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Old 08-31-2011, 10:57 AM   #1
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Edmunds Review of 2012 Wrangler

Been checking this everyday...
About time!
2012 Jeep Wrangler First Drive

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Old 08-31-2011, 12:29 PM   #2
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I'm really beginning to worry here.
What will JK haters have to hate on now???

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Old 08-31-2011, 12:35 PM   #3
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"standard axle ratio of 3.06"

????
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:39 PM   #4
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"standard axle ratio of 3.06"

????
I saw that as too...
Well....editors and fact checkers are overworked nowadays.....
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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It still doesn't have any torque. I was surprised to hear that the 3.6 was almost 100 lbs lighter than the 3.8. That's really good for the weight distribution.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:37 PM   #6
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Well, the 4.0 made 240lb/ft at 3300rpm, the 3.8 made 240lb/ft at 4000rpm, the 3.6 makes 250lb/ft at 2000rpm, and peaks at 260 at 4200. That's a FLAT torque curve. Sure, it doesn't make diesel numbers, but it's the most torque the Jeep has seen since the V8's were dropped. That's plenty of grunt to get you out of any situation, especially in 4 low.

Me? I'm holding out for the diesel.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:57 PM   #7
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thats a good solid review. After Driving mine for the first 600+ miles and a short stint on some trails in the Mountains, I couldnt have said it any better
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:04 PM   #8
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A weed eater engine will do the job if you gear it low enough. For cruising the backroads at reasonable speed and tooling around town that won't get it done.

I wouldn't be surprised if the 3.6 is more torquey than the last of the 304's.

I guess I am just disappointed that they have started down the path towards high revving small engines that have to be adapted to a purpose instead of a decent sized engine that was meant for the purpose to begin with. I'm sure their reasoning is either lower emissions or higher mileage, but they have a number of V8s already in production that get equal or higher mileage in trucks and pass emissions in passenger cars. The only reason left is cost, but I'm sure the Pentastar is complex enough to make it just as pricey as some of the V8s are. A new crate Hemi is about $7500 and there was a guy on another forum that blew up the 3.6 in his GC and I think the cost to replace it was $9k, so they are in the ballpark.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:19 PM   #9
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re: "a near-4,000-pound truck with the aerodynamic profile of the Parthenon,"

I rather like the sound of that observation....
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:22 PM   #10
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I'm sure their reasoning is either lower emissions or higher mileage, but they have a number of V8s already in production that get equal or higher mileage in trucks and pass emissions in passenger cars. The only reason left is cost, but I'm sure the Pentastar is complex enough to make it just as pricey as some of the V8s are.
Doesnt' quite add up, does it? Plus the demand is obvious. Chrysler is leaving a lot of money on the table and creating a business for aftermarket Hemi swap shops.

I'd expect the hold up is at least somewhat regulatory in nature, particularly with the 2 door platform.

I'm not especially familiar with the regulatory world that automobile production must navigate, but I'd expect a Wrangler would have a difficult time meeting whatever "safety standards" must be satisfied if it came with a truly high powered engine.

Loose steering, non-structural removable doors and top each made of glorified tin foil, foldable windshield, no side curtain airbags, exposed interior roll cage and other exposed metal, sometimes come with only half doors, high center of gravity, solid axles, mud tires, beloved by after market modders . . . all with 400 hp and boatloads of torque from the factory?? Yikes. Sounds like a potential regulatory and media disaster.

Then consider the short wheel base of the 2 door, which makes all that worse. And Chrysler knows there'd be a revolt if they offered a V8 for the 4 door but not the 2 door.

So . . . yeah for another V6! And maybe--maybe--a low hp diesel . . . eventually.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:29 PM   #11
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AMC 304 V8 for comparison

AMC 304 V8 as used in the CJ: Horsepower (net) 150@4200 Torque (net) 245@2500 Jeep Engine: AMC 304 V8
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:04 PM   #12
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A weed eater engine will do the job if you gear it low enough. For cruising the backroads at reasonable speed and tooling around town that won't get it done.

I wouldn't be surprised if the 3.6 is more torquey than the last of the 304's.

