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My 03 Dodge Ram 1500 (4.7 liter) suffered a loosened water…

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My 03 Dodge Ram...

My 03 Dodge Ram 1500 (4.7 liter) suffered a loosened water pump, which threw off the belt. My son in law heard this while driving, and immediately pulled off. But engine is a complete loss due to overheating. Engine contained no coolant when brought to the shop, and half of the cylinders now have no compression. How could this level of damage have happened in the 10 seconds it took for him to pull off the road?

Mechanic's Assistant: Has the vehicle ever overheated? And when was it last serviced?

It overheated 3 times since 2003; Sept. 2007 (replaced water pump and belt); July 2008 (replaced fan clutch); April 2013 (replaced thermostat; flushed and refilled coolant). In each case I noticed the temp gauge creeping past midpoint, and took it in for service. Last service was 4000 miles before meltdown.

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your Ram 1500 yourself? What have you tried so far?

Three auto repair companies here have examined the engine; said it is a total loss; and gave me a quote for replacing the engine ($5000-$7000). I'm just wondering how this level of damage could have occurred in lesss than 10 seconds without any warning signs (temp gauge high, check engine light, oil pressure low, engine making odd noises, loss of power, engine hot and ticking when stopped).

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

Naw. This is probably not the first Ram overheating story he has heard. But the end result is pretty unusual.

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Dodge
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Answered in 1 minute by:
9/19/2017
Dodge Mechanic: Dan, Technician replied 10 months ago
Dan
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Dodge Mechanic: Dan, Technician replied 10 months ago

Running a engine with no coolant or no oil are the worst possible things you can do. For coolant temp sensor to work it needs coolant to read the temperature, with no coolant it won't indicate vehicle is overheating. There should have been a low coolant warning light on which would have been the immediate sign to stop driving. When engine overheats it can cause friction between cylinders and cylinder walls which will score the wall causing the loss of compression, it can also cause the bearings to fail. 10 seconds wouldn't cause the problem, I'm 100% sure it was driven longer then 10 seconds with no coolant. Just because he waited until belt came off doens't mean there was coolant in system. But 30 seconds or much longer would be plenty time for damage to happen. For pump to be loose that means bearings are shot which probably caused coolant to leak out 15 minutes before the belt came off. I agree that engine is shot, you can probably get a used engine and have it installed for around $2500. Let me know if you have more questions or if there is anything else I can do to help. Thanks.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Where is the "low coolant warning light" on a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500? I've never seen it come on
Dodge Mechanic: Dan, Technician replied 10 months ago

It is a red indicator I believe a box with some squiggily lines. If you look in owners manual it will tell you where the indicator is what what it looks like. It should come on for a few seconds when first starting car as a bulb check, it is possible the bulb was burned out. Let me know if you have questions, thanks.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I will check it out. I Googled "Dodge Ram" and "low coolant light", but so far have only seen hits on more recent models (2008 and younger).
Dodge Mechanic: Dan, Technician replied 10 months ago

I'll try to see if I can look up info in manual. Give me a few minutes

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Dodge Mechanic: Dan, Technician replied 10 months ago

It looks like there wasn't a coolant level switch on this year vehicle so that would take some fault off the son-in law as he wasn't aware the pump was leaking out coolant before engine blew. Let me know if you have more questions, thanks.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
He probably wasn't watching the gauges very closely, since he is more used to new cars. But I'm 67 years old and always watch the gauges, which is how I caught the three previous overheating problems. Early enough that only the malfunctioning part had to be replaced. Not the whole engine. He is 24.
Dodge Mechanic: Dan, Technician replied 10 months ago

If he would have been watching and paying attention to gauges he probably would have noticed that the temp gauge would have been sitting on cold when it shouldn't have been which would have indicated no coolant but hard to blame him for not catching that. Really poor design of dodge not to put a low coolant level indicator in vehicle. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help, thanks.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Thanks for your time.
Dodge Mechanic: Dan, Technician replied 10 months ago

No problem, I'm happy to help. Thanks again and have a good day.

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