'04 Ram 1500 P0301 (high mileage)

JLaw

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So I am lookong for advice on my 230K mile Ram 1500 4.7L...flashing P0301. Same problem occured about 6 months ago and I replaced all spark plugs and the #1 ignition coil. Code cleared for a few months, but has come on and off randomly since then. Now that my vehicle inspection is due next month light is on 90% of the time.
Other info...
- Coolant mixing with oil (white sludge in the oil fill tube and under the oil fill cap) (head gasket leak, right?), I add about a quart of coolant every 3-4 months.
- Burns about 1 qt oil between changes, but has since I've owned it so not a new thing
- Starts easy and runs surprisingly well
- No overheating conditions have occurred
I know its high miles but I like the truck and dont want to buy another.
Knowing all that, where would I start to diagnose my P0301? I would hate to go through the time and expense of replacing head gaskets (yes they need done soon I know this) if its just a vacuum leak that I can fix to get inspection done until I can make time for head gaskets.
I am open to all input and suggestions, really do want to keep my ol' faithful truck running.
 
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EdGs

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Your leak is going to get worse, and if it goes too long, you could have a worse situation.

You might also see some white smoke, maybe more so when the engine is cold.

My '02 4.7 did this, and it got worse and worse, finally blew the upper rad hose, then it was really using coolant.

Oil fill tube and inside of valve covers looked like snot.

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Engine was sludged up pretty good.
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Cylinder 2 on drivers side was getting the steam treatment.

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Oil looking crappy
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Take care of it, as soon as possible, before it takes a giant sh*t on you.

Best of luck with your repairs.
 
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JLaw

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Well looks like Im doing head gaskets...at least. Pulled #1 & #3 plugs to see the difference, #1 plug had a pink hue on the tip thay goes into the combistion chamber. Low and behold when I look down into the cylinder with a flashlight I can see antifreeze in the cylinder on top of the piston. Swabbed with a q-tip to better see the color. Suppose I will have to do a tear down to see just how much money Im about to spend. Damn.
 

JLaw

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EdGs

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Yep, there's your misfire, and if you get enough coolant in there, and it hydrolocks, the sh*t will have hit the fan.

Get yourself a new timing set while you are at it. New head bolts, etc. There are service manuals online with all the proper torque specs and sequences, etc.

Oil pump, I am not sure. Perhaps someone else will chime in about this. I remember When I did the head gaskets in my '02, I had to raise the engine off the mounts to remove the oil pan an clean out the crud.

You have alot of work ahead of you, but it will be worth it. Take your time, and do it right.
 

JLaw

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Yep, there's your misfire, and if you get enough coolant in there, and it hydrolocks, the sh*t will have hit the fan.

Get yourself a new timing set while you are at it. New head bolts, etc. There are service manuals online with all the proper torque specs and sequences, etc.

Oil pump, I am not sure. Perhaps someone else will chime in about this. I remember When I did the head gaskets in my '02, I had to raise the engine off the mounts to remove the oil pan an clean out the crud.

You have alot of work ahead of you, but it will be worth it. Take your time, and do it right.
I had already resigned myself to a new timing set also. Good info about possible oil pump and cleaning the crud out of the oil pan, I hadnt thought to do that. Thank you.
 

EdGs

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Here's a view of the front of my 4.7L after removing the timing set and drivers side cylinder head. Soaked the heads in mineral spirits, and cleaned the exposed areas as much as possible. The gunk was like jelly, it was so bad.
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All clean, new timing set in place, timing components oiled, engine rotated several revs to double check.
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I bought a couple cases of cheap oil and several filters, and ran her just long enough to get full hot, then changed oil. Did this a couple times, then I changed it a couple more times after running it for a couple hundred miles. I know I wasn't able to get all the gunk out, hopefully this strategy helped.
 
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JLaw

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Now that is very clean and impressive!! I do have extra oil and 2 extra filters for at least one oil change to help clean up the engine after start up. Thats a good idea for sure.
I am more nervous about lining up the timing chains perfectly than anything else...last one I did was on a '78 Chevy small block some 20 years ago, two gears and one chain easy peasy.
 

EdGs

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Now that is very clean and impressive!! I do have extra oil and 2 extra filters for at least one oil change to help clean up the engine after start up. Thats a good idea for sure.
I am more nervous about lining up the timing chains perfectly than anything else...last one I did was on a '78 Chevy small block some 20 years ago, two gears and one chain easy peasy.
There is a tool that holds the chains on the idler gear. Very useful.

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There should be factory service manuals online for your MY. Follow the torque procedures. Head bolts are torque-to-yield, for example.

The timing chain tensioners are marked L and R and there is a shim plate under one of them IIRC. Take your time and don't get in a hurry, you will be fine.
 

JLaw

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Good info on the tool, thank you sir.
Does anyone knoe on an '04 Ram 4.7L engine...is there a timing chain cover gasket or do you just use RTV to seal the cover? Weird question I know but my FelPro kit #TCS 46022 only includes the smaller gaskets and two tubes of grey RTV. None of the gaskets look big enough to cover the circumference of the timing cover.
 
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