Took a look inside my hemi

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Xsen

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Hey everyone,

Thought I'd share some thoughts and experience that I have recently gained. After all, I still love the forum format.

So in the beginning of April one of my two Rams has very suddenly developed a strong ticking noise. The noise was very clearly audible, metallic and generally had a valvetrain frequency. Looking at the engine, it did sound like coming from the even side. So I thought the obvious thought and went to order a set of lifters, a new cam and a gasket set. I ceased driving the truck on the very same day.

Before actually taking the engine apart, I went and took off the valve cover on the even side, and there it was - intake rocker of the 6th cylinder and it's rod had huge play. So I deduced that the roller on this lifter has broken, hence the sudden noise development, and the lifter is sliding on the cam lobe, destroying it.

Now, the choice was whether to fix everything without taking the engine out of the truck, or take the engine out and enjoy the luxury of easy access to every bolt and nut. I remebered someone posting here that even with all the effort required to take the engine out - it was well worth it, so I thought this was the right way to go. Besides the obvious lifter/cam job, the plan was to have both heads re-conditioned at the machine shop. Plus, as this engine already had at least 200k miles on it - I figured it could not hurt to measure the cylinders. I was wrong, it could hurt.

Long story short, it took me about 26 hours to take the engine out in a small DIY shop. This was my first experience of this kind, so maybe things can be done quicker, but I played safe.

photo_2024-05-14_14-26-29.jpg

Then the heads and the oil pan were removed and it was time for the pistons. And the pain.

photo_2024-05-21_12-42-01.jpg

All eight are more or less like this.

200k miles or not, this much damage was definitely unexpected. The block looked a bit better.

photo_2024-05-21_12-42-31.jpg

photo_2024-05-21_12-42-35.jpg

These scratches on the cylinder walls are very shallow and could be easily cured, but actually measuring the cylinders destroyed all hope - 5 out of 8 cylinders are about 0.02 - 0.03 mm out-of-round. Factory manual states that the max out-of-round is 0.0076 mm.

The bright side - all bearings, including the cam, are in great shape, no signs of wear. The engine was showing good oil pressure too.

A few thoughts on what could cause the damage. I bought this truck used, so I assume it had been using the factory recommended low viscosity oil. Maybe it was overheated or close to overheating at some point in its life, maybe it was using low-octane fuel, that creates higher temperature during combustion and the pistons were locally overheated. In any case, I really believe that this was the very moment when the oil should have been there to protect the components, but the eco-ish W20 oil was not designed for that. All the more reason for the 6.4 engines (which are likely to see more stress and load) to have strict 0W40 only recommendation.

This engine block will be repaired, and the new oversize pistons will go in, along with the new cam and lifters, reconditioned heads and new exhaust studs. All in all I plan to keep this truck for long time.

Now here are my questions:

1) While looking for similar cases I found that it's not that common in the hemi world. Maybe it's just my bad luck. If anyone here has opened their high mileage 5.7 - what were your pistons like?
2) What are your thoughts on what could have caused this damage?

Funny thing, if not for the lifter and the tick - I won't have ever thought of looking into the cylinders. There was no smoke, no noticeable oil level changes, maybe a bit too noisу on a cold start (but hey, it's a pushrod V8), and when the exhaust stud broke off - it could be heard under load. Other than this - the engine was just what you'd expect it to be.

Oh and yeah, the cam:
photo_2024-05-21_12-42-39.jpg
 
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Choupique

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Yikes, hate to see that. Good news is it's plenty salvageable and will be like brand new once yall get it back together.

A buddy of mine has a 5.7 hemi with close to 300k on the original engine and tons of idle time. I'll have to ask what his oil change habits are next time I see him.
 

caulk04

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Kinda like Schrodinger's cat. Any project on an old(er) mechanical thing is going to reveal stuff you don't want to see, so just don't look.

Couple months ago I was tasked with finding the source of a mild squeak/groan in one of our lathes at work. Suspected the ballscrew and/or it's thrust bearings. Turned out to be that AND the linear rails are pretty well shot. Were hoping for a <10k fix, prognosis says it's not worth fixing so now we're buying a new lathe, total project cost nearly $300k.
 

Burla

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Welcome, great work sad to hear result. If indeed the truck has lived in russia one issue is lubrication in the cold. I don't know what oils you have access to, but I would look for perhaps some pao oils such as m1fs 0w30 or 5w30, plus a engine additive that has oil soluble molybdenum, this helps against perpendicular wear and also wear that happens downstream because of the resistance of perpendicular force. Another area to look at is engine block heaters and/or sump magnet heaters that warm oil. Similar to a diesel, when it is cold I would idle down a hemi at least a little bit assuming I had the correct oil that protects that hemi against idle. It's just a tough deal with hemi's and the cold, lots of challenges.
 

rzr6-4

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High idle time - check

Been overheated - check
-----More than once - check

Been run with low oil - check

200,000 + miles - check

Runs weird and would likely benefit from a rebuild - checkaroo

But like @caulk04 suggested, this is Schrodinger's engine and what I can't see won't hurt me. (When it kills itself I get to do a 6.4 swap). I definitely see the urge to pull things apart but with high mileage engines I would only assume you will find something out of spec. Then you end up with the big shoulder shrug of what to do from there. Sorry for your lo$$.
 

