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2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Ecodiesel
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All
Out of the gate I apologize for what is to be a long post.
I come from a long lineage of "shade tree mechanics" and quite proud of it. Have all the markings of it too: split nails, cut knuckles, oil stains on most fancy shirts...
Grew up in a farm setting, been around diesels most of my life but never owned one. Go figure...
In the beginning of April, right when pandemic closures started happening, I stumbled upon OfferUp ad for 2015 Ram 1500 ED. After about 2 week conversation with seller I got myself 62k miles Laramie truck for a great price. How bad can a repair be? Put new set of bearings and go on!....until I start reading all the forums...after I bought it...
After initial shock, I decided enough of reading, if I'm to come out on top, I gotta tear into it. For the sake of all you readers, I am shortening this store to "nuts and bolts"...


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Paid 10,000 American dollars for this truck with seized engine. Prior owner said he took it to the dealer, they refused to do anything.....because it was modified with aftermarket parts. He took it to an independent mechanic and the guy basically told him no, throw the truck away...
Oh well, though he was mad he was upside down on it, I didn't mind the deal. As I said, after getting it...THEN i go reading about it online...oh joy. After a week of thinking what have I done, pushed it into my shop and start taking it apart. First off, I was surprised how heavy the thing was. Maybe because of crew cab, maybe because its tanks were full, but I had one heck of a time pushing it into the spot.
For a short time I was hoping to open the bottom end and look inside while engine was still in the truck. Kind of access the damage from below. The engine would turn over, but made a grinding metal on metal sound. After spending an evening trying to crack bottom pan, and getting nowhere, it was obvious it had to come out.(note to self: next time please take whole lot of photos and videos of every major step...)
I didn't want to disconnect the AC because I don't have proper equipment to vacuum and reuse refrigerant, so I moved it all to the side and suspended whole thing off of the rafters.
Every front end component that was taken off had all it's mounting bolts and hardware neatly bagged and taped to it. Saved me a ton of time putting it back on.
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Few more items and I'm ready for engine crane. The brake booster is in the way, so that has to come out. Again, since I don't want to get involved in brake bleeding, I disconnect and remove the booster, but leave everything else intact, just tie it to the side.
There are 6 bolts holding flexplate to torque converter and those are easily accessible from starter hole.
After looking for considerable amount of time where can I bolt the chain to, I found online that there are special brackets to mount on the side of the heads to where you could hook on to. I manufactured my own with couple metal plates and bolted on. One goes on the back side near brake booster, another goes on front side where HPFP is.gotta keep the chain pretty tight so it won't travel up too much as the hood will not allow much clearance.
All in all, removing the engine took about 2/3 of the day. Cleaned everything up and mounted it on engine stand.
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The oil, if one could call it "oil"...sludge that came out of it was as thick and honey, and had whole lot of chunks of metal coming out of it....not good...
After taking the pan off, splitting the block I finally got to the bearings. Previous owner literally drove this thing to a pulp. The bearings got so hot, they got deformed and melted off into the pan. They "splintered", bowed out and got stuck half way out. I have replaced a few engines before due to bearing faliure,but this is the first time that I saw anything like this. 2 of the 6 rods were bent, but not yet broken. I later found pieces of bearing 1" long in the timing chain... Before, when asked the guy how did it die, he said he was going speed limit on Route 2 over Stevens Pass and it just died.... aha... After seeing this I am sure the 3.0L dies slow and agonizing death, lighting up the whole dash, crawling to a dead stop starved of oil.
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The next few days I was debating what should I do. Buying a short block would require reusing of heads....but after seeing this I was not going to risk it. ANd at first I was thinking to just machine the block and crank, get new bearings and connecting rods and down the road I go. Come to find out, I could not even get oversize bearings for this engine. Only aftermarket bearings available are from King Bearings, and those are exact copy of the Mopar ones...not gonna work.
After a short time stumbled upon a thread on this forum for possible engine replacement options, and a link to a complete engine was posted by user "lestuff". BIG thanks!
Buying a used engine from eBay and receiving same thing I just pulled out somehow did not sit well with me so I talk my wife into buying a new one.
Moparpowertrain.com was easy, put it in the cart, they do not charge tax, no freight charge, even for lift gate service, didn't even add CORE. $6950 from PayPal and waiting for 10 days. There was a hiccup with delivering to my address, so instead of waiting one more day, I just went to the terminal and picked the crate up.
Engine came complete, full of oil and oil filter, full of coolant, complete fuel system, complete turbo minus flex elbow that has NoX sensor in it, no vacuum pump, no idlers no electric valve thats on oil separator.
Also came with "new and updated" EGR valve/cooler assembly. Since old engine was already deleted, I took it right off. I'm selling it if anyone is interested.
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I could hardly wait to put this baby in! It took me Friday night after work and Saturday morning to pop it back in. Went in easier than old came out as i was aware of all the things that it will catch on. Orange thread locker on every interior or hard to reach bolt... Fresh Mopar coolant, local Autozone had it @19.99 a gallon..... clamp every connector in aaaaand......oh....forgot to change fuel filter... Cant shortcut now... 6 times prime the lift pump.
Push the button and it started right up! Not even a long crank. No excessive smoke. Like it was in this truck all along... Did I need to program injectors to the ECM? I found that out later. Still have not done it, runs like a clock!
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Super excited, look up the break-in procedure...its almost non existent... Fine, I'll just drive it then. Get out, go around back roads and a check engine light comes on with "Service Electronic Throttle" message and a lightning bolt.....Oh God, what have I done? Pop in Bluetooth adapter, shows P0299 Turbo underboost.....mother of all codes...it wasn't even half hour.....
Rest of my evening I spend on forums reading up on what this could be. Judging from replies on all the forums, it could literally be anything. I triple checked everything. Sure I was in a hurry, but this is not my first...i replaced head gaskets on a flat 6 Subaru without removing the engine, in a tent in Febrary on a gravel driveway and that thing still drives 4 years into it... what did I do?
I looked at the thread where this was mentioned, and GDE was on the topic about this code as well. I decided to email the guys and gals @ GDE and ask if they have this truck on file, if they ever performed a flash for it. Nope, not them. But after talking with me few email back and forth, I was suggested to look and see if any of the o-rings missing/damaged at the quick connects @ turbo outlet or Electronic throttle.
Sure enough, when I was cleaning the tubes from all the oil that the engine spewed out, I inadvertently scooped out the o-ring. Found it in the rag I was using for cleaning it. THANK YOU GDE!

