The Top 4 Dodge 3.7L V6 PowerTech Engine Issues. Chrysler designed and manufactured the 3.7 PowerTech from 2002 to 2012. The engine was the standard engine for Dodge Ram trucks as well as a variety of other Dodge and Jeep mid-size cars. The engine, which produced 210hp and 235 lb-ft of torque, lacked power and fuel economy, prompting its replacement.
The 3.7L PowerTech received an upgrade in 2005, boosting the compression ratio, changing the combustion chambers, and reworking the cam, piston rings, and cylinder head coverings. In 2007, an electronic throttle body and exhaust gas recirculation were installed.
Chrysler introduced the 4.7L V8 PowerTech engine in 1999, which became the standard V8 engine option for Dodge vehicles and Jeeps. The 3.7L V6 PowerTech engine is nearly identical to its V8 bigger brother, save for two cylinders.
The new Chrysler Pentastar V6 engine began replacing the 3.7 PowerTech engine in 2011, and eventually completely replaced it by the end of 2012. In comparison to the 3.7, the Pentastar was a more modern engine with higher power and fuel economy.
Vehicles Powered by the 3.7L PowerTech
Despite legally being built by Chrysler, the 3.7 PowerTech was never used in a Chrysler vehicle. This engine will be referred to as the Dodge, Chrysler, or Jeep 3.7 PowerTech interchangeably throughout the text.
The 3.7 PowerTech is also known colloquially as the 3.7 Magnum. This is also used interchangeably throughout the post.
Dodge Ram models from 2002 to 2012.
- 2004-2011 Dodge Dakota
- 2004-2009 Dodge Durango
- Dodge Nitro model years 2007-2011
- 2003-2013 Jeep Liberty
- 2003-2013 Jeep Cherokee
- Jeep Grand Cherokee 2005-2010
- Jeep Commander 2006-2010
- Mitsubishi Raider 2006-2010
Common Issues with the Dodge 3.7L PowerTech
- Failure of the Valve Seat
- Lash Adjusters / Stuck Lifters
- Landings of Piston Rings
- The PCV Valve
1. PowerTech Valve Seat Failure (3.7)
Valve seats are located within the engine head and are responsible for fully sealing off both the exhaust and intake valves when they are closed. When one of the valves is closed, the valve head sits on the valve seat.
When a valve seat breaks, it might prevent the valve from fully closing, causing the airtight seal that keeps the cylinder compressed to break. However, the end outcome is a decrease of compression within the cylinder. When a cylinder has low compression, air leaks out as it tries to compress air, therefore rendering the cylinder worthless. This will have substantial performance implications, but it may also cause more engine problems if left alone for an extended period of time.
Excessive engine heat is the most prevalent cause of valve seat failure on Dodge and Jeep 3.7 PowerTechs. Excessive engine heat can deform the metal used to make the seat, causing it to spring out of place.
Symptoms of 3.7 Magnum Valve Seat Failure
- Engine compression loss
- Power decline
- Inadequate acceleration
- Overall poor performance
- Misfires in the cylinders
When a valve seat fails on a V6 Magum, the failure is usually limited to one cylinder. Fortunately, losing compression in one cylinder does not cause the other cylinders to lose it as well; it is limited to the cylinder with the failed seat.
When only one cylinder fails, it can be difficult to notice the problem in the first place. Your engine’s power will be running on 5 cylinders instead of 6, which may not be evident in terms of performance if you never use the throttle.
Misfires will very certainly be the most common sign. If you experience misfires and have replaced your spark plugs and ignition coils, the next step is to do a compression and leak-down test on all of the cylinders.
Replacement 3.6 Magnum Valve Seat
Because the valve seats are pushed directly into the cylinder head, the only replacement option is to rebuild or replace the cylinder head entirely. Whether you replace or rebuild the old head, you’re likely to incur a $1,000+ repair charge. Unless you are a professional machinist, DIYing the repair is unlikely.
One of the finest preventative measures is to keep your engine from overheating. Heat destroys valve seats, so keep an eye on engine temperatures and pull over if they begin to rise over usual levels. Keep your engine coolant fresh and flush/replace the coolant as directed. If your engine has power mods, you can consider adding some cooling adjustments, however I don’t recommend them for standard engines.
2. Stuck Lifters / Lash Adjusters 3.7L Magnum
The 3.7 Magnum has a single overhead cam (SOHC) engine. Because the camshaft in an overhead cam engine is placed in the cylinder head, lifters are not required. The 3.7 Magnum, on the other hand, has hydraulic valve lash adjusters that work similarly to traditional lifters.
Lash adjusters, which are positioned in the head, are in charge of preserving zero clearance between the cam follower and the valve, whereas standard lifters maintain a tiny amount of clearance. If you want to understand more about valve lifters, check out this article.
