"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):
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):
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):
Tamika of Tyndall AFB, FL (3/10/04):
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):
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):
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):
Anthony of Fort Worth TX (10/27/03):
Terry of Ringgold VA (7/23/03):
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):
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):
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):
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, ConsumerAffairs.com, 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 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):
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):
Janet of Covington GA (2/25/03):
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):
Beth of Altamont NY (2/21/03):
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 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):
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):
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):
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):
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):
Carol of Boone IA (1/17/03):
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):
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):
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):
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):
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):
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):
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):
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.