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Chrysler replacing cylinder heads on select Pentastar V6 powered models

After receiving hundreds of complaints about ticking, stalling, power loss and misfire conditions (thus check engine lights) in select vehicles powered by the popular 3.6L Pentastar V6, the Chrysler Group has begun replacing the cylinder heads on some problematic vehicles – with as many as 7,500 vehicle affected in the US.


According to Automotive News, the Chrysler Group believes that roughly one half of 1% of the vehicles sold in the US with the Pentastar V6 could have an unexplained cylinder head issue with the bank containing the #2 cylinder. This problem can reportedly cause a ticking noise that can escalate to misfire conditions that can cause stalling and a loss of power…although Chrysler points out that it does not render the vehicle inoperable.

It should be noted that this is not a recall but rather, owners of Pentastar powered Chrysler Group vehicles who are experiencing these issues can visit their local dealership where the cylinder heads will be replaced under warranty. The Chrysler Group began replacing the heads under warranty after a handful of complaints were filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pertaining to the new Pentastar powered Jeep Wrangler SUVs. Unfortunately for Chrysler, this problem isn’t specific to the open aired Jeep as select Dodge Journey, Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan models have also been found to exhibit this problem. A variation of the 3.6L Pentastar V6 is also used in the Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Chrysler 200 and the new Ram 1500 – although none of those vehicles have been mentioned in the statements involving the problematic Pentastar engines.

Chrysler first recognized this problem around six weeks ago, at which point they began manufacturing a replacement cylinder head that is “more robust” along with fitting all newly produced Pentastar engines with these beefier heads. Chrysler has not identified the exact cause of the problem or the specific issue with the cylinder head that is occurring but a company representative has explained that the problems are a culmination of a variety of factors including (but not limited to) the quality of gasoline and the driving situations. Based on that, it sounds like the Pentastar engines are experiencing early detonation that can cause a ticking noise and as time goes on – more problems could creep up due to the incorrect firing of the #2 cylinder. If someone was to put very low quality, low octane gasoline in their Pentastar vehicle and then run the vehicle hard in very hot conditions, there is a good chance that detonation could be the issue especially when the driver keeps running the same gasoline and driving hard. However, the Chrysler Group believes that the variables needed to experience these problems will prevent the problem from occurring in most Pentastar powered vehicles. That being said, running higher quality gasoline could prevent those Pentastar powered vehicles from running into the #2 cylinder issue.

The problem for Chrysler now is that cylinder heads are not something that a company typically builds in excess for mass replacements, like an oil filter or even a headlight lens. Because of that, there is a very high demand for these heartier cylinder heads which the company is having a hard time meeting which has forced some dealerships to hold onto customer vehicles while waiting for replacement parts – all the while having to pay for a rental car while the other is without their own vehicle.

In late July, a source stated that there were approximately 1,300 Chrysler Group vehicles sitting on dealership lots while they waited for the replacement cylinder heads with an average of 300 new vehicles arriving at dealerships each week. The average number of reported cylinder head issues has now increased to around 500 per week. Luckily, the Chrysler Group sent enough replacement cylinder heads to dealerships around the country to address some 3,000 vehicles but with as many as 7,500 vehicles affected around the country – those owners who have not experienced the problem thus far could be waiting for parts once they do.

Source: Automotive News

Patrick Rall is a professional writer and photographer with a passion for all things automotive. Patrick has been sharing his automotive expertise in automotive journalism from Detroit for more than a decade covering the Big Three. Having grown up in his father’s performance shop, he spent extensive time at the oval track and drag strip – both driving and wrenching on various types of vehicles. In addition to working as a writer, Patrick previously worked as an automotive technician before moving on to a business office position with a chain of dealerships, and this broad spectrum of experience in the industry allows him to offer a unique look on the automotive world. Follow Patrick on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.


Charlie (not verified)    October 31, 2012 - 8:22PM

Noticed ticking when I bought my 2012 Wrangler Sahara. 7500 miles later came the check engine light with the CYL #2 misfire that won't clear. At 1000 miles it occurred, but cleared at next restart.

