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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A few weeks ago I started getting the dreaded "Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode" message. During that time I've been trying everything to get it to go away - adding gas to the tank, taking a few longer trips, and pouring through all the documentation and all these forum posts. At long last, and without doing any manual reset workaround "tricks", I got the message to finally go away. And the best part is that I am fairly certain that I know what finally fixed it! Now I'm sure other people are going to offer up their own counter arguments that may well will disprove my theory. But I know this worked for me and at the very least I will be adding my findings and experiences to the already extensive collection on these forums and the Facebook group.

I'm going to get into a LOT of details explaining all my observations and experiments leading me to this answer, but I'll start with my conclusion and summary first so people don't have to wade through all the details unless they want to.

To exit Oil Refresh Mode the Oil Temperature must reach 200-205 degrees Fahrenheit.

NOTE: If you are looking for solutions, you can jump to the end where I propose a few solutions that other people can try.

NOTE 2: This post is so long I couldn't add updates to the original post, so I've started a reply early in the thread with my updates. This includes some information supposedly from Chrysler engineering.

Caveats and summary: First, I want to make clear this is the "Oil Temperature" that I am talking about and NOT the "Coolant Temperature". Next, this exit condition is specific to "Oil Refresh" mode and not "Fuel Refresh" - as best I can tell, Fuel refresh works exactly as it's described in the manual. Although, displaying the same message for both modes was one of the biggest mistakes Chrysler made with regard to this problem, almost as bad as the actual "bug" that's causing this to be a problem for so many people (I will get into the details of both those things, including what exactly the "bug" is later in the details section). And finally, let me explain why I gave it the 200-205 range instead of an exact number. The solution is either one or some combination of both these conditions:
- Oil temperate must reach 205 degrees Fahrenheit
- Oil temperature must reach and maintain ~200 degrees Fahrenheit for some short period of time, possibly in the 1-2 minute range

Based on what I observed when it finally exited Oil Refresh mode, I'm more inclined to believe the 205 degree cutoff was the trick, although it's also possible that it's some combination of the two. Let me go over what exactly I saw when the oil refresh mode finally went away. I was parked and stationary after a moderately short trip, about 12 miles / 15-20 minutes total, of which the first half was in battery only operation. During the final 5 miles the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) kicked in due to a sudden acceleration at which point the instrument cluster immediately displayed "Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode" message and began running the ICE constantly (which is what has been happening every time the ICE turns on for the past 3 weeks) - at that point the battery was somewhere around ~50% charge. The ICE remained on the rest of the trip, even at stops and when I finally parked - again, typical behavior that I have observed ever since I started getting the refresh mode message. When I stopped to park, I stayed in the car a few minutes for my podcast to finish, and as usual I started going through all the displays, checking all the readings on the instrument cluster display and the hybrid info on the Uconnect screen. I happened to notice the vehicle was actively generating a seemingly significant amount of power (~8kW) recharging the battery. I also noticed the oil pressure remained high (~70 PSI) for idling and the oil temperate was steadily increasing. From my research I knew that oil temperature was significant for removing moisture and I've been watching my coolant and oil temperate carefully ever since winter started, but even more so ever since the refresh mode started. I even started taking "extended" drives (up to 45 minutes) intentionally forcing the ICE to start at the beginning, which would then immediately start the refresh mode and would then keep the ICE running the entire time. However, usually the oil would get up to 185-195 and then would just fluctuate around that amount. If I had to take a guess, it seemed like the cooling system and/or the ambient temperate was keeping it from going any higher. Anyway, this happened to one of those moments where I parked and the oil was still in the process of warming up (I think it was around ~160 when I first parked), but I could tell the oil was increasing very steadily up. So I left that display up and watched it very carefully - stayed parked and idling for probably 5-10 minutes. To my surprise the temp continued to increase steadily beyond the 190 range that I was so used to it stopping at. When it went past 200 degrees, I thought maybe it had stopped going up. The ICE sound may have changed slightly at this point, but honestly the significance of finally seeing the temp reach 200 it may have just been in my head. Although, I do remember checking the oil pressure at this point and noticed it had dropped down to ~58 PSI and seemed to be steadily going down, but I'm not sure if that trend had been going on since I first stopped. At any rate, the temp kept right only increasing beyond 200 degrees without any sign of slowing. And then, right at 205 degrees, the ICE turns off completely on it's own and the vehicle is suddenly totally silent. I scroll to the messages section and I'm shocked to finally see "No messages". At this point I turn the car off, wait a few seconds, then power it on and yes, the message is gone! I just drove it around again, forced the ICE to kick in and boost, but no signs of the dreaded refresh mode!