Wild one

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Welcome, great work sad to hear result. If indeed the truck has lived in russia one issue is lubrication in the cold. I don't know what oils you have access to, but I would look for perhaps some pao oils such as m1fs 0w30 or 5w30, plus a engine additive that has oil soluble molybdenum, this helps against perpendicular wear and also wear that happens downstream because of the resistance of perpendicular force. Another area to look at is engine block heaters and/or sump magnet heaters that warm oil. Similar to a diesel, when it is cold I would idle down a hemi at least a little bit assuming I had the correct oil that protects that hemi against idle. It's just a tough deal with hemi's and the cold, lots of challenges.
It doesn't get really super cold there Mike,no worse then we get here on the Canuck Prairies,but he'd definitely benefit from an oil pan heater during the colder months.

Climate and Average Weather Year Round in Ural Russia​

In Ural, the summers are comfortable and partly cloudy and the winters are frigid, snowy, and overcast. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -21 °C to 24 °C and is rarely below -36 °C or above 29 °C.
 

Dan Topp

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I don’t know what to think about 200k and the fact that it didn’t throw a rod,but I’m at 32k and feel a burning need for more oil pressure/ pump before I destroy it with the boost it gets daily.Good luck on your new build or crate engine.I haven’t completely ditched the 5-20 but till it’s gone 4-5-30 & 3=5-20.
 

Burla

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It doesn't get really super cold there Mike,no worse then we get here on the Canuck Prairies,but he'd definitely benefit from an oil pan heater during the colder months.

Climate and Average Weather Year Round in Ural Russia​

In Ural, the summers are comfortable and partly cloudy and the winters are frigid, snowy, and overcast. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -21 °C to 24 °C and is rarely below -36 °C or above 29 °C.
Every temperature on this chart represents freezing or above, even none freezing temps 5w20 can be 250 viscosity, you see those pistons scuffs, this could be the reason in theory. Ask yourself at what viscosity would a sump heater be beneficial, then follow the chart and find that viscosity and note the temp. Even 30c which is 86f you can see how thick oil is. Scary? I hate these charts but like them or not they are factual.

main-qimg-0139478b52e2db199d7653a0175a716e.png
 

Wild one

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Every temperature on this chart represents freezing or above, even none freezing temps 5w20 can be 250 viscosity, you see those pistons scuffs, this could be the reason in theory. Ask yourself at what viscosity would a sump heater be beneficial, then follow the chart and find that viscosity and note the temp. Even 30c which is 86f you can see how thick oil is. Scary? I hate these charts but like them or not they are factual.

View attachment 543357
That's why there's oil pan heaters on most of my vehicles. I've been known to plug them in for an hour before starting them even when it's 50F ,lol.
 

Burla

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Sae 150 gear oil, mind you not the 75w140 that is thinned to make the winter rating, but the actual sae oil which is only the "140". That oil cSt is 250 visc, so thick stuff. As you see 5w20 can easily be that thick at 40f. It's damn smart using sump heater even on mild days imo.

It's like starting a truck with SAE 150 gear oil in the engine even in mild temps. Also plating additives should be considered.
 

Choupique

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Just a regular block water heater will warm the lube oil up quite a bit. The oil cooler also acts like an oil heater up until the oil exceeds the coolant temp.

I use the block heater on my cummins religiously, even when it's as hot as 80*F all night and I know I'll be towing the next day. Warm oil is good oil.
 

Wild one

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Just a regular block water heater will warm the lube oil up quite a bit. The oil cooler also acts like an oil heater up until the oil exceeds the coolant temp.

I use the block heater on my cummins religiously, even when it's as hot as 80*F all night and I know I'll be towing the next day. Warm oil is good oil.
Not really on a gas pot,the oil is along ways from the bottom of the block,and heat doesn't really travel downwards. A pan heater is far superior for warming the oil,and is usually a lot cheaper to leave plugged in for any length of time. I really question the benefits to the so called oil heater/cooler,when you figure the oil pump is moving 5+ gallons per minute,just how much does that little heat exchanger do.Compare it to the size of the heat exchanger on the side of the transmission,that's fed by 3/4" hoses,and the engines heat exchanger which is fed by little 3/8" hoses,and just how much benefit does the tiny engine heat exchanger provide.
 
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Xsen

Xsen

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Thanks for the feedback!

I love the Schrodinger engine concept.:D That's exactly what these trucks are if you're not the first owner.

Regarding the oil - for the last 60k miles I was running Mobil1 FS 0W40 oil + Liqui Moly Ceratec additive every oil change. Judging by the test results it is more like a heavy w30 oil. Naturally, there's no way of finding out what was used before.

And last winter a 8.6kW Webasto autonomous pre-heater was installed. It heats the block and the exhaust creates a sort of hot air flow around the oil pan, so the starts are not as cold as they used to be, but then again - it has seen 10 winters in total, so... I also always idle the engine until it reaches at least 130-140 ECT, and stay light on the pedal until the oil is at least 165-170. Kind of trying to do what I can to make it last.

It also has the factory block heater on it, but as we run 220 Volts around here - I don't think it has ever been used.

Ordered the +0.25 mm pistons set yesterday, will start working with the block once they arrive.
 

HEMIMANN

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Or keeping in a heated garage. Lots of these in Minnesota.

People hear this and think we mean heated to room temperature. Not the case - we keep thermostat around 45 degrees, 6 feet up on a wall, to prevent freezing of various liquids stored in garages. Women store overage refrigerables on bottom shelves like milk and water.
 

Burla

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Maybe this is just some irrelevant info considering everything at this point, but for next time,,,

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crackerjack1957

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Are you sure your cylinder measurements are metric or standard. .01 mm out of round or tapered would be considered OK.
Yep, probably decimal in the wrong place
 
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Dodge 1500 4X4

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This Piston scuffing caused the scratched cylinder wall and the cross hatching is miminal.

I only like short skirts on the Ladies!!!



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