3.8 vs: 3.6 vs: 4.0 - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 47 Old 08-23-2015, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
jlb27537
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3.8 vs: 3.6 vs: 4.0

Hello, new Ole guy here.

My local off road shop says to either buy a something with a 4.0l or a 3.6l

This will be my first Jeep, will not be a DD, but something to drag to Colorado for trail riding. Did 4 years with a RZR, just looking at a different toy?

So, should I follow the suggestion of buying either a 4.0l/3.6l and pass on the 3.8l engines.

Looking for any opinions.. Thanks Jim

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post #2 of 47 Old 08-23-2015, 01:21 PM
Neo1130
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Having owned all three, I would say yes, pass on the 3.8L... So far my 3.6 JK is the best Jeep I've owned to date. Wouldn't go back ever! I love the 4.0L too but the 3.6 is just a ton more fun and get better mileage!
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post #3 of 47 Old 08-23-2015, 01:47 PM
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post #4 of 47 Old 08-23-2015, 05:50 PM
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As usual, everyone has their own opinion.. There is nothing wrong with the 3.8. It's a solid motor. Like everything else you can get a bad on. To date the 3.8 still has a better track record then the 3.6. As a trail rig you will likely be changing gears anyway so that will take care of the less then stellar performance of the 3.8 due to poor factory gearing.
Buying used as you know is always a gamble, check the motor out good, no matter which one you choose.

^^Jeff^^
2008 Black and Khaki Sahara Unlimited Trax-Lok rear diff. 3.5" Rock Krawler fr springs, rear TeraFlex 2.5 BB, D44HD/J8 w/ OX locker and RCVs, 37x12.50x17 Pitbull Rockers on ProComp 2635 Predator Alloys, AEV Prem Bumper, Smitty X2O 12K ETC..
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post #5 of 47 Old 08-24-2015, 05:18 AM
SLADE
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I agree, 4.0 or 3.6. You won't find a 3.8 in my driveway.

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post #6 of 47 Old 08-24-2015, 07:21 PM
buckeyedolfan
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I've have a 3.6 and a 3.8 now and have had the 4.0 in the past. 3.6 is best followed by the 4.0 then last place far behind is the 3.8.
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post #7 of 47 Old 08-24-2015, 08:16 PM
Neo1130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTPhoto View Post
As usual, everyone has their own opinion.. There is nothing wrong with the 3.8. It's a solid motor. Like everything else you can get a bad on. To date the 3.8 still has a better track record then the 3.6. As a trail rig you will likely be changing gears anyway so that will take care of the less then stellar performance of the 3.8 due to poor factory gearing.
Buying used as you know is always a gamble, check the motor out good, no matter which one you choose.
Tell this to the hundreds of cases where the motor blew in less than 60k miles. Two of those cases were in my family and both were maintained by the book and never driven hard. Plenty of cases can be found on here in just the past 3 months.... The motors are national back order at the dealership.
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post #8 of 47 Old 08-24-2015, 08:55 PM
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You mean the couple hundred out of the 850,000+ wranglers produced with the 3.8. So What's the excuse for the hundreds of 3.6 that have valve train and multiple heads replaced , With much fewer production numbers?

In our club of roughly 400 members I personally have not seen a single 3.8 failure but I have seen 2 separate instances of 3.6 head and valve train replacements ..

^^Jeff^^
2008 Black and Khaki Sahara Unlimited Trax-Lok rear diff. 3.5" Rock Krawler fr springs, rear TeraFlex 2.5 BB, D44HD/J8 w/ OX locker and RCVs, 37x12.50x17 Pitbull Rockers on ProComp 2635 Predator Alloys, AEV Prem Bumper, Smitty X2O 12K ETC..
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post #9 of 47 Old 08-25-2015, 06:34 AM
Neo1130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTPhoto View Post
You mean the couple hundred out of the 850,000+ wranglers produced with the 3.8. So What's the excuse for the hundreds of 3.6 that have valve train and multiple heads replaced , With much fewer production numbers?

In our club of roughly 400 members I personally have not seen a single 3.8 failure but I have seen 2 separate instances of 3.6 head and valve train replacements ..