I guess I am just disappointed that they have started down the path towards high revving small engines that have to be adapted to a purpose instead of a decent sized engine that was meant for the purpose to begin with. I'm sure their reasoning is either lower emissions or higher mileage, but they have a number of V8s already in production that get equal or higher mileage in trucks and pass emissions in passenger cars. The only reason left is cost, but I'm sure the Pentastar is complex enough to make it just as pricey as some of the V8s are. A new crate Hemi is about $7500 and there was a guy on another forum that blew up the 3.6 in his GC and I think the cost to replace it was $9k, so they are in the ballpark.
I've said all along that the Wrangler needs a DEDICATED powertrain, but it will never happen.

I read that the Pentastar is $200 CHEAPER to produce per unit than the outgoing 3.8, because it's used in everything, and will be the most commonly installed engine by Chrysler.
Replacement cost factors in labor, so you can't draw a fair comparison about production costs. It probably is heavier on the labor side to install.
They may be adapting to work in different applications, but it's already been shown to be a highly adaptable engine, with various displacements and forced induction already a reality.
Is it a perfect fit? No, but it's a solid improvement.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:11 PM   #13
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Doesnt' quite add up, does it? Plus the demand is obvious. Chrysler is leaving a lot of money on the table and creating a business for aftermarket Hemi swap shops.

I'd expect the hold up is at least somewhat regulatory in nature, particularly with the 2 door platform.

I'm not especially familiar with the regulatory world that automobile production must navigate, but I'd expect a Wrangler would have a difficult time meeting whatever "safety standards" must be satisfied if it came with a truly high powered engine.

Loose steering, non-structural removable doors and top each made of glorified tin foil, foldable windshield, no side curtain airbags, exposed interior roll cage and other exposed metal, sometimes come with only half doors, high center of gravity, solid axles, mud tires, beloved by after market modders . . . all with 400 hp and boatloads of torque from the factory?? Yikes. Sounds like a potential regulatory and media disaster.

Then consider the short wheel base of the 2 door, which makes all that worse. And Chrysler knows there'd be a revolt if they offered a V8 for the 4 door but not the 2 door.

So . . . yeah for another V6! And maybe--maybe--a low hp diesel . . . eventually.

Is the demand there, though? For us, it is, but we're the 1%ers. Would it REALLY be worth the premium to the hardcore Jeeper? Do you really want the added weight on the nose while out on the trail? I prefer the idea of a forced induction Pentastar engine (roots blown comes to mind, instant torque) over a Hemi, to keep it light (relatively speaking) and nimble.

I agree with the safety thing, though. I wonder how many times the Vehicle Stability System kicks in and people don't even know it? Think about all the soccer moms coming from luxury SUVs and sedans? Add more power to the equation and you see where that leads.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:20 PM   #14
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. . . all with 400 hp and boatloads of torque from the factory?? Yikes. Sounds like a potential regulatory and media disaster.
I don't want 400 hp, all I want is the torque. Give me a 5.7L Hemi that won't spin over 4000 rpm, but that will make 440 ft-lbs of torque from idle to 3000 rpm. Put a basic 4 sp auto or 5 sp manual behind it with 3.73 gears and you'll have all you ever need for almost any tire size. Big power numbers are over rated. If most of the people that complain about power in their vehicle could give up 30 hp that they already have and replace it with 30 ft-lbs of torque where they can use it at every stop light they would be much happier. But that would be too easy. We have to have that big power number to make ourselves feel better. Oh God, I just said give me a Hemi. Barf.

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Replacement cost factors in labor, so you can't draw a fair comparison about production costs. It probably is heavier on the labor side to install.
I'm pretty sure $1500 is more than enough to cover labor to change the engine. That's 10 hours at $150/hr and that's a high rate even by dealership standards around here. If you can't change the engine in a JK in a professional shop in under 10 hours there is something wrong with you.

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They may be adapting to work in different applications, but it's already been shown to be a highly adaptable engine, with various displacements and forced induction already a reality.
Is it a perfect fit? No, but it's a solid improvement.
Are you talking about the Pentastar or the Hemi?
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:27 PM   #15
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I don't want 400 hp, all I want is the torque. Give me a 5.7L Hemi that won't spin over 4000 rpm, but that will make 440 ft-lbs of torque from idle to 3000 rpm. Put a basic 4 sp auto or 5 sp manual behind it with 3.73 gears and you'll have all you ever need for almost any tire size. Big power numbers are over rated. If most of the people that complain about power in their vehicle could give up 30 hp that they already have and replace it with 30 ft-lbs of torque where they can use it at every stop light they would be much happier. But that would be too easy. We have to have that big power number to make ourselves feel better. Oh God, I just said give me a Hemi. Barf.

