Go Small? Common Problems With the Ram 3.0L EcoDiesel V6

Ram’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 had no competition with the introduction of the economical engine in 2014. Since that time, a number of problems have shown up, partially due to the advertised 12,560 lbs towing capacity. The added stress of extreme towing causes the engine to heat up. This leads to numerous components ultimately failing. Let’s take a look at these Ram 3.0-liter EcoDiesel issues. 

A lot of problems identified have been resolved by design changes, warranties, or outright recalls. Most of the issues revolve around the 2014 and 2015 model years. The EcoBoost saw some revisions in 2016. This took care of many issues.

In 2020, Jeep dropped this engine option. But Ram made more tweaks that year, and the engine continues in production today. These engines have been known to last more than 300,000.

Ram 3.0-liter EcoDiesel oil cooler failure

Ram 3.0-liter
Ram 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 | Stellantis

This is both a component problem and an engine wear problem. That’s because if the oil circulating through the engine is more than recommended, it causes extra wear on the internals. So ultimately, it can shorten engine life. 

The problem with oil cooler failures is that it begins mixing engine oil with coolant. Mixing the two leads to main bearing failure, and other issues internally. Though either one or the other can occur once failure begins, most cases have resulted in oil getting into the cooling system.

Of the two problems, this is a lesser issue. If this begins, you’ll notice engine temps rising, leaks coming from the oil cooler, oil in the coolant, the opposite, or both; black exhaust, and generally poor performance. The good news is that this was common enough that Ram extended warrantees for 2014-2016 EcoDiesel engines.

Because of its inferior design, the OEM filter shouldn’t be replaced. Diesel IQ recommends going with an aftermarket cooler like the CFT Performance Oil Cooler. Flushing the cooling system should be done if there is oil contamination.

Ram 3.0-liter EcoDiesel EGR cooler failure

Red Ram 1500 pickup truck parked inside a garage.
2021 Ram 1500 in Flame Red | Stellantis

Cracks can develop in the EGR cooler. An EGR recirculates exhaust back into the intake system. There it is burned off, lessening emissions coming from the exhaust. These hot exhaust gasses get very hot. So before being introduced back into the cylinder charge, it gets cooled off by the EGR cooler. 

The cracks allow coolant to leak into the engine compartment. This can cause fires to occur. Also, hotter exhaust than recommended going back into the engine can cause overheating. It also causes exhaust leaks from the hotter hot/cold cycling. The good news is that Ram issued a recall of 2014-2016 3.0-liter engines to correct this issue. 

Bosch fuel pump failures

Ram 1500 Classic, the only full-size pickup truck that costs less than $30,000
2019 Ram 1500 Classic | Ram

A recall was issued in June 2022, over the Bosch CP4.2 fuel pumps self-destructing. This causes metal debris to enter the fuel system, which can clog injectors, fuel rails, and fuel lines, among other problems. The recall affected 2014-2019 Ram Classic 1500 pickups and 2014-2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.

This is an expensive issue to take care of on your own, with labor running anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. Make sure any Ram Classic or Grand Cherokee you might be interested in buying has the problem corrected. The recall should cover other components in the fuel system besides the fuel pump that have been damaged as a result of the metal bits.

Exhaust couplers leaking

Ram 3.0-liter
Ram 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 | Stellantis

The exhaust pipe that runs from the turbocharger to the diesel particulate filter can develop leaks. This causes diesel fumes to enter the cabin. The 2015 recall covers 2014 and 2015 engines. Interestingly, this only affects two-wheel-drive trucks. 

Camshaft gear or timing chain slippage

2022 Ram 1500 Laramie G/T in Red
Ram 1500 Laramie G/T | Ram

The degree of damage varies depending on how much the gear or timing chain slips. Minor slipping causes the timing to be off, resulting in poor engine performance and misfiring. But if the cam gear slips completely, or in the more likely event that the timing chain does, it is catastrophic. 

When valves make contact with the pistons, bending and possible jamming are possible. Sometimes the valves can break apart the piston when contact occurs. No matter what, it destroys the engine. The catastrophic results are the reason for its wide circulation. But in reality, this has probably affected only a few engines.

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