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PERA’S Core Corner
By Roy Berndt
In trying to keep our ear to the ground and understanding all the casting proliferation of today’s engines it seems that sometimes engine builders just can’t catch up. The SourcePERA project prides itself in doing just that, staying in tune to the changes prior to them hitting your facility.
We don’t want you to get one of those terrible phone calls: "My manifold doesn’t bolt up!" or "The block doesn’t have the chassis clearance!" Those are the calls that can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars to rectify. We hope the following information will help you avoid some of those calls.
In 1998, Chrysler introduced the newly designed 2.7L DOHC V6 engine in the Intrepid and Concorde vehicle models. This 2.7L engine was the pride of the Kenosha, WI, engine plant and incorporated the latest technologies being used in many of today’s engines. In its original introduction to the LH platform, the 2.7L was a longitudinal – or North-South – front wheel drive configuration. But in 2001 the 2.7Ls were introduced to the Sebring and Stratus in the FJ platform as a transverse – East-West – front-wheel-drive mounting. Because of this mounting change from N-S to E-W there are some distinct differences that you need to be aware of to keep yourself out of trouble.
First, let’s examine the most visible and obvious change. In its transverse configuration the engine required modifications to accommodate a mount to the front. Because the logical place for that to happen was the front cover, on the FJ platform the front cover has a provision for an engine mount (see Photos 1 and 2).
Another change has to do with the block, and it is relatively simple and easy to miss, yet important. The right rear of the block underwent some minor clearance machining to accommodate the new E-W applications. However, don’t be fooled by the "minor" change, because without these clearances the cylinder block is not going to mount into the Sebring or Stratus vehicles due to interference. In 2002, all 2.7L blocks were machined to this clearanced configuration as a single common casting for N-S and E-W applications (see Photos 3 and 4).
Therefore, unique to the model year 2001 only, there were two different block configurations: one for the N-S mount, LH platform vehicles without the machined block clearance; and the other with clearance machining for the E-W mount, FJ platform. See the photos for positive identification so that you do not get caught using the wrong block. The E-W mount block, however, will work for all applications back through 1998.
Lastly, the cylinder heads had some changes that are pretty easy to spot. In 1998 through 1999 the right side cylinder head (c/n 4663979 which also has 6R cast into it) had a threaded body chain tensioner assembly. In 2000 the right head (c/n 4663979AB, also with 6R cast into it) used a smooth push-in body with a bolt-down flange chain tensioner.
The 1998-’99 left cylinder head (c/n 4663697 with 6L cast into it) has two M8 bolt bosses just above the exhaust ports. In 2000, this head came with four M8 bolt bosses just above the exhaust ports. The funny thing is that the front two bosses were not used until 2001 for the alternator bracket on the Sebring and Stratus’ transverse mount engines.
One last quick identifier: whenever you’re looking at any 2.7L cylinder head castings, if the front of the head has one black plastic inspection cover it is the right cylinder head; if it has two it is the left cylinder head (see Photo 5).
We hope this will help you avoid getting caught in one of those "Calls that Cost" situations.