Last Updated: 14.10.2021

Most car owners will not have second thoughts recommending a Hemi engine. It’s famous 

for its exceptional performance even in the most demanding situations.

The Chrysler 5.7 Hemi is a robust engine, but just like every other engine, it does have flaws. 

That’s why it’s important to know and understand the usual 5.7 Hemi problems to help you fix the issues in case they happen. 

So, let’s find out more about these common problems…

What Are the Most Common 5.7 Hemi Problems?

5.7 hemi engine image

Ticking Problems

Some car owners believe that the ticking sound is just normal in Hemi engines. However, there could be a pretty serious issue causing it. 

A non-disruptive tick is not a cause for alarm. But if you’re hearing a resonant noise that sounds like metal against metal, this could point to oil shavings.

In some cases, valve stems in the wrong sizes could cause chattering or ticking sounds. Sometimes, it’s also a result of defective lifters or poor-quality fuel. Either way, you would need to deal with this issue right away before worse things happen.

But hold on…

Before you start panicking and purchasing brand new oil, it’s best to check your engine’s oil level first. 

It will also help to make sure that you stick to a consistent oil-change schedule. If the noise persists, choose a better lubricant that can smoothen out the lifters and the valves. Doing these things often solves the ticking problem in Hemi engines.

Overheating

car overheating

It is important to check your engine as soon as it begins generating excessive heat. 

However. you shouldn’t have to worry so much if you have a cooling system in place as this should enhance airflow. It could also protect your engine from damage caused by contaminants like dust and debris.

Keeping a regular maintenance schedule can help you assess the temperature gauge from time to time. There are instances that cooling systems would leak. These leakages can then bring the engine’s temperature beyond the ideal level.

To fix this issue, you might find it best to invest in a cold air intake installation. This will help improve airflow and engine performance, and in the process, prevent overheating.

Broken Spark Plugs

Spark plug malfunctions are not such a common problem. In most cases, it points to an underlying issue. 

Nevertheless, malfunctioning spark plugs may not generate ample power. This leads to more severe problems once it results in misfires.

These plugs help the engine perform well, but they are also subject to wear and tear. In the case of the 5.7 Hemi engine, you would need to change them every 30,000 to 40,000 miles. For newer models, going beyond 100,000 miles puts the spark plugs at risk.

A 5.7 Hemi has 16 plugs, and it only takes one of them to stop working after extensive use to cause a misfire. Difficulties in starting the engine are among the signs of a defective spark plug. So keep in mind to check them regularly, according to the maintenance schedule. 

Busted Exhaust Manifold Bolts

Damaged manifold bolts are one of the top concerns you have to watch out for. Since they’re at the part of the engine with the highest temperature, they often are the ones to break first.

The exhaust system plays a vital role. Therefore, a broken exhaust system disrupts the engine’s capacity to discharge poisonous gases. You would encounter warning signs that tell you of a hazardous emission leakage. These include fuel inefficiency and decreasing power.

This problem might be challenging to identify, but a ticking sound can be one of the indicators. So when you start hearing one, you should check right away. 

New bolt replacement and installation would do the trick. You can even do this yourself at home with no professional help so you can save some cash.

Check out this tutorial on removing broken exhaust manifold bolts. 

Multi-Displacement Problems

Even a brilliant innovation like the Multi-Displacement System (MDS) sometimes fails to operate smoothly. Many users love how this technology allows them to save on fuel. The MDS even gives you the option to disable the system if you prefer not to use it. 

But for several Hemi engine users, sometimes the system doesn’t seem to work as expected. Take for instance the loud buzz as the engine shuts off. It may not be a huge issue, but it’s something you should also think about.

If you keep experiencing this MDS problem, then it might have an impact on long-term use. Some would even say that the capacity of turning it on and off could not be so good for the engine’s performance. It may even affect longevity.

