Several Dodge and Jeep models come with the 4.7L V8 engine. Before you buy one of these Dodge vehicles, you should know some common Dodge 4.7 engine problems. The Dodge 4.7L V8 engine comes in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Ram 1500, Dodge Dakota, Dodge Durango, the Chrysler Aspen, and the Mitsubishi Raider. This Powertech engine is a smaller V8 engine that serves as a sharp contrast to the larger engine types that Dodge is famous for making and placing in its vehicles. That being said, through the years, the Dodge 4.7L V8 has been known to have a few issues that vehicle owners may want to be aware of before purchasing a used vehicle that contains this engine.

What engine problems do Dodge 4.7 engines have?

The most common engine problems for the Dodge 4.7L V8 include overheating issues caused by a poor cooling system, head gasket problems, failing valve seats, and valve cover gasket leaks. These types of engine problems can be quite expensive to repair.

If you are looking to purchase a used Dodge vehicle that contains the 4.7L V8 engine, you should have a long and honest conversation with the dealer or the private owner of the vehicle before making the purchase. You may want to find out what kind of repairs have already been made on the truck and if there have been any problems with the engine in the past. 

You also may want to have a mechanic look at the engine before making the purchase, having them check the head gasket, valve seats, valve covers, and the cooling system specifically. If there have not been any issues to be concerned about, then keep in mind that somewhere down the road you may have to pay for some repairs yourself. 

Let us take a closer look at the Dodge 4.7L v8 engine, review some of its specifications, identify key differences between the first, second, and third generation 4.7L engine, and discuss in more detail these common problems that come with this engine and how to address them. 

What are some common problems with the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine?

As mentioned before, the most common problems that vehicle owners encounter when they drive a vehicle that contains the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine include cooling system and overheating issues, head gasket problems, failing valve seats, and valve cover gasket leaks. 

All of these problems should be a major concern for any vehicle owner because they can lead to the total destruction of the engine if not taken care of immediately. Additionally, it may be a concern to some vehicle owners because the repairs that are required to address these issues can be quite expensive and time-consuming. These types of repairs can leave you without a vehicle for extended periods of time when they are being taken care of by a professional mechanic. 

Let us take a deep dive into these common engine problems that the Dodge4.7L V8 faces as well as look at some solutions.

Cooling system and overheating issues

The engine cooling system in a vehicle is a complex system that is comprised of many essential parts. These essential parts include the radiator, cooling fan, water pump, thermostat, and many different hoses that bring cooling fluid to the engine to prevent it from overheating. At any given time, any one of these components can fail and need to be replaced.

Hoses and the radiator can develop cracks, the water pump can go out, or the thermostat can stop functioning properly. In any given circumstance, the cooling system can be vulnerable to failure which can result in your engine overheating. If your engine overheats too frequently, or if it overheats really badly, then it could lead to a blown head gasket and/or a cracked engine block. Either one of these outcomes would be devastating and expensive to fix.

Always pay close attention to your vehicle. If you start to notice coolant leaks left behind in your garage or on your driveway, you may have a cracked hose or radiator that is leaking fluid. You will need to replace the affected parts right away to ensure that your coolant is not leaking anymore and that your coolant reservoir is always filled to the proper level.

If your engine starts to overheat, then your coolant levels may be too low from an unaddressed coolant leak, the water pump may be failing, or the thermostat is broken. You will notice if your vehicle is overheating right away because the smoke will begin to bellow out from under the hood of your vehicle. If this happens to you while you are driving, immediately pull over and turn off the engine.

 Continuing to drive your vehicle while it is overheating can lead to a blown head gasket and crack your engine block. If you have roadside assistance, it is best if you contact them for a tow to either your home garage or to a local mechanic to fix the underlying issue immediately. Even if you let your car cool down, you could be risking a lot by driving it again before you have replaced the parts of the cooling system that are failing. 

If you need to replace particular parts of your vehicle’s cooling system, you may be looking at costs reaching a few hundred dollars or more. 

For example, if your radiator or radiator fan needs to be replaced, you could be looking at a repair bill of up to $700 or more, including labor. A new thermostat can be somewhere around $300, and a new radiator hose could cost up to $400 or more. 

You can save quite a bit of money by doing the work yourself, however, you will want to make sure you know what you are doing otherwise it could end up costing you more in the long run if you should happen to break another part while working or if you do the replacement incorrectly. 

Head gasket problems

The head gasket is an engine component that is located between the cylinder heads and the engine block. The head gasket works to seal the internal combustion chamber and to allow engine oil and coolant to travel throughout the engine to keep it cool and properly lubricated. 