So…now I'm going to the details exactly how I got to this conclusion, including all my observations, experiments, my comments on other people's finding, and my analysis of what I think is going on. Let me preface by saying that I am computer engineer, not a mechanic or a Chrysler vehicle specialist, so I do not claim to be an expert on all of these systems. I design, build, and extensively test computer hardware and software systems. All my knowledge with regard to vehicle mechanics and related systems are almost entirely from research and some life experience with vehicles in general.

To start off, let's talk about the "problem": Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode. A lot of people are getting this message on their vehicle recently. When this message is displayed the vehicle ICE is forced to remain on constantly until the vehicle is either turned off or until the refresh cycle has completed, regardless of the battery charge level. This message will only show briefly whenever the refresh mode is activated, which only happens when the ICE is triggered on by some event (low battery charge, heavy acceleration, or very cold temperatures). If the refresh cycle is not completed before the vehicle is turned off (you'll hear a "ding" when you turn off the vehicle if the cycle hasn't completed), then it will "resume" the cycle and enter refresh mode again the next time an ICE activation event is triggered. While the mode is activated, you can go to the "Messages" screen on the instrument cluster display to see if this mode is still active.

Now let's get into the first part of the problem - the "Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode" message. Chrysler has created a massive amount of confusion with this message because it's ambiguous; it tells you something is happening, but you don't know what the problem is, why it's happening, or what specifically to do about it. Now, I'm going to give Chrysler a little bit of break because I believe the message, while confusing, is in fact correctly informing that the vehicle is running in a very specific "mode" of operation. If you haven't already, go look up "Fuel And Oil Refresh Mode" in the owner's manual and you'll see they give moderately good explanation of what this mode is how the vehicle will operate. Here's a quote from the current version (3rd edition) of owner's manual (pg. 168) - I've highlighted specifics related to fuel refresh in green, and oil refresh in red:
Fuel And Oil Refresh Mode

Since it is possible to operate this vehicle for extended periods of time without running the gas engine, the fuel within the vehicle's fuel tank can become stale. To prevent engine and/or fuel system damage due to stale fuel, as well as, maintaining internal engine lubrication, this vehicle is equipped with a "Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode".

The vehicle will automatically enter into the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode to minimize potential for stale fuel, and to ensure lubrication of internal engine components. When operating in this mode, the gas engine will run to provide vehicle propulsion (electric only operation is inhibited). A message will be displayed in the instrument cluster whenever Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode is active.

The vehicle will automatically exit the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode when conditions have been satisfied.
The primary confusion comes from combining the "Fuel Refresh" and "Oil Refresh" cycle into the same message, because while the operating mode may be the same, the conditions that must be satisfied for exiting are different. This is quite frustrating because the user is forced to guess what exactly has triggered the mode and what, if anything, they need to do to clear it. That said, the user could simply try everything and eventually the problem would be resolved. However, that lead us to the next problem - what are the exit conditions? With regards to Fuel Refresh mode, the exit conditions are actually specified quite clearly in the manual:
If the vehicle enters Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode, due to fuel which has been in the fuel tank for a long period of time (becoming stale fuel), the engine will run whenever the vehicle is operational (no electric only operation) until the low fuel level warning is activated. It is possible to exit the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode sooner by adding new fuel to the vehicle's fuel tank.
NOTE: Fuel Freshness is recalculated whenever fuel is added to the vehicle's fuel tank.
This is a very clear answer about why Fuel Refresh occurs and what to do about it. Although, it's really annoying to go through all that trouble if in fact you didn't have a stale fuel issue and your problem all long was the oil refresh cycle.

Now with regards to Oil Refresh, we come a very serious problem: There is ZERO information in the owner's manual (or anywhere else from Chrysler) about what conditions must be satisfied to complete the oil refresh cycle!

This seems like a huge mistake/oversight from Chrysler. Made even worse by the fact the messages are combined, people who go to Chrysler for help aren't able to specify which system is giving them a problem. However, while it's quite possible omitting this information was just an oversight up by Chrysler, I now have theory as to why this information could have been omitted: Chrylser didn't include this information because they did not believe anyone would ever need to know about it. That may seem hard to believe right now, so let me explain why I think this may have been the case. First, let me go into the details of Oil Refresh mode as best I can given the information that is available to us.

