Dodge 5.7L HEMI Common Problems
The Dodge 5.7L HEMI engine is also commonly referred to as the 345 HEMI in honor of its 345 cubic inch displacement. It’s a long running pushrod engine that debuted with 345 horsepower in the 2003 Dodge Ram. The 5.7 HEMI remains much the same today, however it did go through updates to improve power and fuel efficiency. Overall, it’s a reliable engine with stout performance and sounds. However, no engine is perfect and this applies to the 345 HEMI, too. In this post, we discuss a few common failures on the Chrysler 5.7L V8 HEMI.
HEMI 5.7L Info
As noted above – the Chrysler 5.7 engine underwent some updates during its long life-cycle. We feel it’s important to lay out this information as certain updates are relevant to this common problems post. Before let’s look at the various cars and trucks that feature the 5.7 HEMI:
- 2003+ Ram Trucks
- 2004+ Dodge Durango
- 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum R/T
- 2006+ Dodge Charger R/T
- 2009+ Dodge Challenger R/T
- 2005+ Chrysler 300C, 300S
- 2007-2009 Chrysler Aspen
- 2005+ Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2006-2010 Jeep Commander
Chrysler’s 5.7 HEMI engine deserves respect for the long list of popular cars and trucks it’s powered for nearly two decades. In our opinion, that goes to show the great success of the engine. Writing about common engine problems can paint a dreary picture. As such, we feel it’s important to remind ourselves and readers that all great engine suffer from problems. If the 345 HEMI were a below average engine it’s unlikely Chrysler and Dodge would keep it around for so long in their flagship cars.
345 HEMI Update (5.7 Eagle)
In 2009, the 5.7L engine was revised to improve emissions, fuel economy, and performance. The revised engine is known as the 5.7 Eagle. A few notable updates to the 5.7 HEMI include:
- Variable camshaft timing
- Cylinder head
- Intake manifolds
- Multi-displacement system (MDS)
Variable Camshaft Timing is Chryslers terminology for variable valve timing. This allows the engine to advance or retard cam timing for optimal performance at all RPM’s. The 5.7 HEMI cylinder head is also re-worked to improve flow. Intake manifolds receive an update, too. However, the 5.7 Eagle uses different manifold designs on different models. Finally, Chrysler implemented multi-displacement system technology on the 345 HEMI. This allows the engine to shut down 4-cylinders in certain situations to improve fuel economy and emissions.
These were solid updates, overall. However, as with any new technology there are always kinks that must be worked out over time. A few of the updates may make certain problems more likely on the 5.7L Eagle. We’ll detail this more as we move through each of the common problems below.
4 Common HEMI 5.7 Problems
In no specific order, four of the most common 5.7L HEMI problems are:
- Engine Tick
- Exhaust Manifold Bolts
- Multi-Displacement System (MDS)
A few more general notes prior to discussing each of these common faults in-depth. Simply because we refer to these problems as common does not mean every 5.7 will experience them. Also, engines are subject to potential problems that we won’t cover. Earlier HEMI engines are getting old and a lot of problems become fair game on old, high mileage engines. That said, let’s move onto the problems we outlined above.
1) 5.7L HEMI Engine Tick
Spoiler – this can sometimes tie into the other common problems. We’re taking a vague approach to the 5.7L engine ticking issues. Ticking on the 345 HEMI is an interesting discussion for a few reasons. Some claim the ticking is normal and doesn’t affect longevity or performance. However, engine ticks have led to other 5.7L HEMI owners replacing their entire engine. What are the potential common causes of 5.7 HEMI ticking?
- Faulty lifters
- Seized lifter roller
- Exhaust manifold bolt failure
Faulty lifters and seized lifter rollers are our primary focus here. This seems to be the most common and serious cause of the Chrysler 345 HEMI engine ticking problem. It also appears most common on 2009+ models leading some to believe the multi-displacement system is to blame. It does make sense. Ultimately, the problem likely boils down to inadequate oil flow to the lifter rollers which results in seizure. The lifter then contacts the camshaft lobes which results in the ticking sounds. The metal on metal contact then results in shavings in the oil. If caught soon enough the oil filter should catch most shavings and prevent further damage.
