Dodge 5.7 HEMI Engine Problems: The 4 Most Common Issues

Dodge 5.7 HEMI Common Problems

The Dodge 5.7L HEMI engine is also referred to as the 345 HEMI due to its displacement of 345 cubic inches. It’s a long-running pushrod engine that made its debut in the 2003 Dodge Ram with 345 horsepower.

The 5.7 HEMI engine remains largely unchanged today, but it has been updated to increase power and fuel efficiency.

In general, it’s a dependable engine with strong performance and a pleasant sound. However, no engine is perfect, and the 345 HEMI is no exception. This post discusses a few of the more common failures associated with the Chrysler 5.7L V8 HEMI.

HEMI 5.7L Info

As previously stated, the Chrysler 5.7 engine received several updates over the course of its long life. We believe it is necessary to lay out this information because certain updates are pertinent to this post about common problems. Prior to that, let’s take a look at the various cars and trucks equipped with 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-liter HEMI engine is deserving of respect for nearly two decades of powering a long list of popular cars and trucks. That, in our opinion, demonstrates the engine’s enormous success. It’s easy to paint a bleak picture when discussing common engine problems.

As such, we believe it is critical to remind ourselves and our readers that all great engines have issues. If the 345 HEMI was a subpar engine, it’s unlikely Chrysler and Dodge would keep it in their flagship vehicles for so long.

345 HEMI Update (5.7 Eagle)

The 5.7L engine underwent a revision in 2009 to improve emissions, fuel economy, and performance. The engine has been renamed the 5.7 Eagle. Several notable updates to the 5.7 HEMI include the following:

  • Variable camshaft timing
  • Cylinder head
  • Intake manifolds
  • Multi-displacement system (MDS)

Chrysler refers to variable valve timing as variable camshaft timing. This enables the engine to advance or retard cam timing for optimal performance across a broad range of RPMs. Additionally, the 5.7 HEMI cylinder head is reworked to increase flow.

Additionally, the intake manifolds are updated. However, the 5.7 Eagle employs a variety of manifold designs across its various models. Finally, Chrysler equipped the 345 HEMI with a multi-displacement system.

This enables the engine to turn off four cylinders in certain circumstances, thereby improving fuel economy and emissions.

Overall, these were solid updates. However, as with any new technology, there are always kinks to iron out. A few of the updates may increase the likelihood of certain problems on the 5.7L Eagle. We’ll go into greater detail about this as we go through each of the common issues below.

4 Common HEMI 5.7 Problems

Dodge 5.7 HEMI Engine

The following are four of the most common 5.7 HEMI problems, in no particular order:

  • Engine Tick
  • Exhaust Manifold Bolts
  • Multi-Displacement System (MDS)
  • Misfires

Prior to delving into each of these common flaws in detail, a few additional general notes. Simply because we refer to these issues as “common” does not mean that they will affect every 5.7. Additionally, engines are susceptible to potential problems that we will not discuss.

Earlier HEMI engines are becoming obsolete, and a variety of issues become acceptable on these older, high-mileage engines. With that in mind, let us turn our attention to the issues raised previously.

1) 5.7L HEMI Engine Tick Problems

Spoiler alert – this can occasionally be connected to other common issues. We’re using a broad brush to describe the 5.7L engine ticking issues. Ticking on the 345 HEMI is an intriguing topic for a variety of reasons.

According to some, ticking is normal and has no effect on longevity or performance. However, other 5.7L HEMI owners have had to replace their entire engine due to engine ticks. What are some of the more frequent causes of 5.7 HEMI ticking?

  • Faulty lifters
  • Seized lifter roller
  • Exhaust manifold bolt failure

Our primary focus is on faulty lifters and seized lifter rollers. This appears to be the most frequently occurring and serious cause of the Chrysler 345 HEMI engine ticking. Additionally, it appears to be more prevalent on models manufactured after 2009, leading some to believe the multi-displacement system is to blame. It makes sense.

Finally, the issue is likely to boil down to insufficient oil flow to the lifter rollers, resulting in seizure. The lifter then makes contact with the camshaft lobes, producing the ticking sound. As a result of the metal on metal contact, shavings form in the oil. If discovered early enough, the oil filter should capture the majority of shavings and prevent further damage.

