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Jeep JK 3.6L Pentastar Engine Oil Change

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Jeep JK 3.6L Pentastar Engine Oil ChangeChanging the engine oil is a necessary part of routine Jeep maintenance and really, it’s something that anyone can do. In fact, thanks to the design of the 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine in a Wrangler JK, it’s something that’s easier to do than ever before.
The new Pentastar engine does not use a traditional can style oil filter but rather, uses a disposable filter media that is installed into the top of the engine. This makes changing your engine oil super easy and eliminates most of the mess.
This short write-up will explain in detail what is involved in the process of a Jeep JK 3.6L Pentastar engine oil change and just how little you will need to do. The entire project takes about 30 minutes. And after you’ve done this on your own, I can almost guarantee you’ll never take your Jeep back to your dealer or a shop to have it done for you again.

The mileage time frame for an oil change is not an exact science these days. While many still swear by the old 3,000 mile rule, today’s engines and oil blends do allow for a longer duration between changes. In fact, Jeep owner’s manual doesn’t really tell you exactly when to change oil, it just mentions that depending on operating conditions, the “change oil” message may appear as early as 3,500 miles since last reset. It does say however that you should never exceed 8,000 miles or six months between oil changes.
It is my personal opinion that you should switch from conventional oil to synthetic oil as soon as you have a chance. There are many opinions on this topic, but I made a switch after first two oil changes, and ever since the third one started using synthetic oil only. Many cars however come with synthetic oil from factory so there is no need to wait to make a switch.
Ever since I started using synthetic oil I have been putting about 10,000 miles between oil changes and my Jeep runs great, even in the hot Arizona climate. My Jeep is a daily driver but it’s not a road trip vehicle so the oil changes happen once a year or so.

Disclaimer: Like I always mention I am not a professional mechanic, I just try to do as much work on my Jeep as possible. It helps me learn more about my vehicle and save some money that can be spent on parts and upgrades.
I take no responsibility for any injury or breakage which might occur if you decide to follow these steps. You have to decide if you’re comfortable working on your Jeep. If you’re not, please have a professional do the oil change for you.
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September 26, 2017 |

Jeep JK multi-function switch replacement

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Jeep JK multi-function switchA multi-function switch, just as the name suggests, controls several different functions related to the lights of your Jeep. Using this one switch you turn on the headlights, fog lights, control turn signals, dashboard lights and dome lights. Unfortunately there might come a time when you notice that something about your lights doesn’t seem right. There could be a few different reasons for your lights or dash indicators to start acting strange. First thing you should always check is the light bulbs. Unless you have all LED lights, check your headlights and turn signals to make sure that all light bulbs work. You might have a fuse that is damaged and needs replacing. You can inspect the fuses an replace the damaged one.
The most common reason for your lights and turn signals not working properly is the multi-function switch failure. Over time some connections inside the switch might become loose and cause problems. You can inspect the switch lever and check whether it stays firmly in each position or if there is some play.
With loose connections, your dashboard lights, dome lights, fogs, or even headlights might randomly flicker or come on unexpectedly, which can be very dangerous. You might encounter problems with your turn signals as well.
The reason I decided to replace the multifunction switch on my Jeep, was due to the fact that my turn signals started acting strange. While turning right and activating the right turn signal by pulling the lever up, the left turn signal would come on first and flash once, and only after that the right turn signal would come on. It has been going on very randomly for the last couple of weeks and it started to drive me crazy, not to mention it was probably irritating other drivers behind me.
Another problem with the turn signal you might experience is that it doesn’t automatically shut off after you complete the turn. I have not personally have that problem, but I hear it is unfortunately a common issue.

Replacing a Jeep JK multi-function switch is a very easy and quick task. The procedure is the same for all 2007-2017 JK’s. The entire project should take about 30 minutes and you only need few tools. If you prefer to watch a video, here’s the best one I found on this subject.

