3.6L Pentastar V6 Oil Filter Housing Leak Guide

One of, if not the most common issue we see at our three stores is a leaking oil filter housing on the 3.6L Pentastar engine from Chrysler. Why is this one of the most common issues we see in our store? Well, it’s a very popular engine. Production started in 2010 and now there are over 10 million vehicles on the road with this engine. The Fiat Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine is versatile, allowing it to be in sedans, pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs. Common vehicles with this engine are the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, Chrysler Pacifica, Grand Caravan, Town and Country, Dodge Journey, Durango, and Ram 1500-ProMaster. 

Pentastar engine disassembled

Diagnosing Oil Filter Housing Leaks

Our mechanics’ extensive experience with these engines means they can not only repair intricate engine problems but also diagnose them correctly. It takes a bit of time for the oil to accumulate enough to see the oil leaking onto the ground. Why is this? The oil filter housing sits in a valley towards the back passenger side of the engine. When the oil filter housing leaks there is plenty of room below the housing to collect the oil. So, it’s hard to determine if your oil filter housing is leaking by looking under the engine for oil. You will commonly see the oil pooling up visually with a flashlight.

Why Does the Oil Filter Housing Leak? 

Well, the oil filter housing used on the engine is made of plastic. This plastic sees a good amount of heat while the engine is running. But when the engine is off the housing is exposed to the atmospheric temperature. Over the years, that is a lot of thermal cycling on a piece of plastic. The housing is mounted onto the engine block which is made from cast aluminum. During thermal cycling, the plastic of the oil filter housing and the aluminum of the engine block expand and contract at different rates. The gasket between the two is asked to do a lot of work because the gap between the two pieces is ever-changing.

What Can Prevent the Engine Oil Filter Housing from Leaking? 

Unfortunately, it’s a design flaw that causes the oil filter housing to leak. So, nothing can be done to prevent the oil filter housing from leaking. However, when we replace your oil filter housing at Scott’s U-Save, we will not use the OE plastic housing but upgrade to an aluminum housing. The housing should have been aluminum from the start. Once the oil filter housing is replaced with an aluminum part we seldom see the housing leak again.

Regular Oil Changes

Since you can’t prevent the oil filter housing from leaking, you should regularly have your oil changed. This ensures a technician is consistently inspecting your vehicle. Or, you can regularly check your dipstick to make sure you’re not running the engine low on oil. The engine takes 0W20 oil. 0W20 oil only comes as synthetic oil. So, your common oil change interval is 5,000-6,000 miles.

Why is There so Much Labor to Replace an Oil Filter Housing on an Engine?

 On the engine, the oil filter housing is located under the intake manifold. So, this manifold must be removed to reach the oil filter housing. This not only includes the labor to remove the housing, but you will also need an intake gasket to be replaced. These gaskets are for one-time use. At Scott’s U-Save, we highly suggest doing a tune-up at the same time you do the oil filter housing. The reason is, that the spark plugs are also located under the intake manifold. If you’re already paying to take off the intake manifold, replace the gasket, and re-stall you should replace all wearable parts. This would be your spark plugs, possibly your ignition coils, and your spark plug boots. Any time we do a tune-up we highly recommend a fuel service be done at the same time. This will clean up the fuel lines, injectors, and the back of your engine valves.

What is the Typical Cost of Replacing the Engine Oil Filter Housing? 

We just discussed a few other parts that should be replaced at the same time. But, just replacing the oil filter housing with upgraded aluminum housing is around $800.

Get Your Oil Filter Housing Replaced at Scott’s U-Save!

The skilled and experienced technicians at Scott’s U-Save have replaced oil filter housings on countless 3.6L Pentastar engines. We have three locations in Steger IL, New Lenox IL, and Schererville IN. If your engine is leaking oil, give us a call or schedule an appointment today. 

Can a Bad Fuel Injector Damage My Engine?

