Dodge Durango

Engine Failure


Dodge Durango

Engine Failure
Transmission Failure
Steering Problems
Brake Problems
Other Problems
All of the Above
What can you do?
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Below are just a few of the many complaints we've received about low oil pressure leading to engine failure in the Durango. Automan, who operates an independent service center, advises that there is "smoking gun" technical service bulletin for the Durango engine.

"It indirectly admits that they have a problem and attempts to cover up the fact that the engine is (in trade terms) a smog sludge motor," Automan told us. "They have you put a different valve cover and baffle on the engine in an attempt to hide the fact that the engine develops sludge."

"Anyone who pulls the cap off the oil fill and finds crud and sludge on the oil cap should be worried," Automan advises.

Latimer of Charlotte NC (3/20/04):
I too had to replace the engine of my 98 Dodge Durango. I complained to Dodge Corp. and the local dealer on several occasions and also while stranded on the side of the road about the loss of pressure in the engine. After several visits to the dealer they claimed they could not find anything wrong. They also accused me of not changing my oil as frequently as i should.

Even after the many visits to the dealership service center for this exact problem the service techs found no records of my visits when the situation became critical and the engine needed to be replaced. Because of this I no longer trusted the dealer I purchased the car from and started dealing with another dealer across town. Apparently they felt sympathy for me by giving a reduced price on a reconditioned engine but I still felt cheated. I have also replaced my oil pump, water pump, window motors (twice), and I'm anticipating a transmission failure someday because of the burning smell I am constantly overcome with.

Milet of Mart TX (3/19/04):
My Dodge Durango oil gauge would show fine one second then terrible the next. If I let it cool it would be ok and then go back to 0 pressure when I got going. I called the Dodge dealership in Waco and they told me that there was nothing they could do but replace my transmission at $2000. I showed them all the oil changes I had done and they told me I must have been getting ripped off because I had "sludge" everywhere.

I went to my local mechanic because the dealership was rude. My local mechanic found ball bearings in my engine all over the place because my screen had blown in my oil gauge. This cost $1800. Now my Dodge is making a roaring noise. Not wanting to take it to the dealership without having had all the fluids checked, the oil and lube place told me it sounded like my fan clutch and not to run my air conditioner!! I can't wait to hear what they tell me is wrong now!

Karen of Pleasant Valley NY (3/19/04):
I bought a 2001 Dodge Durango new and with only 46k miles on it was told I need a new engine. I was driving along when all of a sudden the oil pressur dropped and the check gauges light came on. I had it flatbedded to the dealer and was told it was poor maintenance. Hardly! My husband owns an oil change franchise! I have seen to my disbelief many, many others with similar stories. We are in complete SHOCK! This is a car that we saved to pay off entirely. The truck is still at the dealer because we feel it should taken care of by Dodge. Something is very wrong here.

Tamika of Tyndall AFB, FL (3/10/04):
I took my 1999 Dodge Durango (68,000 miles) there because the engine was knocking and the "check oil" light was on and my oil pressure was at 0. They looked at it and told me that I had sludge built up and metal was in the engine and the only way to fix it was to get a new engine and priced it at $6,400. They told me that the oil was not changed regularly and that is a lie because we did change it. I picked my vehicle up and was taking it to get the oil changed even though it was not due until another month (they said they wouldn't do it because that wouldn't help the problem and they would be taking my money).

My grandfather told me to pick up some Lucas oil stabilizer and have the people put one quart of that in there with the oil, because it still had good mileage to be having a sludge problem. So when I took it to get the oil changed, the first thing they noticed was that my PCV valve needed to be changed and the motor belt was in very bad shape, so they fixed that for me and changed my oil and once they put in the oil stabilizer it stopped the knocking noise and the the gauge went up and the light went off.

Curtis of Boulder City NV (3/8/04):
My Dodge Durango 5.2 2wd engine just did the loss of oil preasure thing, destroying itself. I am a very mechanically conscientious person being that I am a professional pilot. I do not let my transportation issues slide. I am a gearhead and very mechanically savvy. This whole thing that Daimler Chrysler is hiding from the consumer has soured me to the core. I really never did trust big corporate companies in the first place but this is going over the top. No help, no satisfaction or even acknowledgement of the problem. The 5.2L engine should really hurt these jerks. We need to stand together and make a point to this group of people.

