Engine Sludge - Advice 2012 Grand Cherokee V6 - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
TontoKowalski
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Engine Sludge - Advice 2012 Grand Cherokee V6

Hello WK Jeep Group, I'm a WJ guy trying to help his sister out a bit. She's up in the Philly area with a WK as her daily driver for herself and my 2 nieces.

2012 Grand Cherokee, V6 4WD. I BELIEVE it's the 3.0 L CRD V6 engine...and I don't know the exact mileage. It is her only vehicle, so I'd bet the miles are fairly high. My guess is probably around 100K.

A few weeks ago she noticed a few things. 1, her Jeep wasn't starting every now and again. 2, she had some engine noise going on. And 3, there was a recent recall for something to do with the fuel system, so she brought it to the dealership (makes my spine shiver as I type that).

Long story short...after holding her jeep hostage for over a week and not returning her calls, the dealership told her she needs a new engine and told her it would be $9,000.00

The reason, something called Engine Sludge.

I've had 2 Grand Cherokees now, a ZJ and a WJ and this is the first I'm hearing about Engine Sludge.

Is there any advice out there on if this is a legitimate problem with these Jeeps or not? AND, if it is a legit problem with these jeeps/engines, is a new engine is actually necessary?

Thanks in advance,
JT


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post #2 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 07:15 AM
ColdCase
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The only time I've heard about sludge was Toyota 4 Runners with the 3.4 engine and an officemate that never changed oil, just topped it up. At about 80,000 miles his Lexus engine was not running well.

So if she was changing oil, what caused the sludge (water/coolant in the oil from faulty EGR, leaking head gasket, flooding).

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory;
Current: 2011 Grand Cherokee Overland V8, 2009 Liberty Rocky Mt V6
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post #3 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
TontoKowalski
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Wk

Another quick update...these are photos from the Dealership mechanic...I don't know what I'm looking at here. Does anybody else see anything that's out of the ordinary here?

imagejpeg.jpg

imagejpeg_0.jpg

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post #4 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
TontoKowalski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post
The only time I've heard about sludge was an office mate that never changed oil, just topped it up. At about 80,000 miles his Toyota engine was not running well.

So if she was changing oil, what caused the sludge (water/coolant in the oil from faulty EGR, leaking head gasket, flooding).
I'm hoping to get some insight on that issue to help her out. She's a single mom that surely doesn't have frickin' $9K for a new engine laying around

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post #5 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 09:26 AM
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I'm no engine internals expert, but I don't see sludge at all. Cams look intact, yeah, darkish oil marks, but how many miles/hours on that engine?
The more I look, the less bad it seems to me. To me when I hear about an internal picture showing engine sludge, I think of black pudding like stuff caked everywhere something isn't moving. I have seen that several times.
I would not be shocked if they are trying it out for size seeing if the "customer" will bite. And if not, then they might say "well we could replace xxxxx" for ONLY $3,000 (made that up myself) and suddenly a multiple thousand dollar repair bill actually sounds like a good idea.
I don't know what a 2012 Diesel is worth, but not $9K for sure, that is getting close to the price of the whole car depending on condition/equipment/miles.
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post #6 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 10:00 AM
ColdCase
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Are those are spark plug tubes? If so its a gas V6, 3.6 Pentastar. There are cam and lifter repair photos around here somewhere that show what a typical high mileage V6 looks like. Some don't look much different. If no one jumps in here by the time I get back, I'll take a look.

The 3.6 is also used a lot in the wranglers. You may want to check that forum section. You could also try googling pentastar and sludge to see if anything shows up. Seems like there are reports of sand in cooling passages creating so called sludge. https://tuningpro.co/the-4-most-comm...gine-problems/. https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2...-lawsuit.shtml. https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2...e-damage.shtml. https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2...e-damage.shtml

