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Unread 01-22-2014, 07:54 PM   #1
HandsDownJeeper
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"legendary & bulletproof"... 3.8? 3.7?

Hello everyone.

I have owned a 2000 Wrangler SE and a 2003 Wrangler Sport, and want another one but it's such a weird stage in terms of whats available used...

04-06s hold their value so well, but I'm kinda sick of that style, and finally coming around to the style of the JK, which I wasn't a fan of at first.

The price range I want to be in will get me a 6 digit mileage 07+ Wrangler...

I wouldn't think twice about buying the 4.0 inline 6, but what is the reliability like on the newer engines?

I've heard jokes about the "minivan engine"... and I'd love to hold off until I can get a 2012 used with the increase in power... but that will be years.

SO, can I buy the JKs without hesitation the way I can buy a 4.0 TJ?

I remember hating how gutless my SE was, but are the 4cyl engines reliable?

I'm hoping the third time is a charm and the next Wrangler I buy is one I can keep forever without major work...

Your help is greatly appreciated



(Back in 2003 I bought a 2000 SE with 33k for 13 grand, and in 2004 traded it in for 8900 with 55k. However, a decade later I can't find many 4 cyl Wranglers in good condition for the price I was given on trade back then... which is mind boggling. The '03 4.0 I bought with about 125k and only kept it til 138k. Bought it for $8000 from a dealer, and am having trouble finding another one for that price. The one I bought had rust bubbling on both front fenders however... )

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Unread 01-22-2014, 08:34 PM   #2
JoonHoss
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Having owned 3 different 4 cyl YJ's, and a 6 cyl TJ, and currently my '11 JKU (and many other Jeeps along the way), I can say from experience i'm very happy with the 3.8 engine.

Reading up before buying, most all the complaints made it sound like it was the worst dog of a motor ever produced, unable to get out of its own way. Many still say that.

Personally, I don't get it. Mine has the auto behind it, and is in the heavier 4 door, and I still think it's just fine. It's smoother than the 4.0 ever though of being, and the mileage is great. I drive tamely, but up/down hills all the time. The tranny downshifts/upshifts fine, IMHO, and I absolutely love driving it.

To be fair, I wasn't expecting V8 power, diesel torque, or turbo redlines, so perhaps my 'normal' expectations met my results?

I would NOT be happy with 3.21 gears (I have the 3.73) but other than that, I like it just fine.

Many preferences are subjective; I'm not taking anything away from those who love the pentastar, new trans, or higher regear- this is just my take on the issue.

Good luck in your search- whatever you choose!



Hoss
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Unread 01-22-2014, 09:53 PM   #3
jimk403
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I, on the other hand, prefer the 4.0 to the 3.8. Even with 5.38 gears and other mods on the JK, the 4.0 powered XJ will run circles around it any day of the week. It's faster, more power climbing hills, quieter, and I feel smother than the 3.8. Better mpg too.
Best engine Jeep ever had.
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Unread 01-23-2014, 12:17 AM   #4
Wubicon
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Wranglers have never been about the engine. People who value a good engine do a swap. Been that way for years.

That said mine has been trouble free for 75k.

Don't overlook the reason the 4.0 was dropped. They couldn't keep the classic Jeep shape and pass the new crash test standards. You are somewhat safer in a JK if that matters to you.

Get one. If you need more power get gears.

Full disclosure I have 5.38s and 33s, but I like low gears and do tow a camper.


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Unread 01-23-2014, 02:51 PM   #5
ROCKR8R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoonHoss View Post
Having owned 3 different 4 cyl YJ's, and a 6 cyl TJ, and currently my '11 JKU (and many other Jeeps along the way), I can say from experience i'm very happy with the 3.8 engine.

Reading up before buying, most all the complaints made it sound like it was the worst dog of a motor ever produced, unable to get out of its own way. Many still say that.

Personally, I don't get it. Mine has the auto behind it, and is in the heavier 4 door, and I still think it's just fine. It's smoother than the 4.0 ever though of being, and the mileage is great. I drive tamely, but up/down hills all the time. The tranny downshifts/upshifts fine, IMHO, and I absolutely love driving it.

To be fair, I wasn't expecting V8 power, diesel torque, or turbo redlines, so perhaps my 'normal' expectations met my results?