The dealership said $6000 to replace the engine at their place. I found that I could get the repair done by an independant for $2800 with a better warranty package in place. This ordeal is just what my wife and I need at this point of or lives. We had our new house under construction 6 weeks to completion and it was burnt down by some irate employees of a sub-contractor. We are in a huge battle over this arson fire in respect to the insurance company pay off of the fire damage incurred. Now, another corporation to get screwed by.

Shirley of Stockton CA (10/30/03):
4-99 I bought a new Dodge Durango. Had the car 2 1/2 years. At 32,000 miles my engine blew. I had previous problems with the oil pressure dropping. When I took the car in they said they needed to replace the intake manifold. It was replaced and still same problem. 6 months later while driving from one state to another for vacation, I hear my engine knocking. Next thing you know it's getting louder and louder.

We call Chrysler and they seem to be helpful. Say even though I didn't purchase the extended warranty they will "most likely" help pay for a new engine. When the time came to get that new engine, all of a sudden it was my fault for not having regular oil changes done on the car. My father's a mechanic and he did regular oil changes for me. And come on, who's going to pay that much for a car and not maintain it properly?

I felt like a fool for not purchasing the extended warranty, until I found this site. Now I'm glad I didn't shell out more money for something that was going to be worthless. There is a class action lawsuit against Chrysler for upper ball joint defects, and they are trying to get one started for oil sludge causing premature engine failure.

Marcus of N. Las Vegas NV (10/28/03):
An engine with 53k on in it has sludge build up that destroys the engine without warning. Even with regular oil changes, there is a problem that occurs inside that leaves no warning other than "check guages". If you stop and pull over to check the fluids, the engine has cooled or settled enough that all guages go back to normal. This however is a false sense of security. Within a few miles, you're WALKING. My 50k warranty having expired, I have a 4,000lb paperweight. A new engine is $6,000.

Anthony of Fort Worth TX (10/27/03):
Engine failure due to oil presure. I purchased a 1999 Dodge Durango that had 28k miles on it. I changed the oil/filter on a regular basis or occasionally took it to a service technician to have it changed. I hadn't had any major problems with the SUV until 04/13/03 when the engine failed while I was on my way to the hospital (I was taking my wife to the labor/delivery unit to have our second child). We were on the freeway when all of a sudden the car felt like it dropped into a lower gear, and wouldn't pick up speed, then it started making noises and smoking. Luckily we were close enough to my grandmother's house to get her car and get to the hospital. At the time I had 73K miles on it. I had a mechanic look at the car, and found out that I was going to need to replace the engine.

Terry of Ringgold VA (7/23/03):
I purchased a 1999 Dodge Durango from Danville Chryaler Plymouth in Jan. 2001 When I bought the Durango it had 25,000 miles on it. At 69,000 miles I had to have the motor replaced. The reason was the oil pump went bad. The oil pressure droped from 50psi to 0. Upon investigation by the service department, they found a build-up of sludge in the oil pan blocking the screen to the oil pump. The service manager said that the extended warrenty that I had purchased would not cover the motor.

The warranty rep. said that the problem was due to a lack of proper oil change. Well I am an industrial mechanic for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and I know how valuable lubrication is to machinery. I have religiously changed the oil every 3000-4000 miles myself. This made no difference to the warrranty inspector. I still had to pay for the motor change. I like my Durango and I hope that the Dodge Boys can figure out what causes the sludge build up in the motor. In my case it definitely wasn't from lack of proper care.

Deborah of Onsted MI (7/23/03):
I leased a 2001 Dodge Durango in April of 2001. At the time I worked only a few miles from where I lived and a 3 yr./36,000 mi. warranty was sufficient. After a year my position changed at work and I began to drive more miles and decided I would just purchase my Durrango when the lease was up because I would be over on the miles. On July 2, 2003 while on my way to work the oil pressure gauge dropped and the warning light came on. I pulled into a service station to check the oil. I had had it serviced only 4 days prior at a local service station. I have a concrete driveway and I knew it was and had not been leaking any oil.

The oil level was fine so I waited a few minutes and restarted my Durango and the oil pressure gauge went back to normal. I continued on to work and 5 miles farther the oil pressure guage started jumping up and down and I felt it loose compression so I pulled over and turned the engine off and called a wrecker. I had a mechanic at work look at it because we thought it might be the oil pump and he told me there was more than that wrong. I had it towed again, this time back to Extreme Dodge, so that they could look at it and they called me the next day to tell me that I had low compression on the #7 cylinder and when they removed the valve cover there was sludge in the engine, therefore everything that was wrong with the Durrango was a result of lack of maintaince.

