6.4 Hemi Lifter Failure Symptoms (and Causes)

The Chrysler’s 6.4 Hemi engines are trademarked for their efficient, robust, and reliable power outputs and tough aluminum alloy pistons. They feature a larger 392 cubic inch design over the earlier generation Chrysler models.

But like any other engine, the 6.4L V8 Hemi series can have its challenges too. One of such is the lifter failure.

This article explains how to identify the 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms, causes and replacement steps, and how much it costs to fix them.

What is the 6.4 Hemi lifter, and how does it work?

Check between your engine’s cylinder valves and the vehicle’s camshaft if you don’t know how the 6.4 Hemi lifter looks. Those tiny straight cylindrical rods that sit between are called lifters.

The primary function of the 6.4 Hemi lifters is valve control. A typical 5.7L Hemi V8 has 16 sets of these aluminum or iron cylindrical rods. There are eight lifters, each on the front and rear engine parts.

When the camshaft moves, it temporarily opens the valves by pressing against the lifters, which pushes down the pushrod. The lifters then get back to position after the camshaft cycle is complete.

It’s a continuous cycle that happens while the engine is running and explains the significance of the 6.4 Hemi lifters. The exhaust and intake valves have separate lifters that open at different intervals.

Therefore, a 6.4 Hemi lifter failure would imply the valves did not open and fuel/air did not flow into the combustion chambers. There are different types of lifters; hydraulic, mechanical, and roller lifters. They all work similarly but differently, depending on the vehicle type.

What are the 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms?

6.4 Hemi Lifter Failure

Now that you understand how the Hemi lifter works, the next thing is checking out the different possible 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms.

1. Ticking engine sounds

This sign is the most obvious indicator that your 6.4L Hemi lifter is faulty. The engine starts to make annoying, ticking sounds because the valves do not close or open properly for each camshaft cycle.

The free “rolling” part of the lifter rods must have become stiff, which further causes engine malfunction and a corresponding drop in compression ratio.

The compression loss then translates to the Chrysler’s 6.4 Hemi engine misfires. Ignoring the noisy Hemi lifter failure symptoms worsens the engine until loss of power occurs.

Drivers might also observe stalled accelerations since the camshaft struggles to make complete cycles. Remember the camshaft regulates the fuel input. Hence, the fuel economy is also affected.

2. Reduced fuel economy

We already explained how compression loss in your 6.4L Hemi can cause engine misfires and power loss.

However, that loss in power often implies the engine needs to work extra hard to produce expected performances. It significantly affects the fuel economy as your Chrysler V8 is now doing more to achieve the same results.

In addition, the cylinders fail to properly mix air and fuel for internal combustion. The engine could also reset to a “fail safe” mode that runs on a less efficient and different timing scheme.

A Hemi lifter failure affects the camshaft movements, which affects the fuel input and exhaust fume discharge. The engine loses some unburned fuel via the exhausts during overlap.

3. “Check engine” lights

Asides from hearing ticking engine noises and popping “check engine” lights are another 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms that are quite noticeable. Modern vehicles have a computerized sensor system that detects engine faults.

Therefore, when the lifter gets stiff or fails to open and close the cylinder valves, the engine lights pop on. It gives specific codes between P0300 to P0308, representing different misfire errors.

That makes it easier to detect exactly what is wrong with the 6.4L lifters. The P0300 stands for multiple misfires across the different cylinder valves, and the last number for the P0301 to P0308 specifies the cylinder that misfired.

Now, these codes should not scare you. They should only help you give a detailed complaint to your mechanic for replacements.

4. Complete engine breakdown

When ignored or unattended, any of the signs of a faulty lifter can result in a total breakdown of the Chrysler engine.

A probable cause would be a dead cylinder characterized by a pushrod that fell out of place. It happens when the lifter is unable to push the pushrod for a complete camshaft movement. A dead cylinder can break the valve and damage surrounding engine components.

Hence, the first step is to report to your mechanic when you notice any of the mentioned 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms.


Causes of the 6.4 Hemi lifter failure

Check out the possible reasons for a 6.4 Hemi lifter failure and learn how to avoid them.