However, if the engine is left running for an extended period of time, serious engine damage may occur. That is in addition to the fact that the 5.7L HEMI camshaft will eventually require replacement.

The cost of the parts and labor for that job can be nearly as much as the cost of a remanufactured engine. This is a fairly serious matter. However, the scope of the issues has almost certainly been exaggerated, as the internet frequently does with major engine failures.

HEMI 5.7 Lifter Roller Symptoms

Several symptoms of a failed lifter roller include the following:

  • Ticking
  • Misfires
  • Check engine light

Unfortunately, lifter roller issues on the 5.7 HEMI are notoriously difficult to diagnose. Many people only hear ticking sounds and have no other symptoms. However, if the problems are severe enough or left alone for an extended period of time, you may notice misfires or a check engine light.

If you are unlucky enough to encounter this failure, it is most likely to occur above 100,000 miles. However, occasionally, the problem occurs during the 60,000-mile powertrain warranty period. To learn more about the lifter roller issues, the following video is an excellent resource:

2) 5.7 HEMI Broken Exhaust Manifold Bolts

If we had to pick the most frequently encountered issue with the 5.7L HEMI, we’d say broken exhaust manifold bolts. Several users report encountering this issue multiple times. Often, the rear passenger side manifold bolt is the first to fail.

Many believe this is the engine’s and manifold’s hottest part, which explains why the rear bolts fail first. The theory is that the manifold warps toward the rear, resulting in bolt failures. There is not much else to say about this fault with the 5.7 HEMI.

However, one intriguing discussion point brings us back to the engine tick. Some 345 HEMI ticks may be caused by broken manifold mounting bolts. Of course, the ticking we discussed previously has a different failure point.

If, however, your Chrysler 5.7 engine is ticking, begin by checking the exhaust manifold bolts. It’s a more common type of failure and a much simpler and less expensive fix. Everything is positive. It is still a problem – albeit a minor one.

5.7L HEMI Exhaust Manifold Bolt Failure Symptoms

The ticking noise is the primary symptom of broken exhaust manifold bolts. On the HEMI 345, broken manifold bolts result in an exhaust leak. If the situation is severe enough, you may notice a loss of power.

5.7 HEMI Exhaust Manifold Bolt Replacement

Many appear to fail even during the warranty period, so any initial failures should be repaired at no charge by the dealership. Otherwise, you may be responsible for the repair on your own. Access to the manifold is not difficult for the do-it-yourself crowd. However, depending on the nature of the bolt failure, removing the failed bolt may require some effort and ingenuity.

While you’re in there, it probably makes sense to replace all of the bolts. This can cost around $100 in parts. To avoid warping, some opt for an aftermarket exhaust manifold. Ultimately, if the manifold is warped, it will continue to cause premature bolt failures.

3) 5.7 HEMI Multi-Displacement System (MDS) Issues

We’ll move quickly through this discussion and the misfires that will follow. When cruising, the 5.7 Eagle HEMI engine (2009+ update) shuts down four of the cylinders via multi-displacement technology. It’s an excellent way to reduce emissions and increase fuel economy. On the surface, MDS appears to be normal.

The large 5.7 liter displacement provides ample power when required or desired. When you do not, however, the engine is more efficient. That sounds reasonable to us. Additionally, the 5.7 HEMI’s MDS can be deactivated manually. Even better for those who are uninvolved.

Nevertheless, some owners have expressed concern about the MDS on their 345 HEMI engines. At times, the system appears to have moments when engine operation feels unnatural. Additionally, the effect of cylinder deactivation on the 5.7 HEMI’s longevity is debatable. Because the technology is still in its infancy, only time will tell.

There is speculation that the multi-displacement system contributes to lifter roller failures. The combustion process generates heat, but when certain cylinders are shut down, the engine runs cooler. Constant temperature changes can be detrimental to metal.

The 5.7L HEMI always shuts down the same four cylinders. Concerns about longevity are reasonable in this context. We’re not going to get too technical, as there are numerous details. This is a subject we’ll likely address in greater detail in a subsequent post.

5.7L HEMI MDS Issues are Speculation

There are no issues that can be directly attributed to the multiple displacement system. However, certain engineering concepts suggest that MDS may have a detrimental effect on longevity. When the temperature is too low, spark plugs can quickly foul. When cylinders are too cold, lubrication may be insufficient. It’s a lengthy list of possible consequences.