During this time whenever myself or my husband called our salesman he would never return our calls, he would have the service manager call us. My Dodge Durango is the 3rd new vehicle I purchased from him, my husband is on his 3rd new Dodge Pick-up, and our oldest son has purchased 2 used cars from him.I didn't find this web site until after we had our Durango towed home because they wanted $8500 to put in a new engine, otherwise I might have told them to keep it, pay the overage on the miles, and let them sue me to recover the engine.

We're now in the process of having a used engine put in with the price tag still being several thousand dollars. After we read all the testimonials that were so similiar to mine my husband called our dealer and was told that "I just sell them". So now I am starting the process of finding out who to call, and who to report this to so that other people are made aware of the fact that there is a problem with some of the engines, and some one needs to step up to the plate to help us. I know that right now I would have a hard time purchasing a Dodge.

Christine of Weaverville NC (7/22/03):
I bought a 1999 Dodge Durango in March 2002. Also, paid $1,600 for extended warranty. Ten months later, oil pressure gauge went to zero and check gauges light came on. I called dealership to check it out. They checked it out and gave me a rental car. Two days later they informed me that my entire engine needed to be replaced due to excessive oil sludge, due to lack of maintenance. My husband changed the oil and filter religously, so I know the "lack of maintenance" excuse was crazy. Of course they also inform me that the warranty company has refused to pay for the repairs because they feel the engine failure is due to neglect.

Why would I pay $30,000 for a car and not invest $25 to change the oil and filter? Now I'm stuck paying for the engine (and everything that goes with it) AND the rental car. I've been to the Better Business Bureau to no avail. The dealership had my Durango for 6 months!! Meanwhile, I'm making the payments and paying the insurance. The value on this car has plummeted. I owe $10,000 more than what it's worth. I'm stuck with this piece of junk that I can't trust! I've had the car back for about 3 weeks. Now the entire ABS system has shut down. And, as expected, the warranty will not cover it. There's another $1,500 down the drain. I will NEVER buy another Dodge product as long as I live!!

Jeff of Ashburn VA (5/3/03):
As a newly retired Air Force Serviceman with a family of eight, I purchased a brand-new Dodge Durango and new Dodge Neon at the same time in December of 2001. The Durango is now in need of repair (needs a new engine), and Daimler Chrysler will not honor the extended warranty and repair this vehicle. After less than 14 months with my new Durango the engine seized up and the car just stopped. I was on my way to work when the oil pressure light came on and my car just simply turned off. Luckily, I was stopped at an intersection. The car was towed to the Chrysler dealership in Leeseburg Virginia for repair.

I received a call later that day and was told by the technician that the engine had failed due to possible "sludge" in the engine. I was also informed at that time that it looked like in order to fix my vehicle I probably needed a brand new engine and that my extended warranty would cover this but only if I had kept documentation for my oil changes. I am able to document some oil changes and I am still pursuing this however, the dealership believes that I need at least five documented oil changes.

Upon researching this problem with the Dodge Durango, I was shocked to learn that I was not alone and a single "google" search on the Internet with the just two words "Durango" and "Sludge" revealed literally hundreds of people with the same exact issue. One website alone,, details this Dodge sludge problem extensively and lists this problem as its number one consumer complaint for the Durango.

An interesting point in my research on this subject is that no other "sludge" searches against other auto manufactures revealed extensive issues on this same subject. Toyota was the exception to this and In February 02 Toyota finally acknowledged the condition, and started to correct the affected engines. It is my hope that Chrysler will help me. I am even more surprised that many consumers found it difficult if not impossible to have the warranty repair their Dodge Durango even after providing excellent documentation. I find it difficult to believe that loyal customers will not receive fair treatment, as is my desire. It is my desire as an honest hardworking consumer that this vehicle is fixed under warranty

Darren of East Stroudsburg PA (7/22/03):
I leased A brand new 1999 Dodge Durango. 2 1/2 years later at 42,000 miles while driving on the interstate my oil light came on and I heard a loud knock and the engine shutoff. I had approximately 4 mths left on lease. The truck was in beautiful condition. I had it towed to a dealer in NJ. The motor had went and it was do to sludge found in the oil pan. This should never have happened to a fairly new truck.

