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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been chasing a stall problem that was somewhat intermittant that has become an almost daily occurence. Vehicle is a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT QC SB 5.7L Hemi MDS 545RFE 4x2 3.55 gears 137K miles.

Changed most of the plugs (12 of 16) last Sunday. Will do the remaing 4 (the toughest to access) this Saturday. See the Spark Plug thread in the Ram forum (http://www.allpar.com/forums/topic/139430-spark-plugs/).

Thought that might cure the stalling problem which usually only happens on cool/cold mornings. It'll stall or nearly stall at the first stop within a mile or so of the house. Refires with no problems. Could actually feel the engine stumble as I slow to a stop. Changing the plugs made no difference. Even though the CEL was not on, I stopped at Advance Auto last night to have them check for any fault codes that may be stored, but not triggering the CEL. I was inclined to think the EGR was going bad (replaced at 83K).

Imagine my surprise when the code reader found this:

P1521 - Incorrect engine oil.

As I had the last oil change done by the local Firestone shop, I checked the service invoice and it says they used 5W-20 which is the recommended weight for the Hemi with MDS. Hmmmmmm...... The more I thought about it, the stalling became more prevalent after the last oil change and has become progressively worse with the cooler weather (ambient temps around 40*F in the morning now).

Since an oil change was due (last done at 133K and the truck has 137K now). Put in Castrol 5W-20 (7 qts) and a Purolator filter. First time in a long time I did an oil change after dark (yes, I do have work lights). Maybe it was just me, but the engine sounded smoother after the change and guess what - it did not stall this morning!

So that brings to mind - what was wrong?

1) Did Firestone use the wrong weight oil (10W-30) even though the service invoice indicates 5W-20?
2) Oil pressure sensor going bad (the gauge has been normal as far as I can tell)?
3) Anti-drain valve in the filter failed?
4) Just a quirk?

I'm inclined to send a sample of the oil to a tester to verify it was the proper grade- if that indeed can be tested for(?). If not, I'm going to have a talk with the Firestone manager.

I know the proper grade is critical for the MDS (Multiple Displacement Service) to operate correctly so I generally do oil changes myself or at the dealer. I've never seen this code come up before nor did I have stalling issues like this (EGR issue aside) - it did not stall everyday when the EGR was bad (P0406) though it did eventually set the CEL.

Googling the web I found a P1521 could be two different issues depending on the vehicle:

1) Incorrect Engine oil or
2) Transmission Engaged at High Throttle Angle
Get more discussion results


Thoughts anyone?
 

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Good to hear the stall did quit, newer engines are much more sensitive to fluids than they used to be. Heck, story of a guy on here that had a noisy 8.75 rear end and he stuffed it with, of all things, BANANAS and it quieted down. All the stories of the ATF+4 fluids and transmission problems, hey, it does happen. It won't be the last time someone else doing a maintenance job inadvertently chose the wrong hose with the wrong oil. You were near time to change the oil, and I really don't think it was intended or done to harm anything, and I doubt it really harmed the engine or anything like that. I guess it is a learning experience that when the oil says 5W-20, even though it sounds thin, best to use it.

I hate to admit it, but that is so neat that there is a sensor, and a error code, that can tell you there is a problem with the thickness of the oil. Think about it.

Glad she is OK now.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #3
Since I'm well out of warranty I hadn't really planned on changing the oil quite yet. I was aiming to go about 5K minimum. Don't know if it was just because it was dark out, but the old oil seemed awful dark. Was probably just me. Supposedly Firestone used Castrol Semi-Synthetic.

FWIW - the oil I drained out did seem "thicker", but again this was after sunset and I'm working with two work lights in the driveway. It's probably an honest mistake. I know these chain shops tend to buy oil in bulk and habits being what they are, things do happen. It shouldn't but it does.

At first I was quite pissed, but I settled down and it's not in my nature to accuse a business of making a mistake unless I can show reasonable proof they did.

