pics inside a high mileage dodge stratus engine

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Oct 15, 2005
sebring, florida
i got the car super cheap. had a bad engine and the lady was moving. i figured out that it has a broke timing belt. uhoh, this is an interfrerence engine. i put a new belt on and did a compression test. turns out 2 cylinder were at zero compression and 1 has 80psi. the rest were all 200psi which is normal.

luckily it was the front cylinder which has bad compression, so i pulled the head and found that all 3 front cylinders had belt valves, curiously, only the intake valves were belt. how that happend ill never know, but anyways i am ready to clean the headgasket area and put her back together. then i thought i would take pics half way through the process so some of you know the complexity of changing a head gasket. it isnt all that hard.

note that this engine has atleast 120,000 miles on it. the lady who i got the car from said she awalys had the oil changes at quickie lubes every 3-4K miles. also note that you will see some red looking stains on the cylinders which look like rust. this is actually a rust preventitive spary that i put on to keep the metal parts of the engine from rusting from rusting while i worked on the head the big chunky rust between the cylinders on the outside of the block is infact rust, from the leaking waterpump which took out the timing belt.

also note that the bottom of the valve cover is painted black, thats not slugge. there is actually very little slughe in this engine. the external part of the block sure looks rusty.

ala in all this repair cost be about $160 in parts, but thats because i decided to splurge on new plugs, wires and other maintence parts on top of the valves and headgasket and other gaskets.
Nice little project! Especially if you picked it up cheaply.

Now you've got some pretty reliable transportation for just pennies!
I had a 2.4L 4-cyl 1997 Stratus.
Timing belt went @ 27k, yes 27k - thankfully no valve damage (at least the dealership said there was none)
I dumped it @ 80k and bought an Accord...I was glad to get rid of that ***...
Take the second d and then the e from dodge and that is what you get. My wife told me that,and she is always right.
Wow that's one of the nastiest looking engines I've seen. With that much corrosion in the engine, it's amazing a bearing didn't go before anything.

the corrosion is limited to the waterjackets. this would in no way effect the bearings.

apparently the previous owner used water to top off the radiator because of the leaking waterpump. she should of used a 50n 50 mix instead.
What year is that? My wife had a 98 2.4 since new. Looks just like my engine bay. Her timing belt broke at 103k, no bent valves. I changed the belt out myself. I drive it as a beater car now. It's got 135k. Thing still gets 25,26 m/pg. I would never purchase another dodge again. The amount of things that have gone wrong with that car is unbelievable.
its a 96. the 2.4 might be non interference. my 2.5 is definitely an interference engine. buncha the valves were bent up.

i dont mind the general maintence and repair with interrior and chassis/body so much as i mind the layout of the engine bay. man i tell you a front wheel drive v6 with an automatic is about the worst vehicle in the history of the world as far as maintence and repairs go. just to change the spark plugs you gotta remove the intake tube, aluminum manifold and throttle body and a bunch of sensors.

the hardest part of replacing the timing belt and tensioners is dealing with the power steering pump. believe it or not its the hardest part of the whole job. the pump, bracket and hoses took me a entire day to do. it actually took less time to pull the intake, exhaust and cylnder heads than it took to do the power steering pump and bracket. unbelieveable!

the little things that go wrong with the dodge i can live with. underhood work just plain sucks on fwd v6 automatic layouts like this car has. man i hope this thing doesnt need any more under hood work for a good while.
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