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Old 02-28-2013, 04:30 PM   #1
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3.8 vs 3.6

I am researching a new Rubicon and am trying to decide between a 2012 model or 2007-11 model. Several people have mentioned that i should stay away from the 3.8 as it is a dog and will hunt for gears (auto). Is it as bad as they say? I realize there is about 70-80hp difference but that can be a little misleading. The jeep will be used as a toy and spend most of it's time off-road excluding getting there time.

I am guessing this can be a argumentative debate but I cant seem to find any good references for the 3.8

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:37 PM   #2
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Test drive them both.

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:39 PM   #3
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Search YouTube for 3.8 vs 3.6. They race each other, you can tell the difference. But the new tranny probably has a say too.

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Apexeater View Post
I am researching a new Rubicon and am trying to decide between a 2012 model or 2007-11 model. Several people have mentioned that i should stay away from the 3.8 as it is a dog and will hunt for gears (auto). Is it as bad as they say? I realize there is about 70-80hp difference but that can be a little misleading. The jeep will be used as a toy and spend most of it's time off-road excluding getting there time.

I am guessing this can be a argumentative debate but I cant seem to find any good references for the 3.8
Let us hope not...

Bigger question would be stick or auto? Forget 3.8 vs 3.6. It is NAG 1 vs 42RLE if you are getting an auto.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcoaste
Test drive them both.
Thread over

I will admit one of the reasons for buying my used Rubi was the 4.10 gearing.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panthermark

Let us hope not...

Bigger question would be stick or auto? Forget 3.8 vs 3.6. It is NAG 1 vs 42RLE if you are getting an auto.
Ok .... Now thread is over
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:49 PM   #7
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i have both, 08 jku auto, and 12 sport auto, i would suggest the 3.6 over the 3.8 for street use. jimbox put 4:56 gears in his jku with 3.8 and couldn't be happier, but new gearing is costly.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by panthermark View Post
Let us hope not...

Bigger question would be stick or auto? Forget 3.8 vs 3.6. It is NAG 1 vs 42RLE if you are getting an auto.
Ok I'll bite, what is the difference? Is the NAG 1 the manual and the 42RLE auto? I am looking at the auto.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:01 PM   #9
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Ok I'll bite, what is the difference? Is the NAG 1 the manual and the 42RLE auto? I am looking at the auto.
A better (but harder to remember) term for NAG-1 is "W5A580"...the 5 speed auto for the +2012 Wranglers.

The 42RLE is the the old 4 speed auto that came in the 07-11 Wranglers.

Bottom line, the 42RLE was about the worst slushbox you could put in a Wrangler. The gearing was just horrible when mated to the 3.8.

The NAG-1/W5A580 not only added an extra gear, but is a much better match for the engine and vehicle.

If you are getting an auto...and have the funds....order a 2013 (avoid the any possible head issue on some 2012's and early 2013's, plus the newer 2013's are coming with the pinch seems already cut).

Since 07-11 auto Rubi's already come with 4.10's, it won't be as horrible as it could be...but still....
I know you said this was a toy...will you be going with larger wheels?
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:04 PM   #10
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not all 2012s had the head issue.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:08 PM   #11
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My 2013 was built the first week of production in August. No head issues on the 2013. The issue was fixed (we hope so) before the 2013 went into production.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:09 PM   #12
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"Some 2012's"
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:09 PM   #13
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I have the 3.8 auto. When I heard the new motor would produce 80 more hp, I had to go drive one. After driving one, I wasn't overly impressed. I have 35's and I re geared to 5.13. I drove a jeep also with 35's, so they were simillar. To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the power gains I thought I would find. Yes, it had more power, but I really had to punch it to feel it, and how often do we punch it in a jeep? Sometimes hp ratings can be a lil misleading. It feels like most of the hp gains will only be noticed high up in the power band. If the price is similar, go for the new motor, gas mileage gains are their best selling point.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by panthermark View Post
A better (but harder to remember) term for NAG-1 is "W5A580"...the 5 speed auto for the +2012 Wranglers.