It's water under the bridge now, but when the pinion bearings failed almost 50K miles ago, I should have gone back to the dealer as they were the ones who had repaired the pinion seal when it developed a leak at ~40K (had gear oil splattered on the fuel tank and all over the tailgate). The tech who repaired the pinion seal evidently did not torque the preload for the pinion nut properly. Local garage found the outer bearing riding on the edge of the race so it was evident it had not been torqued down properly. Not realizing it until much later but I should have taken the failed bearing and showed the dealer, but I doubt they would have compensated me at all (DCX was still in control). They only warrant their work for 12M/12K and it had been 40K miles since the pinion seal had been repaired. Live and learn.

I'll be more comfortable once several mornings with no stalls occur.

On a positive note, my fuel mileage seems to have improved by 0.5-1.0 mpg since the plugs were changed. Will take a few tanks to confirm. The overhead display is showing ~19.2 mpg (keep in mind it is usually 1.5 mpg optimistic compared to my fuel log) whereas prior to the plug change it was down around 18.3-18.8 mpg. My real fuel mileage has gone from ~16.8 to ~17.7 mpg.

As far as the sensor goes - I don't think it can "sense" the oil weight but it can tell when the oil pressure is "out of range". A heavier oil would exert more pressure, I think. At least that's what I read in my brief research.
 

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Agree on all accounts.
 

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P1521-INCORRECT ENGINE OIL TYPE
Theory of Operation
(Refer to 09 - Engine - Description) for information regarding engine oil.

When Monitored:
Engine Running.

Set Condition:
Using the oil pressure, oil temperature and other vital engine inputs the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) can determine the engine oil viscosity. Incorrect viscosity will effect the operation of the MDS by delaying cylinder activation .


Possible Causes
INCORRECT ENGINE OIL TYPE
ENGINE OIL CONTAMINATION
ENGINE OIL
 

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That's exactly why I don't trust other folks to work on my cars, Doug. I'm only 55 years old, but I'll be like my Dad was and work on my own stuff as long as I can get up and down. I do all of my own work, it just takes me longer nowadays since I've had two brain surgeries and have two ruptured discs in my back.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #7
That's exactly why I don't trust other folks to work on my cars, Doug. I'm only 55 years old, but I'll be like my Dad was and work on my own stuff as long as I can get up and down. I do all of my own work, it just takes me longer nowadays since I've had two brain surgeries and have two ruptured discs in my back.
I hear ya. Like I posted when it comes to oil changes I either do it myself or go to the dealer (normally). I just happen to have a coupon from Firestone for $10 off ar that time. I've used this shop before for new tires and alignments. They wanted $100 more than the dealer to replace the LF hub (bad bearing) so I ended taking it to the dealer.

Some history - as part of the sales deal when I bought the Ram, the dealer paid for the first 3 years of oil changes so I more or less was in the habit of going there. Now they have a pretty good deal - $70 for 5 standard oil changes (Hemi extra). Hard to beat $14 for an oil change - even doing it yourself. I think the oil change package (5 changes) for the Hemi is $5 more so about $20 for my Ram. That's $10 cheaper than what I paid for 7 qts and a filter at Advance - though I am sending in for a $7 rebates so the net cost is $23. FWIW - my dealer (Safford of Fredericksburg) has a pretty good service dept - on normal maintenance (oil changes, brakes) their prices are quite competitive. And since I've more or less been a loyal customer, they have discounted some of the major repairs I've needed done at times.

Trust me - I know about doing it yourself and making sure it gets done correctly. But sometimes I just don't have the time so I pay about the same and take it to the dealer. Give me more time to spend with my granddaughter. :thumbsup:

Now to be fair, I'm not completely positive Firestone used the wrong oil, but it sure does look that way. I may have the oil tested, but it's $25 to have it tested at a lab. That's $25 I really don't have - funds are tight right now.

PS - I turned 50 last week........... :scared:
 

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I quit taking my PT Cruiser to the dealership for oil changes after they put the oil plug on with a torque wrench and stripped the head. Next time I had the oil changed, had to take a chisel to the head of the bolt and replace it, three times later had to put an oversize self-tapping bolt in because the threads quit holding. No, dealer doesn't change my oil any more, and this wasn't the first incident, they did the same thing to my Dakota back in '89.
 

