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Old 06-06-2011, 12:03 AM   #1
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Should I buy the 3.8L or 4 L??

I am looking at buying my first jeep. Any advantage of going with the older 4.0L versus the newer 3.8L engine? I have heard how dpendable the 4.0 is but I assume they would have improved it with the 3.8L.
Also, has handling, safety, etc improved with the newer models? I am looking at years 2003-2009.
Thanks for any input.

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Old 06-06-2011, 12:14 AM   #2
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I had a 2007 X with the 3.8....now I have a 98 with a 4.0...The difference in power is very noticeable to me. The 4.0 is a beast compared to the 3.8. It is super reliable and very easy to work on. The 2007 and up also have a horrible feature called ESP...if it's able to be turned off, I never could figure it out. Going around a minor curve at anything over 15mph will feel like the front end is grabbing and grinding, very awkward feeling. The newer ones may be safer, my 2007 saved my life. But of course it was fairly set up. Ask any questions if you want, hope this helped.

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Old 06-06-2011, 12:33 AM   #3
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It appears the hard top is easier to remove on the newer models, also.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:42 AM   #4
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I've never had a hard top. Prefer the soft tops much more. They hold in heat, despite the rumors you've heard. lol
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:46 AM   #5
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyWrangler98 View Post
I had a 2007 X with the 3.8....now I have a 98 with a 4.0...The difference in power is very noticeable to me. The 4.0 is a beast compared to the 3.8. It is super reliable and very easy to work on. The 2007 and up also have a horrible feature called ESP...if it's able to be turned off, I never could figure it out. Going around a minor curve at anything over 15mph will feel like the front end is grabbing and grinding, very awkward feeling. The newer ones may be safer, my 2007 saved my life. But of course it was fairly set up. Ask any questions if you want, hope this helped.
It obviously wasn't "set up" very well if you were having the ESP issues you described. That would only occur with issues do a lift. Most likely your steering wheel was not centered. The difference in power you experienced was most likely due to improper gearing. The 4.0 will feel the same way unless it has the proper gear ratio.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggo66

It obviously wasn't "set up" very well if you were having the ESP issues you described. That would only occur with issues do a lift. Most likely your steering wheel was not centered. The difference in power you experienced was most likely due to improper gearing. The 4.0 will feel the same way unless it has the proper gear ratio.
It was set up in the sense that it had a 4" Rough Country lift, 35" Maxxis Bighorns...all the underneath suspension saved me. And it was ESP. It only had 30k miles, so it was by no means warn out, or improperly installed.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyWrangler98 View Post
Going around a minor curve at anything over 15mph will feel like the front end is grabbing and grinding,
I have no idea what you did to your ride to produce this, but i can assure the OP that this is not the case for myself and my 07 X.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:50 PM   #9
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4.0 all day....more reliable, more low end torque...my 02
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TheMadBotanist

I have no idea what you did to your ride to produce this, but i can assure the OP that this is not the case for myself and my 07 X.
It was the ESP, I tell you. And I meant curve as in tight one...not like one you'd encounter on a highway. Geez...dissect my statement some more.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RockyWrangler98 View Post
It was the ESP, I tell you. And I meant curve as in tight one...not like one you'd encounter on a highway. .
First you said "Minor curve"...now the curve has to be a "Tight one"? Which is it? Neither have produced for me the result you got.


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Geez...dissect my statement some more.
What, so you're somehow immune from being responsible for your own words? Maybe you should go back to ranting about politics.
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:54 PM   #12
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But I will say this, the 3.8 sucks regardless of whether or not ESP exists. 4.0 has tons more torque. Now go glare at an ant hill with a magnifying glass, you childish bully.
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:27 PM   #13
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I say wait out and get a 2012 with the 3.6L. Actually, get the 4.0L, I wouldn't get any offroad vehicle with a gasoline engine smaller than a 4.0L. Now if it's diesel, that's a different story, then I'd go down to a 3.0L or larger.
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyWrangler98 View Post
It was set up in the sense that it had a 4" Rough Country lift, 35" Maxxis Bighorns...all the underneath suspension saved me. And it was ESP. It only had 30k miles, so it was by no means warn out, or improperly installed.
If there was an ESP issue it was because of improper alignment or the steering wheel wasn't centered. RC lifts are notorious for issues.
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:40 PM   #15
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I've really got to stop responding to these type of questions . . . they always go the same way.

ANYWAY, the 3.8 and the 4.0 dyno nearly identically in both horsepower and torque. Let's see if any of the folks that have posted thus far can toss up some dynos showing the "beastly" "monster" torque differences that the 4.0 supposedly has over the 3.8.

The differences folks claim to "feel" are in fact a combination of (a) wishful thinking, (b) poor set up on one or the other, such as if one was undergeared and poorly lifted, as was clearly the case with RockyWrangler98's 2007, and (c) the move to an electronic throttle in the 2007, as prior to then folks apparently believed the throttle was "too sensitive" which yielded a "peppier" feel to the 4.0.

Saftey and road manners are going to be better in the 2007+.