Again, this will most likely be addressed in a separate post. For the time being, we’ll conclude with one final observation: While 5.7 HEMI MDS is an excellent concept in theory, there are numerous unknowns that will require time to resolve. As such, it should not be a major concern at the outset, but it is worth considering.

4) 5.7L HEMI Misfires

Okay, for real, we’re going to speed up this section. Misfires are not a sufficiently common occurrence to qualify as a common problem. Typically, misfires are the result of other faults, such as lifter roller failure. As such, it is a symptom rather than a problem in those instances. Nonetheless, routine maintenance items can result in misfires as well.

The 5.7L HEMI spark plugs are our primary focus here. It is equipped with sixteen spark plugs. Yes, that is correct – the HEMI contains sixteen spark plugs. It creates a lot of opportunity for misfires to occur as a result of old, worn spark plugs.

Again, there are a plethora of other possible causes of misfires. Ignition coils, faulty injectors, and internal components such as lifter rollers, among others. However, spark plugs are a relatively minor item of maintenance that is frequently overlooked.

We are occasionally guilty of this. “No, sir. Please do not let there be a misfire. What rule did I violate this time?” Frequently, we simply forget that the spark plugs are a little older than we thought.

16 spark plugs is quite a number. It only takes one spark plug that wears out prematurely or fails to generate a misfire code. While spark plug failures are uncommon on the 5.7 HEMI, they should be replaced every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. Do not overlook spark plugs, as they are a necessary component of basic maintenance that can result in annoying issues such as misfires.

5.7 HEMI Reliability

Is the 5.7 HEMI engine dependable? In general, the 5.7L HEMI engine is a strong and dependable performer. Certainly, it is not the most reliable engine on the planet. Additionally, it is light years ahead of the least reliable. There’s a reason the Chrysler 5.7L has been powering some of the world’s most prestigious automobiles for nearly two decades.

It’s a reliable engine that people appreciate. While issues can and do occur, do not hold this against the engine. All engines have issues, but this is especially true for high performance engines. Camshaft issues are the most concerning on the list, but are most likely exaggerated. It is still a significant issue that should be addressed.

5.7 HEMI Reliability

Having said that, 345 HEMI reliability is determined by a number of factors. One of the aspects that we can actively control is maintenance. Maintain the 5.7L HEMI’s basic maintenance items, most notably timely oil changes.

Otherwise, some of it is simply luck of the draw. There are numerous other variables to consider, such as how hard you push the engine and the conditions in which the engine operates.

Let us not stray too far from the subject. We’ll conclude with a few concluding remarks. Again, the Chrysler 5.7 HEMI engine is quite dependable. At some point during the engine’s life, problems can and will occur.

However, this is a risk inherent in all engines, and the best we can do is keep them in good condition. If properly maintained, the 5.7L HEMI should have a lifespan of well over 200,000 miles. Though occasionally, even with well-maintained HEMI’s, people have unlucky, fluky experiences.

5.7 HEMI Common Problems Summary

To avoid being too repetitive, the HEMI 5.7L engine is quite impressive. The pushrod design is well-established and has existed for nearly a century. Additionally, the 5.7 HEMI has been in use for nearly two decades. If Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep have been using this engine for that long, something must be right.

As with any engine, however, it is prone to a few common design flaws. The most concerning is engine tick, which could indicate lifter or lifter roller failure on the 345 HEMI. If this occurs, it is a serious and costly problem. However, it’s likely been exaggerated somewhat on the internet.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for HEMI engine exhaust manifold bolt problems. It’s usually not a major issue, but it can be a pain if you experience it three or more times.

MDS may be associated with problems with longevity, but this is purely conjecture at the moment. Finally, sixteen spark plugs leaves plenty of room for misfires caused by worn or old plugs. Keep up with routine maintenance and don’t overlook the essentials.

Speaking of maintenance, do everything possible to keep your 5.7 in good condition. The chances are that well-maintained Chrysler 5.7L HEMI engines will reach 200,000 miles or more. Along the path to old age and high mileage, difficulties will arise.

However, no engine is immune to this overarching concept. In general, the HEMI 5.7 engine is a dependable, powerful, and enjoyable engine to drive.

What are your thoughts on the 5.7L HEMI? Or are you considering purchasing one? Leave a comment and inform us.

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