apart off the block should I have replaced the small hydraulic lifters? I do not believe this is an oil pressure problem as we now have 70,000 miles on the car now and never seen any metal in the oil filter or pan. One bad lifter would create an engine miss. The engine miss is also intermittant and I never get a code for a engine miss. So I have no idea what cylinder it would be in. Just change them all? But to do all of that again I have to remove the timing belt, and lift the cams from the head again. Or should I just keep driving it? I am only running 5W30 oil. Viscosity is not the issue. The wife keeps nagging me about it, lol
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:43 AM
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sorry, looks like i posted twice.
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:11 PM
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Lol, guess I know why its called nopistons. drum roll symbol crash haha................................anyone?
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Old 12-24-2011, 02:23 AM
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Heres an old mechanics trick you can try. Drain the oil, install a cheap oil filter, and refill the oil with 3 quarts of kersone and 2 quarts of cheap oil. Start the engine, and let it idle for 30-45 min. DO NOT drive it, dont rev the engine, just let it idle. The kerosene will flush out the lifters, and anything else in the oiling system that is gummed up with sludge. Drain the kerosene/oil, and install your usual filter/fill with usual oil.



The lifters have rather small oiling holes, so it doesnt take much to keep one from pumping up properly. Even if you had proper oil pressure in the system, the lifters may not be seeing full pressure if their very small feed hole is even partially clogged.
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:49 AM
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Yeah im just not a fan of doing that. Back in the day I worked at quicklubes and sold engine cleaners as part of the lube/oil/filter service along with other goodies. Seen more engines come back with knocks, rattles, you name it. The tolerances are just too tight on these engines in my opinion. I do appreciate the advice though. Back in your fathers day that would work great and I know it did because I have seen my dad do it. I debated on changing them when I replaced the headgasket the first time a year ago. I inspected them (the lifters) and pumped them up by hand in a jar of oil. All of the lifters pumped up good and pushed out air bubbles as normal. Wish I would have changed them then they are only 9 bucks a piece. I have come to the conclusion one or more of them are leaking down and not holding a prime. I have found tons more reasearch on this engine and it is notorious for lifter noise. Stupid Chrysler. Im gonna drive to Texas from Ohio next week. Hope it doesnt crap out on me cause I dont wanna change them until I get back.
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:47 PM
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Hope the trip went well.

Coincidentally, I could soon be "inheriting" a similarly neglected 96-97 Stratus that was abandoned and left to sit for a few years.



It actually wasn't too difficult to get it to fire back up after sitting for so long(a surprise). Rodents were storing stuff under the hood and in the trunk. Bushy-tailed little bastids...



The top end was excessively noisy on the first start, but now I'd say it sounds normal. No smoke, knocking, leaks that I could find(yet), or major engine stumbling/hesitation. It definitely needs new tires, battery, and tuneup. And it's probably also due for a new timing belt and water pump... So far, it's only been limped around the driveway & idled extended periods to check the cooling system, ect.



Anything else to look for while I'm working on it?



I'd rather avoid doing the head gasket if things check out okay. That's one thing I usually just wait to start failing, and just limp it around until I can arrange to repair it. Although, I am used to the reliability of imports. Doing the HG and Timing belt/water pump this week on a Civic with well over 200,000 miles.



I don't think I'm going to hold on to this Dodge very long once it's squared away... too many issues with their vehicles in the past.
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