Sounds just like a diesel, and you get better mileage than with a Hemi!! I'm also the guy that is perfectly content with my 3.8.

I'm pretty sure $1500 is more than enough to cover labor to change the engine. That's 10 hours at $150/hr and that's a high rate even by dealership standards around here. If you can't change the engine in a JK in a professional shop in under 10 hours there is something wrong with you.

I don't have a book handy, but I guarantee an engine swap is booked for much more than 10 hours. I'd bet more like 15-20, based on what it was going for on a pickup when I worked at a dealership. It could probably be done in 10 hours, but remember, you're not being charged for how long it takes, you're being charged by how long the book says it takes.

Are you talking about the Pentastar or the Hemi?
Pentastar. Chrysler has already talked about the various configurations planned.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:31 PM   #16
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Is the demand there, though? For us, it is, but we're the 1%ers. Would it REALLY be worth the premium to the hardcore Jeeper? Do you really want the added weight on the nose while out on the trail? I prefer the idea of a forced induction Pentastar engine (roots blown comes to mind, instant torque) over a Hemi, to keep it light (relatively speaking) and nimble.
I think for the real off roader it really doesn't matter. I think the target buyer of the Hemi is someone like me who doesn't wheel often or hard and wants an engine that's sporty around town and can have a louder muffler added without sounding like a wet chili fart. In other words, the Hemi would be something for the 99% instead of the 1%.

Quote:
I agree with the safety thing, though. I wonder how many times the Vehicle Stability System kicks in and people don't even know it? Think about all the soccer moms coming from luxury SUVs and sedans? Add more power to the equation and you see where that leads.
There could be something to the safety thing, but I think safety as we know it today is a sham. Not being an idiot in a vehicle should be the responsibility of the driver, not the manufacturer. Yet, even with that responsibility squarely on the OEM's shoulders they are still selling 500 hp cars that go zero-oops, I'm dead now in under 4 seconds. I really don't see a 300 hp (just 10-15 more than the 3.6) Jeep with some torque being a huge problem.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:34 PM   #17
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I'd like to put out a helper to everyone who is going to deck-out their Jeep with chrome; Do NOT change or mess with your door hinges! I replaced the hinges on my last Jeep (2007) with chrome, and it was the worst decision! If you do, you'll NEVER get the factory allignment back, and you'll never get the factory tightness w/o snapping the bolts... be warned!
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:42 PM   #18
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Is the demand there, though? For us, it is, but we're the 1%ers. Would it REALLY be worth the premium to the hardcore Jeeper? Do you really want the added weight on the nose while out on the trail? I prefer the idea of a forced induction Pentastar engine (roots blown comes to mind, instant torque) over a Hemi, to keep it light (relatively speaking) and nimble.
I would think the demand would be there as much as it is for the Grand Cherokee SRT-8. Sure, most buyers would say "no thanks," but I'd expect Chrysler could sell enough (especially with the 4 door) to make it worth it.

Quote:
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I don't want 400 hp, all I want is the torque. Give me a 5.7L Hemi that won't spin over 4000 rpm, but that will make 440 ft-lbs of torque from idle to 3000 rpm.

. . .

There could be something to the safety thing, but I think safety as we know it today is a sham. Not being an idiot in a vehicle should be the responsibility of the driver, not the manufacturer. Yet, even with that responsibility squarely on the OEM's shoulders they are still selling 500 hp cars that go zero-oops, I'm dead now in under 4 seconds. I really don't see a 300 hp (just 10-15 more than the 3.6) Jeep with some torque being a huge problem.
I had assumed the 5.7 hit 400 hp, but I can see now from Wiki that it doesn't.

So it would indeed be close to the 3.6 from a hp standpoint, but as you observed it'd be adding almost 200 ft/lbs of torque.

That's a lot of juice to put behind an otherwise factory 2 door Rubicon--short wheel base, loose steering, 32" mud tires, solid axles, removable top/doors/windshield, etc. etc. as mentioned above. I've got to think the regulatory powers-that-be would find that unappealing and Chrysler knows it. Hell, they've probably been told it. Of course you're right that most safety regulation is beyond silly, but it is what it is.

