JC 5.7L Hemi -Maintenance in Africa - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
Regular Service / Maintenance This section contains discussion about regular service and maintenance (upkeep) of your Jeep Commander

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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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JC 5.7L Hemi -Maintenance in Africa

I am new to this forum and have limited technical experience with my 2006 Jeep Commander 5.7L Hemi. I could use some advise. I moved to Lagos, Nigeria for a 2 year assignment from Seattle, WA. In Seattle, I spent a lot of time working on Porsche track cars, mostly 944 turbos. I had planned to use local mechanics for my Jeep, but they don't have the tools, diagnostic equipment or skills to service my car. I am going to take over as much maintenance as possible on my own.

Need to change the oil.

I have driven 15k miles since the last oil change. The air quality is terrible with dust and diesel fumes. I change the air filter every two months. It is about 90 degrees here all year round. The quality of the gasoline is terrible with lots of contamination, particle and water. I cannot get 5w-20 synthetic in Nigeria. The local mechanic is trying to convince me to use non synthetic 10w-40. I have a box of Mobil 1 oil filters. Would I be better off keeping the old 5w-20 synthetic with a new filter, or changing the oil with 10w 40 non-synthetic with a new filter?

Spark plugs

I brought a set of 16 NGK Iridiums and a set of Champanion stock copper plugs. The Jeep has 50k miles and the plugs have never been changed. I am getting 6 miles to the gallon in stop and go driving with lots of waiting in traffic. I have heard mixed reports on about the Iridiums with the Jeep 5.7 Hemi. Any input on which set of plugs to use? Both are paid for and they are a sunk cost.

Brakes:

Driving in Lagos is pure chaos. There are no rules, no law enforcement and drivers are idiots and take insane risks. We have a driver that doesn't know how to drive. High accellaration starts followed by slamming on the brakes. The Jeep has picked up a slight shudder on light braking. I am guessing that I need new brake pads. Any recommendations on brand? I probably need new rotars but probably cannot get them here.

Ohter input:

Any advice on how to protect my Jeep from this harsh environment with almost no maintenance? My fmaily loves our Jeep and we would like to take it to our next overseas assignment. My Porsches are in storage in Virginia.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle951 View Post
Need to change the oil.

I have driven 15k miles since the last oil change. The air quality is terrible with dust and diesel fumes. I change the air filter every two months. It is about 90 degrees here all year round. The quality of the gasoline is terrible with lots of contamination, particle and water. I cannot get 5w-20 synthetic in Nigeria. The local mechanic is trying to convince me to use non synthetic 10w-40. I have a box of Mobil 1 oil filters. Would I be better off keeping the old 5w-20 synthetic with a new filter, or changing the oil with 10w 40 non-synthetic with a new filter?
It would be better to use non-synthetic 5w-20 if you can't get the synthetic. Any other weight and the MDS will not work properly. Refer to your Owner's Manual and you will see that this is correct info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle951 View Post
Spark plugs

I brought a set of 16 NGK Iridiums and a set of Champanion stock copper plugs. The Jeep has 50k miles and the plugs have never been changed. I am getting 6 miles to the gallon in stop and go driving with lots of waiting in traffic. I have heard mixed reports on about the Iridiums with the Jeep 5.7 Hemi. Any input on which set of plugs to use? Both are paid for and they are a sunk cost.
Use the stock Champions -- the HEMI works best with these plugs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle951 View Post
Brakes:

Driving in Lagos is pure chaos. There are no rules, no law enforcement and drivers are idiots and take insane risks. We have a driver that doesn't know how to drive. High accellaration starts followed by slamming on the brakes. The Jeep has picked up a slight shudder on light braking. I am guessing that I need new brake pads. Any recommendations on brand? I probably need new rotars but probably cannot get them here.
It sounds like your rotors are warped. You may be able to have them resurfaced but they may need replacing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle951 View Post
Ohter input:

Any advice on how to protect my Jeep from this harsh environment with almost no maintenance? My fmaily loves our Jeep and we would like to take it to our next overseas assignment. My Porsches are in storage in Virginia.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
I would be glad to drive your Porsches for you to keep them in good running condition.

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Last edited by jeep5253; 06-07-2011 at 03:42 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 03:11 PM
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Ouch!
How tough is it to get stuff sent to you? Oil, filters ? Manuals?


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeep5253 View Post
It would be better to use non-synthetic 5w-20 if you can get it. Any other weight and the MDS will not work properly. Refer to your Owner's Manual and you will see that this is correct info.
I have not been able to find anything close to 5w-20 weight synthetic or non-synthetic.

The choice is keep the old oil or use the wrong weight.

I will be in the US in July and may use one of my suitcases for 10 quarts of 5w-20 synthetic, but that means losing 30 lbs of cheese that I cannot buy locally. Suitcase space is at a premium.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cico7 View Post
Ouch!
How tough is it to get stuff sent to you? Oil, filters ? Manuals?
Very difficult. Only Japenese and Mercedes parts are well stocked. As near as I can tell, 10w 40 oil is used in everything. Some of my colleagues have had issues with using too heavy an oil. Their cars are leaking. Not sure if the mechanics did lousy work and damages something or if it is the oil.

I have access to diplomatic shipments, but no liquids, under 20 lbs and there are size limiitations on the boxes. It takes 5 weeks to get an order after I place it.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 05:57 PM
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I will buy 1qt of oil and ship it to you! Get 7 more people to do the same. lol
Oh and I just did a plug change on Saturday. It took almost 2hrs. I took my time its not hard at all. I went with the stock Champions. What kind of oil do you want?