The 42RLE is the the old 4 speed auto that came in the 07-11 Wranglers.

Bottom line, the 42RLE was about the worst slushbox you could put in a Wrangler. The gearing was just horrible when mated to the 3.8.

The NAG-1/W5A580 not only added an extra gear, but is a much better match for the engine and vehicle.

If you are getting an auto...and have the funds....order a 2013 (avoid the any possible head issue on some 2012's and early 2013's, plus the newer 2013's are coming with the pinch seems already cut).

Since 07-11 auto Rubi's already come with 4.10's, it won't be as horrible as it could be...but still....
I know you said this was a toy...will you be going with larger wheels?
At some point it will be lifted and have 33", maybe 35". The 2012's are already pushing the budget more than I want but I want to do it correctly. I already bought one Jeep that was a mistake (for me) and trying to do more research this time around. Wouldn't the head issue be covered under a drive line warrentee for a 2012?
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:16 PM   #15
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My 2013 was built the first week of production in August. No head issues on the 2013. The issue was fixed (we hope so) before the 2013 went into production.
The AB heads were in late 2012's and early 2013's...some of those have failed.

The AC heads had date stamps July 24th, 2012 or higher.

------------

Case Number: S1209000022
Release Date: 10/16/2012
Symptom/Vehicle Issue: Identifying Service Replacement Cylinder Heads
Diagnosis:
3.6L cylinders have been improved for durability by upgrading the valve seat and valve guide material. In order to verify that the latest upgrade is incorporated in to the cylinder head received from service parts verify the part number and Julian build date of the cylinder head
Part Number- RL141353AC or higher - left side head
Part Number -RL141352AD or higher– right side head
And a Julian build date of 2062 (206th of 2012) or higher .The build date is stamped on the outboard side of head at the center just below the rocker cover sealing rail
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:19 PM   #16
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At some point it will be lifted and have 33", maybe 35". The 2012's are already pushing the budget more than I want but I want to do it correctly. I already bought one Jeep that was a mistake (for me) and trying to do more research this time around. Wouldn't the head issue be covered under a drive line warrentee for a 2012?
Yes, it would indeed by covered under the powertrain warranty.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:26 PM   #17
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:32 PM   #18
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test drive them. this is not quite related, but I test drove a 2011 sport (without knowing there had been a 3.6 added into the 2012s) and then drove a 2012 sport and was quite astounded by the difference I felt...and since my 2012 is completely under warranty, I couldn't care less if it needs to be in the shop a few times to get some problems fixed. things like that just don't bother me.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:10 PM   #19
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Well this is giving me hope anyways. i have driven a 3.6 and it was nice when compared to my 4.0L TJ. The price difference I am seeing in my area is about $5K between a `08 JKR with 24K miles and for a similar `12 JKR with less the 10k. I guess I need to get out there and try it.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:01 PM   #20
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Well this is giving me hope anyways. i have driven a 3.6 and it was nice when compared to my 4.0L TJ. The price difference I am seeing in my area is about $5K between a `08 JKR with 24K miles and for a similar `12 JKR with less the 10k. I guess I need to get out there and try it.
That's probably the best thing to do. You really don't hear too many complaints on a pre 12 when it has a manual and at least 4.10's.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:36 PM   #21
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I mean it really doesn't matter if it will spend the time off road, but I have a 13 6spd and I absolutely love it. But the 5spd auto with the 3.6 is a great combo, the shifting pattern is really nice compared to the doggy 4 spd 3.8. Gas millage is a little better with the 3.6 but not to much. Its a matter of driving both and seeing which you like better.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:07 PM   #22
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Better to have and not need than to need and not have.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:00 PM   #23
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It's amazing how JK owners that do not have a 2012 JK can't have a discussion without mentioning the head issue. It's like it has not been in major over kill here for the last year.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:17 PM   #24
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I have the 3.8 auto. When I heard the new motor would produce 80 more hp, I had to go drive one. After driving one, I wasn't overly impressed. I have 35's and I re geared to 5.13. I drove a jeep also with 35's, so they were simillar. To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the power gains I thought I would find. Yes, it had more power, but I really had to punch it to feel it, and how often do we punch it in a jeep? Sometimes hp ratings can be a lil misleading. It feels like most of the hp gains will only be noticed high up in the power band. If the price is similar, go for the new motor, gas mileage gains are their best selling point.
Traded a 3.8 for a 2012 with the 3.6. After my initial test drive, I have to admit that I was thinking the same as you -- not overly-impressed. But wait until after the break-in period. It's like a different engine. Seriously.