While there is no information about the exit condition for oil refresh mode, there is some information about what it is and why it happens. Specifically, the manual says "to ensure lubrication of internal engine component" with regard to oil refresh mode. This doesn't give us much to go on, but at least it's a general idea of it's purpose. Unfortunately, internet searches of "maintaining internal engine lubrication" will get you a lot of information that isn't really important to solving our problem. However, the manual does provide us another hint, specifically the very first line: "…it is possible to operate this vehicle for extended periods of time without running the gas engine". This makes it sound like the reason this mode even exists is to help alleviate some condition with the ICE specifically related to extended periods of little to no use at all. This clue, combined with the collective knowledge of all the people discussing this on the forums, leads me to believe the oil refresh mode primarily exists to solve this problem: condensation in the engine oil. Rather than trying to explain it myself, I'm just going quote one of the better descriptions that I found (What is this white milky stuff under my oil cap?):
Condensation in the Oil System
This is more common than you might think. A weather change from warm, moist weather to cold weather or repeated frost (condensation) on the vehicle and frequent high dew points can create moisture to form in the crankcase. This can appear as condensation in the oil system and under the valve covers. Most of the time vehicles are driven long and far enough so that this condensation is burned off thanks to the heat of the engine. However a vehicle that is not driven very far and does not reach full running temperature for very long may not purge out the moisture. Vehicles that are not driven frequently and sit outside can also acquire moisture in the oil system. When these vehicles are driven, the engine generates some heat during the short drive, then cools. The trapped moisture condensates on the coolest part of the engine, the valve cover and oil cap. Repeated short trips will leave behind more and more moisture on these cooler parts.
Repeated short trips, or in our case repeated short intervals of running the ICE, sound exactly like the typical usage pattern for a lot of PacHy owners. It makes even more sense when you consider the general usage descriptions from from the people who are reporting this problem, their location, and especially when you consider the timing of everything as well.

I've been browsing this forum and one of the PacHy Facebook groups since September of last year and I am constantly reading through the various posts. A couple months ago I started to notice that several people were talking about issues with the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode. Ever since then I've see more and more of these post, with an especially high number in the last few weeks. This really doesn't seem to be a coincidence and even just increased ownership/membership alone couldn't account for it. So why this sudden increase? I think the primary reason is this: it's winter - everything is colder right now and weather fluctuations are in overdrive! So based on what we know about the condensation problem, this alone could very well explain the reason why the problem seems so widespread all the sudden. Additionally, I think it's important to remember that this is the first real winter since this vehicle started being sold in large quantities. There are a small number of people have owned this vehicle since early 2017 during the previous winter, but they are a tiny minority and the vast majority of these vehicles have only been around or in use since Fall 2017.

There are also a number of secondary reasons why it being winter matters as well, one of which I think is key to understanding the "bug". First, as many people have discovered, the PacHy will sometimes engage the ICE in low temperatures even if the vehicle still has plenty of battery charge. I'm not going to get into the details of this because there's plenty of discussions about this topic (including the nuances and shortcomings). But for the purpose of this topic, the thing to take away is that cold temperatures will cause the ICE to activate more frequently, which as was detailed in earlier section if the vehicle has engaged oil refresh cycle previously without being cleared, then anytime the ICE activates it will resume the cycle. Second, and this ties into the first, the cold weather reduces the range on the battery, so again same issue that the ICE activates more frequently. Now both of these points also present us with a delima - if the ICE is being engaged more often, then why are so many people having problems with condensation in the first place since that is the very thing that's supposed to solve the moisture problem. And this leads us to the crux of the matter: a specific temperature threshold must be reached before the condensation can be cleared. This seems fairly simple and obvious…and that's because it is. But then consider this scenario…what happens if that threshold is never reached? The most likely answer is that it would remain in refresh mode indefinitely or until forcibly reset (like with the oil life reset "fix"). It seems ridiculous when you know how quickly an ICE normally heats up and especially for those people who have gone on road trips lasting hours and still never cleared the oil refresh cycle. But this is exactly what I think is going on and I believe it is the "bug" behind everything.

So let's assume this "bug" is real for moment and try to answer this question: what could be preventing the oil temperature from achieving the necessary temperature threshold even when the ICE is run for extended periods of time? Well, first off let me preface by saying we know this isn't a problem for everyone - in fact a significant number of people have reported seeing the refresh mode pop up and then subsequently see clear this mode clear very quickly, during completely normal usage and without any issues. For others, this has taken longer, but again the problem does eventually resolve itself. Now, the simplest answer could be "maybe it's just too cold", but that's not really possible when you consider all the factors. If perhaps you live in an area where subzero temperatures are part of daily life, then that could very well be an issue. However, subzero temperatures are either rare or non-existent for the vast majority of owners. So for everyone else, what could be going on?