Poor maintenance practices

As for almost every automotive fault, poor maintenance is the root cause of many 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms. Some drivers see no use in going for high-quality oils because they think they are expensive.

We also have vehicle owners that don’t create time to check their engine oil levels. What happens? Their car runs on low oil which affects the engine. Besides, they don’t even notice the presence of engine oil contaminants on time.

Worn-out engine parts

Lack of proper maintenance of your 6.4L Chrysler V8 could result in low lubrication that causes worn-out camshaft or other engine parts. It ultimately affects the engine lifter and wears out other connected components like the crankshafts or timing belts.

A good solution is a periodic evaluation of the condition of the different engine components. You might have an experienced mechanic do that for you.


Overheating from faulty radiators or thermostats can also cause the 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms. An excessively hot engine usually degenerates into more costly issues like warped cylinders. The major cause of overheating could also lead to wear out of important engine parts.

How to isolate a faulty 6.4 Hemi lifter?

Identification of the 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms is one thing, but pointing out the affected lifters is another. Remember we said the 6.4L Hemi engine has 16 lifter sets? How then, do you know which ones are faulty?

The effective approach to isolate a faulty lifter is performing a system diagnostic scan, and there are two ways to do that. The first method is contacting a professional mechanic to run the scan. The results indicate the misfiring cylinders, making it easy to identify faulty lifters.

Another approach is the do-it-yourself method. But you must use professional-grade cleaning products to eliminate dirt and oil residues.

Engine misfires are more common on high-mileage 6.4L Hemis. That’s due to wear out, and the higher possibility of malfunctioning engine parts.

Preventive maintenance tips to avoid 6.4 Hemi lifter failure?

Adhere to the following maintenance practices to prevent faults with your 6.4L Hemi engine. Remember that simple and regular routine checks can save you a few hundred dollars.

Service the engine regularly.

Create a periodic schedule to service your 6.4 Chrysler V8. Correct maintenance checks include replacing contaminated oil and lubricating moving engine parts.

Use only high-quality synthetic oil.

Don’t join the bandwagon of drivers that think cheaper low-quality oils are smart. Verify with your mechanic for the recommended oil type by the engine’s manufacturer. Otherwise, prepare for the 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms.

Refrain from adding oil additives.

Resist the pressure to causally add additives without reason. Putting fluids like fuel injector cleaner can cause some damage aside from their expected functions. Use only recommended additives.

Check oil levels.

Driving on low oil can seriously damage engine parts due to low lubrication and even wear out some components. Similarly, avoid adding too much oil as it can cause lifter failures too.

What is the replacement cost for a faulty 6.4 Hemi lifter?

The cost to replace a bad 6.4 Hemi lifter varies on the extent of the damage. Replacing all 16 Hemi lifters is more expensive and about $1200 to $2000. It is cheaper if you follow the DIY process, but that involves procuring necessary tools like a socket ratchet, an adjustable wrench, and wrenches of different sizes too.

Check this detailed video on replacing a misfiring engine lifter:

While it is not a difficult process, it is a tasking and labor-intensive one. Give the repair a shot if you’re confident and have done something like that before. Otherwise, tow the car to a mechanic to save you time and have it properly diagnosed and fixed.

Can you drive with 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms?

Don’t do it! Driving with known faults with the engine lifter only causes more cylinders to misfire and make those ticking engine noises. The longer you ignore it, the more severe the damage to the cylinder valves and piston heads.

There is also resulting friction that leads to more wear out of moving engine parts. Connected components like the camshaft and crankshaft are at risk of damage too.

Altogether, you stand the risk of experiencing a more costly repair for every second you ignore the 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms.


We have learned how the different signs of a faulty 6.4 Hemi lifter are related. Ignoring an observed symptom for too long deteriorates the engine’s lifespan until it breaks down or leads to more expensive repairs.

However, there are preventive maintenance tips to avoid faulty lifters. Don’t hesitate to contact your mechanic if your vehicle experiences any of the discussed 6.4 Hemi lifter failure symptoms.

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4 Most Common Subaru EJ25 Engine Problems

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Mahir Ahmed


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