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 07:08 PM
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I routinely order fluid and filters from Amsoil online. Have you asked any vendors like Amsoil if they would ship to Nigeria? I have a few cases of each of the type fluids right now. I would donate some fluid for you, However I think that the issue is shipping and not availability of the product from U.S. vendors.

I offered to ship some parts to the middle east in the past and that turned into a neverending story. By the time you get the shipment you might be posted on Mars. Robby came to the rescue and shipped Ahmed his toys.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-07-2011, 10:49 PM
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You can use butter 5W-30 synthetic, the engine works fine on it. Change as often as possible after a maximum of 7000 km. Recommend poistit inlet valve.

With service to the mechanics should not be a problem, use the usual keys, maybe they're just lazy.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 08:35 AM
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What we did in the service, if you were posted to a place like this and needed a personal vehicle, which the service would often NOT pay for shipping your vehicle overseas, folks would just buy a local junker and then sell it to the next serviceman coming in to replace them.

Sorry, I know thats like telling you to close the barn door after the horse has left.

I would worry about the fuel, when I was in Iraq I saw several brand new American Vehicles rendered useless by contaminated local fuel. And it was more than clogged fuel filters, it was damage to the fuel system and engine. Catalytic Converters can suffer a lot of damage and clog as well, from the impurities and especially any lead compounds in the fuel (a lot of foreign Nations were using leaded fuel long after the U.S. banned it, NOT sure if that is still true today).

At the very least, I'd look at changing your fuel filter, and sadly, because American Fuel standards are so high now, all the manufacturer's have switched to lifetime fuel filters that are much harder to change, like drop the gas tank to change them.

Dusty conditions means changing oil more often, the dust does work it way into the engine and into the oil. If you have to change filters every 2 months, you should be changing oil very often.

You immediate problem, you're way overdue for an oil change. And you have to decide if running on bad oil of the correct viscosity is better than running on new oil of the wrong viscosity. I don't know how bad the MDS of the Hemi reacts to the wrong viscosity, that is the big "IF" here. BUT we do know running to long on bad oil will ruin your motor, so your going to have to change it eventually or your going to end up worse off than the MDS NOT performing up to optimal levels.
  • If you can find Conventional Oil of the right viscosity, use that, just change it more often, like every 2-3k miles.
  • If you can find Synthetic Oil that is thinner but closer to the right viscosity, I use that and change it more often.
  • If the 10W-40 is the only oil you can get, definitely get synthetic over conventional (synthetic flows better for the same viscosity as conventional so it likely will act closer to a lighter oil when flowing through the MDS plumbing). To offset the heavier weight, I would make sure you idle the cold motor for 2 or 3 minutes or even more, after starting cold before driving, it will really only offset the cold viscosity when the oil is cold by warming it up before driving and engaging the MDS.
Spark Plugs, a lot of the newer ignition systems have proved finicky on plugs for some people, seen posts (on this and other forums) that folks switched brands or types of plugs and got symptoms of worn out plugs and it didn't go away till they switched back to the exact OEM plug by part number. For that reason I stick to the exact OEM plug by brand and part number.

The problem with Platinum and Iridium plugs with the newer ignition systems is usually if the newer ignition system is a "Wasted Spark" or "2 plugs share 1 coil" Distributorless Ignition System (DIS). In DIS ignition systems, if they decide to share 2 plugs on one coil, one of the two plugs has a reverse current flow. That reverse current flow reverses anode/cathode on the electrodes on the plugs and in the case of Platinum or Iridium plugs that have different metals between the anode/cathode, you've just reversed the effect of slower eroding to faster eroding electrodes. This is why they developed Double Platinum Plugs that has platinum on both electrodes for the Ignition Systems that have reverse current flow the plug can handle it and NOT errode away faster than regular plugs.
  • So determine what Ignition system your HEMI has, does it share more than one plug per coil? If it does, then I would use the exact brand and part number for the plugs as OEM. If you only have 1 plug per coil, then you can experiment with other plug types and thoeretically shouldn't run into a problem.
My 2010 3.7L is a "Wasted Spark" system, my brothers 2007 3.7L (Grand Cherokee), although the engines are identical in every way, has one coil per plug. I might be cost savings, it could be emissions, the wasted spark fires on exhaust and power stroke, so it does offer some improvements in burning any HC in the emissions.

Brakes, shudder or pulsating pedal is often wapred rotors or bad rotors, replacing pads may help but if the pulsating/shudder comes back, its the rotors. But dirt, lack of lubrication, foreign debri between pad/rotor can create those effects also, a good common sense inspection of the brake looking for anything wrong and fixing what you find, might help.

With modern brakes, you can sometime get the rotor hot enough it effects the metalurgy on parts of the rotor, you get hard spots or different temper spots, that creates the shudder that can dampen out with heavier brake force. When it happened to my mini-van, the pad that swept the surface with the hard spot would NOT wear evenly, it will wear faster on one edge so the pad would always tilt in relation to the rotor. It did NOT go away when I had the rotors turn (the hard spot extends lower then the surface) it only went away when I got new rotors.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-08-2011, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
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So determine what Ignition system your HEMI has, does it share more than one plug per coil? If it does, then I would use the exact brand and part number for the plugs as OEM. If you only have 1 plug per coil, then you can experiment with other plug types and thoeretically shouldn't run into a problem.
The 2006 Hemi uses 16 spark plugs





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