That said, many--many--folks on this forum have had both models, and many prefer the JK and many others prefer the TJ. It's really just a preference thing. Test drive them both and then decide. I'd have one of each if I could.
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:58 PM   #16
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But the inlines torque is more usable being is closer to off idle than its v6 counterpart.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:07 PM   #17
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But the inlines torque is more usable being is closer to off idle than its v6 counterpart.
Yeah, the old "usable torque" argument, but truly--every dyno I've ever seen of either shows near idential torque numbers taking off at right about 1000 RPM. Idle isn't but a touch below that for either engine. So I just don't see any practical difference. You could very well be right, but every time I've asked Google the question it looks like much ado about 100 RPMs and a ft/lb or two.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:13 PM   #18
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IF these dynos were not done on the same day with the same dyno consecutively then they are irrelevant. and i would say that if they were then that makes them about even as far as vehicle performance. that also still probably means that the 4.0 is stronger because i would only assume that the newer driveline in the 3.8 is taking less out in the driveline. the 4.0 is also presumably alot older. out of curriosity i would like to see what happens with a 06 4.0 and an 07 3.8 with equal gears and tire size and the same mileage done on the same day with the same dyno one after the other.

now look what i did, i was just eating popcorn and i went and got sucked in to this.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:26 PM   #19
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First off, most newer engines are notorious for having a higher RPM range, but their design is to get high power numbers, but have very little low end torque. Chevy's done this, Jeep's done this, pretty much every does this to get engines to sell and the fuel economy to increase. Chevy's 5.7 was replaced with the 5.3, yea it was rated more powerful, but due to the high RPM power and different torque curve, the 5.7 will haul more than a 5.3 any day. Jeep did the same thing with the 3.8 vs 4.0L. Also, inline engines are known for their lowend torque, lower red line, lower HP. Look up the design of engines and how their power bands are made, V-configuration engines are usually going to have a higher HP than their Inline counterparts. Of course this doesn't always stand true, but most cases it does. And I don't remember where, but I've seen the factory dynosheets for both engines, the 4.0L makes more low end power than the 3.8 does.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:28 PM   #20
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IF these dynos were not done on the same day with the same dyno consecutively then they are irrelevant.
Fantasyland. Worth noting perhaps, but irrelevant? Nonsense.

There are dozens of dyno pulls online for the 3.8 and the 4.0, done by many different folks, on many different days, using many different Jeeps, in many different parts of the country, on many different dynos.

Some show odd numbers and can be disregarded. But, for the most part, every 3.8 dyno looks basically like every other 3.8 dyno. Same for the 4.0. So long as the tests are properly set up, they yield reasonably predictable results. As a consequence, I don't think you can really disregard their similarities.

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that also still probably means that the 4.0 is stronger because i would only assume that the newer driveline in the 3.8 is taking less out in the driveline.
I guess. The JK is wildly undergeared though, I'll give you that. And the auto trans in particular saps a ton of power. I sure hope the set up in the TJ was better . . . almost couldn't be worse.

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the 4.0 is also presumably alot older. out of curriosity i would like to see what happens with a 06 4.0 and an 07 3.8 with equal gears and tire size and the same mileage done on the same day with the same dyno one after the other.
In my digging I've found 2006 vs 2007 dynos, so the 4.0s aren't always a lot older. I agree it would be nice to see them set up equivalently before the dyno, but it's also worth seeing them compared stock-to-stock, since this is how most folks actually drive them.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:29 PM   #21
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Yup same thing as a powerstroke or a durapuke verus a cummins.....cummins wins low end grunt everytime...game over

I say someone yank their 3.8 out and put it on a engine dyno and do the same with a 4.0. That way the field is the same.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:30 PM   #22
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And I don't remember where, but I've seen the factory dynosheets for both engines, the 4.0L makes more low end power than the 3.8 does.
I've never seen that reflected to any substantive degree in any dyno, and I've used my best Google efforts. The factory one from Chrysler that I've seen--which compared both engines directly--showed near identical numbers.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:37 PM   #23
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Fantasyland. Worth noting perhaps, but irrelevant? Nonsense.

There are dozens of dyno pulls online for the 3.8 and the 4.0, done by many different folks, on many different days, using many different Jeeps, in many different parts of the country, on many different dynos.

Some show odd numbers and can be disregarded. But, for the most part, every 3.8 dyno looks basically like every other 3.8 dyno. Same for the 4.0. So long as the tests are properly set up, they yield reasonably predictable results. As a consequence, I don't think you can really disregard their similarities.



I guess. The JK is wildly undergeared though, I'll give you that. And the auto trans in particular saps a ton of power. I sure hope the set up in the TJ was better . . . almost couldn't be worse.



In my digging I've found 2006 vs 2007 dynos, so the 4.0s aren't always a lot older. I agree it would be nice to see them set up equivalently before the dyno, but it's also worth seeing them compared stock-to-stock, since this is how most folks actually drive them.
okay not irrelivant but you can't draw conclusions when they were tested by two different machines in different conditions.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:42 PM   #24
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And by the way, I'm not trying to contend the 3.8 is some kind of super-engine ( ), or that basic engine logic (e.g., inline produces more low end torque than V) doesn't apply, or that the 4.0 isn't a great engine, or argue anything really.