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In the quick oil change world, bulk oil is dispensed into jugs. There are mix-ups and chaos when the shop is busy. So many different cars with different oil requirements. The drain plug goes back in before the engine oil has 'fully' drained to a drip-stage. Many times these guys are on commission to recommend other services as well.
I also don't believe that you can trust them to use ATF+4, if it looks red, it's ATF.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #10
When I do an oil change, I let the oil drip for several minutes before I reinstall the drain plug. Sometimes I get a cup of coffee while I wait for it to drain.

The only shop I trust to use the correct transmission fluid is the dealer. Many of the independent shops want to use their "universal" fluid (Dexron in disguise). They usually back off when I tell them, "only if you want to pay for installing a new transmission."

Dana - I've never used a torque wrench to install a drain plug. Just snug it on tight and it's good to go.

I resolved never to use a "quick-lube" shop after I noticed a car nose down into the "pit" at a local Jiffy-Lube. Believe it or not, their "Signature Service" is probably more expensive than the dealer.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #11
Arrrgh! Stalled this morning.

Foggy morning with ambient temps around 43*F. Started fine and I let idle for about 5 minutes while I got my stuff together and a mug of coffee for the commute to work. It's a 1/2 mile out of the development with a couple of stop signs - no problems. Had to slow to a near stop to get on the major N/S hwy heading to work. Needed fuel (down to 1/2 tank) so I get in the left turn lane to turn into the station (the store is on the corner of a intersection controlled by a signal about 2 miles from the house). As I slow to a stop (and I'm nearly stopped) she cuts out. Restarts with no problems. Engine is not quite up to operating temp as I recall - maybe 1/4 on the guage - once up to normal operating temp the gauge is a needle with under half.

Fuel up and check air pressures (tires were down to 35 psi and I usually run at 38 lbs). Drive to work is uneventful. When I do have to stop at a light, it does not stall. In drive it idles at 500 rpm.

Gauges all appear to be normal. Battery in good range (slightly over middle), oil pressure gauge is normal. Temp normal. Fuel tank full. First tank since the plug change yielded 17.4 mpg (260.5 miles / 14.978 gallons). Yes, I am using the recommended 89 octane.

Here's my thoughts. Saturday I plan on changing the remaining 4 plugs that need to be changed still. Plan on a lot of cussing...... Might pull the EGR off and check for any carbon build up.

If it still stalls, I would think it might be somewhat fuel related. I've read where the throttle body can get just dirty enough to cause issues. My understanding is there is a sensor that can get dirty. Was thinking of having the dealership perform a fuel cleaning service (about $100). Does that make sense? I really don't have a lot of extra money to through at this. If that doesn't solve it, I'm not sure which way to proceed.
 

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did the code come back?
You could try to give the tb a good soak with carbcleaner, or spray the stuff into all holes you can find on it.
Start the engine and do it once again with the engine running, be aware that the last thing may throw a code or two but they
dissapear after awhile (like 3 starts or so)
 

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Try a bottle of techron instead of the fuel cleaning service. If that doesn't help, the throttle body can be cleaned with carb cleaner and a rag. even if you have to dismantle it and do new gaskets, you're still going to be under $100. Don't just spray it everywhere, you could do serious damage to those sensors. It's not a tough job though.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #14
FYI - I dumped a 20 oz bottle of Techron about a month ago.

I'm inclined to think the EGR is going out again. The last time the EGR failed (around 83K) it took a while(like 10K miles) before it failed bad enough (P0406 code as I recall) to trigger the CEL. And I recall having similar stall issues just prior to that. And at that time it was a dealer only item ($77-$95 depending on the dealer), but now Advance and AZ carry them for about $40. At the time the parts guy commented that the Hemi seems to eat EGR's as they were replacing quite a few - usually around the 40K-60K mile mark.

As I posted, I plan on changing the remaining 4 plugs I didn't get to and then check the EGR for any carbon build up. It's actually fairly easy to access as it's on the front passenger side of the engine and not buried in the back.

And for smiles and giggles I may have the battery/charging system checked if I have time (have grandpa duty on Saturday). The original battery is at least 5 years old (bought the truck new in Sept '06) and as the manufacture date is 11/05 it's probably closer to 6 years old. My theory is modern vehicles have a tremendous amount of electronics and even a slight dip in voltage can cause weird issues - our '00 T&C Ltd ate batteries every 45 months and it had a lot of power features. At any rate I plan on replacing it soon - 5-6 years is a long time for a OEM battery and I've rarely had a battery last much longer than that.
 