Roy (not verified)    November 18, 2012 - 12:49PM

In reply to by Charlie (not verified)

The left head on the 3.6 pentastar motor had the cooling passages drilled too small, cylinder 2,4 and 6 misfires are common due to the exhaust valves burning. It is a fairly simple fix and we can usually turn them around in a day or two. This issue is also full line up wide, I personally have seen this misfire on caravan/town and country platform, wrangler, grand Cherokee/ dodge durango platform, and 200/avenger platform.

Melissa (not verified)    March 4, 2013 - 3:12AM

I have a 2011 Dodge Durango, pentstar, bought new on Jan 27,2011. late Oct 2012, it started making a ticking sound, I called the dealership and would try explaining the problem, I was asked to bring it in, so I did, multiple times, but no one could find anything wrong. Thursday February 28,2013, it did the ticking noise again, it sounds like its starting and shuts itself off,(this time I video recored it with my phone) and now the seat belt/airbag light is also on. called Dodge and was able to get in first thing in morning, but not before experiencing issues, 3 more times before the morning of March 1,2013. The last time as I was on the phone with a tow truck company, it started. Once at the Dodge dealership where I purchased the vehicle,it was originally thought to be a starter issue, later, i was contacted and informed that Chrysler had been contacted to seek further information,however Chrysler was stumped and didn't have an answer at that time, as soon as new information was learned,I would be contacted. Has anyone else had a problem like this?

Kassie (not verified)    January 13, 2019 - 1:37PM

In reply to by Dominick (not verified)

I have had this problem. My #2 cylinder was misfiring and it had to replaced. I covered the repairs but does anyone know if you can get reimbursed for this? I had 3 recalls on my car and the dealership that fixed the cylinder said I needed to have dodge do the recalls because the problem was not fixed all the way.

Debby (not verified)    November 24, 2013 - 8:39PM

My 2011 Durango had to have the cylinder head replaced which seems to be a known problem with the Penstar engine. I had it replaced ever since my gas mileage has went down by 3 miles per gallon at minimum has anybody had the same gas mileage problem since having the cylinder head replaced on a penstar engine?

Danny (not verified)    February 5, 2015 - 10:51AM

In reply to by Debby (not verified)

The reason it went down is because the new cylinder head is a bigger cylinder than the old one so it uses more fuel, the reason the old one had problems is because the cooling tube was drilled to small of a diameter

linda (not verified)    December 11, 2013 - 5:32PM

I have a 2012 Durango. 27,000 miles and my engine light came on then went out. One week later, it came back on. Took it to the dealer since there was no messages on the panel and they advised it was the cylinder head. They happened to have one in stock and it should be done shortly.

Pat (not verified)    December 14, 2013 - 11:22PM

I bought a low mileage 2012 dodge charger I travel a lot and now have 45,000 miles on my pride and joy . I've noticed a ticking when I start it up on a cool morning and when I take off before the car is fully heated up it gets much louder but when car is at full running temp you can hardly hear it run as its always been. I called the dealer where I bought my car and now they are telling me it may be a while before its fixed and are trying to put me in a different car. I fully understand the issue and why one would want to get away from this powertrain but in my eyes this problem is the motor itself not the car it's in therefore if I was to transfer over into a challenger or another charger or jeep etc would I not have exactly the same issue eventually? The only cure I see is to either get a car that's already got updated heads or go to a 5.7 hemi or bigger in my particular situation .

David Gonzalez (not verified)    December 16, 2013 - 11:14PM

In reply to by Pat (not verified)

I too have a 2008 dodge charger 5.7 liter 110000 miles one day engine light turn on then it turned off the next day. I drive it for week then it wouldn't start towed it too my mechanic he diagnos it cylinder head came up. he took off one of the cylinder heads and said the vavle seats had Fallin and hit the piston now I have too buy an new engine!!!! I will never buy an dodge again.

