OK Tom L. Code 43 again - EPILOG

Remember me? 97 Ram 1500 318 V8, Cyl #7 Misfire problems at idle, hold idle above 1000 rpm and no misfire.
Well, our P0307 problems eventually came back again, about 6 weeks after
using the Mopar CC cleaner. You may recall we've been pursuing this thing for over 18 months now.
Symptoms: P0307 during decel. from 30 mpg and/or while idling in gear.
We've been the whole gambit of all the very good advice provided in this forum, for which I thank everyone.
However, the problem is back.
At wit's end we finally took it to the dealership. They've had the truck now for 2 days. The news is not good.
Final diagnosis: Cracked cylinder head.
Upon teardown they found a crack right across the seat of the #7 intake.
Cause: No definite cause given. Presumed to be possibly related to intake manifold gasket leaks of which several were noted in the area of #7, #1 and sadly, #2. A compr check showed #2 down 15 lbs #1 down 10 lbs and #7 down 25 lbs from spec. This is interesting because a prior compr check almost 2 years ago did not indicate more than 10# variance overall. Of course back then a simple injector flush bought us another 6~7 months before recurrence. Obviously it's gotten worse, much worse.
Repair estimate: Grab your chest. $2250 which includes two *complete* new cyl heads (incl valves, springs, rockers, plugs, wires, etc) and a 12-mo/12k mile warranty from date of service.
So the next question, is it worth it? Would you do it? Why or why not? Altho 9 years old, the truck today has only 83k on the clock and the body is physically in very good shape and the interior is immaculate (non-smoker). A new truck (I checked) is over $20k and of course means a truck note. I haven't had a truck note since 2001. The $2250 repair equates to less than the amount of just 1 year of truck payments.
So what's y'alls opinion?
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Ouch.
Personally, no. I'd replace the one head at a cost of about $650 (for parts - I'd do the labor myself). Does the $2250 include the cost-to-date of the teardown, or have you already paid the labor for that?
However, to pay someone else to do the work, AND guarantee it for a year, for essentially $900 in labor, isn't too terrible.
Look at it this way... the truck's not worth a whole lot (resale-wise) in it's present condition. If $2250 gives you another year on it, plus trade-in value, for $188 a month, that's saving you about $200 a month over what a new truck payment would be. If it gives you two years, cut that in half.
In the end, I think it's worthwhile to repair the truck.
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The $2250 is the total drive-out price for the repair, replacing both fully assembled heads incl shop supplies (grrr...) tax and all work to-date.

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Yep - at this point, I'd do it.
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Did I mention they also gave me a free loaner? '06 Caravan, brand-spanking new, only 6 miles on the clock when they handed me the key. They've treated me pretty good in the past too, never any complaints (except for the "shop supplies" charge which grindles me). They don't usually give service dept customers a loaner, especially on a 9-yr old truck, but a $2200 repair looks good on their books in an otherwise slow month. Archer Dodge-RV, Sugarland, TX
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Why? Someone's gotta pay for the shop towels, the cans of brake cleaner, etc.
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Sorry, I disagree. In my thinking "shop supplies" are among the myriad costs of doing business. Like the utility bill & complimentary coffee & the cable or satellite TV service & daily newspaper provided in the customer waiting area. Even the square footage of the waiting area itself and associated amenities and the janitorial service to keep it clean. All that comes with an incremental cost too, doesn't it? Why only ding the customer for the shop rags and gasket sealer?
I view "shop supplies" as a deliberate gouge and means of embellishing receivables. When the amount exceeds $5 per workorder it becomes excessive, when it surpasses $10 it is obscene and when it hits $15 it is, in my opinion, theft by deception.
Let's see here, they "gave" me a loaner car for 4 entire days, which I think we can agree has more internal cost to the dealership than a whole case of brake cleaner. Where's the charge for that on my bill? It's not there. If not, why not? Customer good will you say? In my opinion customer good will begins when you first speak to the service writer and continues all the way through settling up. A separate line item for "shop supplies" seems to me to trample on that effort.
Just my opinion..
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On Sat, 21 Jan 2006 01:58:20 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@dodgecity.cc wrote:

In Ontario thay can't charge "shop supplies" any more. They have to itemize everything. Every cotter pin, nut, and squirt if brake clean is itemized or not charged. When I was service manager we just set the door rate to cover all the little stuff.
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On Wed, 18 Jan 2006 00:03:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@dodgecity.cc wrote:

Fix it! Then good for another 5-6 years. Dodge trucks, no resale value but great staying power.
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Resale value was never a consideration. Value to -ME- was the only deciding factor. The body & interior is in A-1 shape and I just spent a bunch of money earlier this year getting the AC evaporator & heater core replaced. 30 years ago I'd have been tempted to do the job myself. Today I no longer even change my own oil.
I cannot even replace it with something -USED- for the $2200 repair cost. The wife and I haven't had a car or truck note since 2001. Today I'm 3 years away from retirement and at this point in my life the money looks a lot better to me sitting in a ROTH IRA than sitting in the driveway :-)
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snipped-for-privacy@dodgecity.cc wrote:

I'd go for the repair.
Two new cylinder heads on top of a truck that is in "very good shape" otherwise, for $2250 should be a pretty good deal compared to a new truck.
Think of the monetary loss in value of a new truck in its first couple years compared to your old truck over the next two years.
I would also think with the two new heads, your baby could enjoy a second childhood as well!
SMH
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I had another thought -- buy a parts 97 ram with good motor and replace your motor and keep all the other good stuff off it -- if you have an acre like i do just push it into the bush and pick what you like when you like (1 hr to the nearest wreckers) and you have a self-serve parts depot, or have it hauled after. I might keep the old engine anyway in case you feel like tinkering and canibalising in the future when the new old engine dies
or i have a perfectly good EFI 318 out of a 91 dakota i haven't used, still in storage i'd sell for $100 cdn to get it out of the cargo van before spring (hubby died, change of plans)
rach hull, qc

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Well tell me, when shopping for a "parts" 97 Ram, how do you know when you've found one with a "good motor"? I don't trust Ouija boards.
The idea did occur to me to take it to a private shop, but the Dodge dealership: 1) Will give me a 12-mo/12,000 mile warranty that's good at any Dodge dealer nationwide. No independent can offer that. 2) Put me into a free loaner car. Unusual yes, but it's a major cost repair. The loaner, by the way, was a brand new '06 Caravan with only 5 miles on it when they handed me the key. Not my choice of vehicles for sure, but it's transportation for the few days they'll have my truck. By the way, the Caravan feels very much under-powered. Dunno what mill is under the hood but the window sticker claims 19 city and 25 highway. The thing is a real slug.

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