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So I have a 2011 GC Limited with 5.7 Hemi and 134k miles. I love the 5.7 and this is my 3rd Hemi powered GC. BUT, this one let me down recently. The goal is to let fellow Jeep GC owners know some things I encountered along the way of this repair as there isn't much on this FOR Grand Cherokee's (there is PLENTY on the trucks and cars though). This is not a DIY so much as a source of info. This is my story:
My car is meticulously maintained by me so when it noticed a load "tick, tick, tick" while in line at the drive thru I assumed it was an exhaust leak or maybe the "hemi tick". However, this one has never "ticked" before so I was concerned. A day later, the ECO started to go crazy on the interstate and 4 cylinders got shut down when they shouldn't have, then I got a flashing CEL and then I got a p0303 misfire code. I knew almost immediately that I was suffering from the dreaded collapsed lifter. I pulled my VCG on the drivers side (where cylinder 3 is) and removed my fuel pump relay. I then had my son crank over the car while I watched the rockers activate the valves. Sure enough, #3 exhaust valve was only opening a little more than half as much as the others. BUMMER!

I informed the wife her car was going to be down for a few weeks and began removing the bumper, the radiator, the A/C condenser (had a leak, needed replacement anyways) and then the intake, the heads, the rockers, and so on. When it came time to pull the A/C compressor (it is attached to the timing cover) I found that in order to remove it off the stud, you have to disconnect one of the compressor lines. In the cars and trucks, you can set it to the side, in my jeep at least, I could not (plan accordingly, i.e. have your A/C evacuated by a shop FIRST).

The manifolds come right off with the heads, just remove the two bolts holding them to the catalytic converters. NOW is the time to replace your 02 sensors! Easy access to them and the plugs. Oh, and the connection of the manifold to the cats is a bolt and nut configuration, the nut is supposed to stay put with a hold down tab they put on there, but one of mine was free spinning so I had my son put a wrench on it from up top. The bottom two bolts I got from underneath with extensions, but the top two I removed from up top, it was easy with all the room I had.

Once that was done everything went smooth until it came time to remove the oil pump. All the literature I have seen online says that there is a small bolt holding the pick up tube to the pump. Not on the Grand Cherokee. The pick up tube is built right into the oil pan. And rotating the pump clockwise does't work because the pickup tube won't move enough. So OFF WITH THE OIL PAN :mad:. This is tricky, but can be done with extensions, wobblers, and the patience of Job. Once loose, the pan drops enough and the pickup tube is loose, pump comes off the crank.

I decided to buy the Modern Mopar Muscle MDS delete kit that includes 16 new Hellcat lifters (no more failures from the lifters ever again!), new hellcat head bolts, MDS delete plugs, head gaskets a new non MDS but VVT Camshaft and more. FYI, the kit on their website doesn't list the Grand Cherokee, but you select the cam for the "car with VVT 09 and up". I called to confirm, they were most helpful. After $1,035.00 out of my checking account, the kit was on the way. But I wasn't done buying parts. I had to buy a tuner of some sort that allows for disabling of the MDS, and since I wanted it to turn on my fan sooner, I decided the $379 Diablo I3 made sense. I don't care if it adds power, I need it for other reasons, but am looking forward to playing with some performance tunes. I also decided a new timing set was warranted, and might as well replace the oil pump, I don't want to be in here ever again!

I still have some block and head prep left to do, word to the wise here, beg, buy, borrow, or steal an air grinder that can be equipped with a scotch brite pad. Doing it by hand SUCKED and didn't remove all the carbon from the pistons. I sweet talked my brother in law. :thumbsup:

So, as I type I am awaiting the arrival of the Cam kit, should be here tomorrow and I can start putting her back together. I have attached some pics, and honestly, this isn't near as hard as it might look. Chrysler did a good job of making the Hemi very serviceable and very easy to work on, IN MY OPINION. Also, total random comment here, the front differential has an etched Mercedes logo. I knew Daimler was owned by Merc (or vice versa) but it was funny to me.

Anyways, ask questions if you like, and enjoy the photos, the carnage wasn't too bad, I caught it in time before it got REALLY bad. I'll update as I go along.
 

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Why did you pull the heads? You can't pull the lifters out of the block with the heads on?

While I've never seen that on other engines I've replaced lifters, I've also never tore down a GenIII Hemi, so looking at the pictures of the heads that are off, it does appear the casting has closed off the opening to the lifter valley enough, you probably can't get the lifters out of the block and through the head.
 

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GC Limited 4X4
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Discussion Starter #3
Why did you pull the heads? You can't pull the lifters out of the block with the heads on?

While I've never seen that on other engines I've replaced lifters, I've also never tore down a GenIII Hemi, so looking at the pictures of the heads that are off, it does appear the casting has closed off the opening to the lifter valley enough, you probably can't get the lifters out of the block and through the head.
The lifters are under the heads, and there are no holes in the head that allow them to come out. Heads have to come off, no other way to do it.
 

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I had a similar problem. Intake lifter on cylinder 4 shit the bed and took a pushrod and the cam with it.


I too learned the hard way about the oil pickup. Would have been nice to know that ahead of time!
 

