Updated: Oct 24, 2022
The 3.6L V6 Pentastar is a six-cylinder gasoline engine that was first shown at the 2009 New York Auto Show for Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles in the 2011 model year. This new V6 engine is one of the most technologically advanced Chrysler engines to date.
This V6 is found in automobiles all around the world, including the Dodge Challenger, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, and Ram 1500. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 has been named among the top 10 engines in the US market for three years in a row.
Let's take a closer look at the 3.6 Pentastar engine, including common problems, reliability, and longevity.
The new 3.6 V6 engine is 38% more powerful than its predecessor, uses 11% less gasoline, and weighs 42 pounds (19 kg) less. It's also 94 mm shorter than the 3.7 V6 and 34 mm shorter than the 3.5 V6.
The cylinder block of the engine is made of high-pressure die-cast aluminium with a 60-degree V angle between the cylinder banks. It has an open-deck design that saves material, makes the machine lighter and less costly to produce, and contains cast iron cylinder liners that prolong the machine's life.
In the engine block, there are three piston oil cooler jets. Each oil jet cools two pistons by managing heat, preventing detonations.
Cast aluminium pistons with low-friction rings and a reduced skirt area for less weight and friction are employed, as are forged steel connecting rods, a nodular iron crankshaft, and forged steel connecting rods.
In the engine, a chain-driven vane-type variable displacement oil pump is used.
Engineers removed all brackets for engine accessories. The alternator, air conditioner compressor, and belt tensioner are all connected to the engine block. A serpentine belt is also used to power them. As a consequence of this design, the quantity of vibration and noise has been considerably reduced.
In the 3.6L Pentastar, sand-cast aluminium cylinder heads made of T7 heat-treated aluminium are employed. Four valves per cylinder and dual overhead camshafts with hydraulic lifters and roller finger followers make up the cylinder head.
A chain drives the intake and exhaust camshafts (there is a separate timing chain for each head). Timing chains employ the "silent chain link" architecture.
On all four camshafts, torque-activated phasers are featured. The intake valve is single-piece and made of forged heat-resistant (martensitic) steel; the intake valve diameter is 39 mm.
A forged austenitic head and a martensitic stem make up the exhaust valves. The exhaust valve has a 30 mm diameter. Cylinder heads include high-flow intake and exhaust ports, as well as an integrated exhaust manifold.
A lightweight composite intake manifold with a 74 mm throttle body sits atop the engine, along with an electronically controlled multi-point port fuel injection system.
90% of maximum torque is generated between 1800 and 6350 rpm. As a consequence, the engine can provide exceptional driving performance without the need of high-octane fuel.
Pentastar engines provide exceptional fuel efficiency, low emissions, and smooth operation while needing little maintenance and without requiring high-octane fuel.
Pentastar V6 engines are popular in the United States and overseas. They meet Tier 2 BIN 5 emission standards, as well as the Ultra-low Emission Vehicle II and Euro6 standards. It's also designed to meet the most stringent future requirements, including as California's LEV III and PZEV.
2016 Pentastar Engines
In 2016, FCA introduced an upgraded Pentastar engine family and a new version of the 3.6L V6 for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.
A two-stage variable valve lift system is included in the new engine (VVL). The VVL technology allows for both low and high valve lifts. Low valve lift at low speeds saves fuel (up to 2.7% more than the previous generation), but high valve lift activates when power is needed.
The manufacturer demanded a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system.
The overhauled engine also has a new plastic intake manifold with longer runners, greater torque, high-tumble intake apertures inside the cylinder heads, new valve springs, and low-tension piston rings.
In the fuel system, new eight-hole injectors were added. The engine still has a port fuel injection system.
The variable valve timing (VVT) system was re-calibrated. The compression ratio was increased from 10.2:1 to 11.3:1.
These improvements help to provide more power and torque while also improving fuel efficiency and emissions.
In recent years, the Pentastar V6 engine has successfully competed with the more technologically advanced 2.0 Turbo GME Hurricane engine.
