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Old 05-09-2019, 10:00 AM
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3.8 Rubi. Vs 3.6 Sport What would you buy

First off Hello, I’ve lurked around here for a long time and finally signed up. I just sold my beloved TJ. The time had come to move to a JK. Ultimately I feel the JK back seat is safer for my kids, plus being a tad roomier is a bonus.
So.. I can buy a 2007 Rubicon with 88k on it, for $13,000. Or if I want to hold out to get the better 3.6 I can get into a sport. I’m only looking at manuals. So, if it was your money, would you the buy the better equipped Rubi even though it has the 3.8 or is it better to hold out for the 3.6 but it’s lesser equipped.
I had 35’s on the TJ and the Dana 35 always made me nervous. I like the idea of the 44’s, t-case and other Rubicon goodies but I don’t know if the 3.8 is worth the roll of dice.
No real hard wheeling. Forest service roads and old logging trails, lots of fields hanging tree stands, etc... This is a third fun vehicle not a DD . It will see highway use driving to camp.
Anyway any opinions are welcome. Thanks.

Threw a pic in of my now departed TJ just to give you an idea of what I’m moving from

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Old 05-09-2019, 10:10 AM   #2
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Sounds like you will use the functionality of the Rubi. The downside of the Sport is the money you will put into it to recreate the functionality of the Rubi. Money aside, if its not a DD, not a mall crawler, I'd buy the 3.8. 3.6 has more performance, but not enough to sway me to buy it given your terms.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:11 AM   #3
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3.8 with the manual and 4.10's is liveable. Get the Rubi
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Old 05-09-2019, 12:02 PM   #4
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:02 PM   #5
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The gear ratio on the sport would factor into my decision. The 3.8 with 4.10 gears is just fine and probably better for offroading than a 3.6 with 3.21 gears.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SecondTJ View Post
3.8 with the manual and 4.10's is liveable. Get the Rubi
I like my 09. Just rolled over 160k and running fine. Just have to check the oil occasionally, unlike my old TJ with the 4.0.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TjeepJ04 View Post
First off Hello, Iíve lurked around here for a long time and finally signed up. I just sold my beloved TJ. The time had come to move to a JK. Ultimately I feel the JK back seat is safer for my kids, plus being a tad roomier is a bonus.
So.. I can buy a 2007 Rubicon with 88k on it, for $13,000. Or if I want to hold out to get the better 3.6 I can get into a sport. Iím only looking at manuals. So, if it was your money, would you the buy the better equipped Rubi even though it has the 3.8 or is it better to hold out for the 3.6 but itís lesser equipped.
I had 35ís on the TJ and the Dana 35 always made me nervous. I like the idea of the 44ís, t-case and other Rubicon goodies but I donít know if the 3.8 is worth the roll of dice.
No real hard wheeling. Forest service roads and old logging trails, lots of fields hanging tree stands, etc... This is a third fun vehicle not a DD . It will see highway use driving to camp.
Anyway any opinions are welcome. Thanks.

Threw a pic in of my now departed TJ just to give you an idea of what Iím moving from
As someone with experience with two 3.8's I can highly recommend the 3.6. Sigh.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:41 PM   #8
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I like my 09. Just rolled over 160k and running fine. Just have to check the oil occasionally, unlike my old TJ with the 4.0.
I had a yj with the 4.0. Wonderful engine! I thought very highly of it.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:08 PM   #9
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Our 2010 JKUR is an auto and we use it as DD. It's slow, but liveable. Burns oil, but easy to check. I don't think it'll drive you crazy as a third vehicle. Just make sure all the Rubi goodies work, sway bar disconnects, axles lock. You could always get the sport and just re-gear too.
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Old 05-10-2019, 04:58 AM   #10
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I’m going to buck the trend here. IMHO, your intended use fits the sport more than the rubi. Forest service roads, fields and the like will not require rock crawling components. Sure the sport has terrible gears, but this is not going to be a rock crawler with huge tires. Now if you plan to throw on bigger tires and lift it the sport will cost more since you’ll have the regear. I still say Sport over Rubi, and I own a Rubi.
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Old 05-10-2019, 05:57 AM   #11
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I would also recommend the 3.6 option. The vast majority of Jeep buyers that get a Rubicon do not need a Rubicon. A stock Sport or Sahara is more than capable of doing what you need.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:04 PM   #12
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I've got a 2018 JKU sport with 3.73 gears and manual and I love it.
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:54 PM   #13
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Rubi vs Sport

First off, let me say that I am on Jeep #6. Jeep #5 was a Sport with a 3.8L engine. My intent was to change out the suspension and replace it with Rubicon suspension and be money ahead. After purchasing the front & rear differentials and the electronic disconnect sway-bar I realized that at the time of purchase if I had spend just a little more money than I had subsequently spent on the Rubicon parts I could have had an actual Rubicon. While I had the Rubicon suspension, I still had a Sport along with a 1:2.72 Transfer case. My intent was to keep this Jeep forever so I had also purchased the lifetime warranty. However, I had now replaced many components that would now not be covered as they were not purchased as part of my original vehicle.