This unfortunately is one of those parts where I'm going to have to do a lot more guessing than I'd like, but here is what I think is happening. I think the coolant system and the oil refresh mode are fighting each other. Now this idea would explain a lot of what of people are observing, but I must also acknowledge that it also sounds completely ridiculous and would be a massive screw up by Chrysler. But once again, I have a few theories how it could have happened.

For starters, I think there are a lot of systems in play here and it's possible that they aren't all communicating with each other; working in perfect harmony to achieve the same goals. For example, I believe some of the coolant system is shared between the battery and ICE systems, so maybe it's trying to keep the coolant temp low to prevent other systems from overheating. Another example of how this could have occurred: suppose after the initially testing the system multiple environments and coding it to perfectly execute a warmup and oil refresh cycle, then for whatever reason something else had to be replaced that changed the system just slightly. I'm thinking something like maybe they increased the size of the coolant pump some other part to improve cooling to the battery and ICE system (which seems plausible given the heat issues reported early on). At that point, do you think they go back and redo every system validation in every test environment? I think it's likely you would do scaled back testing and I think it would also be reasonable to assume better cooling is almost always a better thing. But, this being a brand new hybrid system for Chrysler there are of course new things to consider that you never would have to think about. Anyway, this part is entirely speculation and guesswork, so please don't assume any of this is actually true - I'm just proposing a few possible scenarios. But those types of scenarios would help explain how the lower ambient temperatures could be exacerbating the problem.

One thing I also don't want to forget mentioning. A small number of people have reported seeing the message and then in only a few minutes the oil refresh mode completed it's cycle and was well again. I think this is exactly what is supposed to happen and would certainly explain the earlier question of why no information about this was included in the manual.

From my personal experience, I have seen a number of things that seem to support my theory of the cooling system being out of sync with the oil refresh cycle. Long before ever having problems with the refresh cycle, I was dealing with a problem that's caused frustration for many other owners: trying to figure out why the ICE engages even when there is battery capacity. There's plenty of answers to that question (and some make sense and others just seem like really stupid designs), but that's a completely different subject I don't want to get into so for now I'm going to move on. My point is that I have been watching coolant and oil temps for months now. And what I know from watching those temps is that I rarely see coolant or oil temps above 190 degrees. Now this is just my personal experience and other people are likely see differences and variance here, but it sure seems like something is keep the temps from going above a certain threshold and the obvious answer is the coolant system.

Let me circle back here and try to answer an earlier question: why did Chrysler not include any information about the Oil Refresh cycle in the manual? Again, I think the answer is they didn't think it anyone would need to know about it and here's why. Assuming all the coolant systems were working properly in sync with the refresh mode, then getting the vehicle to clear the exit condition of reaching an oil temp of 205 degrees would be extremely easy and quick. If you turned off or slowed the coolant system, it would take probably 5-10 minutes at most to reach that oil temperature regardless of driving conditions.

With all that explained, we come to the biggest question - what is the solution???

Well, the obvious and best one would be for Chrysler to fix the problem. But there's no telling how long that will take so that solution doesn't help anyone in the short term. The next answer is the manual oil life reset "trick", which many are reporting does in fact work, but that's clearly not an ideal solution.

First solution:
Run the vehicle long enough to get the coolant and oil temp up as high as it will go until it seems to stop increasing. For me this was usually in the ~190 range and unless you are in very cold conditions then this should only take 5-10 minutes with normal driving (or you can do this entirely while parked and idle). Then the next time you park let the vehicle sit idle as long as it takes until the engine oil heats up to 205 degrees.


Second solution:
Try and do what I did (refer to my earlier summary for all the details). Essentially it was this: get the ICE to turn on (which will activate Oil refresh mode), maybe let the car get warmish, park it, turn off climate control, then sit and watch closely to see if the oil temp continues to increase. If stops going up or you don't see the ICE generating energy in the Hybrid screen, then maybe try shifting to a gear selection (Park/Reverse/Neutral/Drive/Low) or maybe try turning off/on climate control. Pretty anything you can think of to see if you can get it to start burning fuel and therefore building up heat but without driving around.


NOTE 1: It may be necessary to let the battery drain to zero before it will actually start warming at idle.
NOTE 2: If it is extremely cold outside, try to find someplace warmer to park, like inside your home garage with the door open for the exhaust. Or maybe a parking garage, heated if you can find one, but at the least somewhere that is shielded from any wind.


