3.9L V6 Magnum Engine Reliability

11-09-2013, 01:01 PM
There is an opportunity to buy a good-looking '96 Dodge B2500 Van in our area. This van is equipped with the 3.9L V6 Magnum engine.

Is this engine a Chrysler Lemon(ade) we should stay away from? From your experience what could be the most important things we should be looking for at this age?

11-09-2013, 04:11 PM
The engine is reliable, but usually vans with this engine do not have overdrive. That's a big negative if you do a good amount of highway driving.

11-10-2013, 04:09 PM
My real worry is some factory/design flaw that could lead to a catastrophic failure in this 3.9L V6 Magnum engines - on carsurver.org all the B Vans with this engine has negative reviews due to timing chain failures or other serious electric flaws.

We decided to ask the owners in this forum before making a purchase in this case. All 3.9L V6 owners we are really looking forward and appreciating your 2 cents.

11-11-2013, 12:10 PM
My real worry is some factory/design flaw that could lead to a catastrophic failure in this 3.9L V6 Magnum engines.

Worry not, these engines are not known for any catastrophic failures.

11-11-2013, 03:55 PM
From what we read on carsurvey.org the 3.9L Magnums had some issues with the factory timing chain missing a tensioner, damaging the timing cover or skipping a grade and damaging the pistons/valves.

That seems like a pretty serious issue and I doubt this engine had the timing chain changed ever. Have you encountered this type of problems on these engines?

11-11-2013, 05:53 PM
I have over a 130K on mine with the original timing chain and the engine is running strong.

11-15-2013, 02:26 PM
The van was checked and appears to be in pretty good order except the IAC valve/sensor which messes-up the engine idle rpms.

Is there a way to determine what king of transmission is installed in this '96 RAM Van - 3 speed or 4 speed automatic?

Any other bits and bites of useful information from mechanics that worked on these vans are immensely appreciated!

11-21-2013, 05:37 AM
We bought the van and scheduled a visit to the repair shop this weekend.

Apparently it doesn't have OD - there's no button/indicator on the dashboard for it - we'll look at the transmission code when we'll take it to the shop.

Meantime can you please tell us what type of oil makes this engine happy? Mobil 1 site recommends a 10W-30 but I'd rather go for the owner's take on this subject. Our engine has 120.000 Miles on it.

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