Or maybe it just "learned" how I drive. Either way, it seems to have a ton more power than it did when I test-drove it.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:32 PM   #25
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2011 and prior get the manual, 2012 and later take your pick. I've had 2011 manual and auto and now a 2012 auto. Where the 3.8 with the auto really sucked was against a headwind - I got 11 mpg (stock Rubi) on a 550+ mile trip in such conditions, and the constant input required made the trip exhausting. The 2012 is effortless when passing and maintains speed with ease. Cruise control was almost useless in the 3.8 auto unless it was flat ground and little wind.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:38 PM   #26
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Traded a 3.8 for a 2012 with the 3.6. After my initial test drive, I have to admit that I was thinking the same as you -- not overly-impressed. But wait until after the break-in period. It's like a different engine. Seriously.

Or maybe it just "learned" how I drive. Either way, it seems to have a ton more power than it did when I test-drove it.
So how much of your driving is off-road? My TJ can't climb any kind of hill on the freeway without slowing way down (Phoenix is in a valley surrounded by mountains) but you get it off-road and it will climb with any JK I have been with. That is my dilema, I am not as worried about road driving as I mentioned this is not going to be a DD. However, If I can get more I always will want it but is it worth the addition cost?

It sounds to me the bigger factor is the tranny, not the motor. Since I am set on an auto that makes this difficult.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:49 PM   #27
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i have both, 08 jku auto, and 12 sport auto, i would suggest the 3.6 over the 3.8 for street use. jimbox put 4:56 gears in his jku with 3.8 and couldn't be happier, but new gearing is costly.
I am thinking Jimbox went with 5:38's. Mayber I am wrong though
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:50 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Apexeater

So how much of your driving is off-road? My TJ can't climb any kind of hill on the freeway without slowing way down (Phoenix is in a valley surrounded by mountains) but you get it off-road and it will climb with any JK I have been with. That is my dilema, I am not as worried about road driving as I mentioned this is not going to be a DD. However, If I can get more I always will want it but is it worth the addition cost?

It sounds to me the bigger factor is the tranny, not the motor. Since I am set on an auto that makes this difficult.
This. Even a 2.5L TJ is just fine off road. At low speeds its not as noticeable and you can save a lot of money buying the 3.8 and its old enough that parts are cheap to repair it if need be

There is no question tho if you put your foot down the 3.6 will beat every previous wrangler engine. That debate is over. As far as just cruising around. It'll be better but if you look at a dyno it won't be too much better in the useable range (1000-3500) the gearing of the new auto is better tho.

If you bought an old auto and put a regear on it, I think it would be almost as good.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:00 PM   #29
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If you were going to get a DD with limited trail use I would say get the newest JK you can afford. Since you are getting a trail vehicle I would look for a low mileage YJ. Or keep your TJ and beef it up. This is what I have done. After getting some trail damage on my 12 JKU, I decided I would rather keep the JKU as a DD and damage a YJ. The YJ is cheaper to build and easier to work on. Also, like previously mentioned the JK (either engine) makes it's power way up in the rpm's which is better for breaking things. The 4.0 probably a better wheeling vehicle IMHO. For the record, my YJ has the 2.5l with the 5spd.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:08 PM   #30
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^^ there is another idea. You could save a lot of money and use that to beef up a Yj or TJ. They are skinnier too so they can fit in between stuff easier(not by too much tho 6-9"? Simone correct me)

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