Disclaimer: Like I always mention I am not a professional mechanic, I just try to do as much work on my Jeep as possible. It helps me learn more about my vehicle and save some money that can be spent on parts and upgrades.
I take no responsibility for any injury or breakage which might occur if you decide to follow these steps. You have to decide if you’re comfortable working on your Jeep. If you’re not, please have a professional do the installation for you.
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September 18, 2017 |

Jeep JK cabin air filter replacement

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Jeep JK Cabin Air FilterMany Jeep owners don’t even realize there is such thing as a cabin air filter in their vehicle. After all when you drive topless and doorless, who needs a filter for the cabin. I count myself as one of those jeepers. The topic of a cabin air filter did not even cross my mind for the first year of owning my Jeep. I only thought about it after one extremely dusty Jeep run. Some of you who have done the Backdoor to Crown King trail, Box Canyon in Florence or any trail in Arizona for that matter, might recall that before you get to the fun part of the trail you have to drive down a dirt road for a few miles. With several vehicles in your group that gets crazy dusty.
After coming back from a run like that I spent a couple of hours vacuuming and cleaning the interior of my Jeep and accidentally turned the air blower volume dial to maximum and the air direction dial to panel meaning “in your face” position, without realizing it. After cleaning everything I proceeded to start the Jeep and drive away. It was at that exact moment when a huge cloud of dust came out of the vents full speed and covered both me and the entire interior of the Jeep. Two hours well spent! After catching a breath I thought to myself that there shouldn’t be that much dust in the air system, isn’t there a filter that prevents it? I had to look up where the cabin air filter is located and after a little investigation I discovered that my Jeep did not come with the filters installed. I did some research online and it turns out it is very common to not have the cabin air filters installed from factory in brand new Jeep Wranglers. I guess you learn something every day.
Whether you’re installing a filter for the first time or replacing a dirty one, here’s a step by step instructions for Jeep JK cabin air filter replacement.
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August 10, 2017 |

Jeep JK spare tire bump stop extensions

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Jeep JK spare tire bump stop extensionsOne of the most common upgrades a lot of jeep owners do is a set of new wheels and tires. Once you upgrade your wheels to ones with less backspacing, and you still install your spare tire on your factory tailgate carrier, you’ll notice that your factory rubber bump stops no longer touch your tire and therefore do not protect your tailgate from vibrations caused by the spare tire. This vibration can potentially lead to damage to your tailgate and the hinges.
The solution to this problem is to extend the spare tire bump stops to push against the tire and stop it from vibrating. You might only need an extra 1″ if you’re only getting new wheels and keeping stock tires. Once you upgrade your tires as well, switching to 35’s for example, and still using the factory spare tire mount on the tail gate, you might need to install a wheel spacer or relocation bracket on the carrier to fit the new wheel/tire and clearing the rear bumper. That means that now you might need at least a 2-3″ bump stop extension.
There are two ways you can go about extending your spare tire bump stops. You can purchase aftermarket ones or you can go the DIY way. You have a couple of options for aftermarket bump stops, the most popular are bump stops made by Daystar, and another option is a set by Energy Suspension. The only thing you need to remember is that the Energy Suspension bump stops are 4″ long and the Daystar ones are 4.5″ long.

Going the DIY direction gives you more flexibility in regards to length. I’ve spent way too much time researching this online and from what I can tell, depending on the how much you need to extend the bump stops, you could:

1. install a 1-1/2 in. x 1-1/4 in. flexible PVC coupling over the factory bump stop

2. install a radiator hose over the stock bump stops and cut to length

3. insert a 1-1/4 in. garbage disposal air gap rubber hose, cut to length

4. install a hockey puck under you stock bump stop

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August 6, 2017 |

Do-It-Yourself wooden car ramps

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Do-It-Yourself wooden car rampsA lot of work you might want to do on your Jeep, SUV or truck can be done on the ground level and doesn’t require jacking up the vehicle.
If you’re rotating tires, you need to jack up the axles so the wheels/tires are off the ground.
When you’re working on suspension you need to jack up the frame so that the axles can be lowered.
Sometimes however you might need easier access to the under body with more room to maneuver. When you’re changing oil or working on exhaust or skid plates, you could use ramps to drive on top of, to get more room under your vehicle. Using ramps is easier and quicker that jacking up the entire vehicle and setting up four jack stands.

