The Four Common Dodge 5.2 Magnum Engine Issues. The 5.2 Magnum is a naturally aspirated 5.2L V8 engine developed by Chrysler that was introduced in 1992. From 1992 to 2003, the engine was mostly employed in Dodge vehicles and Jeep Grand Cherokees before being superseded by the Hemi. Because of its 318 cubic inch displacement, the 5.2 Magnum is sometimes known as the 318 Magnum.
The 318 Magnum, on the other hand, is not to be confused with its previous engine, the Chrysler LA 318. The LA 318 was manufactured from 1967 until 1991. The 318 Magnum is an enhanced version of the LA 318 that was given the Magnum moniker by marketing.
The 5.2 Magnum produced 230 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Its bigger brother, the 5.9 Magnum, produced 250hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and was offered as an upgraded engine option to the 5.2 Magnum in various vehicle applications.
The 5.2 and 5.9 engines have both received bad reviews in comparison to the rival 5.4 Triton and 5.3 Vortec engines. While being reliable, the fact that it produces less power and torque while consuming more gasoline hasn’t earned it the finest reputation.
Although having a physically and structurally comparable engine, the 5.2 Magnum is more reliable and has less difficulties than the 5.9 Magnum.
Vehicle Uses for the 5.2 Magnum
The Dodge 5.2L Magnum engine is available in the following Dodge models:
- 1992-2000 Dodge Dakota
- Dodge Ram (model years 1992-2001)
- 1998-2000 Dodge Durango
- Dodge Ramcharger 1992-1993
- Dodge Ram Van (model years 1992-2003)
- Jeep Grand Cherokee 1993-1998
Engine Issues with the Dodge 5.2 Magnum
The following are some of the most prevalent 5.2 Magnum engine issues:
- Plenum Gasket Failure (also called belly pan gasket)
- Failure of the Camshaft Sensor
- Bolts and Gasket for Exhaust Manifold (ticking noise)
- Transmission Issues
In the following sections, we will go over the 5.2 Magnum difficulties in further detail. Nonetheless, a few quick notes are required. These issues aren’t necessarily present in the definition’s true meaning. Rather, here are a few common areas where Dodge 5.2 Magnum engines fail.
Every engine has its share of design problems and issues, and the 5.2L V8 is no different. The 5.2 Magnum engine isn’t the most dependable Dodge engine available, but it’s still a decent engine in general. Anyway, let’s get into the above issues before returning to reliability at the end of the post.
1) Leak in the 5.2 Magnum Plenum Gasket
The most prevalent issue with the 318 Magnum, like its 5.9L big brother, is a failing plenum gasket. The intake manifold on Magnum engines is made of two pieces: a stamped steel plate and a cast aluminum manifold. A plenum gasket, also known as a belly pan gasket, joins the plate and the manifold.
The plenum/belly pan gasket deteriorates and wears out faster than other gaskets. The final consequence is an air leak / vacuum leak, which can cause substantial performance issues as well as other engine difficulties.
When the intake manifold leaks, the engine loses vacuum, or its capacity to pull air into the cylinders. This will have an impact on air-fuel ratios and the engine’s ability to create power. A leaky plenum gasket can eventually lead to excessive oil consumption, spark plug fouling, poor fuel economy, and even clogging of the catalytic converters. While a minor leak may go unnoticed by cautious drivers, it will quickly spread and clog the cats.
When the cats become blocked, you will notice a significant loss of performance and be forced to make costly repairs. Furthermore, clogged exhaust can cause cylinder heads to shatter as hot engine vapors are forced back into the engine, causing overheating.
5.2 Magnum Plenum Leak Signs and Symptoms
The following are some common signs of 5.2 Magnum Plenum leaks:
- faulty spark plugs
- Idling and performance issues
- Inadequate power
- O2 sensor failure
- Over reliance on oil
- Engine pinging noise when accelerating
Alternatives for 318 Magnum Plenum Gasket Repair
The two procedures for identifying whether the plenum gasket is leaking are (1) inspecting the intake manifold for oil and buildup and (2) removing the PCV valve and checking for air pressure or vacuum pressure. It’s critical to detect this issue early on before you have to replace the spark plugs, O2 sensors, and catalytic converters.
Because this is such a widespread issue with Magnum engines, dozens of aftermarket repair kits are available. While the OEM gasket was comprised of rubber, Chrysler also tested metal gaskets which didn’t address the problem either. To repair the faults, aftermarket kits such as the Hughes 5.2 Magnum Plenum Repair Kit use a thicker aluminum plate, high strength fasteners, new bolts, and a new gasket.
We do not advocate simply replacing the Factory gasket because this problem will almost certainly reoccur. The sole alternative to the reasonably priced aftermarket kits is to replace the entire intake manifold with a performance manifold that eliminates the two-piece arrangement. If you want to add extra power to your 5.2, a performance manifold is also a good option, but it is more expensive.
