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Warped Engine Block?!

26001 Views 95 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  PacificaMinivanFan
I have a 4-year-old Pacifica brand new off the lot. Now has about 67,000 miles on it, of course, just past the manufacturer’s power train warranty. At the 4-year old mark almost on the nose, without any previous issues, the check engine light came on & the car was running “rough” while in idle. Garage identified “head gasket issue.” We brought it to the dealer & filed a claim with Chrysler in shock this could happen to a 4-year-old car. Dealer has had it for a month now & diagnosed “warped engine block” and “needs new catalytic converter due to warped engine block causing coolant to leak into engine cylinder.” Has this happened to anyone?? It was a brand new minivan purchased at a an authorized Chrysler dealership. I am told $10,000 worth of parts & labor work, with a month backlog on parts. I am lost and angry!!! Any suggestions??
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This one falls into the "Heartbreak" category. Sorry to say, it appears the engine coolant was allowed to fall below its normal level leaving the engine susceptible to overheating, and it continued to the point where the condition warped the cylinder head.

Many of us on this forum are auto enthusiasts. We check things all the time; tire pressure, tread depth, oil level, brake fluid level and color, coolant level, etc, etc. Along the way we might spot a leak somewhere and attend to it right away.

But there are others, many others, who don't have the time nor the interest in such matters. They may have learned that the oil needs to be changed every 10k miles (or whenever indicated on the dash), but the coolant doesn't need to be changed out for 100k miles, so no worries. After all, this is 2021 and cars are made so much better than they were 20 years ago.

Some dealerships used to offer "Care and Feeding of Your Vehicle" classes to new owners who fell into that second group. I attended one such session even though I thought I knew it all (I didn't; actually learned something!). It was a good way to learn how easy it is to take the few minutes a month it takes to check stuff before things go south.

To OP (spmatus), you could check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website for recalls and complaints related to your issue. I took a cursory glance, but was unable to find any similar complaints registered by other owners to the site (there were 246 engine complaints to comb through).

It is possible that the head gasket failed on its own (it happens) and that's why the coolant leaked to begin with, but at this point it may be impossible to prove. Obviously it would have been better if the low coolant level in the overflow tank was caught early before it caused engine damage.

My best advice would be to try negotiating with the dealer for a "goodwill" price on the repair, but to do so you will somehow (I know it's hard) need to lower your anger and frustration levels. If you love everything else about your Pacifica, let them know. I guess I'm just suggesting that you give them a chance to make the repair with the belief that you will end up as another satisfied customer. Or you could try finding an independent garage that can do a quality job at less cost.

And then, if you aren't already doing so, check the owner's manual to learn how to check your Pacifica and other vehicles each month to spot problems beforehand. Might save a lot of frustration down the road.

Good luck and all the best.
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It appears Chrysler is keeping this under wrap. For now it's still guess work.
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Yes, we need to check our coolant level often.

It used to be that i would check the coolant level while checking the oil, but our two Pacificas hardly use any oil between changes, so now I check the oil level after first checking the coolant.
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Not that I should be saying this to you your going through enough already and you have my sympathies but all this head gasket talk is really making me want to sell mine and be done with it and maybe these threads to on this topic, it's enough to depress you to the point everytime I start my car now I worry about some **** head gasket situation when I shouldn't be thinking about this at all .. I'm wondering what the real percentage is of these failures like 1 in 2-3000?? I'm really liking the Carnival I'll think I'll get that soon as much as I love the Pacifica, this is rediculous!!
This is what I have done already. Not willing to take the risk. My 2018 is at the age, but with less miles, about 43K. So a new Rav4 Hybrid I ordered in September of 2022 was in production last week, and expected delivery the middle of February. And starting about a month ago,I also got the issue with the GPS showing incorrect location. So, although I love the vehicle, it gives a chance to downsize a little and to get excellent MPG, around 40+ MPG, during these times with high gas prices.
Yes, the number of Pacific head gasket failures reported on this forum continues to grow. As of this post it is up to 84.

As concerned as I am, the truth is I'm not yet ready to throw in the towel. For one thing, I have Mopar extended warranties on both vehicles. For another, I'm still not convinced that there is an inherent design flaw in the engine itself. If there were, based on the number of Pentastar 3.6 V-6 engines produced since 2015, wouldn't the number of failures be much, much higher? Instead I continue to wonder if these failures could be due to improper monitoring and maintenance. I am also concerned that the advertised longevity of engine oil, engine coolant and transmission fluid is based on "normal use of the vehicle" without any consideration to those who tow, drive freeways at high speed (80+ mpg), do tons of stop-and-go driving, drive lots of short trips that don't allow the engine to warm up properly, or any other number of uses that would not be considered "normal."

Having said that, I completely sympathize with those who are truly worried that their Pacifica might some day become the victim of engine failure and decide to get rid of it before the failure occurs.

@ChryslerCares, you might want to step this up to upper management. The engine failure issue is scaring the **** out of your customer base.
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You know I have to wonder if the oil might be attributed to or contributing to failures because people might be putting different weight and type oils in other than the 0w-20 full synthetic required with the Ms-6395 spec. Maybe because they forget or just get what's available. I would venture to say most people don't change their own oil and when they bring it into any side shop only God knows what they're really putting in maybe non synthetic or different weight crap oil because it's cheaper for them in bulk without the 6395 spec.. Happens all the time. Only Penzoil and Valvoline have have the 6395 from what I've seen. The '17 and up Pacifica 3.6 ICE has VVT timing and must only get 0w-20 or top end pressure will will suffer. These are extremely refined engines with very tight tolerances and little room for error ... Just food for thought🧐
There are discussions on this board about how necessary, or unnessary, it is to use MS-6395 certified oil. The owner's manual says it is "recommended." Add to your list of MS-6395 compatible oils the Quaker State Ultimate Synthetic brand.

While the owner's manual falls quite short in warning that engine damage could occur if one used the incorrect oil, it is very explicit in its warning of using the incorrect coolant.

My concern is it is possible the people who buy minivans are typically too busy with families and have little time to pay attention to this stuff. Understandable.
Just thought I'd say thanks to everyone before me. What number am I?
You're #109. I fell a little behind and added some this morning that I had missed along the way.

Can you tell us what happened in your case?
Yes, improper heat dissipation is just one of the theories expressed on the board to explain the failures. Others include:
. Over torqued oil filter caps leading to cracked plastic oil coolers leading to loss of engincoolant leading to overheating.
. Non-Mopar approved engine coolant and/or engine oil used.
. Engine manufacturing issues, particularly when casting cyclinder heads and blocks.
. Poor quality spark plugs from engine factory.
. Poor quality head gaskets from engine factory.
. others...

We just don't know yet. Big secret.
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