All I'm saying is that the "usable torque" thing comes up everytime this type of question comes up, and I'm just not convinced that there really is that much more "usable torque" available in the 4.0.

There may very well be something, but just not enough to justify the argument. Everything I've seen points more toward wishful thinking, poor set ups, throttle issues, etc. Maybe there is some more low end torque there, but as far as I can tell it's not much.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:54 PM   #25
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okay not irrelivant but you can't draw conclusions when they were tested by two different machines in different conditions.
C'mon man, sure you can!

I agree with you when you're racing or some such thing, where a few ft/lbs or a few hp in either direction is really significant.

But when you're talking jeeps, it's not as critical--all you're looking for is general numbers. For example, I've got a 3.8 dyno that shows peak hp at 149. Another shows it at 145. Either way, they're in the same ball park and that's all we're really looking at here.

If true, the whole "usable torque" thing should be a pretty significant difference. It's hardly worth advocating for if, for example, the sub-1000 RPM torque difference shows up as 2 ft/lbs in one dyno, 6 ft/lbs in another, and 0 ft/lbs in yet another.

If it's "usable torque," it ought to show up consistently and be significant enough to be repeated.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:56 PM   #26
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I've never had a hard top. Prefer the soft tops much more. They hold in heat, despite the rumors you've heard. lol
X2 my friends in the dead of winter was still warm after we spent 30 min in McDonalds. My hard top was cold
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:13 PM   #27
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C'mon man, sure you can!

I agree with you when you're racing or some such thing, where a few ft/lbs or a few hp in either direction is really significant.

But when you're talking jeeps, it's not as critical--all you're looking for is general numbers. For example, I've got a 3.8 dyno that shows peak hp at 149. Another shows it at 145. Either way, they're in the same ball park and that's all we're really looking at here.

If true, the whole "usable torque" thing should be a pretty significant difference. It's hardly worth advocating for if, for example, the sub-1000 RPM torque difference shows up as 2 ft/lbs in one dyno, 6 ft/lbs in another, and 0 ft/lbs in yet another.

If it's "usable torque," it ought to show up consistently and be significant enough to be repeated.
so let me see if i can wrap my head around what you're saying.

if jeep A makes 150hp on dyno A on day A at location A

and jeep B makes 145hp on dyno B on day B at location B

assuming they were set up the same, like same engine, trans, gears, everything.

do you assume two muscle cars will do the same thing?

example

camaro A makes 600hp on dyno A on day A at location A

and camaro B makes 595hp on dyno B on day B at location B
the above is all a question i ask to understand your thought on how dynos work.


but this is not how it works. it will be a percentage less on dyno B vs A. altitude, humidity and alot of other factors go into what a dyno result wil be. thats why it has to be on the same day on the same dyno in the same place. it may not be much but it's enough to say that the results aren't certain. i do see what you mean and im really just starting conversation. i don't think there is anything wrong with the 3.8 or that its weak. i don't think the 4.0 is some invincible all powerful engine. but the fact that i have a 4.0 and you have a 3.8 makes both of out opinions bias.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:14 PM   #28
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If there was an ESP issue it was because of improper alignment or the steering wheel wasn't centered. RC lifts are notorious for issues.
I had to recenter my draglink after my RC lift. that was it. no 'tugging/freaking out' nothing like that on minor highway/tightly wound loop-the-loop turns while barrel-rolling.

That being said. I have driven a 4.0 in a 02/03 (don't remember specifically which year) and they really were about the same torque/power. Well the 4.0 did seem to rev a little faster, but this was likely a gearing issue. I would go with a 3.8 personally because it's easier on fuel, newer, but you have to settle for an insignificant amount less torque at 1000 RPM. You know, because you spend so much time around 1000 RPM.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:18 PM   #29
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so let me see if i can wrap my head around what you're saying.

if jeep A makes 150hp on dyno A on day A at location A

and jeep B makes 145hp on dyno B on day B at location B

assuming they were set up the same, like same engine, trans, gears, everything.

do you assume two muscle cars will do the same thing?

example

camaro A makes 600hp on dyno A on day A at location A

and camaro B makes 595hp on dyno B on day B at location B
the above is all a question i ask to understand your thought on how dynos work.


but this is not how it works. it will be a percentage less on dyno B vs A. altitude, humidity and alot of other factors go into what a dyno result wil be. thats why it has to be on the same day on the same dyno in the same place. it may not be much but it's enough to say that the results aren't certain. i do see what you mean and im really just starting conversation. i don't think there is anything wrong with the 3.8 or that its weak. i don't think the 4.0 is some invincible all powerful engine. but the fact that i have a 4.0 and you have a 3.8 makes both of out opinions bias.
So all jeeps are driven in the same exact conditions (barometric pressure, altitude, temperature, humidity, engine temp, trans temp, intake temp, oil quality etc.)? If not, than this argument is completely null.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:20 PM   #30
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Here's something to chew on.....if the 3.8 is such a good engine, how come dodge is dumping it this year after 5 years in a wrangler?

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