At the same time, the head gasket is there to ensure that the motor oil and engine coolant remain separate and in the parts of the engine where they are supposed to be. Additionally, the seal of the head gasket maintains the proper pressure in the combustion chamber to ensure that the spark plug ignition of the air-fuel mixture is pressurized enough to ensure that the pistons continue to fire properly while the engine is running. 

When a head gasket blows, it is never good for the engine. A head gasket typically blows when the vehicle overheats too frequently or for so long that the engine temperature reaches extreme levels. A blown head gasket no longer is able to maintain the seal on the combustion chamber which can significantly reduce engine power. Also, motor oil and engine coolant can reach areas they should not as well as mix together which can be problematic. 

How do you know you have a blown head gasket?

Some of the most common symptoms of a blown head gasket are constant overheating, smoke rising from the engine, a loss of power, and discolored oil. 

  • Constant overheating: When the head gasket is blown, hydrocarbons can easily enter the cooling system and cause the engine to constantly overheat. Additionally, a blown head gasket may leak coolant fluid and cause the engine to overheat due to not enough coolant being in the engine.
  • Smoke rising from the engine: When the head gasket is blown, it is not uncommon to start to notice white, blue, or gray smoke rising from the engine. This smoke is an indication that coolant or oil has entered the combustion chamber and is being burnt.
  • Loss of power: A blown head gasket can no longer maintain the pressure needed inside of the combustion chamber needed to give your vehicle its acceleration power. When the pressure escapes the combustion chamber through a blown head gasket, there may be a lot of sputtering, reduced fuel efficiency, and a noticeable loss of overall engine power. 
  • Discolored oil: If your motor oil changes to an abnormal color, it could be a sign that coolant is mixing with the oil. Many vehicle owners who have experienced a blown head gasket have reported that the oil may turn to a color that resembles chocolate milk. 

If you suspect that you have a blown head gasket, it is vital that you get the issue addressed right away and that you do not operate your vehicle until it has been fixed. You may have to spring for a tow to your local mechanic if you do not have roadside assistance. 

Replacing a blown head gasket is not a job that you will want to do at home unless you have many years of mechanical experience. The process to replace a head gasket most often requires that the entire engine be taken apart and then put back together again. This is why although a new head gasket may only cost a few hundred dollars, the labor associated with the replacement process can cost up to $1,500 or more. Additionally, depending on how busy the mechanic is, your vehicle may need to stay in the shop for several days while the replacement is being completed. Head gasket replacements can take upwards of 10 hours or more of labor. 

Failing valve seats

An engine valve has the job of letting the air-fuel mix go in and out of an engine cylinder. The valve seat then is responsible for sealing the engine valves when they are closed. If the valve seat goes bad, then the engine valve will not seal shut and the combustion chamber will lose pressure. A loss of pressure can cause the engine to sputter and/or demonstrate a considerable loss of power as well as greatly reduce the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

The main cause of failing valve seats is overheating. This is why every responsible vehicle owner needs to pay close attention to the vehicle’s cooling system and replace or repair any portion of that cooling system that may fail or need to be replaced. 

When a valve seat or multiple valve seats have failed, they need to be replaced immediately. It can cost up to $1,000 to replace a single valve seat. The reason for the expensive nature of the replacement can be blamed on the fact that you will need a brand new cylinder head installed.

Valve cover gasket leaks

If you are driving an older vehicle with quite a few miles racked up on the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine, then you may start to develop problems with the valve gasket covers. These rubber gaskets can crack over time which then can cause oil to leak. If you start to notice oil leaks left behind in your garage or on your driveway, or if you start to smell that your oil is burning and you can see smoke at times, then you may need to have all of your valve cover gaskets looked at. 

If you need to replace a set of valve cover gaskets, then you can expect to pay somewhere between $120 and $200 for the set. If you require a professional mechanic to install the new valve cover gaskets for you, then you may be surprised that it can cost upwards of $600 for the labor alone. The labor required to replace these little gaskets actually can be quite intensive. That is the reason for the high labor costs.

What are the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine specifications?

The Dodge Powertech 4.7L V78 engine contains two valves per cylinder meaning the engine contains 16 total valves. Each cylinder has a 93-millimeter bore and an 86.5-millimeter piston stroke. The Dodge 4.7L v8 engine also comes with a timing chain and a multiport electronic fuel injection system. 

This smaller Dodge V8 engine has a 9 to 1 compression ratio with 235 horsepower and 295 lbs per foot of torque power. The engine was originally manufactured and placed in vehicles starting in 1999. 

