Chances are if you have a vehicle with a 3.6 Liter Pentastar engine you have or will have the dreaded Pentastar tick. This noise is caused by failed Valve Lifters or Tappets, Failed Rocker arms, or worn Camshaft lobes. This noise should be addressed as soon as possible to minimize additional engine wear.
What Vehicles have the Pentastar engine?
The list of vehicles using the pentastar engines is quite long, this list will only include vehicles offered for sale in the United States.
- Chrysler 200
- Chrysler Town and Country
- Chrysler Pacifica
- Chrysler Voyager
- Dodge Avenger
- Dodge Challenger
- Dodge Charger
- Dodge Durango
- Dodge Grand Caravan
- Dodge Journey
- Chrysler 300
- Jeep Wrangler JK and JL
- Jeep Gladiator
- Jeep Cherokee
- Ram 1500
- Ram Promaster
- Volkswagen Routan– Caravan with a VW logo
As you can see this list is long and covers several years of models.
My engine is ticking, Whats next?
If your vehicle has started to make a ticking noise, bring it to a trusted shop near you ASAP. The Pentastar engine is a V type engine separating out the top end of the engine into 2 banks. The typical Pentastar tick is an upper end engine noise so your shop will need to determine which bank the noise is originating from.
Once this determination has been made its time to approve engine Tear down. Once the tear down has been completed (removing plenum and valve covers) a thorough inspection must be made of the camshaft lobes. This engine is a Overhead Cam engine with 4 Camshafts. 2 for each bank an intake and exhaust. If you’ve got the issue early you may need only 1 or 0 camshafts. However it is not uncommon to require 2 or more.
Your shop will provide you with an estimate to replace the failed components and once approved the work can begin. The good news is this is an extremely common repair and your vehicle should not be down more than a day at a proficient shop. That being said there are special tools that are required and you should make sure your preferred shop has the necessary equipment to perform this repair.
Can this be prevented?
This failure is inherent to the design of the pentastar engine. The oil drains quickly down through the engine oil filter adapter on top of the engine and into the oil pan on the bottom of the engine. This design means that on startup the oil needs to be pumped up to the top leaving the top end starved of oil for a short period of time. This split second of engine starvation causes metal on metal contact and wears down components. Using an engine oil additive can help but you should choose your additive wisely. Lucas offers an engine oil additive for the low viscosity oil used in the Pentastar.
If you have an 2014 and up Pentastar you can also opt for a Baxter Performance adapter. This clever piece of engineering allows you to mount a traditional style oil filter and features an Anti drain back valve keeping the oil in the top of the motor for much longer than the original set up.