Replace Head Gaskets vs Engine Assembly

Timothy Owner/Technician Georgia Posted   Latest   Edited  
Resolved
Drivetrain
2012 Dodge Journey Crew 3.6L (G ERB) 6-spd (62TE) — 3C4PDCDG9CT226783
Head Gasket Leakage
Engin Overheating

This Dodge Journey came in initially for an overheating condition. Could not duplicate the 240 overheating condition that customer stated happens. Did notice it get up to around 220*F while driving. Customer had replace radiator, water pump, and thermostat with aftermarket parts.

Tested thermostat and found it barely opening. Replaced with OEM and temperatures were normal during test driving.

Car returned in a few days with customer stating temperature will consistently get up to 240* while driving. Verified ourselves by test driving for a few minutes.

Combustion leak detect fluid changed color when testing at coolant reservoir. Removed intake manifold and spark plugs and pressurized each cylinder. Found two of the cylinders on left bank caused coolant level to increase. Pressurized cooling system and watched coolant trickle into cylinder at head gasket with borescope.

My question is … Is it a safe idea to recommend head gasket replacement on both heads if block and heads are not warped beyond spec? 

I don't have any information on whether the engine ever got hotter than 240*F. Customer seems careful about watching temperature.

Would it be better to simply replace the engine? Have others had good success with replacing head gaskets on these engines? I

I am aware of the magnetic tone wheels on the camshafts on these engines … so will keep that in mind if we do headgaskets.

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Kevin Technician
Alberta
Kevin
 

Always weight both case, I got few shop I deal with that decide yo save the engine only to have to face a cracked block as another failure after HG/head repair. Make the customer makes the call.

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Timothy Owner/Technician
Georgia
Timothy
 

I agree with you. This engine does run very nicely.

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Timothy, I will say this, the prettiest girl at the party is not the safest. I've known some some real trouble over the years.

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Rolando Diagnostician
Texas
Rolando
 

95% of the time it is more cost effective to put in an engine, used or new. Less chance of error, less labor involved for customer, and job gets done quicker. Unless an engine is rare(currently working on 1957 Mercedes 190), customer has some attachement to the car staying original, and/or you literally cannot find an engine, I would just swap the engine.

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Timothy Owner/Technician
Georgia
Timothy
 

Engine is unavailable from dealer. Jasper would be the option for replacement.

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Mike Educator
North Carolina
Mike
 

I am not against putting the decision on the customer, but keep in mind that no matter the decision, you are going to be married t the vehicle. I would also keep in mind that the coolant temp sensor does a great job at reading fluid temp and a horrible job of reading vapor temp. This engine may have gotten hotter than the owner thinks. Sorry that I can't provide a more solid answer.

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Sean Owner
Arizona
Sean
 

Depends on the mileage. If it has over 120k, I would suggest replacement.

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David Owner/Technician
Pennsylvania
David
 

I always price both options of replacing head gaskets or replacing the complete engine and give the customer the pros and cons of both options. If customer is well informed of his options then customer makes the choice that is best for him.

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Joel Diagnostician
Massachusetts
Joel
 

I would advise an engine for the following reasons. It has been overheated and driven and overheated and driven several times. You will never know how much engine damage you are dealing with on the long term. Will it start consuming oil because the rings are now compromised? Is the engine block still good? You will married to the job and customer once you touch it.

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Thomas Owner/Technician
Michigan
Thomas
 

Left head failures are common. Left head is cheaper and more available than right head. Not a bad job to repair. I've done several.

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Ken Diagnostician
Texas
Ken
 

flat out, this is a high risk repair, if you repair anything that has been overheated, and you will be liable if anything goes south, YOUR WARNED, your call, if you get bit by any high risk repair you will change from that point forward, you are supposta be the expert, that's what standard the courts will hold you to. what does the manufacturer state about overheated engines? or jasper?

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Timothy, I have had very good results with Jasper engines on these. They carry an outstanding warranty. Modern engines are just not designed to be rebuilt or have major head work like this done in a shop environment. An operation like Jasper has strict rebuilding standards and a lot of their core engines are actually known good running LKQ engines, so they get minor machining has required…

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Mark Engineer
Colorado
Mark
 

Timothy Others have offered great advice so here’s my 2 cents. Whatever you do the legal system considers you to be the expert (so you’re married to it). We can not say for certain how hot it got. We run low tension rings (lower friction) and engine metal thicknesses are less to save weight. I suspect the engine got hotter than we hope and possibly pistons expanded and scuffed along with loss…

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Geoff Diagnostician
Hawaii
Geoff
 

trouble is… those 3.6 heads are known issues. Add that to any 10 year old engine in this age of “extended service intervals”….so if the rest of the car looks good, I'd put a whole engine.

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Justin Technician
California
Justin
   

There is a strong possibility the left head was replaced under warranty extension in past and left head was replaced without timing cover removal and head bolts are possibly loose . If head was never replaced then it’s probably just a head gasket . The cylinder liner to wet jacket is very slim and the left head works harder/ hotter hince valve guide wear ( my opinions ) . I would pull head and…

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Paul Mechanic
Illinois
Paul
 

In my opinion based on experience, most customers never fully admit the extent of what or how much they may have stressed a component or system. Like if they buffer their explanation, it won't cost as much. I tell them help me help you by telling me everything because regardless, I'm going to find it or figure it out, its just how much time to you want to pay me looking for it? Now, in this…

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David Owner
Georgia
David
   

please disregard

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Timothy Owner/Technician
Georgia
Timothy Update
 

Thanks for all the good replies. Currently working on selling an engine replacement.

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Timothy Owner/Technician
Georgia
Timothy Resolution
 

Customer declined engine replacement and took vehicle with a bad head gasket.

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Kevin Technician
Alberta
Kevin
 

Great news, not your problem anymore

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