In 2002, the second generation Dodge 4.7L V8 was released. This engine, dubbed the 4.7 Magnum, increased the overall horsepower and torque of the engine to 265 horsepower and 330 lbs per foot of torque power. The compression ratio was also increased to 9.7 to 1 versus the 9 to 1 compression ratio that the first generation 4.8L V8 engine contained. 

In 2008, the third generation Dodge 4.7L V8 engine was released. The updated Dodge 4.7L V8 engine increased the compression ratio to 9.8 to 1 while upgrading the camshafts. These two upgrades to the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine increased the horsepower to 310 and the torque output to 334 lbs per foot. 

What vehicles have the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine?

If you are looking to purchase a used Dodge vehicle that may contain the 4.7L V8 engine, you may be curious which generation Dodge 4.7L is in the vehicle you are considering purchasing. Here is a breakdown of all the different makes and models that contain the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine.

First generation 4.7 V8

The following vehicles come with the first generation Dodge 4.7L V8 engine with 235 horsepower and 295 lbs per foot of torque power.

  • Dodge Dakota: Model years 2000 to 2009
  • Dodge Durango: Model years 2000 to 2009
  • Dodge Ram 1500: Model years 2002 to 2009
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee: Model years 1999 to 2009
  • Jeep Commander: Model years 2006 to 2009
  • Chrysler Aspen: Model years 2007 to 2009

Second generation 4.7 Magnum V8

The following vehicles come with the second generation Dodge 4.7L Magnum V8 engine with 265 horsepower and 330 lbs per foot of torque power.

  • Dodge Dakota: Model years 2005 to 2007
  • Dodge Ram 1500: Model years 2002 to 2007
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee: Model years 2002 to 2004
  • Mitsubishi Raider: Model years 2006 to 2007

Third generation 4.7 V8

  • Dodge Dakota: Model years 2008 to 2011
  • Dodge Durango: Model years 2008 to 2009
  • Dodge Ram 1500: Model years 2008 to 2010
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee: Model years 2008 and 2009
  • Jeep Commander: Model years 2008 and 2009
  • Ram 1500: Model years 2011 to 2013
  • Chrysler Aspen: Model years 2008 and 2009

How reliable is the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine?

When it comes to engine longevity, it is critical that you complete all the regular maintenance and take care of the engine by not driving erratically or towing objects that weigh more than the vehicle’s towing capacity. A well-taken care of Dodge 4.7L V8 engine can expect to see at least 150,000 miles, and it is not uncommon for some engines to last 200,000 miles or more.

The main regular maintenance that needs to be followed religiously is regular oil changes. The Dodge 4.7L V8 engine is known to have issues with engine sludge build-up if the oil is not changed at appropriate intervals. If you are using synthetic oil in your Dodge 4.7L V8 engine, then you should make sure that the oil is changed every 5,000 miles. Regular oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. If not, the engine sludge build-up that can follow may contribute to a blown head gasket somewhere down the road. A blown head gasket can lead to your engine overheating and cracking the engine block. When you are looking at purchasing a used vehicle that contains the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine, you should ask the dealer or private owner if there is a maintenance log that contains the dates and mileage of every oil change the vehicle has had. 

Another way to help preserve the longevity of the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine is to make sure you are not exceeding the towing or payload capacities on the vehicle you own. For example, when it comes to the Dodge Dakota and Dodge Ram, the 4.7L V8 engine is designed to only tow between 3,500 and 6,000 pounds and to only haul between 1,250 and 2,000 pounds. If you exceed these capacities on either the Dodge Dakota or the Dodge Ram, you can put undue stress onto the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine, the transmission, and more. 

Is the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine a good engine?

The main goal of the engineers who created the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine was to maintain power while increasing fuel efficiency. It can be argued that the engineers were successful in that regard. The Dodge 4.7L V8 is still powerful enough to tow a boat, trailer, or small camper, and its payload is quite comparable to other pickup trucks on the market. At the same time, the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine has better fuel economy than many of the other v8 engines out there. 

Where does the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine come up short?

If you are looking to purchase a used vehicle that contains either the first, second, or third generation 4.7L V8 engine, then you will want to make sure that the cooling system was properly maintained throughout the life of the vehicle. Also, timely oil changes are critical for this engine to last a long time. Most problems that commonly occur in the Dodge 4.7L V8 engine can be traced back to overheating issues that are a result of poor cooling systems. Engine overheating leads to blown head gaskets and failed valve seats. An engine overheats when one or several components of a vehicle’s cooling system fail and are not properly replaced in time. An overheated engine that blows a head gasket or that causes a valve seat to fail can cause incredible damage that is expensive to fix. At the same time, if these larger issues that are caused by engine overheating are not addressed immediately, the result could be a cracked engine block or an engine that is no longer operable. 

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