If you pop the hood of a car from the ’60s, ’70s, or ’80s, you’ll likely see a carburetor sitting on top of the engine. Before the rise of electronic fuel injection (EFI), carburetors were the standard system used for delivering air and fuel to the combustion chambers in an engine.

Fuel Rail Assembly Removed From Car

As technology changed and advanced, fuel injection systems have taken over. EFI systems consist of a fuel pump, fuel rails, oxygen sensors, and fuel injectors. EFI also utilizes a computer to control the amount of fuel being injected into each cylinder. Electronic fuel injection offers better fuel economy, consistent power at verifying elevations, and generally less maintenance. While there are many components that make an EFI system work, in this article we are going to focus on the fuel injector, and the potential problems that can arise if one fails.

What is a Fuel Injector?

The fuel injector is a component that controls the amount fuel being delivered prior to combustion. These small parts connect to the fuel rail and the either the engine block (or the intake manifold on some port injected vehicles), and plug into a harness that communicates with the ECU

Volkswagen Fuel Injector

What Causes Fuel Injector Failure?

While EFI systems are generally pretty reliable, fuel injectors can run into some problems. The spray nozzle on the end of the injector can become clogged with carbon deposits, preventing it from closing entirely. The plastic electrical connection points are exposed to extreme temperatures and can become brittle, causing issues with connectivity. Lastly, rubber seals in the injector can dry out and crack, causing external leaks.

Symptoms of Fuel Injector Problems

Failed or failing fuel injectors can cause a variety of issues.

  1. Misfires
  2. Rough Running
  3. Sluggish Acceleration
  4. Reduced Fuel Economy
  5. Check Engine Light
  6. Fuel Oder

And more.

Can Faulty Injectors Cause Engine Damage?

Most of the time, the symptoms of a failed injector will be significant enough that you will get it fixed quickly. In all likelihood, you will not run into this sort of damage because you won’t be driving with a faulty injector for long. That being said, there are some serious (and expensive) consequences that can happen if you neglect to replace a bad injector.

Hydro Locking

If the injector fails in a way that causes it to dump fuel constantly into the cylinder, the engine can hydro lock. Hydro locking occurs when the path in the combustion chamber that normally compresses vapor and gasses is filled with liquid. The liquid is unable to compress to the same degree and can result in a bent connecting rod, piston damage, or worse.

Bent Connecting Rod Resulting From Hydro Locking
This connecting rod bent as a result of hydro locking from a failed injector dumping excess fuel into the cylinder.

If severe engine damage happens as a result of hydro locking, your motor will need to be rebuilt or replaced.

Bearing Damage

Oil’s lubrication capabilities are reduced when fuel is mixed in with it. Without proper lubrication, damage to the bearings can occur. If this happens, the engine will need to be opened up and bearings will need to be replaced.

Catalytic Converter Damage 

A faulty injector that consistently dumps excess fuel can damage the catalytic converters. When unburned fuel enters the catalyst, it can combust. The extreme heat given off by combustion can wreak havoc on the inside of the expensive catalyst. Replacing failed catalytic converters is extremely expensive.

Flooded Engine

If you have a failed fuel injector dumping excess fuel into your engine, it can end up flooded. In a similar situation to hydro locking, your engine can flood when you go to start it up and the injector fills the cylinder with unburned fuel. As a result, your car will not start.

Don’t Put Off Fuel Injector Issues

If you’ve noticed symptoms of injector failure while driving, don’t delay! While the risk of severe engine damage is relatively low, it’s not impossible. More importantly, replacing a bad fuel injector will improve the fuel economy, engine power, and overall drivability of your vehicle.

Fuel Injector Replacement at Scott’s U-Save

At Scott’s U-Save, we want to keep your vehicle running at its best and prevent catastrophic damage whenever possible. We have teams of ASE-certified technicians at our locations in New Lenox and Steger Illinois, as well as Schererville Indiana. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!