Ray is an ASE Master Technician with over 30 years in the auto repair business.
If you have the 3.6L Pentastar engine, found in Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles, at some point you will have this issue. When you or your mechanic are changing the oil filter, you may look in the top of the housing and find a broken piece of plastic with a spring. Or you will hear the part pop out after the filter cap is removed. This part is called the oil filter bypass valve.
If you are at your local oil change place or automotive repair shop when you discover this valve is broken, most of them will tell you the vehicle cannot be moved. They will tell you you must change the entire oil cooler housing to correct this problem, which can cost up to $1000 depending on who quotes you. The dealer will only change the entire cooler, not the valve, since the part needed is only available aftermarket.
But the vehicle can actually be driven with this oil bypass valve broken or taken out.
The purpose of the oil bypass valve is to keep unfiltered oil flowing to vital engine parts even when the oil filter gets clogged. The valve bypasses the filter. You can put the filter back in without the bypass valve. This allows you to drive the car home and repair it yourself, or take it to a shop that will be honest and change only what you need.
I can let you know that at some point that your oil cooler housing will need replacing, because over time it will start to leak oil. The housing is plastic and loses shape over time from heat.
But if the valve is all you need right now, you can replace the broken oil bypass valve yourself at home with basic tools. You will spend about $17 for the valve and it takes 5 minutes to change.
Finding The Right Tools
You will need
- a ratchet,
- an extension,
- and an oil filter socket or equivalent-sized socket.
Step 1. Removing the Engine Cover
Remove the engine cover. You can do this by pulling up on each of the four corners to release the cover from rubber grommets. Sometimes it takes a little force; don't be afraid to pull.
Step 2. Removing Oil Filter Cap
Remove the oil filter cap using or filter socket or equivalent sized socket. Have a drain bucket or something equivalent to put the filter in when you remove it. You will have some oil but not much.
Step 3: Removing a Broken Spring
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Remove the spring. You can just reach down and grab it with your fingers.
But do not drop the spring down inside the cooler. If it falls into the wrong spot, you will have no choice but to remove the cooler. The spring is metal and can damage engine components.
To prevent this you can place paper towels or a rag around the inside of the housing.
Step 4. Removing Broken Plastic Pieces
Use a pick to pull out broken plastic pieces.
Be careful to not drop pieces down inside the housing. As I stated above, you can do this by placing paper towels or a rag around the inside of housing.
If you do get any pieces of plastic down in the oil cooler it won't be the end of the world. It was brittle plastic to begin with, and if it comes in contact with anything it will just crumble and eventually get caught in the filter or be drained out with the oil.
The Broken Bypass Valve
You'll end up with this.
The photo shows the broken valve above and the new one below.
This is the Replacement Part You Will Need
Step 5. Installing the New Valve
Install the new oil filter by-pass valve. The spring goes in first, then the plastic part, which has 4 tabs that lock it in place.
Step 6. Replacing the Oil Filter
Replace the filter and the o-ring on the filter cap, and torque the cap to 25nm or 18 ft-pounds.
If you don't have a torque wrench on hand, don't feel you need to tighten the cap super tight. If you do, it will be a pain to remove the cap at the next filter change. 18 ft-pounds is snug.
Step 7. Quality Control
Start the engine and check for leaks. Check the oil level and replace the engine cover. You're done!
Note: Dispose of your old filter and any oil properly in accordance with EPA laws. Meaning, don't throw it in your regular trash. Take it to a local shop, or some auto parts stores will take it.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.