Buying a used Jeep is always a gamble. Before I purchased my 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, the previous owner warned me that he thought something was wrong with the engine. Turns out, he was right! Sure, when I first got the Jeep, I changed the oil, swapped in a new set of plugs and wires, and tried to diagnose what I thought could be the issue source for the rattling 3.8L.
At 112,000 miles, it was hard to fathom that the engine would actually be a lost cause. I had owned a few other 3.8L JK’s previous to this one and never had any issues. After a week wheeling in Moab, Utah, my answer was clear. The engine was toast. I haven’t pulled it apart yet, but the fact that it was eating oil to the tune of three quarts for every 80 miles means something is seriously amiss.
Just as fast as it was going through oil, it was killing spark plugs. With a few off-road trips coming up soon, I couldn’t stand around and ponder a solution. After searching for a decent pullout engine, I finally decided to go with a remanufactured long block from O’Reilly Auto Parts. It was around $2,000 for the long block. I had another $1,500 in replacing the catalytic convers, exhaust manifolds, and other assorted parts and pieces. So, for roughly 3,500, I got a new engine.
It’s definitely not where I wanted to spend my money, but that’s how things sometimes shake out. As soon as my travel schedule calms down a bit, I plan to dig a little deeper into the stock 3.8L and see exactly where things went wrong. Until then, here’s to hoping that this 3.8L will go the distance!