Notes: The Dodge Intrepid, Stratus & other Chrysler sedans are infamous for oil sludge problems with the 2.7L V6 engine. If someone offers to sell you a 2.7L V6 model, it's only worth the price of the scrap metal it's going to shortly turn into.

NOTE: Only the 2.7L V6 has the oil sludge problem. Our "Avoid like the Plague" designation is ONLY for models with the 2.7L V6 engine. All other available engines are very reliable with no major problems.

Even with regular maintenance, the oil sludge defect eventually destroys the 2.7L engine typically around 80,000-100,000 miles. The only true fix we know about is to put in the larger 3.2L engine, which has a great reputation.

This issue was never deemed a safety defect by the Feds, so there was no recall. In the end, Chrysler got away with FOUR YEARS worth of defective 2.7L V6 engines in their sedans.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
109,634 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replaced water pump (2 reports)
  3. water pump seal replacement (1 reports)
2002 Dodge Intrepid cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2002 Dodge Intrepid Owner Comments

problem #6

Jan 222014

Intrepid 2.7 2.7

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,006 miles


Car was overheating, then coolant housing blew and needed replaced. 10 miles later the thermostat housing blew and that needed fixed. With 475.00 in repairs thought was good, then 6 miles later the car still smells like coolant so I check it and again the reservoir empty of coolant in just 6 miles! So I go back again to mechanic and now he says the water pump has blown! Bad news, the pump is in the timing cover and he says when it goes bad it dumps the coolant inside crank case and sure enough, now the coolant is mixed in my oil! The dip stick looks like milkshake is in there when you pull it up out of tube. So now I am told 1,000.000 to repair water pump, but I have 50/50 chance that head gasket is blown, weak or could have a cracked block next. The car never even overheated with lights or indicators this time, it just dumped this in oil and all I noticed was the coolant smell while driving and thought it was burning off from other times it spewed out through coolant or thermostat housings and now I might have 50/50 chance that after replacing water pump I might find a cracked block or blown head gasket! This is crap! Never had a car designed to dump coolant in oil! Now that could ruin engine while it sits in driveway until I have money to repair water pump which is still no guarantee that this is all it will need to restore car to functional condition.

Update from Feb 6, 2014: Dealer tells me that in order to determine if the head gasket is blown, I will need to replace the water pump. Then do compression test. If test fails the gasket on head(s) is blown, but if the compression test is good then was only water pump. Told heads are aluminum and could have warped if the car ran hot too long. Mechanic says he thinks I only have problem with pump. Everyone else says car is worth 500 for scrap selvage and to buy different vehicle. Looking at 1,000 to repair a pump, up to 2-3000 on the heads etc if needed and back on road but to buy something for that price it would have high miles and a risk of having severe problems any time. There is no bus service here and my car is dead until fixed. Weird thing is that car starts ok and drives ok with no gurgle, no chug a lug, and can go right speeds not limited to 10MPH like a ford that blew head gasket so I think the problem might be the pump too. Dealer said changing oil once a month for awhile will clean out the bad oil/coolant mixture after initial oil change when pump is replaced. I wonder if I should take the risk to repair this.

- , Pearl, MS, USA

problem #5

Mar 032009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 188,000 miles

the pulley came off the water pump in my 2002 Intrepid and it broke the timing chain and bent the rods and the valves and ever since we are still having problems.

- , Port Allegany, PA, USA

problem #4

Aug 262008

Intrepid SE 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Just another in a long line of repairs for this POS car.

- , North Bend, OR, US

problem #3

Sep 012008

Intrepid SE 2.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles


Dodge has known about this issue with this particular engine. They have not responded to the magnitude of complaints against this engine and I am assuming that they don't want my business anymore either. Alas, I will continue my fight to get reimbursed.

- , Bedford Heights, OH, USA

problem #2

Nov 032006

(reported on)

Intrepid SE 3.7

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

I fell in love with the Dodge intrepid the very first time I saw this car, her design is gorgeously and I though to my self "this is the perfect car". I bough a 2002 SE Dodge Intrepid 2 years ago in a re-position option with 23K miles. The firs six month I started to have problems with the air conditioning, some time the car overheated. Even, that I have been doing the regular maintenance on schedule I was having problem. The enever end problem was the led of "engine problem". During the left over warranty I had, I used to take my car into the dealer shop but the what they did was reseting the car with computer leading to turning off the led sig of the engine. But three weeks after, the car started presenting same problem. Now my really issue is that my water pump blow up, leaking the freezing coolant into the engine oil. The impeller of the pump is PLASTIC and I don't think that this is the best designed part!! This problem has causing me to loose a lot of money. Three recommended mechanics have seen my car and they all agreed that this is a very difficult part to replace as it is located within the motor hooked up with the trimming chain. I replace the pump but my car still over heat the engine... I took it again to the shop but the Mechanic couldn't find the problem.

These type of car ar bad in the cooling systems, air conditioning and oil sludge. We need to get together and file a complaint to the pertinents authorities, because our safety was jeopardized due to an engine problem!!

I do not want to get stuck paying a huge bill due to an engine failure to dead...

So let's do something. my email is


- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #1

Nov 042007

(reported on)

Intrepid 2.7L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,800 miles

Having the water pump replaced is very expensive. The timing cover and chain, and other items, have to be removed to get to it. 6-1/2 hours of labor.

- , North Royalton, OH, USA

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