Manufacturer: FCA US LLC - Mack Avenue Engine Complex, Trenton Engine Plant and Saltillo South Engine Plant
Production years: 2010-present
Cylinder block material: Aluminium
Cylinder head material: Aluminium
Fuel type: Gasoline
Fuel system: Port multi-point fuel injection
Number of cylinders: 6
Valves per cylinder: 4
Valvetrain layout: DOHC
Bore: 96.0 mm (3.78 in)
Stroke: 83.0 mm (3.27 in)
Displacement: 3,604 cc (219.9 cu in)
Type: Four-stroke, naturally aspirated
Compression Ratio: 10.2:1, 11.3:1 - 2016+ the Gen2/revised Pentastar
Power: 283-305 hp (211-224 kW) at 6,350-6,600 rpm
Torque: 251-269 ft-lb (340-365 Nm) at 4,175-4,800 rpm
Firing order: 1-2-3-4-5-6
Engine oil weight: SAE 5W-20, 5W-30
Engine oil capacity: 5.7 litres (6.0 qt)
Oil change interval: 9,000 miles (15,000 km) / 12 months
Applications: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Ram 1500, Ram ProMaster, Ram Cargo Van, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Durango, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Journey, Chrysler 300, Chrysler 200, Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler Pacifica, Fiat Freemont, Lancia Thema, Lancia Voyager
Reliability & Issues
This 3.6-liter V6 engine has a lengthy history (almost 11 years), and for good reason. The 3.6 Pentastar is a strong, fuel-efficient, and durable V6 NA engine. However, owners of these engines may experience certain common problems. In the following post, we'll go over these issues in more depth.
Cylinder Head Failure
About 0.5% of 2011-2013 vehicles with the 3.6L V6 Pentastar engines had a problem with the left side cylinder head. Engines with cylinder head failure may be immediately identified by a ticking sound coming from the left side.
Misfires, power loss, and an illuminated check engine light were among the other indications and symptoms. The failure was caused by excessive wear.
In August of 2012, Chrysler changed the design. Valve guides and seats have been hardened in redesigned heads, and the problem is now uncommon.
On all 2011, 2012, and some 2013 model year vehicles with 3.6L Pentastar engines, the engine warranty on the left side cylinder head has been extended to ten years or 150,000 miles.
Rocker Arm Issues
This problem is often confused with the one listed above. The most common symptoms are a ticking/tapping sound from the upper engine zone and a cylinder misfire. It's also possible to find a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that indicates misfire.
The FCA issued a service bulletin in March 2014 to address this issue. However, rocker arm failure occurs in some modern Pentastar 3.6 engines, and the FCA does not provide extended warranties for this problem.
It's also called a cam follower failure. Although the parts aren't expensive, labour fees might push up the price of repair.
Cooling System & Oil Pump
Some owners say they have to fix water pumps, thermostats, oil coolers, and oil pumps on a frequent basis because their radiators are clogged. It's possible that the problem stems from the production and preparation of individual engines prior to assembly.
The heads are sand-cast and subjected to stringent cleanliness checks before being shipped to assembly plants. Any sand left in the engine after the casting process, on the other hand, might flow through the vehicle's cooling systems, clogging the radiator and oil cooling system.
Fortunately, this problem isn't as common as the ones mentioned above, but there are various online reports from owners who have had to perform these repairs several times.
This may sometimes trigger a check engine light or an OBD code. Providing the engine doesn't overheat too much, or for too long, it usually can be fixed without much issue.
Is the 3.6L V6 Pentastar Engine Reliable?
The Pentastar engine has a substantially higher level of reliability than the norm. With over 10 million Pentastar engines developed to date, it has a lengthy track record.
Despite some issues with early models, the 3.6L V6 Pentastar is a sturdy, reliable engine that is one of the most reliable engines available today. With proper care, the 3.6 Pentastar engine may last up to 300,000 kilometres (there are even a cases of the Pentastar last up to impressive 500,000 miles).