Dodge 5.2L driven while 1 & 2/3 qts low: damage?

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So my son the genius didn't keep up with checking the oil in the Dakota and it was below the 'add' line on the stick today when I checked after I noticed it sounded funny when he started it. Took 1 & 2/3 quarts to bring it up to the full mark. 5 qt capacity for the engine. How tolerant are the old Mopar 318's of low oil? Damage done? Oil is Pennzoil YB 10W30.
 
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If the oil light didn't come on, then I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. You still had 3 quarts in the pan- it's likely that nothing at all came of it. I can't say about the 5.2L specifically, but I've seen quite a few engines run low on oil. And they generally have to be REALLY low before it causes any discernable damage.
 

pbm

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When I was younger I drove a delivery van on weekends that had a 318 Dodge. Several times I checked the oil and had to add 4 quarts to reach full (5 quart total capacity) . That van made deliveries in NYC and didn't have it easy. It was sold at approx. 100K and the new owner had it for years. The moral of the story is the Chrysler 5.2 is a tough engine so I would't worry. I saw a Cash for Clunkers video on Youtube that showed a 318 running for over a half hour without oil.
 
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If you think your son might run it low again, I think the engine's a good candidate for synthetic oil. My son is taking (formerly my) his 2001 Saturn to college and I've got Renewable Lubricants 5W-30 in the engine and two quarts in the trunk (along with 50/50 antifreeze, brake fluid, washer fluid, etc.).
 
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The 318 is legendary for its durablility and appetite for abuse... except, sometime in the 90's thru the end of its run, dodge changed something related to the oil pickup and suddenly the engine is a sludger. just do a google on 318 or 5.2L sludge and you will get sick.... I have two friends who personally sludged up their 318's: one puked at 45k miles in a Durango (98 or 99, I think) and the other sludged up hers at 100,000 miles. of course, she had run 2.5 YEARS between oil changes. and even at that point, all it took was a new oil pump and it ran another 4 years. so... was it damaged ? probably not. is there a risk of sludge with less than stellar maintenance? yes.
 
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No harm done if the oil light was not on while running. Instead of all the suggestions of heaver oil, syn oil etc. why not retrain son or take keys away. If it is his car, warn him again and let him learn.
 
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Apparently, the block on these engines is very, very tough...something like it is a high-nickle block, like old AMC V-8's are.
 
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I had a friend that forgot to check oil {Saturn L300 V-6}. She called and said the oil light was flickering and I said check the oil I believe she said that nothing showed on the stick. She added oil {don't remember how much 3 qts? } and I changed it a couple days later. She had a cartridge oil filter that had no metal or debris in it. Not saying the low oil did it any good but it seemed OK. It did have Amsoil synthetic oil in it. That is one good reason to run synthetic. I don't think you did your engine any harm myself. If the oil light is flickering or going on that's when things will start happening.....
 

PT1

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 Originally Posted By: LoneRanger
Oil is Pennzoil YB 10W30.
Time for PP 10w30 at Walmart. $20 for 5 quarts with a $15 rebate. See the rebate section for details. I just picked up 6 jugs last night. 2 rebates are available. $15 cash on the link here or a $15 walmart gift card at the store. Better stock up. I only use syn oil for this very reason.
 

LoneRanger

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Thx for the replies. So the truck seems to still run as normal, no new sounds and no lifter tick. I'll have a few months to do some maintenace on it like a tune up etc because he starts freshman year at college in a week and half and the truck is staying home for at least the first semester so he doesn't have the added distraction of motorized mobility while trying to adjust to college life and the 18 credit hour load on his 1st semester game card.
 
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Originally Posted By: tomcat27
The 318 is legendary for its durablility and appetite for abuse... except, sometime in the 90's thru the end of its run, dodge changed something related to the oil pickup and suddenly the engine is a sludger. just do a google on 318 or 5.2L sludge and you will get sick.... I have two friends who personally sludged up their 318's: one puked at 45k miles in a Durango (98 or 99, I think) and the other sludged up hers at 100,000 miles. of course, she had run 2.5 YEARS between oil changes. and even at that point, all it took was a new oil pump and it ran another 4 years. so... was it damaged ? probably not. is there a risk of sludge with less than stellar maintenance? yes.
Yeah thats when the Daimler came in and basically tried to bull their way to fast production times, they cut corners to save money and try to make Chrysler/Dodge profitable and against the Engineer's wishes you got the issues you stated. There is a really good read about the takeover on a site. http://www.allpar.com/neon/engineering.html
 
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Not likely. Usually 1 quart low or 1 quart over full is ok either way. When you get to 2 quarts low on som engines it might cause temp. uncovering of the pickup. For instance if you a V8 with a small pan capacity like 4 quarts running 2 quarts low would not do much harm if you drove easily. If you decided to run it to redline though for each shift and then cruised the high way at high rpm's you would definitely be in possible trouble. On the other hand if you have a 1.8 I4 with 4-5 quart sump even though it might turn at 3000 RPM's cruising the HWY two quarts low will probably not uncover the pickup. It is hard for anyone to tell you since we do not know what the volume and pressure numbers are for the oil system on your vechile. We do not know how it was driven? We do not know what type of side loading ie lateral "G's" it saw or if it was operating at odd ball angles due to off road driving etc....... I would generally tell you that you are more then likely ok but not to make a habit of doing this!Any time you do find out you are close to two quarts low you really need to operate the vehicle gently!
 
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