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Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar Engine (Design, Issues & Reliability)

Updated: Feb 4

✔ This article has been fact checked.

The 3.6L V6 Pentastar is a six-cylinder gasoline engine that produces between 280-305hp and 340-365 nm of torque. It was originally displayed for the 2011 model-year Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep cars at the New York Auto Show in 2009.

One of Chrysler's most technologically sophisticated engines to date is this modern V6 engine.

Vehicles all around the world, such as the Dodge Challenger, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, and Ram 1500, are powered by this engine.

For three years running, the 3.6L Pentastar V6 has been ranked among the best 10 engines available on the US market and was featured in Ward's 10 best engine list.

Table of Contents:

Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar Engine

Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar Engine Design

The new 3.6 V6 engine has a 38% increase in power over the previous model, consumes 11% less fuel, and is 19 kg (42 lbs) lighter. Additionally, it's 94 mm shorter than the 3.7 V6 and 34 mm shorter than the 3.5 V6.

The engine's cylinder block has a 60-degree V angle between the cylinder banks and is constructed of high-pressure die-cast aluminium.

It features an open-deck construction that conserves material, makes the engine lighter and less expensive to produce. It also includes cast iron cylinder liners that increase engine longevity.

Three piston oil cooler jets are located within the engine block. By controlling heat, each oil jet cools two pistons, preventing detonation and engine knock.

Cast aluminium pistons are used, along with forged steel connecting rods, a nodular iron crankshaft, and pistons with low friction rings and reduced skirt area for less friction and weight.

A chain-driven vane-type variable displacement oil pump is used in the engine.

All brackets for engine accessories were removed. The engine block is connected to the alternator, compressor for the air conditioner, and belt tensioner.

Furthermore, they are driven by a serpentine belt. The level of noise and vibration has been decreased as a result of this design.

Sand-cast aluminium cylinder heads with T7 heat treatment are used in the 3.6L Pentastar engine. The cylinder head is comprised up of dual overhead camshafts with hydraulic lifters and roller finger followers, it has four valves per cylinder.

The intake and exhaust camshafts are driven by a chain (there is a separate timing chain for each head). A "silent chain link" design is used in timing chains.

There are torque-activated phasers on each of the four camshafts. The single-piece, 39 mm diameter intake valve is constructed of forged, heat-resistant (martensitic) steel.

The exhaust valves are made of a forged austenitic head and a martensitic stem. The diameter of the exhaust valve is 30 mm, high-flow intake and exhaust ports, as well as an integrated exhaust manifold, are features of cylinder heads.

On top of the engine is a multi-point port fuel injection system with an electronically controlled lightweight composite intake manifold and 74 mm throttle body.

Between 1800 and 6350 rpm, 90% of the maximum torque is produced. Since high-octane fuel is not required, the engine can deliver great driving performance.

Pentastar engines are very fuel-efficient, produce low emissions, and run smoothly. They also require less maintenance and don't require high-octane fuel.

The Ultra-low Emission Vehicle II and Euro6 standards, as well as Tier 2 BIN 5 emission regulations, are all met by the Pentastar V6 engines.

Additionally, it is built to adhere to the strictest future standards, such as California's LEV III and PZEV.

2016 Pentastar Engines

A new 3.6L V6 engine and an improved Pentastar engine family for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango were released by FCA in 2016.

The new engine has a two-stage variable valve lift system (VVL). Both low and high valve lifts are possible with the VVL technology.

  • High valve lift activates when power is required.

  • Low valve lift at moderate speeds can reduce fuel consumption (up to 2.7% more than the prior generation).

A cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system was required by the manufacturer.

The reworked engine also has new valve springs, low-tension piston rings, longer runners, more torque, high-tumble intake apertures inside the cylinder heads, and a new plastic intake manifold.

New eight-hole injectors were installed to the fuel system. The port fuel injection mechanism is still present in the engine.

Recalibration was performed on the variable valve timing (VVT) system. The 10.2:1 compression ratio was increased to an 11.3:1 compression ratio in this engine.

These changes help to boost power and torque output while also reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency.

Engine Specs

  • 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

  • Configuration: V

  • 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

Problems & Reliability

The 3.6 Pentastar is a powerful, economical, and long-lasting V6 NA engine with good history and few major issues. Owners of these engines could, however, run across some issues.

1. Rocker Arm Failure / Cam Follower Failure

This issue is often confused with cylinder head failure. The most typical signs are a cylinder misfire and a ticking or tapping noise coming from the upper engine area. A diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that denotes misfire may also be found.

In order to remedy this problem, the FCA released a service bulletin in March 2014. However, some modern Pentastar 3.6 engines experience rocker arm failure, and FCA does not offer extended warranties for this issue.

Another name for it is cam follower failure. Even when the parts aren't expensive, labour costs can increase the cost of the repair.

2. Cylinder Head Failure

A left side cylinder head issue affected 0.5% of vehicles with 3.6L V6 Pentastar engines manufactured in 2011 to 2013. A ticking noise originating from the left side of the engine can quickly identify engines with cylinder head failure.

Other indications included a check engine light that was lit, reduced power output, and misfires. Excessive wear was the root cause of the failure.

Chrysler revised the design in August 2012. The issue has been resolved by hardening valve guides and seats in newly designed heads.

The warranty on the left side cylinder head of 3.6L Pentastar engines has been increased to 10 years or 150,000 miles on all 2011, 2012, and certain 2013 model year cars.

3. Cooling System & Pumps

Some owners claim that since their radiators are clogged, they frequently need to fix water pumps, thermostats, oil coolers, and oil pumps. The fabrication and preparation of individual engines before to assembly may be the root of the issue.

Before being sent to assembly sites, the heads are sand-cast and put through rigorous cleanliness inspections. However, any sand that is still in the engine after the casting process may run through the car's cooling systems, obstructing the radiator and the oil cooling system.

Fortunately, this issue doesn't occur frequently, but there are several reports from owners who have repeatedly had to make these repairs.

An OBD code or the check engine light may occasionally be triggered by this. As long as the engine doesn't overheat significantly or for an extended period of time, it can generally be repaired.

Is the 3.6L Pentastar Engine Reliable?

The reliability of the 3.6L Pentastar engine is significantly above average. It has a long history, having produced over 10 million Pentastar engines to date.

The 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine is one of the most durable engines on the market today, despite some problems with early versions.

The 3.6 Pentastar engine could last up to 300,000 miles with regular maintenance, there are even a reports of Pentastar engines lasting up to 500,000 miles.


Below are images of the Chrysler 3.6L Pentastar engine.

3.6L V6 Pentastar


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