I had to prove every oil change in order for it to be covered on warranty which I could not do. Chrysler wants me to pay for the engine -- $4,000 plus mileage. I am willing to pay for mileage but I am not paying for a faulty engine. I am now dealing with their lawyers. The bad thing is that Chrysler refuses to take ownership for a defective product yet they can offer these warranties yet not live up to them. I cant understand how they can do this to unsuspecting consumers. I am kind of glad it happened before the lease was up I would not want someone else to have to go thru this. The engine was bound to fail.

Kelly of Luquillo PR (3/27/03):
Engine failure at 77,000 miles. Adjuster from extended warranty told mechanic from Dodge, who then told us, that it was our fault because of lack of maintenace. An oil sludge build-up in the engine appears like magic, even with regular maintenance records. Extended warranty didn't want to pay for repair, Dodge says they are not responsible for this.

Something is causing the oil to burn up in a part of the engine where it wasn't supposed to be, fall back down into the oil pan when engine cooled, and then sucked back up into the intake, causing engine failure. Extended warranty representative claims that oil sludge build-up is caused by negligence. Even with a record, they say: "the engine speaks, we have nothing more to say..."

We had to get over $5,000 to replace the engine. Two months without car and still paying for it.

Mario of Irving TX (3/13/03):
I purchased a brand new 2000 Dodge Durango. After about 2 years the engine blew out on it. I was on my way to work when the oil presure light came on and there was a loud knocking sound. The car was towed to dealership for repair. I got a call later on the day that the engine had failed due to lack of oil change. I was able to document 4 oil changes. The dealership insisted that it was not enough. Since I did not have the over $5000.00 for the repair the dealership decided to reposess the truck. Now I have a reposession on my credit and no car. What can I do? I have heard this story over and over from other people who have purchased Durangos.

Janet of Covington GA (2/25/03):
I bought a new 99 Dodge Durango. There was a knocking in the motor, I took it in for repair but they said they didn't hear it. Then at 10,459 miles oil pressure was dropping to 0 and panel guages came on, then it would go back normal. I took it back to dealership and they said as long as it was working fine at the time they couldn't fix it. Again at 15,000 miles same thing still happening. This time they changed intake gasket. Again at 16,000 problem still happening except knocking is worse -- the dealership did some warranty work.

Now at 48,000 miles I have a blown engine that has to be replaced. The dealership says it is due to owner neglect from not changing oil. I have reg. oil changes every 3,000 miles and have receipts to prove it.

I paid $33,000 for this car and I have kept it serviced regularly. Now I have to pay $5,000 for a new motor. The manufactur refuses to own up to shoddy work or a defect problem.

Shannon of Little Rock AR (2/21/03):
The oil pressure in our 2000 Dodge Durango dropped to 0. Luckily we were within a few blocks of our service man. We dropped the car off for 4 days - we've just been informed that to to "oil sludge" in the engine, the car is undriveable with irrepairable damage to the engine. The engine will need to be replaced. $6,000! The car has 33,000 miles on it and we still owe $20,000! I called Little Rock Dodge in Little Rock, AR to ask if they had heard of any similar problems and was told "no, never." I then started looking online and have found numerous examples of the same problem.

Beth of Altamont NY (2/21/03):
Several things have happened since we bought our Dodge Durango in May of 2000. The first was the heater core went and it took us several months before it was replaced in October of 2001. Which I had to fight with Chrysler's Warranty department to pay for, because they finally figured out what the problem was after the original warranty had run out and the added care warranty was in effect, however this was no longer a covered part.

As of February of last year 2002, we started having trouble with the oil pump. The oil pressure gauge kept dropping to zero and then bouncing back to about 40-50 pounds of pressure. We brought it in to the dealer to be fixed, only to be sent away several times, with them not being able to find the problem and it apparently wouldn't happen when they had the car. Only once it happened and the service manager was driving the car with me in it, and he kept saying it was electrical, that if it was the oil pump the motor would have seized by now.

