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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good evening

I have a 2018 dodge Durango RT with 74,000 miles on it. Original owner and I drive it like a grandma unfortunately. While driving it today and coming to a stop light, I could tell the radiator fan seemed to be running extremely fast. Check the engine temp through the dash and it was 260 and climbing. At one point I think it hit 280 as I pulled into a parking lot. Popped the hood and radiator coolant was empty and there was none in the overflow. There was, however, a brown chocolatey milky substance in there, which apparently is engine oil. I do not know much about cars but I called a buddy who does and he suspects head gasket. Does this sound about right? Got the vehicle towed to a dealership where my buddy is the service manager to at least get an honest opinion of what’s going on. This truck has been the death of me. Replaced water pump under warranty within the first 10,000 miles and then last month had the AC condenser crack. Now this. I’ve had three Durango’s and this one has caused me nothing but grief for some reason. Just venting. Any thoughts would be appreciated
 

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Yes, that sounds about right. You should be blowing white smoke from your exhaust as well as the coolant burns off. Don't think this is a common issue on the 5.7 either. Sorry for the bad luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, that sounds about right. You should be blowing white smoke from your exhaust as well as the coolant burns off. Don't think this is a common issue on the 5.7 either. Sorry for the bad luck.
Thanks for the reply. I didn't see obvious white smoke, but honestly wasn't looking in the rear view and didn't start the car again once I parked it. They can't look at it until Monday so I patiently wait for what I fear is going to be bad bad news.
 

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A head gasket on an engine that young, is unusual. Did you buy it new, and have you had it serviced regularly? If so, it would not hurt to see if Dodge would cover some of the bill for you. 50/50 is better than paying 100%.

Fingers crossed that your engine is ok. Maybe just need a radiator.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A head gasket on an engine that young, is unusual. Did you buy it new, and have you had it serviced regularly? If so, it would not hurt to see if Dodge would cover some of the bill for you. 50/50 is better than paying 100%.

Fingers crossed that your engine is ok. Maybe just need a radiator.

Don
Yes sir. Bought it brand new. Oil change every 5000. Couldn’t radiator issue explain brownish color film/liquid in the coolant? And yes, if it’s a worse case scenario, I plan on reaching out to dodge for help w this.
 

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Yikes! You can't overheat the engine with aluminum heads...so no disrespect, but at those 5K oil changes you or someone should also be checking the other fluids.
Radiator fluid has a sweet smell...so surprised you didn't notice it...assuming you park it in a garage.

Good Luck with the dealer I hope its just a radiator!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yikes! You can't overheat the engine with aluminum heads...so no disrespect, but at those 5K oil changes you or someone should also be checking the other fluids.
Radiator fluid has a sweet smell...so surprised you didn't notice it...assuming you park it in a garage.

Good Luck with the dealer I hope its just a radiator!
Thanks for the input. I religiously get the oil change done every 5000, the last being about 1000 miles ago. I assume the dealer checks all the fluids like they’re supposed to but maybe that’s a wrong assumption. The car has ran perfectly fine until yesterday. This seems to have happened all of a sudden. There is absolutely no fluid on my garage floor and I have not smelled anything including sweet smell at all. When I parked it in the parking lot after this happened, there was absolutely no fluid below the car as well. May be a few drips. I looked under the car and I could see some of the purple fluid that had been slung back from up front. It’s like it dumped it all of a sudden and all at once between my house and the parking lot I pulled over which is about 2 miles from my home. Make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also, just went down to where my buddy is the service manager at the dealer and picked up a loaner from him. My Durango is there and got towed there last night successfully. He might not get to look at the car today, but definitely by Monday. He did mention something about, an oil cooler I think? Again, I don’t know much about cars but maybe a possible cause and obviously less expensive fix I would imagine. He also said that being just a little bit out of the powertrain warranty if this is a worst-case scenario, he will do his absolute best with Chrysler to get them to help cover the cost. I know I have read on this form something about Chrysler cares and somehow that you get them to cover things that are out of warranty but I can’t remember what that was actually called. He mentioned it but I already forgot what he said.
 

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cpd:
The oem coolant for '18, is purple. Over time, it will migrate to kind of a dirty pink color. Dodge says that coolant is good for 10 years, or 150k. The coolant is going somewhere, of course. Are you seeing a corresponding increase or decrease on the oil level? If not, the brown crap may just be gunk in the cooling system.

Re dealers:
I have learned that they do NOTHING beyond what they are asked to do, and sometimes not then either. They want it wrapped up, back outside, with your money in their pocket as fast as they can get it there.

An out of warranty repair that the dealer or corporate assists with is called a "goodwill" repair.