I personally would rather replace a head than an entire motor...
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post #10 of 47 Old 08-25-2015, 07:35 AM
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Having driven all three I would still stick to the 4.0 they are known to run into 300,000 without having to be rebuilt

2003 Tj sport daily driver with a bunch of mods
1998 wrangler rolled and being rebuilt with tons
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post #11 of 47 Old 08-25-2015, 08:52 PM
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I would go 4.0, 3.6, 3.8 in that order.

I wouldnt avoid a good deal on a 3.8. But i drive manual. The 3.8 was especially bad paired with that particular model year's automatic transmission
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post #12 of 47 Old 08-27-2015, 04:48 AM
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4.0L. Way to many reasons to list. An inline 6 has been the staple in engine design for a reason.
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post #13 of 47 Old 08-27-2015, 05:42 AM
SomeWhatLost
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Get anything...
Then swap for an LS...
Or a Hemi if you must stay all Mopar...
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post #14 of 47 Old 08-27-2015, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlb27537 View Post
Hello, new Ole guy here.

My local off road shop says to either buy a something with a 4.0l or a 3.6l

This will be my first Jeep, will not be a DD, but something to drag to Colorado for trail riding. Did 4 years with a RZR, just looking at a different toy?

So, should I follow the suggestion of buying either a 4.0l/3.6l and pass on the 3.8l engines.

Looking for any opinions.. Thanks Jim

I've owned two or three 4.0s, three 3.6s, and one 3.8. If I was starting over from scratch and buying a Jeep today? I'd go 3.8 all day long. Specifically, a 2011 3.8 (to get the all new interior).

The 4.0 is weak, heavy, leaks oil like sieve, has rampant valvetrain issues in some model years, and generally is just a POS. Some last for 300K, others never see 90K. It was a good engine 25 years ago. It sucks by today's standards. After fighting with one for an entire year (including fighting with the all new crate engine that replaced it) I will never touch another. "But it makes torque at low RPM!" Yeah...but it only makes 240 lb./ft. tops. We're driving lifted rigs with heavy tires that are shaped like bricks. It's miserable.

The 3.6...hmmm...lots of horsepower. That's where it ends. Torque is still weak. Fuel economy is no better in warm weather and worse in cold weather compared to the 3.8. Head failures, oil filter housing failures, casting sand sludge/heater core failures galore, and now 2015 owners are still reporting engine failures from internal bearings going bad.

The 3.8 was around for 20+ years, used across the board in other vehicles, and all the bugs were worked out by the time the 2009 Wrangler came out. My 2011 with the 3.8 was bulletproof. I felt like that engine would go 300K easily. Never burned a drop of oil, never gave me a problem. Made just as much torque as the 4.0 or 3.6 in the real world, but with none of the low quality attributes to go with it.

Guys can call it a minivan motor if they want...I'll take it any day.

'92 YJ - heavily modded
'96 ZJ - heavily modded
'05 KJ CRD Limited - 370 lb./ft. from a 4-cylinder and trail ready. Pure awesomeness.
'11 Mango Tango JKU Sport - Mods
'12 Dozer JKU Sport S - 6-speed - ACE rock rails - Max Tow package - Daystar spacers - 33x12.50 Duratracs
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post #15 of 47 Old 08-27-2015, 10:44 AM
WXman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlb27537 View Post
Hello, new Ole guy here.

My local off road shop says to either buy a something with a 4.0l or a 3.6l

This will be my first Jeep, will not be a DD, but something to drag to Colorado for trail riding. Did 4 years with a RZR, just looking at a different toy?

So, should I follow the suggestion of buying either a 4.0l/3.6l and pass on the 3.8l engines.

Looking for any opinions.. Thanks Jim


But I will say that the automatic transmission behind the 3.6 IS better...so there's that to consider....

'92 YJ - heavily modded
'96 ZJ - heavily modded
'05 KJ CRD Limited - 370 lb./ft. from a 4-cylinder and trail ready. Pure awesomeness.
'11 Mango Tango JKU Sport - Mods
'12 Dozer JKU Sport S - 6-speed - ACE rock rails - Max Tow package - Daystar spacers - 33x12.50 Duratracs
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