There are several options available if you decide to purchase car ramps, like the RhinoRamps, Scepter Ramp Set, Magnum Ramp System, Black Widow Service Ramps or a Nicky Nice Solid Steel Ramp Set.
Most of them are made out of plastic, some are steel. Weight limits vary and can be anywhere between 6,000-16,000 lbs. These numbers suggest that those ramps should be fine for Jeeps, trucks or SUV’s, but I have seen way too many photos of broken ramps that collapsed under vehicle weight to trust them myself. There is something about the hollow construction of these ramps that makes me uncomfortable. They seem to also slide when you start driving onto them. And there is the cost – they are not cheap, usually you would have to spend around $100-140 for a set of four. They are however light and easy to store.
After considering all the pros and cons, I decided that I would rather make my own ramps and make them out of material that will definitely support the weight of my vehicle – wood. I could custom build them to fit my tires and the height that I prefer. They are much heavier (about 33 lbs each) and larger than the plastic ramps, but they cost less money. You need to make sure you have a place to store them when they’re not being used.

Building your own set of DIY wooden car ramps is a very easy project. If you have all the materials and tools ready, it should take less than a couple hours to complete all four ramps.
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July 20, 2017 |

Jeep JK 3.6L V6 thermostat housing replacement

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Jeep JK thermostat housing replacementThis post is my attempt to describe the process of replacing a thermostat housing on a 2012 Jeep JK with a 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine. The primary function of a thermostat is to maintain a minimum operating temperature in your car’s engine. When you start your engine cold, antifreeze / coolant mixture is kept within the engine by the thermostat. When the coolant temperature reaches the specified opening point of the thermostat, it opens. Coolant will then flow through the radiator to keep the engine at a temperature close to the rated temperature of the thermostat.
The reason I needed to replace my thermostat was because one morning while driving to work, the “check engine” light came on. When I got home I plugged in my Flashcalto read the code. It was a p0128 code (an indication of a faulty thermostat or ECT – engine coolant temp sensor). After talking to few people I decided that the first thing I’m going to replace is a thermostat and see if that fixes the problem.
I got the new thermostat housing and a gallon of coolant at my local dealership ($34.00 and $24.00 respectively).

 

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you get the correct type of coolant for your Jeep if you’re going to be adding it to your system. Read this post before proceeding any further!
Remember that if you drive a MY(model year) 2012 or older Jeep Wrangler you need a HOAT (Hybrid Organic Additive Technology) coolant, and if you drive a MY 2013 and newer Jeep Wrangler you need an OAT (Organic Additive Technology) coolant. These two types of coolants DO NOT MIX!
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December 11, 2016 |

My Jeep recovery gear

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Jeep recovery kitOffroad vehicle recovery is a very important and very broad topic, that every offroading junkie should be familiar with. Every responsible person should be prepared for situations when their offroading adventure is interrupted by a situation where recovery is necessary. The list of recovery gear is long and includes everything from a shovel to a winch. There are many opinions on what are best brands of recovery gear of course. People also have different opinions when it comes to best recovery techniques and minimum requirements for your recovery gear.
One thing is sure, high quality gear is going to be expensive. You have to remember that you’re going to be trusting your safety and sometimes your life to your gear, so do not try to buy and use equipment that is untested and cheap knockoff just to save money. Make smart decisions.
I’m not an expert in this topic and I’ll never claim to be one. I’m just learning by listening to others and slowly gaining more experience. The equipment I’m acquiring for myself might not be what you prefer. I’m only sharing what I believe will work for my vehicle and the type of offroading I do. I own a Jeep JK with some modifications, and wheel in Arizona, so it’s mostly desert. Terrain includes sand, mud and rocks.

