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bill, dodge master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1632
Experience:  25 years with dodge drivability and electrical expert
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Alright, here goes! I'm not a car person, my husband is, but

Customer Question

Alright, here goes! I'm not a car person, my husband is, but I hope I can describe everything sufficiently. 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, 4.7, 4WD, automatic. LONG STORY SHORT, thermostat closed, lower radiator hose blew off, head gaskets blew, heads warped. $1200 for a rebuild and my husband's step-uncle planed the heads. Rebuild included: head bolts, main bearings (he ordered standard, yes, it was a huge f***ing mistake, I'll get to that), timing set, thrust washer, rod bearings oil pump, lower gasket set, cylinder/head gaskets, piston rings, oil pump screen, MAP sensor, and fuel injector o-rings. I'm just repeating what the order confirmation says, because it's easier than trying to remember everything. Anyways, got all the new parts on and did the break-in drive at like midnight. He drives it to work (20 miles away) the next day and then calls me on his lunch. Says that when he comes to a stop, the oil pressure gauge drops to zero. He figured it was the sensor, so he bought one and replaced it right then and there in the O'Reilly's parking lot. Now mind, the thing sounded/sounds a damn sight better since we bought it, now that it's been rebuilt. Well, that didn't work. Fast forward, he got a job at a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram/Ford dealership. We had discovered the "select fit" main bearings before that happened. Asked THE Dodge guy in the shop, and he deciphered all the numbers on the main bearings that came off, they were original. BBBCB is stamped on the crankshaft wheel. So this guy says to follow that, and we do. Yes, my husband put them in the right places, before you ask. I was there. Also got Plastigage to check tolerances. THEY WERE ALL WITHIN THE RANGE. Got it all put back together (again) tonight. Started up just fine, still sounded damn good. He let it run until it reached operating temp, and the gauge didn't move! Of course, we were excited. Took it for a "test" drive. Drove to the next town over, about 10 minutes. Get to the first stop sign and whaddya know? Pressure gauge drops to zero and dings. I might have cried, I might have swore like a sailor, I might have screamed, I might have a very sore or sprained wrist right now from pounding on dash, ya know.....anyways. My husband is so done with this POS. So am I. And yes, he did the gauge test with the turning the key on and off however many times, all of them work just fine. He'll be asking the guy at work on Monday for advice, but I figured I'd throw our tale of adventure up on here and see what happens. Any and all advice is absolutely welcome and appreciated. Thanks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  bill replied 1 year ago.

has anyone put a mechanical gauge on the engine to see what the oil pressure actually is?

and were the cam bearings changed? this engine is so tight that ANY bearing out of spec will drop oil pressure was the block checked for cracks? when hot a crack can open up and drop oil pressure to near 0

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much for your reply! A mechanical gauge test was suggested, but once we figured out the whole "select fit" main bearings issue, that was assumed to be THE problem, since we put "standard" all-the-same-size bearings on it, so the mechanical gauge testing got put on the back burner. We both went over the heads and block with a fine-tooth comb, so to say, I myself tore apart one of the heads while he was at work one day, and as I was cleaning it, I looked for cracks. Didn't find anything suspicious at all. He did the same with the other head, and both of us went over the block and found nothing. His step-uncle also looked over both heads and didn't find anything. The cam bearings were NOT changed, but there was no apparent wear or tear. Clean and smooth. And from what we've been told, by multiple sources and people, cam bearings have very little effect on oil pressure, but I'm not believing that anymore since I've read your reply. I have never dealt with such a damned picky engine. My 96 Chevy Cheyenne K1500 4.3 Vortec 5-speed 4WD just rolled over a quarter million a few weeks ago, and is still running strong. I told him he just needs to get the bigger version of my truck, but he loves his Dodges! Me, not so much anymore! I'll show him this when he wakes up, and we'll figure out the next step in this nightmare! Again, thank you so much for your help! :)
Expert:  bill replied 1 year ago.

remember the oil pressure gauge is NOT direct wired to the cluster it is a simple sensor that sends a voltage to the PCM which then converts it to a pressure and then to a communication message, that message is sent to the cluster which then moves the correct needle, a mechanical check is the first thing if the oil pressure is at LEAST 20 psi HOT at idle the issue is electrical, and MAYBE just a software update.

all our motors are super picky now and tighter than any engine out there ever notice we don't use much if any oil between oil changes?

they are this tight for economy, durability and emissions, our newest 3.6 engine and many others have select fit upper and lower ROD bearings as well as MAIN bearings and the clearances are way tighter than any older engine we ever produced, imho when we see an overheated engine come in we just sell a reman or after pulling some teeth with the parts department a used one, that's because these engines are so picky and tight they usually cause headaches