I would NOT be happy with 3.21 gears (I have the 3.73) but other than that, I like it just fine.

Many preferences are subjective; I'm not taking anything away from those who love the pentastar, new trans, or higher regear- this is just my take on the issue.

Good luck in your search- whatever you choose!



Hoss
What size tires are you running? 3.73 with 35's IS a dog. I ran that way for a long time. When I went to 5.13, I beat myself up for not doing it sooner. Night and day difference. Those that say 3.73 (or worse 3.21) are fine for 33's and 35's have never driven one with 4.88 or 5.13.

Anyway, OP, I wouldn't buy a 3.8L JK with 100K on it. I just wouldn’t. I probably wouldn’t want to get into any car with that much mileage but the 3.8L engine in the JK isn’t known for its longevity. I am sure there are ones out there going strong with over 100K, but with any used car you are rolling the dice.

-Dan
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Unread 01-23-2014, 04:22 PM   #6
HandsDownJeeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKR8R View Post
What size tires are you running? 3.73 with 35's IS a dog. I ran that way for a long time. When I went to 5.13, I beat myself up for not doing it sooner. Night and day difference. Those that say 3.73 (or worse 3.21) are fine for 33's and 35's have never driven one with 4.88 or 5.13.

Anyway, OP, I wouldn't buy a 3.8L JK with 100K on it. I just wouldn’t. I probably wouldn’t want to get into any car with that much mileage but the 3.8L engine in the JK isn’t known for its longevity. I am sure there are ones out there going strong with over 100K, but with any used car you are rolling the dice.

-Dan
I'd buy any Honda 4cyl with 6 figs in an instant, and I thought 4.0s were a safe bet..
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Unread 01-23-2014, 04:53 PM   #7
ROCKR8R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsDownJeeper View Post
I'd buy any Honda 4cyl with 6 figs in an instant, and I thought 4.0s were a safe bet..
To, me there is more to that decision than just the automatic “I’d buy a Honda or Toyota with high miles.” A 2010 Civic with a 100K, probably not. It is newer but that is 100K in 4 years, that means it was driven a LOT. Now a 2000 Civic with 100K, that is hardly driven. If the previous owner had all their maintenance receipts for the 2000 and it was in good shape and was in the market for an inexpensive daily driver sure. Even the 2010 with 100K, look at the shape it’s in as well as maintenance etc…Same goes for the JK with high miles. Average about 12K a year, an ’07 should have around 84K on it and the engine JK isn’t known for longevity. It’s up to you though, man. Your money, your ride, you may find that diamond in the rough.

-Dan
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Unread 01-23-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
JoonHoss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKR8R View Post
What size tires are you running? 3.73 with 35's IS a dog. I ran that way for a long time. When I went to 5.13, I beat myself up for not doing it sooner. Night and day difference. Those that say 3.73 (or worse 3.21) are fine for 33's and 35's have never driven one with 4.88 or 5.13.

Anyway, OP, I wouldn't buy a 3.8L JK with 100K on it. I just wouldn’t. I probably wouldn’t want to get into any car with that much mileage but the 3.8L engine in the JK isn’t known for its longevity...
33's.

I agree 35's are too much for the 3.8/3.73 and down combo, but that isn't the motors fault, is it? 35's are too much for many stock applications without regearing. You make that point in your own post.

As for longevity, I can't personally speak from experience, do you? I can only repeat what I've seen on here and other forums regarding this engine. Generally, I've heard good things.

While I wouldn't personally want to buy one with 100K either, that's just because I choose not to. I would, however, choose to buy a 3.8 vs a newer 3.6 if the savings justifed it (which I did)



Hoss
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Unread 01-23-2014, 08:27 PM   #9
715racing
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You guys saying the 3.8 isn't known for longevity are funny! Do you have any idea how many 3.8 mini-van taxi cabs are running around with 4-500,000 miles? On the original engine and transmission. How many honda/toyota/nissan/other jap taxis' do you see?

Maybe ya oughta look at it this way...if you took your average honda/toyota/jap vehicle, and beat on it the way you do your Jeep, that junk wouldn't last 10 minutes.

Don't be afraid of a 3.8.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 08:32 AM   #10
JIMBOX
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Here we go again-


Quote:
Originally Posted by JoonHoss View Post
Having owned 3 different 4 cyl YJ's, and a 6 cyl TJ, and currently my '11 JKU (and many other Jeeps along the way), I can say from experience i'm very happy with the 3.8 engine.