Needless to say, I traded in Jeep #5, a 2011 Sport JKU, for a 2013 Rubicon 10A which has the 3.6Liter engine and have never regretted it. For me having a Rubicon is the only way to go and there are improvements on the 3.6 liter over the 3.8.


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Old 05-15-2019, 05:14 AM   #14
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I had an 07 and currently have a 15. 3.6 is just a more reliable engine generally speaking. Doesn’t sound like you would necessarily need the rubicon parts for your wheeling. With two little kids the wheeling you described is the same as mine but add in getting to some remote fishing spots.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:52 AM   #15
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What is your budget? I had a similar decision to make.

The 3.8l engine is an engine that was designed in the 80s, the 3.6l is a more modern design. Based on that, it was an easy decision for me to limit my search to 2012 and newer.

Most Wranglers are automatics right now, the 4 speed seemed a little doggy and the 2012+ 5 speed seems to be a huge improvement.

To upgrade a Sport to a Rubicon is quite a bit more cost than it is to start with a Rubicon. in the first place. So based on your budget, I would target a Rubicon.

For me, I set a budget of $20k, 2012 or newer for the 3.6l engine and a Rubicon. It toof a few weeks, but I found one.

If your budget is $15k or less, you are either looking at a 2012+ sport or a 2011 or older Rubicon.

Good luck!

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Old 05-15-2019, 09:56 AM   #16
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In addition to the 3.6 being the consensus preferred, I've also heard 'worse' feedback on the 07' models with the 3.8 vs even the later years of that platform. Good luck!
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:40 AM   #17
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I would not buy a 3.6L with the manual transmission. Its too weak to handle the output of the pentastar. The automatic on the other hand is very strong. On the 3.8L I would only buy the manual as the automatic is a weak point in that design. If you want manual go 2007-2011 OR JL. If you go automatic get the 2012-2018JK or JL.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:16 AM   #18
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I would not buy a 3.6L with the manual transmission. Its too weak to handle the output of the pentastar. The automatic on the other hand is very strong. On the 3.8L I would only buy the manual as the automatic is a weak point in that design. If you want manual go 2007-2011 OR JL. If you go automatic get the 2012-2018JK or JL.
The torque rating of the NSG370 is 272 ft/lbs and the 3.6 is 260 ft/lb. You might argue that's close, but that's ignoring basic engineering principles. The specification is always rated less than the capability.

The power output of the Pentastar has nothing to do with the problems with the NSG370. The earlier NSG370s (up to about feb 2012) actually have more issues with JOG than the later models.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:33 AM   #19
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Sport. It doesn't sound like you have an actual need for the lockers from the description. I've run quite a bit more difficult stuff with my 14 JKU sport with 33's and 2.25" lift. Stuff I'd NEED lockers for, I just go around.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:18 PM   #20
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The torque rating of the NSG370 is 272 ft/lbs and the 3.6 is 260 ft/lb. You might argue that's close, but that's ignoring basic engineering principles. The specification is always rated less than the capability.

The power output of the Pentastar has nothing to do with the problems with the NSG370. The earlier NSG370s (up to about feb 2012) actually have more issues with JOG than the later models.
The applications of the nsg370
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysl...0_transmission

The applications of the Mercedes-Benz 5G-Tronic transmission
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merced...c_transmission

The JKU 3.6L auto is at the bottom of its performance envelope with the 3.6L while the manual is at the top edge of its envelope. This forum has people waiting 6 months for a replacement NSG370 and there are TONs of issues especially when you consider how few manuals are sold compared with autos. I don't have the numbers to back this up, but I would also imagine that the manual was more popular in the 3.8L with its much lower build rate compared with the far more mass marketed 3.6L. I personally think that the auto in my JKUR is the best component of the whole jeep.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:39 PM   #21
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The applications of the nsg370
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysl...0_transmission

The applications of the Mercedes-Benz 5G-Tronic transmission
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merced...c_transmission

The JKU 3.6L auto is at the bottom of its performance envelope with the 3.6L while the manual is at the top edge of its envelope. This forum has people waiting 6 months for a replacement NSG370 and there are TONs of issues especially when you consider how few manuals are sold compared with autos. I don't have the numbers to back this up, but I would also imagine that the manual was more popular in the 3.8L with its much lower build rate compared with the far more mass marketed 3.6L. I personally think that the auto in my JKUR is the best component of the whole jeep.
Describe some issues that are related to the increase of 20ft/lbs in torque between the 3.8 and 3.6. I haven't heard of any. I haven't heard of any issues at all related to exceeding the input torque of the transmission. I'm not saying the NSG370 is the best shifting transmission, but the most common issues are complaints about noise, whether it be gear rollover or the creaky throw out bearing. The next common issue is shift feel and JOG. I don't even recall reading about a single failure that left someone stranded (I can find plenty with the auto boxes). You are correct that recently, they have a serious part distribution issue with the 6 speed.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:25 PM   #22
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Sport. Easy to add better lockers, better disconnects, and gearing. Hard to swap engines. The low range transfer case is less than useless in similar situations to what you describe and the 44 isn't a much more robust axle than the 35 which should be fine anyway. I wish I had bought a Sport and built it instead of buying the Rubicon.

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