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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I have a 2003 Dodge Stratus SE 2.7L with approximately 105,000 miles. It has always been an excellent vehicle! So the other day, I came out from work and to my dismay was greeted by a large puddle of antifreeze under the car. After a closer inspection I found that it was coming from the water pump weep holes, both of them, and then I knew exactly what the problem was. I had the car towed home to avoid any problems. So now I need to go about the business of having the internal water pump replaced. I don’t think there was any engine damage, as it sounds good with no ticking, and never overheated. I understand that kits are sold with all the parts including the pump, timing chain, timing chain guides, timing chain tensioners, cover gasket etc. So can anyone direct me to the best quality kit available…. (does MOPAR make one) I don’t want a cheep one made in China with plastic parts. lol. I’m not doing it myself, but plan to take it to the best engine mechanic I can find.

Also are there any additional parts that are recommended to be changed at the same time due to ease of access such as the oil pump or spark plugs (I heard the plugs had to be taken out to perform the procedure anyway). On that note, I do get an intermittent low oil pressure light occasionally (like once a month), but only at idle. As soon as any RPMs are added, it quickly goes out. I assume that it is just the sensor, but could the oil pump actually be weak as well. Also about how much $ am I looking at to get all this work done?



1,338 Posts
When I had my water pump replaced at 135,000 miles (04 Sebring), only the tensioner was replaced. The tech noted that the chain and guides all looked good and replacement was not necessary. Motor has 240,000 miles on it and no further issues other than started to use a bit of oil. Always used Mobil1.

As for plugs, you are at the 100,000 mile replacement mark, so yes. Since the plugs need to come out for the water pump work, maybe they won't tack on labor for a 'tuneup'.

It cost me $1400 at a dealer, (5-6 hours of labor mostly). If you go to another mechanic, ask how many 2.7l's they have done; you don't want to be the first one. Tech wanted to replace the thermostat but I declined and have not had a problem with it.

Your low oil pressure is very likely the sensor. Have it done at the same time as it is in the vicinity.

You can go to Rockauto and see what kits are available. I think you will find the mopar part costs there are in-line with the better after-market parts. There are also 5% discount codes available if you choose to go this route. Note that a number of mechanics will not let you provide the parts.

2,251 Posts
As a 2.7 fan I think Gerry G made some excellent points!

In my opinion, chains etc. normally don't need replacing.

In the past there were kits with mismatched parts causing havoc.

Good idea to replace the plugs or at least check the gap.

Make sure to use the pump with a regular gasket, not the early plate/gasket.


Hire someone who has done several and not a 2.7 hater. There are many!

Let him supply the pump he has had good success with in his experience.

Talk in person to the mechanic who will be doing the actual job.

Big shops and dealers often don't allow this.

There are more dud mechanics than dud 2.7's, no disrespect intended.


Blinking oil light at hot idle is common but rarely pump related.

Oil sending units often leak so its a good idea to replace it as well.

If blinking persists consider an increase in oil viscosity.

My 2001 Sebring sedan 2.7 is up to almost 350 K and still purrs.

I did the water pump and plugs at around 200 K as a precaution.

I kept the original chains and guides as they looked perfect.

I cleaned and reset the original chain tensioner but most will replace.

I've experimented with many oil brands, types and viscosities.

Thin oils can cause a flashing oil light at a hot idle.

Best of luck!!


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1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
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The chains are durable and hardened steel. The guides have softer nylon contact surfaces. If the guides are worn, replace them.
I dropped down the oil pan to check the bottom for debris. It had to come down anyway because when I removed the pump, some coolant spilled down into the pan.
Check PCV and breather hoses for soft-rot. They can suck flat under vacuum and not allow crankcase vapor flow after awhile. A lot of the reported sludge problems were because of this.
An oil pressure sender is cheap and easy enough to replace. If you have access to a mechanical pressure gauge, a pressure check at warm idle may offer some peace of mind.
Being a transverse-mounted engine makes accessibility more difficult than the longitudinal 2.7L LH/LX cars. Make room, support the engine, remove the passenger side motor mount and the right inner fender splash shield. A service manual offers good pictures and procedures.
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I would recommend letting the shop provide the parts that way you get a warranty with it. If it goes bad 100% on them. It is not an easy job and there are very few mechanics familiar with the 2.7.
If you can find an old chrysler tech who is familiar that would he the best route to go.
Good luck!
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