Automotive Stuff

IronHide – The Manufacturer is Not Always Right.

First, please watch this video below.

I do apologize for the terrible portrait style of recording. I did it in a rush to show it to my mechanic.

Now what do you think that noise was.. It was loud wasn’t it. Sorry for asking so many questions as if you guys can answer them in real time.. LOL. 😛

If you buy something, as a consumer, you would be forgiven if you assume that the people who designed and engineered the thing, should be the ones who know the most about it. They are the gurus, the guides, the keepers of the knowledge. They wrote the book on it.

This is one of those cases when you would basically be weary to listen to the manufacturer. A bit more than 5 years ago, I bought IronHide and I’ve been extremely fastidious in terms of servicing. Even when the warranty ran out, I made sure do download the dealer used service manual and schedule to make sure that I never missed a beat.
I didn’t want to keep going to the main local dealers because I didn’t want to pay the “Dealer Tax”; besides I have perfectly knowledgeable and skilled mechanic in my contacts list.

For the past couple of years I have been following the scheduled maintenance and my mechanic has been following, getting the oils and other parts from the main dealer based on the chassis code of the truck. IronHide is fairly a simple truck. It doesn’t need specialized tools and million dollars of diagnostics to sort out issues. That’s part of its charm and appeal. One of the reasons I bought the truck.

All was going fine until I heard that sound. Didn’t sound good. I took it to the mechanic and he said my lifters and camshaft will need to be changed. Quite a big.. an expensive job. And in these serious Covid times, not something that you want to be spending money on.

One of the lifter bearing and rollers actually broke.

So what happened?!. More importantly, how did this happen? Especially on a vehicle that has done only 130,000 kms

Well as it turns out, according to the manual I am supposed to be using a 5w20 engine oil. Only if said oil is not available, do I use 5w30. Well it turns out, I should have been using just 5w30 all along. The oil specified in my owners manual, service schedule and the dealer’s manual (5w20) is no good for the climate that I am in. For the extreme heat, the oil looses viscosity and fails to lube the parts it should. For the past year or so that my mechanic has been doing the oil changes, he has been going to to the dealer, giving them the chassis code and purchasing MOPAR 5w20. The dealer was willing to sell us the oil to use on my truck, but they would not use it themselves. After meeting an old friend, who works at the main Dodge and Ram dealership, my mechanic got to know that they happily use the MOPAR 5w30 on all the HEMI-engined cars that come to their center. They knew that 5w20 would spoil my engine and yet sold it to me anyway.

One of the reasons that had me suspect the oil, was the fact that my brother drives a 2004 Dodge Durango. His vehicle uses the exact same engine as mine and it has done over 280,000 kms; without a single issue. Another friend who owns another Dodge Durango, has the same experience. So I know that the HEMI engines are strong motors and quite reliable. It turns out that the owner’s manual of the Durango suggests to use only 5w30. So basically I was duped into using the wrong oil by the manufacturer and main dealer.

Well that’s my rant and my story. My advice is that if you are going to be purchasing a vehicle, do follow the manual, but always confirm with people and experts in the know about what you should truly be doing. Sometimes the manufacturers will miss out to specify somethings.. 5w20 is not a bad oil. It is the perfect oil for my engine; just not in the climate where I am. This is the perfect oil for cooler climes.

From this experience, I have also understood, the main dealers will know certain things, but will keep that knowledge to themselves because its proprietary. So go online and use the best information network we have – the internet. I was able to diagnose the issue even before my mechanic did by just consulting people on the forums.
If you are going to buy a car, consult people on the forums. I find it the best way to get first hand, excellent knowledge. It was a person on the forum even led me to a place to buy the perfect oil for my engine; even better than what the dealer sells. Now I’m assured that I can keep IronHide running for as long as I want.

You can be sure that FCA will be hearing from me about this.. I will be filing a formal complaint.. Whether something comes of it; remains to be seen.


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