Terrencehealy (not verified)    May 5, 2015 - 2:07AM

In reply to by David Gonzalez (not verified)

Normally the 5.7 Liters will last a long time, someone had to run the living piss out of that for it to suck a valve, any teen agers got access to your car or have you loaned it to anyone??

jamie faulk (not verified)    August 12, 2019 - 3:40PM

In reply to by Terrencehealy (not verified)

it doesn't suck up the valve. The valve seat falls out. Just like the fords. I have replace plenty Chrysler and ford motors for the same reason. Key note to this. When 5the valve seat breaks, it goes everywhere. MAKE SURE U CHANGE THE INTAKE.. Hot metal sticks to the plastic intake, till it gets hot again. Then the pieces move about and hurt the new motor.

Debby (not verified)    December 17, 2013 - 2:31PM

Our Durango had a cylinder head go bad and is now since replacement not getting as good of gas mileage down by minimum 3 miles per gallon.

Kevin (not verified)    May 17, 2014 - 6:19PM

I recently purchased a new 2014 Jeep Rubicon X with the Pentstar motor. With only 5000 miles on it the check engine light has come on several times so I decided to check the code and it was for "Cylinder 3 miss-fire". Is anyone aware if this cylinder head issue has not been corrected on the 2014 Pentstar engines? I find it hard to believe, after reading these posts, that Dodge has not fitted the newer engines with this up-graded cylinder head. Any information would be helpful so I'm prepared to deal with the Jeep service dept. Thanks!!!

hiendtime (not verified)    May 20, 2014 - 10:44PM

In reply to by Kevin (not verified)

My 2014 Rubicon started ticking at 3000 miles. 2 days later the the check engine light came on and the engine was running rough. I put my code reader on it and got the cylinder 2 misfire message. 2 hrs later it was flatbedded to the dealer where it is now sitting and undergoing "diagnosis". The last update was the dealer was consulting with Chrysler dealerconnect to identify the problem. What bs. After all the posts I've now seen online I'm sure they know what it is. They're in for a surprise if they think I'm going to agree to a cylinder head replacement on a $42k Rubicon with 3k miles. I had a 2012 wrangler sport that would pop the check engine light during the winter for the coolant not reaching temperature. They never got it to go away which I why I bought the reader to clear it. No cylinder issues though after 30k+ miles. This is my 5th wrangler, 3rd Rubicon. The TJ Rubicon with the 4.0 had the best engine but the 4 speed auto tranny was dreadful. The 3.6 in my last Rubicon was horrible. Now with the cylinder problem on my 2014 I'm thinking its time to move on from Chrysler. Shame on them for not addressing the pentastar issue once and for all. Whats more appalling is they're putting this pos engine in more and more vehicles.

andrew dempster (not verified)    July 10, 2016 - 9:51AM

In reply to by hiendtime (not verified)

Hello hiendtime, I enjoyed reading you post, sounds so much like our selves. after many years with short wheelbase Pajero shogun 4x4s (3) over 14 years & and a bloddy good run out of all of them i might add. we thought it was time to get a new 4x4 so we bought a 4 month old wrangler sport @9000ks 2009 with the 3.8l V6. 5 years & 50000 trouble free ks later our needs had changed and my wife said we really need a 4 door car. I have allways been a Ford man Generally. My wife liked the new Chrysler 300c over the Ford Falcon & Teritory. So i found a nov 2014 300s with 14500ks on the clock with the balance of new car warranty. We purchased in Feb 2016 and thats when the Fun started. i dont think we have done 2000 ks in it yet as we have had it in the shop more than half of that time. check engine light, missfire on no 5, dropping cylinder 5 at idle more so when cold.. We have had a loan car for the last month with driving restructions etc I have had a good run out of all the ford F100s F150s so i think it might be time to put the missis in a New Ford Rapture?? Rather then go for the 6.2 300hemi. I have been in the Marine business for 35 years and i should have figered as the Chrysler outboards were crap back in the 70s, I cut my teeth on all the early fuel injection systems EFI, Ficht,Mercruiser MPI & Opti Max & DFI etc so when the young service manager tryed to string me along i drew the system infront of him and said please explain? O2 sensor or Map sensor ? which 1 is setting it off?? Any way they are now going to change the Cylhead. Not sure i want a car that will robibley have oil leaks etc 3 months out of warranty. That POS engine makes the Ford look good ?? sort of. all the best.