Lifter and Camshaft Issues

Lifter failure is another complaint you will likely hear from people using the 5.7 Hemi engines. Dodge and Chrysler users notice their lifters tapping. Usually, high idle times or missed oil change is to blame for this concern.

You’ll never hear experts say that this is a common Hemi issue though. After all, it is not a frequent occurrence to hear a ticking sound caused by broken lifters.

Hemi users know that the engine is picky when it comes to oil quality and condition. That’s why it is only practical to use the right oil and the right amount at all times. 

Older engines are also more likely to experience the lifter problem. So, you should see to it that the engine, especially the older ones, gets proper lubrication.

If you disregard a concern before carefully evaluating the situation, you might experience more severe problems. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to end up replacing your whole engine because of an issue you can otherwise treat beforehand.

Water and Sludge Buildup

Several Ram 1500 owners report how water and sludge buildup is a concern, especially in the engine’s early years. They would notice either water marks inside the oil cap or some mud in the dipstick. Neither of these signs is good for your engine.

These sludges were apparently due to oil leakage from the water pump gaskets. The oil leak would then go into the engine’s cooling system. 

Unfortunately, the Hemis cannot overcome these sludge monsters. It’s a massive risk considering how the sludges can clog openings.

If left untreated, it could result in an unexpected drop in oil pressure, or even worse, a blown engine. Serious problems caused by these buildups often take a while. By the time you encounter this problem, its warranty may already have been long exhausted.

Vibration

There are times when users experience vibration when the vehicle is in gear. They would notice the steering wheel and chassis vibrating even when it’s not moving at all. It happens when the car is in fuel-saving mode or when running at 1000 RPM on just four cylinders.

It is possible that the MDS technology causes the vibration. The system shuts off all four cylinders when running at a constant speed to increase engine efficiency. Doing so keeps the engine from emitting dangerous emissions.

The vibration may also be a result of your car running below its calibrated speed. Running at higher speeds with heavy acceleration can also cause this, just as much as worn-out motor mounts. 

I’ll not dismiss how challenging it can be to diagnose your shaking vehicle. Investing in a code scanner would help check possible trouble codes. If you can’t get hold of a code scanner, some mechanics do offer to do this service for free.

How Good Is a Hemi Engine? Let’s Talk Strengths and Performance Specs

Reliable Power Output

The 5.7 Hemi is undeniably one powerful engine. It has impressive peak horsepower and torque, allowing the engine to live up to its fame. You shouldn’t be surprised to see how well it could perform in drag races.

This Hemi version features 345 horsepower and continuously growing specifications. Such power takes care of emission problems common to engines with hemispherical combustion chambers. 

You’d feel the difference upon stepping on your gas pedal.

Having a hemispherical design allows the cylinder head to have improved breathing. It also facilitates heat loss prevention for your engine and renders more efficient combustion. This design, the fuel injection, and advanced ignition features make Hemi a real winner for race cars.

Better Fuel Efficiency

The Hemi comes with a Multi-Displacement System, which lets users switch the cylinders on and off. This is a fuel-saving innovation that improves emissions and fuel efficiency. The MDS controls oil flow by keeping the intake and exhaust valves closed.

This technology is among the strengths of a Hemi engine. Its design boosts fuel efficiency by reducing consumption. You even have the convenience of not using this feature if you prefer to do so.

What’s more impressive is the recent update manufacturers made to Hemi in 2009. It now has a variable valve timing or the VVT, and the cylinder heads are now bigger.

Minimizes Emissions

The emission concerns are no news to Hemi users, especially with the previous versions of Chrysler. It’s a good thing that the 2009 update resulted in significant improvements. Now, the Hemi engines come with two valves and spark plugs per cylinder.

Manufacturers named this revision the 5.7 Eagle. With the addition of the VVT in Hemi engines, the crank sensors now have 58 notches. It is quite a step up from the original engine with NGC and only 32 notches.

This new block features three oil passages with an extensive front cam bearing. Such features allow the use of the front journal to supply oil to the cam phaser. 

