2003 Dodge Durango Regular Maintenance

  • 5.9L
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • 95,000 MILES

This can be added to my previous message. I have always (every 5000miles) change oil & filter to my Durango 2003. But after reading your system for this task, I want to tell mine:
After I drain the old (dark) oil from the engine I do not remove the old filter. Instead, I pour 2 quarts of Engine Flush plus 1 quart of any 5w-30 oil (fine oil) and run the motor for 5min. Next, I drain that mixture and repeat the procedure again. After the second 5min. I drain the second round of disposable oil and then. I remove the old filter.
Next step will be to install the new filter, refill the engine with new 5 quarts of the best Synthetic Oil 10w-30. That's the best help I can give to my Durango in order to get it to 150,000 miles (or more). I have never driven a smother auto since I stated this practice.
This is what I want to do with the Transmission Oil Maintenance and filter replacement. (Please refer to my previous message).
Thanks for your magnificent site so powerful in this trade.
Walter Rodriguez
walter_17786@msn. Com
Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 AT 10:54 AM

1 Reply

I can't find your original post. Do you have a question? While your efforts are commendable, understand that if a mechanic did this for a customer, he would be called into the office for the first incident, and likely be fired for the second. Customers get upset with high repair bills, but if you really want to see a high percentage of them come unglued, try making them wait more than a half hour to get their vehicle back so they can get back to their daily routine.

Be aware too that some additives in engine oil are designed to not be drained or flushed out. Mainly that is seal conditioners. There's no benefit in flushing the lubrication system at every oil change. You're flushing the system with a highly-concentrated version of the detergents you'll already find in all engine oil.

Now let me share the opposite extreme that started out as an experiment to show my students what some engines are capable of. I was also expecting an engine failure and the need to replace it. My daily driver is an extremely rusty trusty '88 Grand Caravan with 432,000 miles. The oil has not been changed in over 13 years and 150,000 miles. I need to add a quart about every 800 miles, so in every 4,000 miles I'm replacing five quarts worth of additives. One quart of oil has enough additives to do the job. Five quarts of additives at an oil change doesn't last five times longer. It simply wears out five times faster. Think of an ice cube melting on a hot sidewalk. If it takes five minutes to melt, how long would it take for two ice cubes to melt? They'd both melt in five minutes; you'd just have a puddle twice as big. The point is, my engine gets replenished with additives every 800 miles instead of every 3,000, like the rest of my cars.

Also, I drag around a tandem axle enclosed trailer that's bigger than the van. I have a real hard time hitting 60 mph due to its wind resistance. The transmission filter was replaced once, at 84,000 miles, only because the side cover rusted out and the fluid was already drained for this repair. That was around 1992 or 1993. The fluid is still bright red and nothing else has ever been done to the transmission. I have three newer Grand Caravans but they all have the four-speed computer-controlled transmission that would explode before I got to the end of my driveway if I tried to pull my trailer with them!

Experts who know a lot more than I do about lubricants will tell us oil in an engine turns dark brown because it got hot; (normal, not overheated), not because it is dirty. If you want to prove this to yourself, wad up some toilet paper, then place a drop of oil on it from the end of the dipstick, The next day you'll see a nice big golden circle. That's actually the oil in its true color. The dirt, mostly carbon, will be left as a black spot in the middle of that circle. I had a '72 Dart many years ago that had leaking valve cover gaskets right after I bought it at 64,000 miles. When I changed those gaskets, there was about 1/4" of sludge inside them that I did not clean out. I installed an aftermarket oil filter that used a roll of toilet paper, then did normal oil changes around every 3,000 miles. At 120,000 I had to replace the valve cover gaskets again, and they were spotless inside. Keep in mind that even the cheapest of engine oils today are WAY better than anything we had in the '70s and '80s. Back then sludge was common, so did my oil changes clean up the engine, or was it the toilet paper oil filter?

Today that oil filter is on a 1980 Volare that I bought new. There's no sludge in that engine either. I haven't changed its oil in over 15 years, but that's less than 2,000 miles.

A few people cleaned up sludge back then by adding a quart of automatic transmission fluid to the oil, then changing the oil the next day. Transmission fluid has different additives but it also has vastly different lubricating properties. In a transmission, the fluid is held in the clutch packs by rubber lip seals. In an engine, it will run out of critical bearings without isolating moving parts from each other as oil is intended to do. I'm wondering where your flush chemical falls in that range. Detergents clean, they don't withstand the pressure of the connecting rods pounding on the crankshaft journals.

The point of my sad story is if your goal is to get only 150,000 miles from that engine, you're going way overboard and you might be doing some harm that you aren't aware of. Chrysler built some really good engines over the years, and a few duds. You won't beat the 318 and 360 for dependability. Of course I wouldn't know first hand because most of those I've owned were in cars that rusted away thanks to the pound of salt they throw on an ounce of snow where I live.

Obviously I'm not suggesting anyone do what I'm doing to my '88 Grand Caravan. That is not neglect; it's abuse. If you're having good luck with your procedure, keep doing what works, but I would definitely not risk doing that to any of today's automatic transmissions. The jury is even still out on whether transmission flushes do any good or do harm. A lot of people already have a transmission problem, then come running in thinking a flush is somehow going to magically fix a mechanical problem. When the problem gets worse, they blame the flush procedure. We forget that debris is supposed to get caught in the filter, then stay there. If it was able to circulate, it would cause the valves on older transmissions to bind and stick, and it would tear up rubber seals. A lot of flushing procedures break that debris loose, but replacing the filter isn't part of the job, so now you have all that junk floating around looking for somewhere to go. My advice for your transmission is to do a normal drain and fill with a new filter at the recommended intervals. That's all the people do who run fleets of vehicles. They don't spare any expense when it involves keeping their vehicles on the road and making them money. You and I aren't going to improve on what they know works best.

Thanks for sharing your story.
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Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 AT 9:51 PM

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