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Pentastar head issue in depth

by David Zatz on

Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette has published a definitive article on Pentastar engine failures, following Allpar’s reporting of the issue in June.

Allpar.com had broken the story on June 25th, 2012, but did not get an official reaction from Chrysler or more details on the story. The problem affected a small proportion of Pentastar V-6 engines, and did not leave customers stranded; when the check engine light activated and customers took their cars to the dealer, they were given loaners, in some cases for weeks, while Chrysler researched the problem and developed a stronger head. The heads were immediately used on new Pentastar V6 engines, with service parts being run in bursts between regular production.

According to Vellequette’s story, over 1,300 vehicles were affected at one point; around 500 new cases are developing each week. The problem appears to affect around 1% f the engines made, and results in a ticking sound, with stalling in some cases, along with illumination of the check engine light. Chrysler blamed the issue on “an unusual combination of factors,” including low quality fuel.

Chrysler does not appear to have run a large number of replacement heads for cars at dealerships until contacted by Automotive News.

Quoted in the article, Chrysler’s head of engineering, Bob Lee, said that excessive heat was not an issue; the Pentastar is unusual in that the exhaust has a single outlet from the heads before reaching the exhaust manifold. The new heads are now used on all Pentastar engines.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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