I believe the first thing you need to consider when deciding on recovery gear is the type and weight of your vehicle. Your gear is going to differ depending on whether you drive an ATV, side-by-side, Jeep, or a large pickup truck. You have to know how heavy your toy is. Based on some research, I gathered that an average ATV weighs somewhere between 400-800 lbs. An average side-by-side weighs between 1,200-1,600 lbs. A Jeep JK 2DR comes in at about 4,500 lbs stock, but after few mods it’s closer to 5,000 lbs. Jeep JKU 4DR is closer to 5,700 lbs after few mods. An average pickup truck like a Dodge Ram 1500 or Ford F150 weighs somewhere around 5,200 lbs, but the 2500’s or 250’s can weigh more than 7,500 lbs. You have to build you recovery kit based on your needs. Always remember to buy gear with WLL (Working Load Limit) that meets or exceeds your vehicle’s weight!

Like I said, I drive a 2-door JK so my Jeep recovery gear is going to match that 5,000-lb weight (2.5 tons). Some of that gear will be identical no matter what vehicle you drive, but that’ll be just a few items.
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November 27, 2016 |

Choosing the right lift for your Jeep

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Lift KitMany first time Jeep owners don’t realize that a stock Jeep is not designed for the heavy of road use often seen in magazines and on TV. If you want to have the ability to take your Jeep on those rocky trails and steep hills, you’re going to need an aftermarket lift kit. Suspension Lift kits can drastically influence the way your vehicle handles and performs. For that reason it’s important to choose a kit that best fits your specific needs, whether it is for function or style. There are two basic ways to lift your Jeep – with body lift kits and suspension lift kits. Off-road enthusiasts can benefit from the extra ground clearance suspension lift kits offer, giving them the ability to climb over large rocks and trail obstacles.

 

Here’s a great video from Teraflex about choosing the right lift for your Jeep:

 

 

November 2, 2014 |

Next Jeep Wrangler may be made out of aluminum

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jeep-wrangler-rubiconThe next-generation Jeep Wrangler might have an aluminum body, instead of steel, and be assembled somewhere other than Toledo, Ohio, where its roots go back more than 70 years to the first Willys MB was made for the U.S. Army.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne also hinted at the Paris Motor Show that the iconic Wrangler also could be built on a unibody, rather than a body on frame, structure.

“If the solution is aluminum, then I think unfortunately that Toledo is the wrong place because it requires a complete re-configuring of the assets that would be cost-prohibitive,” Marchionne said. “It would be so outrageously expensive that it would be impossible to work out of that facility.”

The next Wrangler, due in 2017, would benefit from an aluminum body as Chrysler works to improve the fuel economy of all its vehicles. The U.S. government is requiring automakers to reach a fleet average of 56.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

“We need to downsize the engines … and then increase the capabilities by putting turbos in,” Marchionne said. “This requires a complete rethink of the architecture, and before we start committing capital to particular places we need to make sure that we don’t spend an inordinate amount of money trying to get it done.”

However, removing the Wrangler from Toledo would be a major blow for the city where the Jeep started in 1941, then owned by Willys-Overland.

The first Willys MB Jeeps were produced in 1941 for the U.S. military. The first civilian models were made in 1945. It is the oldest off-road vehicle ever made.

Chrysler makes both the Wrangler and the Jeep Cherokee at its Toledo Assembly Complex.

The Auburn Hills automaker has been working to wring more Wrangler production out of Toledo for several years as global sales climbed.

In 2012, for example, Chrysler built more than 200,000 Wranglers, which come with either two or four doors and hired 200 more workers.

As for a suitable location for the aluminum Wrangler, Chrysler plants in Mexico and Canada seem to be out of the question because Marchionne said he wants to preserve Wrangler’s heritage as an American vehicle.

Plants in Sterling Heights and Belvidere, Ill., are able to build unibody cars and SUVs.

It’s possible Toledo would produce another new vehicle, the full-size Jeep Wagoneer by 2018.

“I will never build a Wrangler outside of the U.S.,” Marchionne Thursday. “The commitment to Toledo was certainly in terms of Jeep, and I think the fact that we brought the Cherokee to Toledo is huge. We’re selling over 200,000 of these.”

 

October 5, 2014 |

2016 Jeep Wrangler with 30mpg EcoDiesel?

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jeep-wranglerJust as 2014 Jeep sales are set to get underway, new details regarding the next generation of Wrangler rumored to debut in 2016 are coming out. CEO Mike Manley hinted strongly that Chrysler’s new EcoDiesel V-6 very well may find its way into the new Wranglers as an option for 2016.