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If it isn't the EGR, sounds like a TPS or something like that instead of fuel related itself. With that thought, I wonder about the drive by wire system and what could probably go wrong with it, and at this point in time it is probably impossible to make the determination that it is weather/temperature related because chances of a warm morning (upper fifties at least) are probably going to be five months away. At least she is coil on plug so you don't have to worry about old sparkplug wires being an issue.

If it were a fuel issue like an injector, it probably would do it more than just cold or start right up afterwards and then not have a problem when warmed up. Fuel pump going bad wouldn't do this either, it would just not work or work intermittently and I think there would be a code for that (ummmm, no fuel pressure). One last thing I could think of would be a vacuum leak that goes away when the engine warms up (some kind of routing that redirects vacuum after it warms up, sensor comes on and vacuum is rerouted). There are some items like this with the evap system, but that would be pretty remote chance.

Get those last four plugs changed, clean the throttle body like you were going to., and keep us informed.
 

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The electronic throttle body on the Hemi should not have solvents used on it as per Chrysler service. The throttle blade does a bore 'wipe' at key-on for carbon clearing. If you do clean it, do so carefully.
The 'linear' EGR problem may or may not set a fault code. The problem wasn't carbon, but EGR valve position sensor failure. Some Hemi vehicles had a PCM software update to prevent false EGR code sets.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #17
The electronic throttle body on the Hemi should not have solvents used on it as per Chrysler service. The throttle blade does a bore 'wipe' at key-on for carbon clearing. If you do clean it, do so carefully.
The 'linear' EGR problem may or may not set a fault code. The problem wasn't carbon, but EGR valve position sensor failure. Some Hemi vehicles had a PCM software update to prevent false EGR code sets.
I have read cleaning the Hemi throttle body is to be done carefully (if at all). Since I'd probably muck it up, I'll leave to the dealer to do a fuel injection service/cleaning. Might try another bottle of Techron at the next fill up.

As to the PCM update (EGR), I recall that applied to earlier Hemi's ('03-'04, and maybe '05's) but did not include '06+. I just realized that at $40, that's cheaper than the EGR was for my '90 Acclaim ($50+).

I don't recall a lot of vacum lines in the engine bay - probably just the EVAP system. I'll give them a good look-see on Saturday. At least the weather forecast looks good - Mid-50's Saturday and 60's Sunday. :thumbsup:
 

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I wouldn't go into the dealer asking for a fuel system/throttle body service at first. Let them diagnose the stall and then tell you what the fix is.
These F.I./T.B. services aren't meant to fix much of anything. They are performed mainly as 'maintainence'.
An intermittant problem like this may not set a fault code and turn on the 'ck eng' light but you may have a stored '1 trip failure' or 'pending code'. Another occurrence may trigger the light.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #19
I spent 40-45 minutes replacing the 4 plugs underneath the brake booster that I hadn't gotten to. Though access was limited it was somewhat easier than accessing the last two on the passenger side where access is made difficult by the AC lines and heater hoses. Used a 3" extension and a universal swivel (definitely needed). Had to kneel on the bumper and stretch to get to the back bolt that holds the coil. The plugs themselves came out with relative ease. Installation was not bad at all. Figure I'm set for 30K-50K miles. I know the recommended replacement interval is 30K. The old plugs were decent except the gap was close to 0.055 instead of the proper 0.045.

The clerk at Advance (who owns an 05 Ram Hemi) commented that in his opinion the battery is on borrowed time. It's the original OEM battery that is 6 years old (manufacture date 11/05). Will look into replacing the battery soon. Normally I would wait til it shows signs of impending failure, but I think it prudent to go ahead and replace it given its age and not take the chance of being stranded or needing a jump. I'll may stop by today and have them check the battery/charging system. Didn't have time yesterday.

One of the other clerks said he's noticed a lot of P1521 codes lately.
 

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I have found a TSB # 18-008-08A that addresses a false P1521 code setting. It involves a PCM reprogram on 2006 Hemi vehicles. Maybe they did use 5W-20.
 
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