its from the heating and cooling cycle of that part of the block along with a thin casting.
basically, dont worry about it, i dont think theres anything you can do about it, if its going to crack, its going to crack. you may delay it, but, i think cummins is warrantying the blocks and bearings with unlimited mileage now.
no, dodge doesn't cover it unless its still under warranty from the dealer, which is pretty unlikely, the latest 53 blocks ive seen are 2001, and heard of a few 2002's. cummins is supposed to be warrantying it, but, i have no proof that they do
I have a cracked "53" block... I had the "joy" of purchasing my truck from the original owner, who flat out LIED to me about there not being any problems with the truck. Well, on my drive home, I found out just how fked up the truck really was. With 204,000 miles, the motor is still in very good shape as far as leaks and power and so forth is concerned. The major PROBLEM lies in the fact that the block is cracked through all of the cylinder coolant ports! My truck is a 1999 Dodge Ram 2500HD 4x4 with the ISB 24V CTD. The son-of-a-gun won't hold water for more than 100 miles max, then the truck will start overheating due to the lack of coolant left in the system. The crack is well over 1 foot long, and they all crack on the RH side of the block, horizontally, just above the soft plug ports, and below what I call the upper block casting deck (where there is like a shelf of extra casting material).
The crack(s) come from too thin of casting walls made in the block's production. They can (and they will) crack at ANY TIME, for ANY REASON. I've heard that most cracks develop from not letting the engine heat up or cool down properly. Well, that may be, but I don't know anyone who has the time to sit there and burn $5.05+/gal fuel while the friggen truck engine warms up. I don't know about you, but my Cummins engines (I've owned quite a few) all take a LONG time to warm up, especially if it is cold out. Same with cool down. Cummins produced approximately 100,000 of these babies with the "53" block designation, and most of them have and will continue to crack. They are NOT just in the Dodge diesels either, they are also in industrial, commercial, and marine applications as well... YIKES!
"53's" were cast in the TUPY plant in Brazil. Damned foreign trash. On a lighter note, not all "53" blocks are bad, so it's a total crapshoot as to whether or not you got a good one or not. You can't tell, and won't know, until yours cracks! Pretty cool 'eh? I say WTF?!?!
Fortunately for me, good 'ol tap water is still pretty inexpensive, so I've just been keeping a 5 gallon gas can full of water in my truck, and I dump in a bunch of water every time the temp gauge starts to grow above it's normal operating range. Typically ever 100 miles or less, depending on if you are city or highway driving. Ok, so I know, the water is going to cause the engine to develop mineral deposits build up, rust, and the engine will even run a little hotter. Oh fricken well! My main concern is when winter comes, I won't be able to afford dumping antifreeze in the truck every friggen day, and so I won't be able to use the truck at all without risking cracking the block elsewhere and really ruining the motor. Ok so that's just great now I'll have no useable truck once the temps get around freezing in a few months.... Now what?!?! Well, I've already got a few ideas but I'm kind of broke right now so most will be on hold.
What have I done so far? Well, like any smart person would do, I looked into what it will cost me to repair the existing engine that I have. I found a company in California that specializes in repairing DODGE RAM CUMMINS cracked blocks. They are a machine shop that also specializes in cast iron repairs. Their claim to fame is that they repaired a giant crack on the White House roof/dome.
Anyhow, back to the topic at hand... They can and will repair any cracked Cummins block for around $60 to $70 per inch of crack. You can contact them and set up repair plans with their staff. I wrote an e-mail on a Saturday morning, and didn't expect to hear back until well after Monday. Well, I got a call later on that same Saturday from a German engineer that worked for the company and he informed me all about what his company does and what the approximate costs would be. Gotta say, I was super-impressed!
Anyhow, the deal is that you pull your motor, strip it down to short block status (the less on it the cheaper to ship and the less for them to remove at the repair facility), crate or palletize your engine block, contact a shipper, and ship your engine to them. Then, they repair it, you pay the bill, and they ship it back to you, ready to go back into your truck (after you re-assemble everything of course). Hey, nobody said this was gonna be cheap or easy...
Now, what sucks is that I'm in NY and they are in CA. They offer a 1 year warranty on the crack, but the engineer that I talked to assured me that they've NEVER had a Cummins Diesel block come back, and that they've literally repaired THOUSANDS of them already. They are all tooled up and have all the necessary equipment to permanently repair the blocks on site.
Ok, so here's what I decided to do. I just bought a 2001 CTD 5.9L H.O. motor with 160,000 miles on it, from a junkyard in Tenessee. Shipped to my local commercial shop door for $2,800. I purchased it in long block format (stripped of most all accessories) and paid extra for the injection pump and turbo to stay with the motor. I got the motor, found that the turbo had been damaged (probably from the wrecked truck that it came out of), and the oil pan is a bashed up mess. Boy, I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to see that! I called the junkyard immediately and they are refunding the additional cost I paid for the turbo and are sending me a new oil pan. So, I may have to put the other 1999 turbo on my H.O. for now, until I can take it to a diesel (turbo) shop find out if it's worth fixing the other original 2001 H.O. turbo or not. That kinda sucks, but oh well...
I haven't given up on my 1999 CTD engine just yet. I intend to ship it out to Cali once I can save up the money to get it fixed. Then, I will either sell it to try and re-coup some of my losses. Or, if noone wants to buy it because they are scared, then I'll likely put it in a mud truck that I have.
Since I've been dragging my feet, and haven't put the '01 motor in yet, I think I'm going to call up Cummins and see if they will do anything to warrant the block first, while it's still in the truck.
Lord knows they sure as hell should! I'm not holding my breath though... Wish me luck!
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