Reading up before buying, most all the complaints made it sound like it was the worst dog of a motor ever produced, unable to get out of its own way. Many still say that.

Personally, I don't get it. Mine has the auto behind it, and is in the heavier 4 door, and I still think it's just fine. It's smoother than the 4.0 ever though of being, and the mileage is great. I drive tamely, but up/down hills all the time. The tranny downshifts/upshifts fine, IMHO, and I absolutely love driving it.

To be fair, I wasn't expecting V8 power, diesel torque, or turbo redlines, so perhaps my 'normal' expectations met my results?

I would NOT be happy with 3.21 gears (I have the 3.73) but other than that, I like it just fine.

Many preferences are subjective; I'm not taking anything away from those who love the pentastar, new trans, or higher regear- this is just my take on the issue.

Good luck in your search- whatever you choose!



Hoss
Well said

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wubicon View Post
Wranglers have never been about the engine. People who value a good engine do a swap. Been that way for years.

That said mine has been trouble free for 75k.

Don't overlook the reason the 4.0 was dropped. They couldn't keep the classic Jeep shape and pass the new crash test standards. You are somewhat safer in a JK if that matters to you.

Get one. If you need more power get gears.

Full disclosure I have 5.38s and 33s, but I like low gears and do tow a camper.


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
Me too, can'tbeatit

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROCKR8R View Post
What size tires are you running? 3.73 with 35's IS a dog. I ran that way for a long time. When I went to 5.13, I beat myself up for not doing it sooner. Night and day difference. Those that say 3.73 (or worse 3.21) are fine for 33's and 35's have never driven one with 4.88 or 5.13.

Anyway, OP, I wouldn't buy a 3.8L JK with 100K on it. I just wouldn’t. I probably wouldn’t want to get into any car with that much mileage but the 3.8L engine in the JK isn’t known for its longevity. I am sure there are ones out there going strong with over 100K, but with any used car you are rolling the dice.

-Dan
Yes they are, after over 20 years of Chrysler use the 3.8L is almost a classic v6

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoonHoss View Post
33's.

I agree 35's are too much for the 3.8/3.73 and down combo, but that isn't the motors fault, is it? 35's are too much for many stock applications without regearing. You make that point in your own post.

As for longevity, I can't personally speak from experience, do you? I can only repeat what I've seen on here and other forums regarding this engine. Generally, I've heard good things.

While I wouldn't personally want to buy one with 100K either, that's just because I choose not to. I would, however, choose to buy a 3.8 vs a newer 3.6 if the savings justifed it (which I did)



Hoss
Me too, hands down

Quote:
Originally Posted by 715racing View Post
You guys saying the 3.8 isn't known for longevity are funny! Do you have any idea how many 3.8 mini-van taxi cabs are running around with 4-500,000 miles? On the original engine and transmission. How many honda/toyota/nissan/other jap taxis' do you see?

Maybe ya oughta look at it this way...if you took your average honda/toyota/jap vehicle, and beat on it the way you do your Jeep, that junk wouldn't last 10 minutes.

Don't be afraid of a 3.8.
Also Chrysler New Yorkers/Park Avenues/ vans, since 1990--great engine-

It's one of the last v6 cast iron blocks-

JIMBO
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Unread 01-25-2014, 05:59 PM   #11
HandsDownJeeper
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Location: Quincy, Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 715racing View Post
You guys saying the 3.8 isn't known for longevity are funny! Do you have any idea how many 3.8 mini-van taxi cabs are running around with 4-500,000 miles? On the original engine and transmission. How many honda/toyota/nissan/other jap taxis' do you see?

Maybe ya oughta look at it this way...if you took your average honda/toyota/jap vehicle, and beat on it the way you do your Jeep, that junk wouldn't last 10 minutes.

Don't be afraid of a 3.8.
You'll see them now. Chevy us selling a rebadged Nissan van, and Nissan is releasing a small sized van that will take on taxi duty.

Also, most Civics seem to take quite the beating...
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Unread 02-04-2014, 09:11 PM   #12
HandsDownJeeper
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Its scary out there..... 2007 JK, 96k, $14,491...
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