2) Failure of the Camshaft Position Sensor
The camshaft position sensor, as the name implies, measures the position and speed of the camshaft. These readings are supplied to the ECU to assist it in determining how much fuel to send into the combustion chamber. It also aids in the management of ignition timing and guarantees that the correct amount of fuel is ignited at the correct moment.
The cam position sensor, like all sensors, is prone to becoming clogged or failing. Dirt, dust, filth, and other debris accumulate on the sensor over time, causing it to malfunction or fail completely. When a cam sensor malfunctions, it transmits inaccurate data to the ECU, which causes the engine to get improper fuel amounts. Timing and air-to-fuel ratios eventually become out of whack, resulting in visible performance difficulties.
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5.2 Magnum Camshaft Position Sensor Failure Symptoms
The following are symptoms of 5.2 Magnum Cam position sensor issues:
- Engine light on
- P1391 and P0340 are two commonly used codes.
- No or hard start of the engine
- Inadequate performance
- Idling in a rough manner
- Misfires in the cylinders
Alternatives for Cam Sensor Replacement
You can try cleaning your sensor to see if that solves the problem without replacing it. Nevertheless, a new sensor is only about $30, so I normally advocate just replacing it and having the peace of mind that it won’t be a problem again for a while.
3) Exhaust Manifold Bolts Broken – 5.2 Magnum
The exhaust manifold connects the cylinders and exhaust pipes. It captures used engine air and expel it into the atmosphere through the exhaust. Many 5.2 Magnum owners have experienced a ticking noise originating from the engine bay. While most people assume the sound is from the lifter, it is actually from the exhaust manifold.
The fasteners that secure the exhaust manifold to the cylinder are prone to failing, resulting in an air leak and the accompanying ticking noise. An exhaust leak is bad for the environment because it allows engine gases to escape without being burnt in the catalytic converter. Aside from that, it can reduce performance and cause other engine issues.
Fortunately, repairing the broken bolts is as simple as replacing the broken bolts. Nonetheless, we strongly advise replacing the gasket at this point as it has most likely degraded due to exposure to open air.
Symptoms of 318 Magnum Exhaust Manifold Leak
The following signs may point to an exhaust manifold leak:
- Engine bay ticking noise
- Exhaust note that is louder or a raspy exhaust sound
- Reduced fuel economy
- Weak acceleration and performance
- The engine bay has a gas or burning odor.
4) Transmission Flaws in the 46RE and 46RH
The 5.2, like the 5.9 Magnum, is equipped with the 46RE and 46RH gearboxes. Vehicles built before 1996 have the 46RH transmission, whereas those built after 1996 have the 46RE. Regardless of the transmission your 5.2 Magnum has, the outlook is not promising.
Torque converters and transmission cooling lines typically go faulty on these gearboxes. With 4WD cars, the overdrive and reverse assemblies are known to fail, and the gearing ratios are not ideal. These transmissions are not designed to withstand towing or increased horsepower.
Especially for people with a lead foot or who do a lot of towing, these transmissions frequently start exhibiting problems around the 100,000 mile mark. While these transmissions can be impenetrable, they do necessitate significant internal improvements in order to be called trustworthy. Given the age of these trucks today, any transmission that hasn’t been replaced or updated will most certainly need to be in the near future. We’ve heard of these trannys surviving more than 200,000 miles without a rebuild, but I’d say that’s unusual.
Keeping up with transmission fluid changes will assist, but it won’t be enough to rescue the 46RE or 46RH.
Signs of Transmission Failure
Transmissions do not fail in an instant. They deteriorate over time. Considering this, you usually get a lot of warning when the transmission is about to fail. Here are some of the most prevalent symptoms of a failed transmission:
- Shifting gears
- Shifting is difficult.
- Noises or trouble transitioning from park to drive
- When tranny shifts, it may cause grinding or shaking.
- Transmission fluid leaks
5.2 Magnum Dependability
The 5.2 Magnum engine found in Dodge vehicles and Jeeps is a very reliable engine. It does not experience cylinder head cracks to the same extent as the 5.9 Magnum. Also, the internals and primary engine components appear to be rather sturdy and sufficient for reasonable longevity at stock power levels.
Having saying that, there are a few flaws in the 5.2. The plenum gasket is almost always a problem, and the transmissions are weak. Apart from these two issues, the 5.2 Magnum doesn’t have any Achilles’ heels. Damaged exhaust manifold nuts and defective sensors aren’t material issues, and there aren’t many more typical and pricey difficulties.
It’s worth mentioning that these trucks and Jeeps are now well over 20 years old. Age is undoubtedly an influence in engine reliability, and older engines will necessitate more maintenance and overall repairs. The 5.2 Magnum can travel 300,000 miles and beyond, but prepare to replace a number of parts before reaching this milestone. You will almost probably require a transmission rebuild. You’ve undoubtedly gone through a water pump or two, had to replace hoses, the timing chain, various suspension components, and so on.
The 5.2 Magnum is more reliable than the 5.9 Magnum, but it still needs some Maintenance to get into high mileage area.