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Old 02-28-2019, 06:49 AM
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No power even up the slightest of hills.

Hi I’m Antoinette and me and my boyfriend just bought a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport. The problem I’m having is that the Jeep has no power when I’m driving up the mountain on the interstate. It won’t hold 60 mph in 6th gear. Am I being unreasonable to think that my Jeep should do 60 and more in 6th gear even up a hill? It’s a 3.8L/6 cylinder with 70,170 miles on it.

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Old 02-28-2019, 07:36 AM   #2
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I am not an expert on that engine, but it is known for lack of power. What size tires do you have on it? I would bet a bunch of 3.8L guys will chime in with their experience and say that its pretty normal

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Old 02-28-2019, 08:12 AM   #3
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Throttle position sensor? Fuel pump? Fuel Filter? Injectors?

Has it thrown any engine codes?

What happens if you gear it down to 4th or 5th gear?
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:20 AM   #4
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I would say pretty normal. most likely you have 3.21 gears and that coupled with the over drive 6th gear and low 3.8 power. shift down before the hills.
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:36 AM   #5
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Threads from WF Community Announcements and WF Site Help merged and moved to JK Tech.
Hopefully you'll get more answers here.
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:41 AM   #6
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I have a 2014 with the 3.6L, manual trans, 3.73 gears, and 33s. I have to downshift for grades. Steep grades can even force me all the way down to third.

Wranglers are vehicles that are more at home in the wild. Put them on pavement and you'll learn what mediocrity means.

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Old 02-28-2019, 08:50 AM   #7
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Normal for the minivan engine. That said, inability to hold high gear going uphill is not necessarily a symptom of "no power". More of an indication that it's time to drop a gear or two.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:13 AM   #8
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Yup... you will have to downshift. The 3.8 is just a lackluster engine that is overwhelmed by the Jeep.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinasongz View Post
Hi I’m Antoinette and me and my boyfriend just bought a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport. The problem I’m having is that the Jeep has no power when I’m driving up the mountain on the interstate. It won’t hold 60 mph in 6th gear. Am I being unreasonable to think that my Jeep should do 60 and more in 6th gear even up a hill? It’s a 3.8L/6 cylinder with 70,170 miles on it.
No one here knows the tire size, or differential gearing your Jeep has. Hence the replies you're getting (all good info) for your general situation.
Best wishes.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinasongz View Post
Hi I’m Antoinette and me and my boyfriend just bought a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport. The problem I’m having is that the Jeep has no power when I’m driving up the mountain on the interstate. It won’t hold 60 mph in 6th gear. Am I being unreasonable to think that my Jeep should do 60 and more in 6th gear even up a hill? It’s a 3.8L/6 cylinder with 70,170 miles on it.
No one here knows the tire size, or differential gearing your Jeep has. Hence the replies you're getting (all good info) for your general situation.
Best wishes.
My guess is the prior owner put on 33s or maybe 35s but never changed the stock gearing. That would explain a lot.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:58 AM   #11
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Gears do matter. I had 4.56s and 33s when I had a 3.8L JK.


This is your 3.8L JK with stock gears and 33s

This is your 3.8L JK with 4.56s and 33s
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:23 AM   #12
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I have a very light 2011 2 door JK with 4.88 gears, but it has the 4 speed auto. It will not hold 60 mph on steep mountain passes in 4th gear, but usually can hold it in 3rd gear which is direct, I’m thinking. Very rarely downshifts to second. But I am on stock light weight 32 inch rubber.
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:28 AM   #13
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With the stock 3.73 gears it was a total dog in the mountains. It would downshift on every little overpass out in the flatlands. Now it takes a very steep long grade in the mountains. To force a downshift. All wranglers come from the factory with very inappropriate gearing.
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Old 02-28-2019, 02:13 PM   #14
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I've got a 2011 2 door with 3.73 gears. When it was stock, I could take slight grades and even some steeper grades in 6th gear without downshifting. It certainly seemed more powerful than the 2000 Ford Ranger with 3.0 and 5 speed.

Now I've got it lifted and run heavy 33" tires, steel bumpers, winch... several hundred pounds of added weight, a lot of unsprung weight, and tires that are marginally larger diameter than stock.

At this point, 6th gear rarely gets used. Maybe on long flat highway sections or downhills, but I'd say 95% of the time, I just quit shifting once I get into 5th.

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Old 03-01-2019, 04:59 PM   #15
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Antoinette, what are your tire size and differential gear ratio?

The tire size is written on the tire sidewall, the gear ratio should be stamped on the front and rear differentials, looking like this:



The ratio is probably either 3.21, 3.73 or 4.10.

Knowing this, you should be able to get better advice.
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:06 PM   #16
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I find it interesting that we all (me included) are giving feedback as to what could possibly be the issue.

Does ANYONE really doubt that the pre-Pentastar engine is having trouble holding high gear on anything steeper than a dead-flat road? I owned one for four years - the 3.8 liter engine is a real dog.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:09 AM   #17
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I find it interesting that we all (me included) are giving feedback as to what could possibly be the issue.

Does ANYONE really doubt that the pre-Pentastar engine is having trouble holding high gear on anything steeper than a dead-flat road? I owned one for four years - the 3.8 liter engine is a real dog.
This^^^

The engine is a dog. You are going uphill and can’t hold 6th? Hahaha.... it almost can’t hold 6th going down hill!
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:13 PM   #18
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Won’t hold 60 uphill?