Kevin (not verified)    July 17, 2014 - 10:35AM

In reply to by Kevin (not verified)

Regarding my issue with my 2014 Rubicon and #3 Cylinder misfire. It ended up being a broken spark plug installed at the factory.... It's been a champ ever since (10.0000 miles) In fact, I put a Super Chips tune on the motor setting it on performance 93 octane, since I only use premium, and it seems MUCH happier. Made a dramatic difference with gas mileage too. I wouldn't believe it unless I experienced it personally but these Super Chips box's do what they say...... So far so good!!!

Tom (not verified)    July 17, 2016 - 3:59PM

In reply to by Kevin (not verified)

Kevin...thanks for your July 2014 comments. I too have had several jeeps, currently 2015 GC Overland and a 2012 Rubicon w/ 16k miles, a real find. I just bought a Super chips Trail dash2, and was wondering if you could clarify your comment about your change in mpg...question - did it improve or worsen? Thank you in advance...tom

Charles (not verified)    June 1, 2014 - 7:29PM

I just bought 2014 challenger I noticed a miss and a ticking noise on driver side head at around 100 miles if you buy one take it back and theyll replace the heads with a new better set. The heads are made to small .

Jason (not verified)    July 17, 2014 - 1:27AM

2014 rubicon X. Head failure at 10000miles. How are they still having this issue. What happened to taking price it what you produce.

creeper (not verified)    July 20, 2014 - 7:32AM

I have a 2011 Challenger with the 3.6 engine. Experiencing no problems so far. Yesterday I received a notice from Dodge that they are extending the warranty on the left cyilinder head for a full ten years. Interesting way of dealing with the situation and avoiding a full recall.

wayne (not verified)    July 23, 2014 - 6:56PM

I purchased a 2014 Dodge Journey RT with 3.6 L engine recently I have noticed an engine clatters and whining sounds coming from the engine compartment on first start ups. Once the engine warms up the noise goes away. I have contacted the dealer who advises that the noise on these engines is the NORM. I have 9800 kms on this engine, changed oil 3 times and now using Mobile 1, 5-20 oil the noise is still there sounds like a worn out engine not like a new engine.

disapointted (not verified)    July 30, 2014 - 4:39PM

chrysler !!!!!!??????!!!!!!!!....has your enginerring dept gone and P>ssed off some engine builder somewhere....i ain,t talking about just these 3.6 six bangers either !!!...every since "02"...just about every power plant you have installed in just about every thing you guys have produced.....has some sort of h.lf .ss excuse for why it,s not reliable...why isn,t it????....what changed? was always the stalwalt and par excellence of good cars and trucks for many many years...the vehicles and all inside them are good and durable...just the engines arn,t worth a d.m !!!!!...i,ve seen the inside of them...connecting rods....bearing journals... block design....where you getting this sh.t ??!!... YOU GUYS KNOW BETTER !!!!!!! folks got big decisions to make !!!!...your factories.....or theirs which is it gonna be??? claims and exchange....or the people that chrysler once served so well!!!...i figure from the time these troubles have created about 700000 tons of aluminum...every last pound evidently wasted for exchange...leaving your customer in the lurch for about the same trade...pot metal or beer cans!!!!! either way...YOUR bond holders ain,t happy you guy,s are better than this.... start acting like it !!!! : \

Dave (not verified)    November 19, 2014 - 5:01AM

In reply to by disapointted (not verified)

I bought a 2012 Charger SXT. My first new car. I didn't want to spend all my spare time under the hood of an old junk. As soon as the Charger hit 36,000 miles I got check engine lights and codes for anti lock brakes, road suspension, and evap leaks. It's like they timed it perfect. I drive the car gently. I also got the letter extending the warranty to 10 years on the head. The Pentastar is assembled in Mexico and they screwed up the valve guides. Needless to say I'm pretty disappointed in Chrysler. A really nice looking car without the internals to match.