It would happen to us all the time, to the point that I video taped it out of frustration on the way to New York City, the day they returned it to us after having been in the shop for the problem, with their permission to keep driving the car if it happened, because it was electrical and not the oil pump. By the time we got to New York City the car was ticking and we had to drive it back home. I then called the dealer the next day and told them I had it on tape, the woman on the phone told me to call them the day before I was going to bring in the car, and see if I could get it to happen, so when I brought the car in they would see it. So I did and called them when I was down the road, so the service manager could come out and see the gauge. He did, and they finally decided it wasn't electrical and it was the oil pump, what I had been telling them all along, and was told that "if it was the oil pump, we'd have more problems across the board than with just your car."

Now on Father's Day weekend they are finally agreeing with me that it is the oil pump, and change it only to have the one they changed it with fail, and I had to wait for the new one they ordered to come in. I finally get my car back and drive it for 6 months and January 2003, the check gauges light started to come on again and it's the oil pump acting up all over again, only now the motor seizes, and because I don't have my receipts of the oil changes, I am now being held responsible to pay for a new motor.

They accept no responsibility in this whatsoever. They claim nothing happened to the motor before, and they are blaming us, saying it was lack of maintenance. Not to mention that I have been informed also that there is bad oil being sold on the market that sludges after 40 hours of operation, this came from someone that used to work for Chrysler and claims that Chrysler knows about it and refuses to take any responsibility in this matter whatsoever. Untop of it all, I just don't understand why they always give us and it seems like a lot of other customers as hard time when it comes to fixing covered components?

Because Chrysler refuses to take any responsibility at all and we paid for the added care warranty, which was extra, not included in the price of the car, now we have to pay for a new motor ($5103.00) and it has to be replaced at a dealership in order for the warranty to still be valid, and a car payment still. How unfair is this?

Tracy of Winder GA (2/20/03):
We have a 2001 Dodge Durango V8 4.7L with 56000 miles. The warranty has expired (3 years 30,000) Last week, the oil pressure dropped, the car started making an awful noise and stalled on a major interstate. We had the car towed to a certified mechanic that we have used for many years and trust him completely. He called us the following day saying that the oil pump went out but he could not get the parts. The dealership could not release them because "engineering was involved."

We had the car towed to the dealer. They dropped the oil pan (for $250.00) and told us that there is sludge in the engine and we need a whole new engine. We now have our hands tied and have to pay unbelievably inflated prices because no one but a can get parts for this car. The dealer told us to contact a representative and gave us the phone number. When we called they said that there was improper maintenance and would not let us even speak to a representative. They never even ask if we have receipts for regular oil changes. We have some, but some my husband has done himself.

The price quoted to put a new engine in this car is $6487.00 plus tax. I have missed several days of work and have had to rent a car on the days that I have been able to afford to. Why do we not have a say in the mechanic of our choice since this is no longer covered under warranty

Lucy of Vidor TX (2/18/03):
I have a 2000 Dodge Durango. Back in Feb. 2001 I had to bring it to Morris Moore, because the oil pressure bottomed out to zero. They replaced the oil pump, and returned it and told us that there was a little engine rattle, but not to be concerned. Feb. 2001 we had to bring it back to Morris Moore for the same oil pump problem. This time extended warranty inspector looked at internal parts and said the wear was consistant with mileage on the vehicle.

My complaint it this: Once again I feel like this problem was not fixed properly the first time, and I had to wait 2 week before they let me have a loaner car, and then wanted me to pay wrecker and another deductable.

Ricci of Corpus Christi TX (2/10/03):
Purchased a 2000 Dodge Durango in January 2000. In November 2002, my husband was driving on a long trip. The oil pressure gauge started jumping up and down and the engine stalled. He was on a rural road, at night. The tow truck came and took it to their local dealership. An adjuster from the extended warranty company went out and told the mechanic, who then told us, that an "upper plenum gasket" malfunctioned, causing oil to burn up inside of the engine, fall back down into the oil pan when the engine cooled, then was sucked up into the intake when the vehicle was started up. The mechanic stated that they were just waiting on the ok from the extended warranty company and were ready to do the work (replace the engine).

The extended warranty company (North American) denied the claim, stating that oil sludge is only caused by neglect. After speaking with someone at North American, they stated that the claims person did not agree with what the adjuster had sent in. We had to borrow over $4,000 to replace the engine. Chrysler will not help us. I have found a multitude of Durango owners that have had this same problem and am hoping for legal action.