Don
 
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Also, just went down to where my buddy is the service manager at the dealer and picked up a loaner from him. My Durango is there and got towed there last night successfully. He might not get to look at the car today, but definitely by Monday. He did mention something about, an oil cooler I think? Again, I don’t know much about cars but maybe a possible cause and obviously less expensive fix I would imagine. He also said that being just a little bit out of the powertrain warranty if this is a worst-case scenario, he will do his absolute best with Chrysler to get them to help cover the cost. I know I have read on this form something about Chrysler cares and somehow that you get them to cover things that are out of warranty but I can’t remember what that was actually called. He mentioned it but I already forgot what he said.
Your engine could have been drinking coolant for a few thousands miles or more and that is why you did not see smoke or really smell anything. How can this be? Don't think for a minute any oil changer at a dealership checks all fluids! They really are not mechanics for various reasons such as too new to the field or day workers hired by the dealer (which is the in thing to do in NJ) for basic maintenance, oil changes, tire changes/rotations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I know you guys on here know what you’re talking about. I know the basics on cars but have had four Durango’s and have followed a lot of your guises basic practices on here and love when you call them Stealerships! And I realize these techs, while I can’t speak for all of them broadly, will do the bare minimum, and choose the path of least resistance.

in terms of the oil level, I forgot to check that yesterday when I pulled the dipstick out to see if the oil was really milky or thick. I did not pay attention to the oil level though. Thanks for reiterating the Goodwill repair. I couldn’t recall what it was.

so, if by chance, my engine was drinking coolant, as mentioned, do I have any sort of recourse if I take it to the same dealer for each and every oil change? Is there any “provable negligence” here or accountability. My buddy who is a service manager is at another dealership, not where I take my car for its regular oil changes. His dealership is much further away, and it just doesn’t make sense to do all my oil changes with him. Like I’ve mentioned, my Durango is with him now, so I can at least get an honest opinion, and not get taken to the cleaners by the Stealership that I go to for reg maintenance.
 

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Thanks for the input. I religiously get the oil change done every 5000, the last being about 1000 miles ago. I assume the dealer checks all the fluids like they’re supposed to but maybe that’s a wrong assumption. The car has ran perfectly fine until yesterday. This seems to have happened all of a sudden. There is absolutely no fluid on my garage floor and I have not smelled anything including sweet smell at all. When I parked it in the parking lot after this happened, there was absolutely no fluid below the car as well. May be a few drips. I looked under the car and I could see some of the purple fluid that had been slung back from up front. It’s like it dumped it all of a sudden and all at once between my house and the parking lot I pulled over which is about 2 miles from my home. Make sense?
Yes, you'd think they'd check the fluids...but then again, if a hose or other component let go suddenly..then all bets off. Last I remember only the SRT had the engine oil cooler..not the 5.7L. Seems like you had a very small leak and it just got to a low enough fluid level that it couldn't provide enough cooling...but then again, the dealer should have seen that the radiator reservoir was low....and I'd mention that if you find out it was a slow leak.
Crazy stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, you'd think they'd check the fluids...but then again, if a hose or other component let go suddenly..then all bets off. Last I remember only the SRT had the engine oil cooler..not the 5.7L. Seems like you had a very small leak and it just got to a low enough fluid level that it couldn't provide enough cooling...but then again, the dealer should have seen that the radiator reservoir was low....and I'd mention that if you find out it was a slow leak.
Crazy stuff.
Thanks for the information. I will make sure I bring this up. So is there a chance in your opinion that this is not catastrophic? I forgot to mention earlier when I pulled over in the parking lot, I was still hopeful, I could pour some distilled water in it, and drive it home. I unscrewed the radiator cap (once it cooled down a bit) and poured some in and within 30 seconds or so, It started to drip out from near the front right tire. All of it definitely did not drip out from what I could tell but at that point, I decided it was best to just get it towed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also, for reference in case this is any useful information because I would know. About two months ago I posted on here because my air conditioner was not cooling affectively. Turned out it was a cracked condenser. From what I recall from looking at the schematics, there is a trans cooler or something that is near the condenser and radiator area. Any possible connection? Another question I have is why didnt any cluster panel lights come on when my car was getting very hot?
 

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As to the "idiot light" and/or warning chime, not sure where the activation point is on the Durango 5.7, but I recall when my t-stat failed on my '06 Daytona 5.7 while driving on the highway coming home from work n a 90+ degree day, I did catch the temp gauge shooting up WAY before any alarm/alert went off. At, or above 260 is WAY too hot for any modern engine with aluminum heads. Permanent damage can be done by that point. I caught mine at about 230-240.

I see you mentioned that earlier on you had the water pump replaced under warranty. Did it actually FAIL, or just as a precaution under a recall? If it failed, did you lose coolant and/or overheat at that time? If so, you may have warped the heads just enough to cause a slow leak that over time consumed enough coolant to cause the current fiasco. Hopefully, your dealership will be able to pressure test the cooling system and diagnose any leaks and determine if it is indeed a blown head gasket issue Good luck, and I hope you get good news.
 

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Also, for reference in case this is any useful information because I would know. About two months ago I posted on here because my air conditioner was not cooling affectively. Turned out it was a cracked condenser. From what I recall from looking at the schematics, there is a trans cooler or something that is near the condenser and radiator area. Any possible connection? Another question I have is why didnt any cluster panel lights come on when my car was getting very hot?
The trans cooler is integrated into the condenser on the 5.7L. Common to fail...dealing with that now and will have to replace here soon and decided to replace the radiator as well as preventative measure.
Should get a "check gauges" notice in the center display of the gauge cluster. Though I have no idea what the trigger point is. Maybe yours didn't get hot enough?
 

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Thanks for the information. I will make sure I bring this up. So is there a chance in your opinion that this is not catastrophic? I forgot to mention earlier when I pulled over in the parking lot, I was still hopeful, I could pour some distilled water in it, and drive it home. I unscrewed the radiator cap (once it cooled down a bit) and poured some in and within 30 seconds or so, It started to drip out from near the front right tire. All of it definitely did not drip out from what I could tell but at that point, I decided it was best to just get it towed.
Yes, that sounds like it may just be a cracked radiator. If you caught it soon enough there should be no other damage.
 
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