Let me explain a few things as to why I proposed these solutions. The reason that sitting stationary is better than driving on the roads or highway to warm up is that you are no longer cooling the radiator while moving and then the coolant system will be less effective. This is especially true when you are in refresh mode because the oil pressure is significantly higher in this mode (50-70 PSI) vs normal operation (~30 PSI). Unfortunately, there is a potential problem with these solutions, which may actually be another "bug" or just another case of conflicting systems with different goals that are out of sync. It's the reason why I specify letting the battery drain to zero may be very helpful. Let me explain:

Quite often I will have the Hybrid info displaying on the Uconnect screen so I can monitor how the system is behaving. Especially since the cold weather started, when the ICE has been running a lot more often even when the battery has plenty of charge. One thing I have noticed is that sometimes when the vehicle is stationary or slowing I can hear the ICE "running" but no energy is being displayed. What's even more puzzling is that when this happens I will also sometimes see that the battery is being drained by the power train even when I'm stopped or parked. I thought maybe this was the Hybrid system trying to warm the batteries (which it will do sometimes), but it happens even when it's not significantly cold outside (40-50 degree range) and when the coolant and oil temp is already up in the 170 range. Now when I first noticed this weird behavior, I suspected it was just a "bug" with the Hybrid info display - basically the ICE was running normally, but the screen was incorrect. I don't think that's possible anymore and here is why: First, it's not just the Hybrid info screen, but also all the energy displays in the instrument cluster that shows no ICE energy being generated. The odds that every screen is wrong seem harder to believe. And the second reason is that I've tried letting the vehicle idle in this mode for 15+ minutes and slowly the battery will continue to drain the entire time, even though I am completely certain that I can hear the ICE "running". So if it's not a display bug, then what is happening? This is just a guess, but I think what is happening is the electric motor is actually turning the ICE crankshaft, essentially "running" the ICE but without actually using any fuel and therefore not generating any heat. However, this begs the obvious question - why would it be doing this? Again, the simple answer could just be it's a "bug" and it shouldn't ever be happening. But given that everything seems to working just fine while it's happening (no check engine light or other warnings) this makes me think that it's an intentionally designed operating state. So what could be a valid reason for having such an operating state? Again, I am just guess here, but suspect there is some other system that depends on the ICE turning that the vehicle is trying to keep running. This is similar to how a modern ICE vehicle operates when you decelerate using engine braking - the crankshaft is turning just like normal, but no fuel is spent. But looking at diagrams of the hybrid system, I haven't been able to find anything specific that would need the ICE to be running. I know the system has no alternator and all the coolant pumps and compressors appear to be driven by electric motors. My guess is that it's trying to keep the Oil pump running. I know on a standard V6 Pentastar motor there is chain-driven variable displacement oil pump with a 1:1 drive ratio (if you want more details, you should check out this page: Pentastar Engines: Overview and Technical Details). So maybe it's just trying to keep the oil pump running so as to keep the ICE "lubricated? Except it doesn't make much sense to run the oil pump unless there is heat to distribute and virtually no heat is being generated if there is no combustion. Currently though, that's the best explanation I can come up with. Maybe other people with more knowledge about this can offer their insight.

Sorry this turned into a novel - this has been driving me crazy for quite a while and it feels so great to finally have some resolution and I wanted to share everything so maybe others can benefit from it. I expect there are a lot of errors and typos, so I'll try to go back through it a few times and clean things up - but I wanted to go ahead and get the information out there so people can start experimenting, testing, and hopefully confirming some of my theories. I'll also update anything as needed once people start providing feedback and hopefully this will result in better/more confirmed solutions.
 

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I don't even own a PacHy, yet I loved this novel! The cold weather and/or short trip wisdom applies to the mere mortal ICE Pacifica drivers here as well: both conditions can be very detrimental to your engine if not intelligently dealt with. #science
 

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You must be a genius or a lunatic. Little of both? This theory, if accurate, makes perfect sense to me (quick skim through at work). As someone who just burned through 3/4 of a tank of gas in 4 days due to the refresh BS, I thank you.

I'm going to read this in depth a little more later on tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Someone on the Facebook group just posted the following information, supposedly from Chrysler engineering:

More info on Fuel and oil refresh mode. There are 3 factors affecting this mode:
First is if the fuel is older than 90 days, adding at least 16 litres will recalculate the fuels freshness to stop this mode.
Second is oil contamination. It calculates its concentration or conditions. If the engine has not run in a given time it will run until oil reaches 70 deg Celsius (158 def F) or 5 minutes minimum. If the engine has been running but has reached its calculated contamination that it has to run for 20 minutes or oil has to reach 80 deg Celsius (176). If it gets contaminated enough it will ask for an oil change.
Third: Spark plug maintenance. The spark plug is calculated to be contaminated, and needs to run the engine to clean the spark plug. Short trips cause this need. It needs highway speed to clean, 20 min and +80 C engine coolant. It can take several trips to complete.
Running the engine for 20 min above coolant temp of 80 C will reduce these refresh modes and one condition may be triggered even after one has been met, but it may exit more than one mode at the same time.
So I have a lot issues with this information from Chrysler...but my first initial reaction to this is WTF was Chrysler thinking???