So, What’s the Diesel?
While diesel Wranglers have been available and sold on the European scene for some time, this would be the first diesel drinking powerplant put into a Wrangler and sold on North American soil. The motor is no slouch, either. Chevy’s bout into the economy diesel market is represented by a V-6 3.0 liter diesel engine making 240 horsepower and over 400 foot pounds of torque. That’s a whole lot of off-roading power and a bright spot for the die-hard wheelers who will thoroughly refuse any Jeep offering that might be a less capable 4×4, regardless of fuel efficiency. Speaking of efficiency, the EcoDiesel expected to be seen in the new Wranglers also happens to be the same motor in the 2014 Grad Cherokee, earning 21 mpg/city, 30mpg highway for the 4×2 models, and 20/28 mpg for 4×4 models while being able to tow over 7,400 pounds. In the Wrangler frame those numbers are mighty inciting while still providing ample torque for weekend wheeling.

When asked about the new Jeep Wranglers moving toward smaller, turbocharged motors: CEO Mike Manley – “Potentially. As you know, petrol turbo in extreme off-road circumstances doesn’t actually help you because the turbo’s not with you, so we have to make sure that we have the right torque to deliver the capability, That’s why diesel is great for something like Wrangler.”
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October 5, 2014 |

Diesel-powered Wrangler not for U.S.

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There is a huge number of Jeep enthusiasts in the US who would like to own a diesel-powered Wrangler. I am one of them. Unfortunatelly Chrysler does not offer a diesel engine in the US. Yet we all know that it is being sold in Europe and Australia (in Europe almost 50% of all new cars sold today are diesel-powered, that number in the US is 3%!).
Chrysler management says that we might see a Wrangler with a turbo diesel in the next three years. Might…

For now, we can only be glad we are getting the new 3.6L Pentastar engine in 2012, delivering 290 horsepower and 260lb-ft of torque, with better gas mileage of 16/23.

Yet in Europe, you can go down to a dealership today and buy a brand new Jeep Wrangler with a 2.8 liter CRD four-cylinder turbo diesel. That engine sourced from Chrysler has an impressive 174hp and staggering 339 lb-ft. of torque. That is plenty of grunt for crawling rocks, climbing hills and going to WalMart for dog food. Sparking even more jealousy of our European Jeepers, the diesel powered Jeep Wrangler gets 23.7 mpg in the city and 35.8 mpg on the highway. And if you average that out you get a combined 30 mpg.
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July 18, 2011 |

2012 Jeep Wrangler pricing

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Based on a visit to a local dealership, here’s what the 2012 Wrangler prices look like. The base price is for a Rubicon, both two-door and Unlimited. There is almost no price change for 2012, which is great news, considering the fact that you get a new engine and new automatic transmission. Currently available 2011 Rubicon model’s MSRP is $29,820 for two-door and $33,320 for Unlimited. Obviously since dealers want to get rid of these cars, to make room for the new 2012 model, you can make a good deal and get a nice discount, including $1000 factory cash rebate or 0% financing for up to 60 months.
These are the prices for a Rubicon model, since that is the only one I am interested in buying, but if you’re interested in other models, it seems like the base prices should also be very similar to current year models. 2011 Sport MSRP is $22,045. Sport S sells for $24,245 and Sahara’s MSRP is $27,745.

Production should start on July 25th, and it usually takes 6-8 weeks for delivery. It looks like first 2012 Wranglers should be hitting dealerships in late September.
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July 14, 2011 |

2012 Jeep Wrangler

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With more power and efficiency, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler is demanding more attention towards it. The vehicle has eventually received the Chrysler 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine by replacing its 3.8 liter V6 engine.
The engine is equipped with a five speed Mercedes automatic transmission, a boost from its old four-speed automatic. Basically, the company wanted to move ahead from 4-speed to 5-speed. However, this jump is taken quite late since many automakers are now upgrading their vehicles to seven and eight speed transmissions. Current 6-sp manual transmission will still be available.

 


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June 27, 2011 |
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