Its been almost a thousand miles, I drove the truck to work since, ound trip 60 miles. Drove with kids to Great Wolf Lodge (yes, it's reopened during pandemic), 270 miles round trip. All things in check, fluid levels, temps up to par. Mostly freeway miles with moderate traffic got 27.3 MPG and climbing. Overall for almost 1k miles it gets 26MPG 60% HWY/ $)% City. During fill ups shows same thing. I am still not sure where does the tune on the truck come from. Its Canada day, it must be coming from North!
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I love the truck, love how it rides, how its quiet compared to what I know. Going to buy more accessories for it, make it "personal"
Definitely nicest truck I ever owned. Since I come from a long lineage of "shade tree mechanics" I never bought a brand new car. Its always been "one mans junk - another mans treasure"

Thanks all. This is a great thing here,
Sorry if the post is too long, don't know official rules for making long posts.
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SUCCESS !!!
love the part about the missing O-ring that fixed the Check engine light...(y)
way to go KRom,
Engine install without lifting the cab , nice .
--
no rule about making a long post , it is actually an art to do it like you did , with images at the right place
to go with the text .
 

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2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Ecodiesel
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to all!

I'm not even sure if I got "shade tree mechanic" definition right....
I just know that we'd drag a tractor off the field into a shade, and resurrect it with basic tools and limited supplies. Always assumed it was that. Used to work on cars in a driveway under a tent or tarp, this one got lucky 😁 I now have a shop...
 

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Wow!

Never remember anyone do so much and document it on this forum. I have this Olf Ford tractor and it needs .....

Where are you located?
 
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Thanks for the story And great job. Always enjoy reading stories like this with a positive outcome.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Wow!

Never remember anyone do so much and document it on this forum. I have this Olf Ford tractor and it needs .....

Where are you located?
Tractor you say, huh .... 😅

I'm in Pacific Northwest, Washington
Should probably put that on my bio...
 

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2016 longhorn 4X4 bone stock
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Hi All
Out of the gate I apologize for what is to be a long post
nonsense, great write up, you may have stated and i know you mentioned "oil starvation" but with what looks like milky residue a sludge and your description of the "oil???" was this from a leaking EGR or related to it in any way or head gasket or have you made a determination, thanks again for the write up (y)

Great looking ride too BTW ;) (y)
 

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2015 Ram 1500 Laramie Ecodiesel
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Discussion Starter #14
nonsense, great write up, you may have stated and i know you mentioned "oil starvation" but with what looks like milky residue a sludge and your description of the "oil???" was this from a leaking EGR or related to it in any way or head gasket or have you made a determination, thanks again for the write up (y)

Great looking ride too BTW ;) (y)
Thanks!
Truck was already fully deleted when I got it. Block off plates, no EGR cooler. The coolant level was in the right spot, though that could have been topped off. No traces of oil in cooling system anywhere.
I did not find much of milky whipped oil anywhere, but engine is all sludged up and oil was making a mound in the funnel when I was draining it.
My guess is that someone has been skipping oil changes. And pumpability of the oil was as such, that I believe truck just ran dry...
At this point I don't know for sure, but in spare time I'll be taking old engine apart, maybe salvage some parts, and then I probably will know for sure.
 

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What an awesome deal! Your hard work has paid off and will continue to pay you for years!
 

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All I can say is you have a fully loaded Laramie ED with 64k miles and a brand new engine for around $17k. I don’t think it gets much better than that!! Thanks for the write up, it’s nice to know that replacing the engine without taking the cab off isn’t too bad.
 

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Thanks for the write up, it’s nice to know that replacing the engine without taking the cab off isn’t too bad.
Good point. Don’t remember a change without taking off the cab.
 
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Awesome write-up for sure, enjoyed the whole thing! IMO a pretty big risk to buy a new crate motor to do a swap that you have not done before but you were the right guy for the job and to do it in a day gets another awesome rating. Good luck with her and enjoy!
 
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Good post. I have a 15 with 39,000. My extended warranty expires next month. I have priced new ones at around 3700 for a 5 year. Are the new engines any diffrent from the old ones? Any updated parts? I was at the dealer today for recalls and they pointed to one and said 65k on its 3rd engine.
 

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Wow thanks for the post and the pictures. I dare say you are more capable than 99 percent of the shade tree mechanics out there. Enjoy the new to you vehicle.
 
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