Debra of Hanover MA (2/3/03):
While driving my 2000 Dodge Durango it started to lose oil pressure on the guage and would go from full to 40 if I stepped on the brake. As we were driving to the mechanic the car started making loud noises. Mechanic said it was engine and covered under warranty since it is 2.5 yrs old with 32k miles. Towed to Mcgee Dodge who immediatley said it was engine failure due to lack of oil filter change and therefore our fault and not covered. He said the oil had sludgged and this is what caused the problem.

We have documented oil change at 9k with them and they say the oil filter is coded and the code shows it is the same filter they put on at 9k miles. We are sure we went to Jiffy Lube but have of course no documentation. However, upon further research we find out all these other people with same type problem. Our own mechanic says this is unacceptable. That a new engine should still not have this problem. The dealer then tells us he knows that the problem is oil sludged because he just looked at the filter. We have also hired an attorney to assist in mediating. I know I will never buy a dodge again.

David of St. Marys GA (1/26/03):
My 2000 Dodge Durango developed sludge in the motor even though regular maintenance and oil chages were performed at the appropriate intervals. I took my Durango back to the dealer for service that should be covered by the warranty, but they refused to service it. I was told to show the receipts for the oil changes which I performed myself. I asked the service manager how I was supposed to come up with receipts that I did not have and he laughed and said, "That's your problem." He was also rude. It was hard for me to comunicate with him because I am hearing impaired and he did not care to try and help me understand what he was saying!

If I cannot get Bennett Chrysler or Dodge to honor the warranty it will cost me between four and six thousand dollars to fix my Durango.

John of Troy MI (1/21/03):
Leased new 2001 Dodge Durango 5.2L. After 38,000 miles and two years of scheduled oil changes the engine blew. Owner relations claims that owner oil changes are not considered a "reputable dealer" and will not be honored. Chrysler will not stand behind their product, leaving the cunsumer to pay for the engine replacement.

Carol of Boone IA (1/17/03):
I have just found out that my 1999 Dodge Durango has an engine problem at 69,000 miles. Our mechanic says valves 5 & 6 are misfiring and have low compression. Will cost at least $1200 to fix. Talked to Dodge dealer's mechanic who says they'll have to take a look at it before saying what's wrong.

Dodge mechanic told me 3 times that I would be responsible for paying for the diagnosis work. As far as Chrylser standing behind it, they would ask about the maintenance record. Home mechanic states that it is unusual to see an engine problem with this low of miles.

Kathie of Lucasville OH (10/25/02):
I have a 1998 Dodge Durango which I purchased used in May, 2000. Less than 1 week after purchasing the vehicle, the oil gauge plummeted to zero while I was driving. I took the vehicle to a dealership and they replaced the oil sending unit. In June of 2001 while traveling to a vacation destination, the oil gauge once again went to zero. This time we left it with a Dodge Dealership in North Carolina and rented a vehicle for $500 to continue on our vacation. However, even though the dealership had it for an entire week they were unable to find anything wrong. We left our vacation a day early and picked up the vehicle and brought it home.

Several times during the next six months the oil gauge would go to zero. The Dodge Dealership in Portsmouth, Ohio checked it several times, but could never find anything wrong. When the vehicle was turned off and restarted the oil gauge would return to normal. In December of 2001, the oil gauge once again went to zero and the problem persisted. The Dodge Dealership in Portsmouth, Ohio finally thoroughly investigated the issue after keeping the vehicle approximately one week. It was discovered that the oil screen was completely clogged with oil. Initially, they tried to blame this on improper maintenance, but I was able to produce significant maintenance records.

I was required to pay for a new oil sending unit and the deductible on my extended warranty plan in addition to being without a vehicle for one week. This is a persistent problem with the Dodge Durango and not only has cost numerous consumers unnecessary expenses but has reduced the retail and trade-in value of the Dodge Durango. Chrysler should recognize this as a significant problem and should either recall the vehicle and reimburse costs to those affected or recognize the lemon law and replace or repurchase the vehicles.

Sandra of Dallas writes (8/8/01):
The problems with my 1999 Dodge Durango began with a couple incidents of oil pump diving to 0. Stop the car and restart and it went back to normal. Third time my 17-year-old daughter is driving at 1:00 am on major freeway, oil guage drops, there's a loud thud and the engine cracked.