You also have to remember our Jeeps are like aerodynamic Brick right off the assembly line. The faster you go, the more resistance. Add 35’s and a 3” lift and now it’s a Cinderblock in the wind! Driving a Jeep is an entirely different experience for a 1st time owner. It will do a heck of a lot more than most vehicles off road, but unless you spend the money to gear it right etc. you lose some street performance. The 3.8 is a dog to start with but proper shifting, gearing & a tune on the engine can make it much better...
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:08 PM   #19
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6th gear being an overdrive, is pretty much only good for maintaining level, cruising speed. I did a lot of downshifting in the mountains in order to get performance.

I was in 6th pulling a trailer. Foot to the floor (on a flat road) and couldn't get 1 more MPH out of it! Had to downshift.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:32 PM   #20
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Gearing, tire size weight and the 3.8 all count, myself living in the mountains a lot has to do with maintaining RPM's, you lose those and you will starting looking for gears even with my 13 JKUR. You notice that with tractor trailers, they need to get a jump on big hills to keep the RPM's up. Suggestion is to keep the speed up before the climb not during.
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:33 PM   #21
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Rock crawlers aren't highway fighters. OTOH, the folks passing you up that hill can't do trails.
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Old 03-09-2019, 06:04 PM   #22
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Yup... you will have to downshift. The 3.8 is just a lackluster engine that is overwhelmed by the Jeep.


Actually the 3.8 has more then enough power but 3.21 gears and 6spd auto is way undergeared even with stock tires. This combination should be run with 4.56 gears and stock tires if you wanna use 6th gear.


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Old 03-09-2019, 07:26 PM   #23
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Actually the 3.8 has more then enough power but 3.21 gears and 6spd auto is way undergeared even with stock tires. This combination should be run with 4.56 gears and stock tires if you wanna use 6th gear.


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Gearing definitely helps and it is without a doubt over geared with 3.21s. That gear ratio should never have been offered as a stock ratio.
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Old 03-10-2019, 03:46 AM
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So my local Jeep dealership sent a tech out with me on a drive and they said it shouldn’t be acting the way it is. We didn’t even take it on the mountain, just up some “slight inclines”. What they recommend is a “tune up” change out all except the oil and brand new spark plugs and wires to the tune of about $400.00.
Does this make sense to anyone else or are they trying to take me for a “ride”? I would’ve checked for the differential information but I have no clue where to look for that. Thanks for everyone’s help with this all the same though.
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:21 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Chinasongz View Post
So my local Jeep dealership sent a tech out with me on a drive and they said it shouldn’t be acting the way it is. We didn’t even take it on the mountain, just up some “slight inclines”. What they recommend is a “tune up” change out all except the oil and brand new spark plugs and wires to the tune of about $400.00.
Does this make sense to anyone else or are they trying to take me for a “ride”? I would’ve checked for the differential information but I have no clue where to look for that. Thanks for everyone’s help with this all the same though.
They're trying to take you. You'll be $400 lighter, but nothing will change on the Jeep. As said above, it's the way the vehicle is, it's made for off-road, and will never be a sports car.
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:28 AM   #26
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At 70k miles you may need a tune up. I would find a local independent shop and get a second opinion. Search out social media for a shop in your area and develop a relationship, it won’t be the last time you need them, and you’ll save some money.
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:50 AM   #27
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I think the only way you will improve performance is to re-gear and go to a lower gear ratio.



Did I miss the tire size and current gear ratio? The 3.8 as many have said isn't a world beater, but I think it's a decently reliable engine despite the flack it gets here. My neighbor has a 07 with 241K on the odometer.


Quite a few stock Jeeps came with 3.21 gear ratios which were marginal with the stock 30-31" tires anyways, but often people put bigger tires, heavy bumpers, winches, armor, etc and the 3.21 just doesn't cut it.



A re-gear isn't cheap, but going to 4.10, 4.56, or 4.88 will help your performance.
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Old 03-10-2019, 11:32 AM   #28
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So my local Jeep dealership sent a tech out with me on a drive and they said it shouldn’t be acting the way it is. We didn’t even take it on the mountain, just up some “slight inclines”. What they recommend is a “tune up” change out all except the oil and brand new spark plugs and wires to the tune of about $400.00.
Does this make sense to anyone else or are they trying to take me for a “ride”? I would’ve checked for the differential information but I have no clue where to look for that. Thanks for everyone’s help with this all the same though.
You very well could need a tune-up, but you still won't be able to hold 6th gear on even the slightest upgrade. That ship sailed when Jeep decided to put a minivan motor in the early JKs.
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:27 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Chinasongz View Post
So my local Jeep dealership sent a tech out with me on a drive and they said it shouldn’t be acting the way it is. We didn’t even take it on the mountain, just up some “slight inclines”. What they recommend is a “tune up” change out all except the oil and brand new spark plugs and wires to the tune of about $400.00.
Does this make sense to anyone else or are they trying to take me for a “ride”? I would’ve checked for the differential information but I have no clue where to look for that. Thanks for everyone’s help with this all the same though.
While changing fluids is always good, and changing spark plugs does need to be done every blue moon, none of that is likely to make a noticeable difference in the power output of your Jeep. It will still need to down shift for hills.
You should pay attention to what gearing it has and what size tires it has. About the only thing you can do to help it go up hills with less effort if to regear and / or install smaller tires. But few Jeep people like smaller tires, so mostly we just regear. As so many have mentioned, if you have the base stock 3.21 gears it is over-geared from the factory and will have a hard time pulling any hill.
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:29 AM   #30
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If the plugs were bad enough to affect highway performance they'd probably be giving you a rough idle too.

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