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Lifter problem on my 2014 GC Ltd w/ V-6. First of all, let me start by saying, you forgot more about GC repair, than I’ll ever know. I salute your grit and competence.
Similar to you, I began to hear a “tap, tap, tap” from my fanatically maintained engine. Disappointed, I got a bad lifter diagnosis from the Jeep dealer.(What causes a bad lifter?).
The good news is that Jeep quickly repaired/replaced the lifter at no cost to me (thank you extended warranty). So far, so good. I hope that’s the end of my lifter problems, but my confidence is shaken. (As an aside, my 2014 GC Ltd with 70K, has been virtually trouble free). Any thoughts? Thanks for your posts and insight
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Lifter problem on my 2014 GC Ltd w/ V-6. First of all, let me start by saying, you forgot more about GC repair, than I’ll ever know. I salute your grit and competence.
Similar to you, I began to hear a “tap, tap, tap” from my fanatically maintained engine. Disappointed, I got a bad lifter diagnosis from the Jeep dealer.(What causes a bad lifter?).
The good news is that Jeep quickly repaired/replaced the lifter at no cost to me (thank you extended warranty). So far, so good. I hope that’s the end of my lifter problems, but my confidence is shaken. (As an aside, my 2014 GC Ltd with 70K, has been virtually trouble free). Any thoughts? Thanks for your posts and insight
well, in the case of my WK2 this post was about I went with the upgraded hellcat lifters and deleted the MDS. So I eliminated the problem. I am sure a dealer put in normal lifter (did they replace all or just the defective unit?) so it certainly COULD happen again. But when I was researching this when it happened, i didnt see this as very common the V6. Maybe yours was a fluke? Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you. Maybe other V6 owners can weigh in.

For what its worth, my wife still daily drives the Jeep this post was about, now at 140k miles and doing just fine. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I forgot to update this after completion of the project. Here are a couple more helpful tips I learned and things I can share now that the car has been running fine for 7 or 8 months since this happened.

1. I ended up removing the oil pan completely and replacing the gasket. The shop manual says the engine has to come out, mine did not. I unbolted the motor mounts in anticipation of having to jack it up, not necesarry, it pulled right out the front.

2. When re-assembling the heads, make sure to get the push rods IN THE PUSHROD HOLES! I read about people getting this wrong and thought "what dummies". Well, when I got the rockers and everything back on I had my son crank it over to check everything and I had a rocker not moving. I freaked until my son looked and said "uh, dad, this hole doesn't go anywhere. There are holes near where the pushrods go that don't go to the lifters, double check yourself, it is easy to do!

3. The rockers move off the valves by hand when on the base circle, at least until the new lifters build up oil pressure. So this bugged me a lot. I had the pedestal for the rockers torqued to spec, and I could push the rocker arm off the valves by hand. So I took it all apart, rechecked my work, and still had that condition. I figured, "oh well" and cranked her up. She was NOISY at first, LOTS of clacking and cracking. I shut it off as I was freaked out. Checked everything and decided it would run or tear itself to pieces. After a minute or so (longest minute of my life) of terrible sounds, it quieted right down and no more problem. The lifters just needed oil to pump them up.

4. Per the above, assembly lube on the cam and lifters is a good idea. I used a LOT. Better safe than sorry.

5. DiabloSport I3 sucks (mostly). My DiabloSport when set to 87 tune, 89 tune or 93 tune made my trans shift like it was failing and didn't do anything for power. Additionally, the fan settings (the whole reason I bought it) do not work with my Jeep for some reason and nobody can tell me why. After I dropped the $400 on it, I realized I can now get a $200 module that plugs into the OBD port and just shuts down the MDS, wish I had gone that route and saved the extra $200.

6. Buy OEM water pump gaskets. Don't bother with parts store water pump gaksets, they are the wrong size and design, had to go to the dealer.

7. Expect a bunch of smoke when you finally get it out and drive it. I had a lot of cleaners and crap that went into the water passages and oil galleys when I was cleaning the old gasket material off the deck. It burned out when I finally got on the road and romped on the car some. Dont freak out, it is normal.

Other than that, all's well that ends well and I saved a bundle of cash. And, the ENGINE of my jeep is probably good for the next 100k miles. The trans, not so sure......:eek:
 

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Thanks for your prompt reply and your perspective on my lifter problem.
FYI, the dealer replaced only the defective lifter (as I caught the problem early, I’m guessing. With a two year lifter warranty (concurrent with my 7yr./100K extended warranty), I’m hoping to have relatively trouble free problems with my GC.
(How I wish I had opted for the now extinct Mopar Unlimited miles/years warranty, as I really still enjoy my GC)
Thanks again for your knowledgeable advice.
It’s great to have a “go to person”, for advice.
Jim Durkin

Sent from my iPad
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Just wanted to update this, still have the GC and still no issues since this rebuild. Truck is at 146k miles or so now. She runs like a champ. I did a trans fluid and filter change, replaced all the fluids in the diffs and transfer case, and exchanged coolant for some high end Shell Rotella branded stuff. Runs great and the hellcat lifters are going strong. Still see oil pressure in excess if 56psi at cold idle, 33psi at operating temp.

I should also note (since I trashed them above) the Diablosport folks did help me with the fan settings. After I sent them the file, they fixed it and now the fan comes on full blast at 210 (where I told it to come on) instead of 226. Was it worth the money? Maybe, but not for -performance tunes on the Wk2 (IMO).
 
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