Towed to dealership with receipts for the last three oil changes within 3000 miles (car had 38,000 miles)and expected extended warranty to cover. Not only did Bledsoe Dodge refuse, Mr. Hurst laughed when I told him the car was not my first priority, recovering from a mastectomy for breast cancer was. We negotiated for 6 months with Chrysler and got nowhere.

Extensive research through the Internet including NHTSA website revealed this was a consistent problem (oil sludge/engine failure) with this automobile along with all the other problems (windows, brakes, airbags, AC etc.) We consulted our manual which suggests oil changes every 7500 miles. We relented, had our car moved to an independent repair shop and replaced interior parts to the tune of $4000. I'm sure it's too late to help us but feel others should know.

Lawyers we consulted said we had a legitimate complaint but Supreme Court rulings protected the big automakers and declined class action help. We have our car back but the passenger window no longer works. I assume we will have to deal with a dealer again. Others we know of with all their oil change receipts were accused of lying or "manufacturing" receipts for proof.

Any help you could give consumers would be great. I believe I'm driving a dangerous automobile but do not know how to get out from under my lease. The $4000 in repairs, $2000 in rentals, medical costs for breast cancer, and daughter going to college have made it impossible to take another major financial hit on this car.

Roger of Huntsville AL (11/8/00):
I own a 1998 Dodge Durango that needs an engine replacement. It currently has approximately 62,000 miles. I purchased the 100,000 mile "bumper to bumper" warranty in addition to the 7/70 waranty that came with the vehicle. I purchased the vehicle new from Huntsville Dodge in November 1998.

The vehicle has had numerous problems identified that were eventually fixed by Huntsville Dodge. The one previous exception was my complaint of an engine knock which the dealer said they could not find. My most recent problem came while driving on the interstate. I experienced a sudden loss of oil pressure from 40 to 0 instantly. This condition persisted intermittently in the short drive home (oil pressure would jump from 40 to 0 and back frequently - no other symptoms such as increased engine temperature existed).

The next morning I drove the vehicle approximately 2 miles to the dealership with no problems noticed. The dealer (Huntville Dodge) confirmed my thoughts by replacing the oil pressure sending unit under warranty. Before I could pick the vehicle up, they called and indicated that they had reproduced the problem and diagnosed it as a "spun main bearing" requiring engine replacement.

They claimed the engine failure was due to improper maintenance. I was not inclined to agree; however, I don't believe I can document oil changes every 5000 to 7500 miles. I asked about appealing their decision. They declined to give me the 1-800 telephone number saying that it would just be referred back to them for a decision. I tried to set up a meeting with the general manager (Greg Pollen) to see if I could discuss this and find a middle ground. After several days I succeeded in reaching him on the phone. He refused to meet with me or discuss any potential compromise.

When I asked him if they had an attorney I could contact to pursue this further, he would not name one and then demanded that I remove my vehicle from their property by the end of the day. (This required me to pay for the work they had done to the vehicle and have it towed.) I have done that and have contracted with an independent mechanic for an engine replacement. I still don't have the 1-800 number to call Chrysler and appeal the warantee decision.

I have been without the use of this vehicle for over 2 weeks. I am renting a replacement vehicle for my wife to use at considerable expense. I have lost approximately 2 days of work pursuing this matter. This has been very frustrating for my wife, my children and me. I am also paying an independent mechanic approximately $4,000 to perform repairs on the vehicle.

Lisa of Monroe NC (10/26/00):
Last Saturday the check gauges light lit up in our 1999 Dodge Durango and we lost oil pressure momentarily. We immediately stopped the vehicle and checked the oil. Upon restarting the engine, the pressure returned to normal. We then took the vehicle directly home (approx. 3 miles). During this short ride, the oil pressure fluctuated between zero and normal. The temperate gauge never climbed and the check engine light never came on.

Our vehicle was towed to Bob Mayberry's dealership on Monday morning for repair. We have been told that the engine was blown due to neglect. We are unable to document all of our oil changes however the vehicle only has 27,000 miles. Our warranty reads that they "cannot deny warranty due to our inablility to provide documentation". Meanwhile the dealership is demanding 50% down of the $6200 to replace the engine and we have been without a vehicle for 6 days. At this point I cannot imagine ever buying a Chrysler vehicle again.