Regarding the first factor, which is actually about Fuel refresh mode, specifically the part you must add at least 16 litres of fuel to force it to recalculate the fuel freshness. That's kind of an important detail!!! How could you not include that in the manual in the first place??? This really re-enforces the point that combining Fuel Refresh and Oil Refresh into the same message was a really really stupid design choice...

Regarding the second factor: "if the engine has not run in a given time"...would really help to know what that time is...

Ugh, what bunch of crazy overlapping requirements - how on earth did they expect this would turn out okay? I'm still not convinced this all correct - I did so many things trying to clear this message and I am nearly certain I met all these requirements a while ago. You can't put all the conditions in for the vehicle to behave normally without giving the user more information. Like a countdown timer or progress meter, so people know how close they are to meeting the condition. During certain times of the year when I'm not going on any extended trips, I could easily go a month or more with meeting some of these conditions.

Oh, and here's another thing that really drives me crazy about this answer. All these conditions would be met a whole lot faster if they had told people to stop recharging their vehicle for a while. This would force 100% ICE operation all the time and would warm up the vehicle even quicker. Just that little suggestion would have made a huge difference. Also, there's no reason you should ever have to take this vehicle on the highway unless you want to do that. They could just program the Hybrid system to run faster and save the energy for later - problem solved! And what about the weird bug where the vehicle will sit "idling" the ICE using the electric motor? What is up with that?

My main takeaway from all of this if it's all true...what on earth were they thinking??? They clearly made some absurd assumptions about how the majority of people drive. Which seems crazy because the entire premise behind the PacHy is that the average driver doesn't need more than 30 miles of range on a daily basis. So why would they put all these crazy requirements on the ICE that don't reflect that usage at all? Sure, I get that this may be important for the ICE health, but there are plenty of other ways to acheive these requirments especially with a flexible Hybrid system. And the biggest problem I have with this, if you're going to require people to do something that isn't part of their normal usage then you must AT LEAST TELL THEM WHAT IT IS THEY MUST DO!

As someone else pointed out, there are plenty of other plug-in Hybrid's out there that don't have this problem. Even the Chevy volt, only refreshes fuel every 9-12 months, and engine maintenance can be done entirely while your vehicle is parked in about 5-10 minutes.

Anyway, I'll continue to update once I've had more time to think about how all the plays into my original theories.
 

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thanks for the work in documenting this, but your observation/solution didn't match my case:
*. the van triggered refresh mode while we were in illinois, it was constantly active whenever the van is on regardless of battery level
*. we drove the van back to texas, that's 1100 miles of highway driving, which would produced results that met what you have described above
*. refresh mode continued to be active constantly for 2 weeks whenever the van is on regardless of battery level
*. local dealer here reset "oil life" indicator without actually changed the oil, refresh mode hasn't been seen since, for 3 weeks now.

it appears the refresh mode issue can't be easily generalized, imo based on my own experience. thanks again for writing your detailed observation.
 

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Man, my hat is off to you for the post of the century. You're probably on to something with the observation that allowing the engine to reach extreme high temperatures would clear the refresh mode. Not a very pretty workaround, I'd probably would go with the oil life reset method.
There is no mystery in the refresh mode. Fuel gets stale, oil becomes contaminated with a moisture and it flows down leaving some parts exposed. Once the ICE has been off for 90 days, the refresh mode is used to burn the excess fuel, evaporate the moisture and lubricate the engine. The same cycle hits both targets. There are no separate refreshes for fuel and oil.
We know that the refresh bug is related to a colder weather. This winter will be over soon, and there is a good chance that they will have a fix available before the next one.
I think what is happening is the electric motor is actually turning the ICE crankshaft, essentially "running" the ICE but without actually using any fuel and therefore not generating any heat.
That would be too much even for Chrysler. ICE at idle generates nothing, and the traction battery is drained to service all other electric needs of the van.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks for the work in documenting this, but your observation/solution didn't match my case:
*. the van triggered refresh mode while we were in illinois, it was constantly active whenever the van is on regardless of battery level
*. we drove the van back to texas, that's 1100 miles of highway driving, which would produced results that met what you have described above
*. refresh mode continued to be active constantly for 2 weeks whenever the van is on regardless of battery level
*. local dealer here reset "oil life" indicator without actually changed the oil, refresh mode hasn't been seen since, for 3 weeks now.

it appears the refresh mode issue can't be easily generalized, imo based on my own experience. thanks again for writing your detailed observation.
It's because of this very kind of example that I have trouble believing the explanation from the Chrysler engineer team. There is no way you didn't easy easily met every condition they mentioned and yet it never cleared.