However, if left for too long serious engine damage could occur. That’s beside the fact the 5.7L HEMI camshaft will require replacement anyways. The parts and labor alone of that job can cost nearly as much as a remanufactured engine. It’s a pretty serious issue. However, the scope of issues is likely been blown out of proportion as the internet tends to do with any major engine faults.
HEMI 5.7 Lifter Roller Symptoms
A few symptoms to look out for with a failed lifter roller include:
- Check engine light
Unfortunately, lifter roller problems on the 5.7 HEMI can be tough to diagnose. Many simply experience the ticking sounds and no other symptoms. However, you may notice misfires or get a check engine light if the problems are severe enough or left alone for too long.
If you’re unlucky and run into this failure it’s most likely to occur north of 100,000 miles. However, sometimes the problem pops up under the 60,000 mile powertrain warranty. For more information on the lifter roller issues the below video is a great resource:
2) 5.7 HEMI Broken Exhaust Manifold Bolts
If we were to name the number one common problem on the 5.7L HEMI we would be inclined to say broken exhaust manifold bolts. Some report running into this problem multiple times. The first to give is often the rear passenger side manifold bolt. Many suspect this is the hottest part of the engine and manifold, which is why the rear bolts give out first. The idea is that the manifold actually warps towards the rear thereby causing the bolt failures. There’s not too much else to this fault on the 5.7 HEMI.
Although, one interesting talking point leads us back to the engine tick. The cause of some 345 HEMI ticks may actually be due to broken manifold mounting bolts. Of course, the ticking we discussed above is different in terms of the failure point. However, if your Chrysler 5.7 engine is ticking make sure you check the exhaust manifold bolts first. It’s typically a more common failure and a much easier and cheaper fix. All good news. It’s still a problem – just not a serious problem.
5.7L HEMI Exhaust Manifold Bolt Failure Symptoms
The primary symptom of broken exhaust manifold bolts is the ticking noise. Broken manifold bolts on the HEMI 345 create an exhaust leak. If it’s bad enough then you may notice power loss.
5.7 HEMI Exhaust Manifold Bolt Replacement
A lot seem to fail even under the warranty period, so initial failures should be fixed by the dealership at no cost. Otherwise, you may be on your own for the repair. Access to the manifold isn’t too complicated for the DIY group. However, depending on the specific failure of the bolt it may require some effort and ingenuity to remove the failed bolt.
It probably makes sense to replace all of the bolts while you’re in there. This can run about $100 for the parts. Some opt for aftermarket exhaust manifold to prevent the warping. Ultimately, if the manifold itself is warped then it will continue to cause premature failures of replacement bolts.
3) 5.7 HEMI Multi-Displacement System (MDS) Issues
We’ll speed things up a bit moving through this discussion as well as misfires coming up next. When cruising the 5.7 Eagle HEMI engine (2009+ update) utilizes multi-displacement technology to shut down 4 of the cylinders. It’s a great way to improve emissions and fuel economy. On the surface there’s nothing wrong with MDS. The power from the large 5.7 liter displacement is still there when you need or want it. However, when you don’t then the engine is more efficient. Sounds good to us. The MDS on the 5.7 HEMI can also be deactivated manually. Even better for those not interested.
However, some owners complain about the MDS on their 345 HEMI engines. Occasionally, the system seems to have its moments where engine operation doesn’t feel natural. It’s also up for debate how cylinder deactivation may affect 5.7 HEMI longevity. The technology is still relatively new so only time will tell.
There is speculation that lifter roller failures can be partially attributed to the multi-displacement system. Heat is generated by the combustion process but if certain cylinders are shut down they run cooler. Constantly changing temperatures can be bad for metal. It’s always the same 4 cylinders that the 5.7L HEMI shuts down. Concerns over longevity make sense in this aspect. We don’t want to get too technical since there are a lot of details. This is something we’ll likely address in greater depth in a separate post.