Really, what other explanation is there for the absence of an SRT-8 style Wrangler?
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:45 PM   #19
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I don't have a book handy, but I guarantee an engine swap is booked for much more than 10 hours. I'd bet more like 15-20, based on what it was going for on a pickup when I worked at a dealership. It could probably be done in 10 hours, but remember, you're not being charged for how long it takes, you're being charged by how long the book says it takes.
I am all too aware of how shop billing works. Before I started my current job I was an independent mechanic for almost 10 years. Using the factory labor times from Alldata, Mitchell and a few other sources I rarely saw an engine mounted conventionally that booked more than 10 hours. Even if we increase it to 15 hours, that still leaves the labor rate way too high for the market around here. $100 is much more accurate and that still leaves us at $1500 for labor.

You can also bet the house that a Hemi on the assembly line isn't going to cost Chrysler anywhere near what one of the crate motors costs an end user. I really don't see that there is a substantial cost difference there based on the numbers we have access to.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:55 PM   #20
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There is no substitute for power...
I also have a Cayenne Turbo that has 550hp and almost 500ft/lb of torque and I love it! I would not, however, take that 4 sec 0-60 car anywhere near the trails that the Jeep makes for fodder. Make no mistake though... The Cayenne could do some serious trail damage but it's simply not worth the cost of the damage repair. On the sand its a whole different issue and at least mine is an unreal blast on the beaches of the Outer Banks.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add an option for the factory installed V8 Mr. Marchionne and the bubba's at Chrysler!!
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:55 PM   #21
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I think for the real off roader it really doesn't matter. I think the target buyer of the Hemi is someone like me who doesn't wheel often or hard and wants an engine that's sporty around town and can have a louder muffler added without sounding like a wet chili fart. In other words, the Hemi would be something for the 99% instead of the 1%.
Not everyone wants a Hemi.
You may be the target buying for the Hemi, but I'm not sure if the Wrangler is the right target vehicle for a Hemi (at least as the only engine).

These new engines are pulling 0-60 in the mid 7 to 8 second range (depending on 2 door or 4 door). How much faster around town do you need to be?
Maybe the Hemi should be an option....but unless it is going to get better gas milage and lower insurance rates than the 3.6, I don't think the appeal will be there for the added cost as the only available engine.

You will have this super powerful engine in a $40,000 vehicle that still can't tow more than 3500 pounds, gets 14/19 mpg, and has insurance costs like a Ford Cobra.

You want the torqe of a diesel.... But after reading what you posted again...If you want more pep around town, and you don't wheel hard, it seems like the 3.6/new tranny is actually the right combo for you.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:24 PM   #22
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Not everyone wants a Hemi.
You may be the target buying for the Hemi, but I'm not sure if the Wrangler is the right target vehicle for a Hemi (at least as the only engine).
I agree that it should not be the only engine offered. I don't think the Hemi is standard in any model they have, why should the JK be different?

Quote:
These new engines are pulling 0-60 in the mid 7 to 8 second range (depending on 2 door or 4 door). How much faster around town do you need to be?
I don't want it faster. Sporty probably wasn't the right word choice. What I want is to be able to be driving down the street, push the gas and actually accelerate without needing to downshift. I'd also like to be able to upsize tires without the need to regear.

Quote:
Maybe the Hemi should be an option....but unless it is going to get better gas milage and lower insurance rates than the 3.6, I don't think the appeal will be there for the added cost as the only available engine.
I bet it could get better mileage, better insurance is a dream but judging from who I see driving some vehicles that isn't a consideration for most people any more anyway.

Quote:
You will have this super powerful engine in a $40,000 vehicle that still can't tow more than 3500 pounds, gets 14/19 mpg, and has insurance costs like a Ford Cobra.
I suspect with a heavier engine out front it would be able to tow a bit more if there was some work done on the way the hitch bolts up. Mileage will be probably be higher than you listed, and the insurance on a Cobra really isn't that bad.

