99 Stratus Engine noise

Hi all,
I have a 99 Stratus with the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder motor. I'm hearing a noise that is somewhat like what I had with my 99 Caravan 3.3 when the water pump
bearing was roaring away.
The Stratus was brought to the dealer because of recall notices, and while there I asked them to investigate that noise. I have a week to go on a 3rd party extended warranty, so I figured that whatever was wrong would be taken care of with a minimum out of pocket cost.
I got a call from the dealer with the bad news. They say that my exhaust manifold is cracked, and the gasket is blown, and the cost is $800 for the repair (parts and labor). My extended warranty does not cover exhaust system problems. I then said that there is no exhaust smell, or smoke, and he agreed. I asked him if this was dangerous, and he said no. I asked him if this will get worse, and he said no. So I told him to skip the repair, and he said that I owe them $90 for labor.
I haven't picked the car up yet, but the situation does not make since to me. My experience with underhood exhaust leaks is that they always get worse, and you can smell them under the hood.
Comments?
Jim
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Glenn,
Thanks for the response. If it had been the water pump, I would have had it paid for with my warranty. Even without the warranty, that job would not be an arm and a leg. Heck, I bet Chrysler would have only charged about $250 for a $25 part + labor, flush, disposal, anti-freeze, etc. That is still something I could have afforded. Now $800 for an exhaust manifold is something I had to ponder, especially since the guy at the dealer said it was still safe, and won't likely get worse. Maybe he is wrong, and it is UNSAFE, especially when sitting at a long red light, when the exhaust might concentrate under the hood, and find it's way in the passenger compartment. That worries me. That said it does not smell (under the hood), and the noise is more of a rapid rattle that is somewhat random. Most exhaust leaks I've heard are more of a piss-piss-piss-piss in sync with the exhaust stroke of a cylinder. This is another reason I'm not jumping with 8 big hundred dollar bills in my hand. Heck, maybe the boss told the technicians this week to move some exhaust manifolds that have been in stock too long, and I looked like a good candidate to get my good manifold replaced. :-)
The guy said the leak was at the point where 4 pipes merge into one, and head to the catalytic converter. The O2 sensor is in that area too. Someone else was kind enough to inform me that if the leak is near the o2 sensor, then that sensor might start reporting back in error, and cause the computer to richen the air / fuel mixture. Maybe he is on to something, since the gas mileage has worsened recently. Then again, my wife with a lead foot has been driving it lately too, so who knows. Those 2.4's with a lead foot driver use gas like a 5.9 in a big truck.
What would that manifold cost me (ball park) to purchase outright? Just curious. I might take that on to save money, and then wind up with multiple busted bolts, and a heck of a mess! sigh.
Regards, Jim
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noise
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I dont think they are trying to unload parts on you. As I said if your in doubt, locate the noise yourself or have them show you. Also the federal emission systelm on todays cars are 8/80. I dont know how many miles are on your car and without having the book here I dont know if an exhaust manifold falls into that catagory. If you are below 80K you may want to look into it. As far as the 02 goes, yes if it were sucking in air at or around the 02 sensor it would cause a problem with gas mileage and you would get a check engine lite on
Glenn Beasley Chrysler Tech

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Glenn,
Thanks for the response. If it had been the water pump, I would have had it paid for with my warranty. Even without the warranty, that job would not be an arm and a leg. Heck, I bet Chrysler would have only charged about $250 for a $25 part + labor, flush, disposal, anti-freeze, etc. That is still something I could have afforded. Now $800 for an exhaust manifold is something I had to ponder, especially since the guy at the dealer said it was still safe, and won't likely get worse. Maybe he is wrong, and it is UNSAFE, especially when sitting at a long red light, when the exhaust might concentrate under the hood, and find it's way in the passenger compartment. That worries me. That said it does not smell (under the hood), and the noise is more of a rapid rattle that is somewhat random. Most exhaust leaks I've heard are more of a piss-piss-piss-piss in sync with the exhaust stroke of a cylinder. This is another reason I'm not jumping with 8 big hundred dollar bills in my hand. Heck, maybe the boss told the technicians this week to move some exhaust manifolds that have been in stock too long, and I looked like a good candidate to get my good manifold replaced. :-)
The guy said the leak was at the point where 4 pipes merge into one, and head to the catalytic converter. The O2 sensor is in that area too. Someone else was kind enough to inform me that if the leak is near the o2 sensor, then that sensor might start reporting back in error, and cause the computer to richen the air / fuel mixture. Maybe he is on to something, since the gas mileage has worsened recently. Then again, my wife with a lead foot has been driving it lately too, so who knows. Those 2.4's with a lead foot driver use gas like a 5.9 in a big truck.
What would that manifold cost me (ball park) to purchase outright? Just curious. I might take that on to save money, and then wind up with multiple busted bolts, and a heck of a mess! sigh.
Regards, Jim
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You can get an exhaust manifold here: http://www.1aauto.com/1A/ExhaustManifolds/Dodge/Stratus
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Hmmm, it appears that the aftermarket has jumped on this, and redesigned the manifold so it don't crack, and sells one for about $50.00. I wonder if this is real, or should I pay $336 from the dealer (that is what he said), so that I will get another manifold that will crack? Glenn, this repair must be touchy, and bolt breakage likely. For that reason alone, maybe $800 is the right price. Still, it's pretty hard to swallow this, and just fork over 8 big ones....
Jim
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I have purchased one from them Fit just like the original. IT IS a B to change !!! Pay attention to how the heat shield bolts on.. It was a very common problem Also watch out for oil leaks from the head gasket
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Thanks for the input. Is this doable with the car on ramps? Did you break any bolts? What mikes it a B to change? Just curious, since I think I will look into it once I verify whether mine is indeed cracked. That diagnosis cost me $90.00 at the local delaership.
I keep thinking mother Mopar charges $800 for this job (parts & labor) because it is a preverbial minefield where all sorts of things can go wrong. Then again it was the aftermarket that redesigned the surpentine belt tensioner for my 99 Caravan with one that seems to be a robust design (bought at O'Reileys). Maybe 1999 OEM Stratus exhaust manifolds, and 1999 OEM Caravan belt tensioners are both in a similar catagory.....
Regards, Jim
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