5.7L HEMI MDS Issues are Speculation
There aren’t any issues attributed directly to the multi-displacement system. However, there are engineering concepts that do suggest MDS could have negative impacts on longevity. Spark plugs can foul quickly when too cold. Lubrication may not be sufficient when cylinders are too cold. It’s a long list of possible implications. Again, we’ll likely address this in a separate post. For now we’ll leave it with one final comment: 5.7 HEMI MDS is great in theory, however there are a lot of unknowns that will take time before we have definitive answers. As such, it shouldn’t be a huge concern up-front, but it’s something to consider.
4) 5.7L HEMI Misfires
Alright, for real we’ll speed this section up. Misfires aren’t really fair to call a common problem. Usually misfires can be caused by other faults, like lifter roller failures. As such, it’s more of a symptom than a problem in those cases. Nonetheless, standard maintenance items can cause misfires, too. Our big focus here are the 5.7L HEMI spark plugs. It uses 16 spark plugs. Yes, that’s correct – 16 spark plugs can be found in the HEMI. It leaves a lot of room for misfires to start due to old, worn spark plugs.
Again, there are a ton of other things that can cause misfires. Ignition coils, faulty injectors, internal issues like lifter rollers, etc. However, spark plugs are a basic maintenance item that can easily be over-looked. We’re guilty of it from time to time. “Oh no. Please not a misfire. What did I break this time?” Often, we simply forget the spark plugs are a bit older than we remembered.
16 spark plugs is a lot. All it takes is one spark plug that wears too quickly or fails to throw a misfire code. Spark plug failures are rare, but they should be changed every 30,000 to 40,000 miles on the 5.7 HEMI. Don’t overlook spark plugs as it’s basic maintenance that can cause annoying issues like misfires.
5.7L HEMI Reliability
How reliable is the 5.7 HEMI engine? Overall, the 5.7L HEMI is a stout and reliable engine. It’s certainly not the most reliable engine in the world. It’s also miles ahead of the least reliable. There’s good reason the Chrysler 5.7L has powered some flagship cars for nearly two decades. It’s a solid engine that people enjoy. Problems can and do happen, but don’t hold that against the engine. All engines have problems and this is even more true when you look at high performance engines. Camshaft issues are the most concerning on the list, but likely a problem that is blown out of proportion. It’s still a serious problem that should be considered.
All that said, 345 HEMI reliability comes down to several aspects. Maintenance is one of the aspects we can actively control. Keep up with basic maintenance items on the 5.7L HEMI, especially timely oil changes. Otherwise, some of it simply comes down to the luck of the draw. There are plenty of other factors like how hard you push the engine, conditions the engine operates in, etc.
Let’s not stray too far off topic. We’ll finish this with a few final thoughts. Again, the Chrysler 5.7 HEMI is a pretty reliable engine. Problems can and will occur at some point in the engines life. However, it’s a risk we take with all engines and the best we can do is maintain them as well as possible. 5.7L HEMI longevity should be north of 200,000 miles if well maintained. Though, sometimes people have unlucky, fluky experiences even with well maintained HEMI’s.
5.7 HEMI Common Problems Summary
Not to be too repetitive, but the HEMI 5.7L engine is an impressive unit. The pushrod design is well proven and has been around for about a century. Also, the 5.7 HEMI specifically has been in use for nearly two decades. Something is right if Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep are using this engine for that long. However, as with any engine it’s susceptible to a few common design flaws. The most significant being engine tick that may indicate lifter or lifter roller failure on the 345 HEMI. It’s a serious and expensive problem if it occurs. However, it’s likely blown somewhat out of proportion on the internet.
Otherwise, look out for frequent exhaust manifold bolt problems on the HEMI engine. It’s typically not a major issue, but it can be a headache since some experience it 2-3+ times. MDS may cause problems with longevity, but it’s mostly speculation at this point. Finally, 16 spark plugs leaves a lot of room for misfire problems due to old, worn plugs. Stay on top of maintenance and don’t over-look the basics.
Speaking of maintenance – do what you can to keep your 5.7 running well. Chances are, well maintained Chrysler 5.7L HEMI engines should last to 200,000+ miles. Problems will occur along the road to old age and high mileage. However, no engine is exempt from this general concept. Overall, the HEMI 5.7 is a reliable, powerful, and fun engine to drive.
What’s your experience with the 5.7L HEMI? Or are you in the market for one? Drop a comment and let us know.