The lash adjusters of the 3.7L Dodge Magnum engine are prone to becoming caught. This problem is frequently caused by oil difficulties. If you use too heavy oil or go too long without changing the oil, the lash adjuters may fall out of place. When this happens, the valve becomes trapped between opening and closing, causing serious performance concerns as well as other periodic engine problems.
3.7 Magnum Symptoms of Stuck Lash Adjusters
- Lifter ticking engine noise
- Misfires in the cylinders
- Power loss and a lack of acceleration
- Idling in a rough manner
- Replacement Options for Lash Adjusters
If your lash adjuster becomes stuck, the only replacement option is to replace the lash adjuster. When this problem occurs, it is usually isolated to one cylinder, so you may just repair the single cylinder. If you or your mechanic is already there, we recommend replacing the entire set. A single aftermarket lifter will cost between $10 and $25, or you may upgrade to a high performance set, which will cost around $100 each lifter but will be more reliable.
3. Piston Ring Landings
As seen in the illustration above, piston heads feature rings or grooves that seal the piston against the cylinder wall. These rings, which are also known as ring lands, form an airtight seal against the cylinder wall.
The ring landings on the 3.7L Magnum or PowerTech have an intrinsic design issue that causes them to generate excessive heat within the engine. Furthermore, the engine has very small oil drain holes, which exacerbates the heat issue. Excessive heat can degrade oil, causing it to clog up and become stuck inside the engine. This is the primary cause of the lash adjusters becoming stuck, as stated in the preceding engine problem.
Excessive heat can have a variety of performance consequences as well as catastrophic internal engine damage. It can also cause a variety of other engine support systems to fail.
Implications of Dodge and Jeep Excess Heat
The following are some of the issues that might arise when an engine is subjected to excessive heat for an extended length of time:
Major metal engine components such as the head, pistons, valves, and so on can warp, resulting in engine failure.
Cooling system components such as hoses, tanks, radiators, and so on can develop leaks and lose coolant, resulting in increased engine heat.
Oil deposits sludge in the engine, causing lash adjusters to become stuck. Oil burns faster, resulting in excessive oil consumption, which can cause internal components to rub against each other due to a lack of lubrication.
I’d want to emphasize that this is not a common issue. The severity of the situation frequently causes it to be exaggerated on the internet. However, it has occurred frequently enough for key companies, such as Powertrain Products, to blame Chrysler for the underlying issues. Throughout the criticisms, Chrysler has stood by their engine.
According to Powertrain Products, this can happen as early as 75,000 miles on the 3.7L PowerTech / Magnum. Alternatively, we’ve seen numerous reports of these engines surviving well past 200,000 miles with no problems.
4. PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) Valve
When an engine burns fuel, waste gases are produced. The majority of these gases are sent through the exhaust system, where they are further burnt before being released into the atmosphere. Some of these gases, however, become trapped and can make their way down into the crankcase, which houses oil at the engine’s bottom.
The PCV valve is attached to the crankcase and is in charge of releasing any excess gases that enter the crankcase. However, these gases can muck up the valve over time, causing it to no longer open or vent the gases out.
When this happens, the gases become trapped in the crankcase, clogging the oil and turning it sludge-like. When this happens, it can cause oil leaks throughout the engine, destroying seals, gaskets, and other components, and leading to leaks through places like the valve cover.
Symptoms of Chrysler 3.7 Magnum PCV Valve Failure
- Idling in a rough manner
- Power loss, poor performance
- Engine sputtering and hesitation
- Inadequate fuel economy
- Leaks of oil (gaskets, seals, valve covers, etc.)
- PCV Valve Replacement Alternatives
Fortunately, replacing the PCV valve is an easy and affordable fix. When replacing the PCV valve, we recommend performing an oil change to drain out any potentially contaminated oil within the engine.
The PCV valve is a $15 item that most individuals with basic engine knowledge can do themselves. Here’s a video of a Ram 1500 PCV valve replacement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-3j0JsHbvs
Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep 3.7L Dependability
Is the Magnum 3.7L dependable? The engine, like its 4.7L sibling, has a bad reputation on the internet. Some major faults, such as valve seats and lash adjusters, can lead to catastrophic engine failure. However, these issues are not as widespread as they may appear.
The most serious issue with the 3.7 is excessive engine heat. Maintaining reliability requires that your engine never overheats or runs hot. Change the oil periodically and clean the coolant according to the specified maintenance schedule, and you should avoid any major problems. Some semi-common stuff we didn’t list are head gaskets, valve cover leaks, and water pump failure. All of these issues are caused by excessive heat, so preventative cooling system maintenance is critical to ensuring reliability.
Some engines will report severe problems as early as 75,000 miles, whereas we have read numerous posts of the 3.7 Magnum surviving well beyond 200,000 miles, and even 300,000 miles. When properly maintained, these engines should last at least 200,000 miles.
If you are concerned about severe issues, you can improve various sections of your cooling system, such as the radiator, to ensure that excess heat does not wreak havoc on your PowerTech.