Andre of Lowell MA (10/5/00):
I bought a 98 Dodge Durango new from Allen Mello Dodge in Nashua, NH. I have maintained it from day one and have all the service records. Driving home north on 93 From Boston to Lowell, 65 miles an hour and 3/4 of the way home when the engine blows. The Durango has 39,000 miles the warranty is only to 36,000.

Chrysler and Allen Mello Dodge have told me tough luck, spend $5,800 to fix the engine. I feel a V8 with a complete service record and the last service in July should last more than 39,000 miles.

There was water in the carburetor. Allen Mello Dodge told me the air filter was too clean and I must have changed it before I brought it to them. Untrue. They also said I must have driven through a puddle. I was on the highway that was dry and even if I did drive through a puddle I would assume a V8 SUV could drive through a puddle without blowing its engine.

They also told me that there was no way for water from the engine to get into the carburetor when it blew. My local mechanic has inspected the engine and said there is a hose that goes from where you put the oil in the car to the carburetor and that most likely when the rod broke and the engine blew, the pressure forced the water from the engine into the carburetor. That hose was wet and oily. The air intake was dry.

I feel that Allen Mello Dodge did not even try to find out what caused the engine to blow -- they only looked at the air filter and carburetor and determined that it was not covered for whatever reason. They then after accusing me of changing the air filter told me to put a claim on my insurance and say that it was caused by driving through water or vandalism. There is no way I will put a fraudulent claim on my insurance. I am having the engine autopsied to find the exact cause by a specialist.

Craig of Keller TX (10/1/00):
Took our 1998 Dodge Durango in for warranty work with approximately 54,000 miles on the vehicle. We had our oil changed at an independent Quaker State and asked for them to check for leaks because we were losing oil in between scheduled changes. They could not find a leak and told us to check with the dealer. We took the vehicle to Allen Samuels Dodge in Ft. Worth, and the service tech, told us that the 318 V8 was notorious for leaking oil internally through the intake pan gasket. They replaced along with some other items like the power window unit (which still does not work right) and the rear hatch latch.

After they replaced we continued to lose about 1- 2 quarts of oil every 2 thousand miles with no signs of where the oil was going to. We had our local indipendent mechanic run some test on it and he said the oil must still be leaking out the intake pan gasket. 66,000 miles and the oil pump goes out along with damage to the crank. Out of warranty at 60,000. We have had the oil changed approx 15-20 times since we purchased the vehicle and the service manager indicated he couldn't do anything about it because we did not change the oil. Basically he called us a liar. We have most if not all oil change receipts. Other items: Two Recalls Power Window, Left rear still does not work. Replaced Transaxle (4X4)

New engine including labor will cost $3142.51. Chrysler will not even let me speak with a Zone Manager to discuss the shoddy dealership work. We plan on fixing the vehicle and obtaining lawyer to recover loss of time and money. Rental cars alone will run over $600.00 along with missed work, and $3142.51 out of pocket due to dealer. I also hold Chrysler responsible as they informed me that using a quart of oil every thousand miles is perfectly acceptable. Why would they put a car on the market that may throw oil all over the highway. I have never owned a car that used a quart every thousand miles. I don't think I will buy from Chrysler ever again.

Candace of Ft. Myers FL (9/27/00):
I have a 99 Dodge Durango. The engine blew about 2 weeks ago and Dodge wants me to pay for a new engine ($5,300). I have had it in for repair on the idiot guages. I checked the oil 15 minutes before it blew and it was a quart low. I added a quart, drove it for about 30 minutes and it died on me. It was towed to Gulf Coast Dodge. They took an oil sample and drained the oil. Less than a quart of oil came out of the engine.

They took the valve cover off without permission and looked for oil build-up. They claim that the engine blew because of sludge build-up. They also told me that because I couldn't produce reciepts for the oil changes my husband did himself, that I would have to buy a new engine for a vehicle that is one year old and under full bumper-to-bumper warranty.

I have been without a vehicle for about two weeks. I am a teacher and don't have $5000 for a new engine. The vehicle doesn't even have enough equity to buy a new engine with. The original price of the vehicle was $31,000 and now I have to make payments on a vehicle I can't even drive because Dodge won't back their product. There has been thirty-four 98-99 Dodge Durangos bought back under the Lemon Law and I had had migraine headaches since they told me I would have to buy a new engine. I start crying everytime I think about it. I don't know what else to do. My husband is also a teacher and a disabled veteran who is trying to help me through this terrible sitaution.