The dual spark plug design per cylinder also addresses the emission issue. The subordinate plug fires at the start of the engine’s power stroke completing the combustion. However, this innovation has its disadvantage too. If you fail to stay on top of your engine maintenance, you might experience misfire problems. Worn-out plugs can cause misfires and should always be a part of your routine maintenance.

Small Surface Area

One of the many advantages of a 5.7 Hemi is having a smaller surface area compared to most engines with a flathead design. Hemis have a combustion chamber with unique hemispherical heads, explaining the minimal surface.

These two types of engine design essentially have the same operation. But if you want better efficiency during conduction, smaller surfaces are the way to go.

It guarantees less heat loss and higher peak pressure. Therefore, the chamber also burns hotter, bringing Hemi to the top of the list of thermally efficient engines. Besides, engines with flat tops often face challenges during combustion. This isn’t surprising since such a design would have colder headwalls, so it tends to lose more heat.

Valve Sizes

Due to the Hemi-shaped chambers, manufacturers were able to integrate bigger-sized valves. The updated versions also have a pentroof design to accommodate more valves. 

With the valves sitting on opposing sides of the head, there is more space for each of them. Not to mention the generous ports also make an excellent addition.

Larger valves mean more airflow to the engine, resulting in more efficient combustion. The increased valve size improves engine performance and airflow. Each valve only measures approximately 2.14 /1.65-inches.

The capacity to hold four smaller valves allows the engine to breathe easier. It is so much better than previous models having two large valves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The 5.7 Hemi a Reliable Engine?

Despite its number of issues, the 5.7 Hemi remains a reliable engine. It may not be the most reliable one you can find, but yes, it’s still worth the investment. You cannot discredit the engine’s sturdy construction and exceptional performance.

No engine is perfect; those with hemispherical designs can have noticeable challenges. Problems would most likely occur, especially if the engine has high mileage. Even the most ideal mechanism would tend to break and have some issues over time.

Nonetheless, the engine is still efficient. If not, I doubt Chrysler would even consider using Hemi for their flagship cars. With a workhorse of a motor, there is no question about Hemi’s reliability, even with some quirks.

What Makes the Hemi Different From the Other Engines?

The Hemi’s thoughtful design sets it apart from traditional engines. Its hemispherical combustion chambers with dome-shaped cylinders allow it to have a smaller surface area. Such a design helps minimize heat loss.

The manufacturers even upgraded the cylinder heads and made the intake manifold model-specific. It further improves the torque and horsepower. Not to mention that Hemi features the Multi-Displacement System to enable cylinder deactivation.

All these specifications and more sets the 5.7 Hemi apart from other engines. It has the advantage in reliability, efficiency, and gas mileage.

Is Hemi Faster Compared to Other Engines?

With such impressive horsepower, the 5.7 Hemi can deliver the necessary torque to the wheels. It makes such engines run as fast as lightning. The Hemi is a combustion engine, allowing it to generate so much power and making it highly efficient.

The engine can produce higher peak pressure. It burns all gases in the cylinder, where it taps needed energy. As a result, it gives the engine more power, higher heat, more energy, and more combustion.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that the 5.7 Hemi’s rise to fame is due to its respectable performance. However, like any other engine, the Hemi is not without flaws.

Not even the best engines today are perfect. The only way to know the pros and cons is to take a closer look at each of them. It’s a resounding ‘yes’ if you’d like to know if Hemi is capable of meeting expectations and living up to its reputation.

The 5.7 Hemi’s overall design is like a marriage of optimal power and exceptional drivability. It has outstanding strength, impressive torque production, hemispherical cylinders, and fuel-injection features. Let’s also not forget how it significantly improves fuel economy.

With all these characteristics, it seems like the 5.7 Hemi is a dream engine. But you can still get more out of it if you wish to. There are budget-friendly upgrades available, should you opt to increase its horsepower.