Chrysler repairing Pentastar engines due to cylinder head issue

Chrysler's Pentastar V6 has developed a cylinder head issue.

A cylinder head issue with Chrysler's 3.6L Pentastar V6 is forcing the Auburn Hills-based automaker to repair thousands of engines. The Pentastar V6 is used in several of Chrysler's popular models, including the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Grand Caravan.

Although not a recall, Chrysler executives have confirmed there is an issue with the engine's cylinder head that could affect about 0.5 percent, or 7,500, of the 1.5 million Pentastars that have been produced over the last two years. Chrysler officials say the company is replacing the cylinder head with a "more robust" design. So far there has been no explanation of the design flaw with the current unit.

Although Chrysler is keeping quiet on the matter, complaints to the NHTSA have alleged ticking sounds from the engine and even engine stalling. In all cases, the vehicle's check engine light illuminated.

Repair backlog
Chrysler's engine issue has created quite a headache for Pentastar owners in recent months. Dealers simply haven't had enough of the new cylinder heads to repair vehicles in a timely manner, leaving some owners without their cars for weeks. Chrysler did, however, foot the bill for rental cars.

Doug Betts, Chrysler's senior vice president for quality, recently addressed the supply issue.

"The biggest mistake we made is taking our eye off the ball on service parts," he told Automotive News. "That always gets the dealers' attention. Our intention is to always satisfy the needs of the service market ahead of production. This came to my attention a couple weeks ago. We have parts in the pipeline to remedy that shortfall."

Betts said Chrysler went from a 1,300 unit shortfall to a 3,000 unit surplus. However, demand for the new cylinder head has now risen to about 500 requests per week.

The cylinder head replacement is covered by Chrysler's new car warranty.