Do you by any chance know high your Oil Temperature got? My explanation is that the temp never gets warm enough to clear the mode.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Man, my hat is off to you for the post of the century. You're probably on to something with the observation that allowing the engine to reach extreme high temperatures would clear the refresh mode. Not a very pretty workaround, I'd probably would go with the oil life reset method.
There is no mystery in the refresh mode. Fuel gets stale, oil becomes contaminated with a moisture and it flows down leaving some parts exposed. Once the ICE has been off for 90 days, the refresh mode is used to burn the excess fuel, evaporate the moisture and lubricate the engine. The same cycle hits both targets. There are no separate refreshes for fuel and oil.
The cycle may be the same, but the target is different. If you run the ICE using just short trips you will never generate enough heat to evaporate the moisture and oil refresh mode will never clear (even the Chrysler engineer's confirmed this criteria must be met). Clearing the fuel refresh mode requires that you refill with at least 16 liters of fuel to force it to recalculate. Those exit conditions are completely different.
 

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It's because of this very kind of example that I have trouble believing the explanation from the Chrysler engineer team. There is no way you didn't easy easily met every condition they mentioned and yet it never cleared.

Do you by any chance know high your Oil Temperature got? My explanation is that the temp never gets warm enough to clear the mode.
i didn't monitor the oil temperature ever, but we had quite a bit of highway driving at speed in the vicinity of 80 mph from time to time - that should have reached temperature you mentioned earlier.

i won't have called this refresh mode a bug if it come and goes.. but in my case, refresh mode was sticky until "oil life" indicator reset is clearly a no-no..
 

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The cycle may be the same, but the target is different. If you run the ICE using just short trips you will never generate enough heat to evaporate the moisture and oil refresh mode will never clear (even the Chrysler engineer's confirmed this criteria must be met). Clearing the fuel refresh mode requires that you refill with at least 16 liters of fuel to force it to recalculate. Those exit conditions are completely different.
i hear what you are saying about the exit condition - in logical sense.. but 1100 miles of highway driving (in ~15 hours) still no exit condition out of refresh mode?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i hear what you are saying about the exit condition - in logical sense.. but 1100 miles of highway driving (in ~15 hours) still no exit condition out of refresh mode?
My entire premise is that the coolant system is preventing the Oil Temp from ever reaching the exit condition - which sounds exactly what you are describing. It may sound absurd to think the vehicle is actually fighting against itself, but that was my experience and again it sounds a lot like your experience too. Also in my experience, highway driving actually made things worse because the radiator had even more airflow which kept everything nice and cool.
 

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My entire premise is that the coolant system is preventing the Oil Temp from ever reaching the exit condition - which sounds exactly what you are describing. It may sound absurd to think the vehicle is actually fighting against itself, but that was my experience and again it sounds a lot like your experience too. Also in my experience, highway driving actually made things worse because the radiator had even more airflow which kept everything nice and cool.
yes, i got that part, i didn't mean to dispute your finding, i am not totally ruling it out. my point was more like in ~15 hours of highway driving one should have hit that oil temperature condition, ie: you are at 80mph, acc slowed it down to 55mph, then acc aggressively push it back to 80mph, i'd think/guess that should have spike the oil temperature.
i agree steady highway speed supports your point.
 

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thanks for the work in documenting this, but your observation/solution didn't match my case:
*. the van triggered refresh mode while we were in illinois, it was constantly active whenever the van is on regardless of battery level
*. we drove the van back to texas, that's 1100 miles of highway driving, which would produced results that met what you have described above
*. refresh mode continued to be active constantly for 2 weeks whenever the van is on regardless of battery level
*. local dealer here reset "oil life" indicator without actually changed the oil, refresh mode hasn't been seen since, for 3 weeks now.

it appears the refresh mode issue can't be easily generalized, imo based on my own experience. thanks again for writing your detailed observation.
It's because of this very kind of example that I have trouble believing the explanation from the Chrysler engineer team. There is no way you didn't easy easily met every condition they mentioned and yet it never cleared.