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory;
Current: 2011 Grand Cherokee Overland V8, 2009 Liberty Rocky Mt V6
Previous: 2000 Grand Cherokee Laredo I6, 1979 CJ7 I6 Quadratrac
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post #7 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post
Are those are spark plug tubes? If so its a gas V6, 3.6 Pentastar. ...
LOL! I didn't even notice that! You can see the V6 Intake in one of the pics as well.
A complete low mile (under 40K) 2012 3.6 is about $3000 or less. Probably with some warranty, and maybe even installed.
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post #8 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
TontoKowalski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WK2Overland4X4 View Post
I'm no engine internals expert, but I don't see sludge at all. Cams look intact, yeah, darkish oil marks, but how many miles/hours on that engine?
The more I look, the less bad it seems to me. To me when I hear about an internal picture showing engine sludge, I think of black pudding like stuff caked everywhere something isn't moving. I have seen that several times.
I would not be shocked if they are trying it out for size seeing if the "customer" will bite. And if not, then they might say "well we could replace xxxxx" for ONLY $3,000 (made that up myself) and suddenly a multiple thousand dollar repair bill actually sounds like a good idea.
I don't know what a 2012 Diesel is worth, but not $9K for sure, that is getting close to the price of the whole car depending on condition/equipment/miles.
it's got 100k miles, and I agree...it simply just doesn't look all sludgy to me at all...
Dude is probably on some sort of commission plan. How do they sleep at night?
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post #9 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post
Are those are spark plug tubes? If so its a gas V6, 3.6 Pentastar. There are cam and lifter repair photos around here somewhere that show what a typical high mileage V6 looks like. Don't look much different. If no one jumps in here by the time I get back, I'll take a look.

The 3.6 is also used a lot in the wranglers. You may want to check that forum section. You could also try googling pentastar and sludge to see if anything shows up. Seems like there are reports of sand in cooling passages creating so called sludge. https://tuningpro.co/the-4-most-comm...gine-problems/. https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2...-lawsuit.shtml. https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2...e-damage.shtml. https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2...e-damage.shtml
Great advice, I'll do that.
Thanks,
JT

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post #10 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Did I mistakenly say diesel at some point? If I did, apologies...it'd definitely a standard regular fuel engine.
NOT a diesel at all! Sorry about that y'all.

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post #11 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TontoKowalski View Post
Did I mistakenly say diesel at some point? If I did, apologies...it'd definitely a standard regular fuel engine.
NOT a diesel at all! Sorry about that y'all.
No biggie. You said 3.0 CRD (Common rail diesel) V6, maybe copy/paste?
I don't know what the heads look like on the diesel, either way, it looks decent enough for me with 100K miles. Maybe something drained out of the pan that made them say that, who knows. But if THEY took those pictures to justify it, I would be skeptical.
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post #12 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WK2Overland4X4 View Post
No biggie. You said 3.0 CRD (Common rail diesel) V6, maybe copy/paste?
I don't know what the heads look like on the diesel, either way, it looks decent enough for me with 100K miles. Maybe something drained out of the pan that made them say that, who knows. But if THEY took those pictures to justify it, I would be skeptical.
That's exactly what happened, I'm a WJ guy...you guys are your new jeeps...sheeze.

Also, I recall she had a problem with her jeep where, somehow, the oil pan developed a rust hole...and her oil drained out. But, she had it fixed. I'd guess that was about a year ago.
It's been running for her ever since.
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post #13 of 37 Old 04-01-2021, 03:16 PM
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Was the engine warning light on, I would expect to see many codes if the engine was shot. If it really is a major engine issue take WK2Overlander's advice and buy a new car. Before you do that get a second opinion from an independent mechanic. If it still runs sell it, trade it in or drive it until it finally dies.
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post #14 of 37 Old 04-03-2021, 12:38 PM
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I forgot about this because it was a long time ago. The early 3.6 V6 Pentastar engines had a design/manufacturing issue that affected the left-hand cylinder head. There was a big recall, do you know if this was performed on your sister's vehicle? The telltale sign is a P302 Cylinder 2, fault code.

They say it only affected 5% of engines but everybody I know with an early Pentastar has experienced this issue.

Chrysler extended the coverage for this issue out to 150k miles so it's definitely worth getting a Jeep dealer to check it out before you spend your own dollars on getting it fixed.

https://www.motortrend.com/news/chry...-6-warranties/
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post #15 of 37 Old 04-03-2021, 05:38 PM
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Going back 45 years or so including multiple WJ V8's I have used this procedure to ensure I never ended up with a sludged-up motor.
Drain the oil and then replace the drain plug. Add 2 quarts of motor oil and then 4+/- quarts of off-road diesel (or regular diesel or kerosene). Run engine 20 min. with the RPM stepped up to 1000 or so. DO NOT REV!!!! Drain the crankcase, change the oil filter and refill with your favorite oil. I have performed this on my vehicles at least 20 times over the years never a problem. I have never had to open up a motor or as much as a valve cover but looking into oil fill holes, etc every motor has been clean.
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