Quote:
You want the torqe of a diesel.... But after reading what you posted again...If you want more pep around town, and you don't wheel hard, it seems like the 3.6/new tranny is actually the right combo for you.
No, I want the torque of a real gas truck engine, not an engine that was designed for a car and ended up installed where it doesn't belong because it just happens to be on the shelf.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:48 PM   #23
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I sold a '09 Ram with the 5.7L Hemi when I bought my '12 Rubicon. The Hemi in the Ram is not the low end torque monster you think it is. My truck would downshift every chance it had and made power in the upper RPM range.

The 3.6 is not as powerful but drives very similar, in my opinion.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:06 PM   #24
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I'd like to put out a helper to everyone who is going to deck-out their Jeep with chrome; Do NOT change or mess with your door hinges! I replaced the hinges on my last Jeep (2007) with chrome, and it was the worst decision! If you do, you'll NEVER get the factory allignment back, and you'll never get the factory tightness w/o snapping the bolts... be warned!
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:32 PM   #25
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I sold a '09 Ram with the 5.7L Hemi when I bought my '12 Rubicon. The Hemi in the Ram is not the low end torque monster you think it is. My truck would downshift every chance it had and made power in the upper RPM range.

The 3.6 is not as powerful but drives very similar, in my opinion.
I don't consider the 5.7 a low end torque monster in its current form. Just like every other gas engine they offer, they have built it to make a big power number at the expense of the low end. As I said above, there's no reason for it to spin higher than 4000 rpm to get what the JK needs. The way it is now it's a 6000 rpm engine with a torque peak between 4000 and 4500 rpm. Put a cam, intake and exhaust on it that are optimized for lower rpm and it can be made a low end torque monster. It wouldn't even need to be a 5.7. They could make a smaller version that's around 5L to take the edge off and it would still be a huge improvement over the 3.6.
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Old 08-31-2011, 05:43 PM   #26
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I think for the real off roader it really doesn't matter. I think the target buyer of the Hemi is someone like me who doesn't wheel often or hard and wants an engine that's sporty around town and can have a louder muffler added without sounding like a wet chili fart. In other words, the Hemi would be something for the 99% instead of the 1%.

But of that 99%, I'm sure not enough would buy the Hemi for Chrysler to justify production. Most people just don't care enough to spend the extra dough.


Not being an idiot in a vehicle should be the responsibility of the driver, not the manufacturer.

THIS.
Unfortunately, the Feddrill Gubmint doesn't feel that way.
One day, I'll learn how to multi-quote.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:23 PM   #27
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They could make a smaller version that's around 5L to take the edge off and it would still be a huge improvement over the 3.6.
I take it you don't own a 2012? The the 3.6 and 5 speed auto are plenty sufficient in the JK. The biggest issue with the '07-'11 was not the 3.8L, it was the widely spaced 4 speed auto.

You're really driving the wrong vehicle if you need more power than that.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:50 PM   #28
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One day, I'll learn how to multi-quote.
It's really easy, but multi quote isn't what you need. You just need to break up the single quotes. After you hit "quote" and it comes up in the text box you need to separate the individual lines you want to quote. The make sure each line you want to quote starts with {quote} and ends with {/quote} just replace the {} with [].

If you need multiquote click the quotation mark next to teh quote button on everything you want to quote except the last item. For the last item, just click the regular quote button.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:57 PM   #29
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I take it you don't own a 2012? The the 3.6 and 5 speed auto are plenty sufficient in the JK. The biggest issue with the '07-'11 was not the 3.8L, it was the widely spaced 4 speed auto.

You're really driving the wrong vehicle if you need more power than that.
I will own one next week and I drove one last week. As I have said about 8 trillion times by now it doesn't need more power, it needs more torque. Going 45 mph in 6th gear you should not have to drop two or three gears just to get it to go. My 20 year old daily driver with 160 hp and 3.08 gears can do it, there's no reason in the world a brand new Jeep with 290 hp can't do it.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:16 PM   #30
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I will own one next week and I drove one last week. As I have said about 8 trillion times by now it doesn't need more power, it needs more torque. Going 45 mph in 6th gear you should not have to drop two or three gears just to get it to go. My 20 year old daily driver with 160 hp and 3.08 gears can do it, there's no reason in the world a brand new Jeep with 290 hp can't do it.
If you're in 6th at 45mph, the problem isn't the engine or trans, it's your driving. I'd bet your beater weighs a whole lot less than the JK, but I'd still like to see just how hard it pulls at 45mph in 6th.

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