Do you by any chance know high your Oil Temperature got? My explanation is that the temp never gets warm enough to clear the mode.
My entire premise is that the coolant system is preventing the Oil Temp from ever reaching the exit condition - which sounds exactly what you are describing. It may sound absurd to think the vehicle is actually fighting against itself, but that was my experience and again it sounds a lot like your experience too. Also in my experience, highway driving actually made things worse because the radiator had even more airflow which kept everything nice and cool.
yes, i got that part, i didn't mean to dispute your finding, i am not totally ruling it out. my point was more like in ~15 hours of highway driving one should have hit that oil temperature condition, ie: you are at 80mph, acc slowed it down to 55mph, then acc aggressively push it back to 80mph, i'd think/guess that should have spike the oil temperature.
i agree steady highway speed supports your point.
Well, the oil cooler will be working more effectively when driving at highway speeds and the faster you go the better it works (on any car) because theres more air passing over the cooling systems and the fliuds are moving more quickly

. Infact, The hardest job a cooling system has is stop and go traffic on a summer day. If your not moving it has to pull the air it needs with a fan which offers very limited airflow compared to forward motion.

The fastest way to heat an engine quickly is parked and run at steady rpm (around 3000rpm which we usually cant control) but if refresh runs parked your probably on to something.

And if this is true they can easily update this setpoint without sacrificing the principle.

Always wondered how long a post could be!
 

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This probably contributes nothing but I'm in warm climate Hawaii and while I haven't once received the refresh notice in the 600+ miles I've driven my PacHy... the engine has started even with significant charge in the traction battery. I of course would get no notification whatsoever... it just starts up and runs for several minutes for absolutely no reason and then shuts off. It's happened 3 or 4 times (that I know of) in 80 degree weather in very slow stop and go traffic.
 

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This probably contributes nothing but I'm in warm climate Hawaii and while I haven't once received the refresh notice in the 600+ miles I've driven my PacHy... the engine has started even with significant charge in the traction battery. I of course would get no notification whatsoever... it just starts up and runs for several minutes for absolutely no reason and then shuts off. It's happened 3 or 4 times (that I know of) in 80 degree weather in very slow stop and go traffic.
Same situation here in San Diego. Like most (all?) warm weather residents, I haven't ever seen the refresh notice. But I have encountered that situation in the middle of a rather dull drive, the van will pop on the gas engine for a minute or two, for no apparent reason. Might just be to lubricate the engine because it's definitely not on long enough to heat up the oil or anything like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Always wondered how long a post could be!
In case you were wondering there's apparently a 30,000 character limit...my original post was around 28,500 chars and then I ran into the limit when I tried to add the info from Chrysler...
 

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This probably contributes nothing but I'm in warm climate Hawaii and while I haven't once received the refresh notice in the 600+ miles I've driven my PacHy... the engine has started even with significant charge in the traction battery. I of course would get no notification whatsoever... it just starts up and runs for several minutes for absolutely no reason and then shuts off. It's happened 3 or 4 times (that I know of) in 80 degree weather in very slow stop and go traffic.
Same situation here in San Diego. Like most (all?) warm weather residents, I haven't ever seen the refresh notice. But I have encountered that situation in the middle of a rather dull drive, the van will pop on the gas engine for a minute or two, for no apparent reason. Might just be to lubricate the engine because it's definitely not on long enough to heat up the oil or anything like that.
It's weird you're not getting a message, but those examples do match up with one of the conditioned specified by Chrysler engineering:

Second is oil contamination. It calculates its concentration or conditions. If the engine has not run in a given time it will run until oil reaches 70 deg Celsius (158 def F) or 5 minutes minimum. If the engine has been running but has reached its calculated contamination that it has to run for 20 minutes or oil has to reach 80 deg Celsius (176). If it gets contaminated enough it will ask for an oil change.
Maybe it doesn't show any message during those initial 5 minutes while it's calculating?
 

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It's weird you're not getting a message, but those examples do match up with one of the conditioned specified by Chrysler engineering:



Maybe it doesn't show any message during those initial 5 minutes while it's calculating?
My engine would definitely not run for a minimum of 5 minutes. I would say it runs for about 2-3 mins tops and shuts off.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
My engine would definitely not run for a minimum of 5 minutes. I would say it runs for about 2-3 mins tops and shuts off.
But of course...that would just be too easy if your experience made sense with Chrysler's explanation...

Seems you found some other condition that activates the ICE. Maybe it is just lubrication like you suggested, but it's annoying that we have to guess.

They really should have better information available about what the vehicle is doing at any given time. Or at the very least more detailed documentation in the owner's manual (or maybe just providing a separate detailed technical manual). Even better would be some kind of event log that can be downloaded. That would make diagnosing easier for everyone including the owners, dealers, and the Chrysler engineering team.
 
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