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Polishing the Pentastar: FCA US Upgrades Celebrated V-6
  • Award-winning engine’s latest iteration contributes to fuel-economy improvements of more than six percent
  • Torque increased more than 14.9 percent at engine speeds below 3,000 rpm – where torque really counts
  • Two-step variable valve lift (VVL), which benefits fuel economy and Pentastar’s class-leading refinement
  • Cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) delivers greater efficiency and enables knock-free operation at higher, real-world loads
  • Upgraded variable-valve timing (VVT) system
  • Other significant enhancements:
    • New intake manifold, longer runners enable torque boost
    • Increased compression ratio – now 11.3:1
    • High-tumble intake ports and shrouded combustion chambers
    • Eight-hole fuel injectors with optimized atomization
    • Multiple friction-reduction features
  • Redesigned components reduce overall engine weight – despite added content
  • More than 4.7 million customer-equivalent test miles accumulated during development
  • Debuts in the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the world’s most-awarded SUV
  • Additional FCA US powertrain breakthroughs for model-year 2016
    • All engines engineered for U.S. will be E15-compatible1
    • Unique FCA US rear-axle disconnect system migrates to 2016Fiat 500X delivering segment-first capability, efficiency
August 31, 2015 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Already unique among V-6 engines for its refinement, power, efficiency and adaptability, the formidable 3.6-liter Pentastar is remade for model-year 2016.

Depending on the application, the redesigned V-6 delivers fuel-economy improvements of more than six percent while increasing torque more than 14.9 percent. This occurs at engine speeds below 3,000 rpm, where elevated torque has its most profound impact on the driving experience.

Enhancements such as two-step variable valve lift (VVL), cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) and innovative weight-reduction strategies boost the engine’s efficiency and performance, all while preserving the smoothness that remains a hallmark of the Pentastar brand.

“With more than five million Pentastars on the road, we have clearly struck a chord in the marketplace,” says Bob Lee, FCA North America Vice President — Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion and Systems Engineering. “Such success brings enormous responsibility. Accordingly, we focused our efforts on improving efficiency and providing greater customer satisfaction in a package that delivers superior value.”

Features
Increased fuel-efficiency was a key impetus in the development of the redesigned 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine. FCA US LLC powertrain engineers evaluated multiple technologies, accumulating more than 4.7 million customer-equivalent miles using computer simulation and physical tests.

Improvements were measured right down to the component level. And no improvement was too small to chase.

Ultimately, the team identified the combination of features that deliver the greatest benefits in the widest operating range.

Arguably the most compelling enhancement is two-step VVL. The system is designed to remain mostly in low-lift mode until the customer demands more power; then it responds by switching to high-lift mode for improved combustion.

The result is less overall pumping work, which on its own, accounts for a fuel-economy improvement of up to 2.7 percent, compared with the 3.6-liter Pentastar’s previous iteration, named three times to the prestigious annual list of Ward’s 10 Best Engines.

The addition of cooled EGR firmly establishes the redesigned Pentastar among the V-6 elite. In addition to the obvious emissions-reduction benefits, the system further cuts pumping losses and enables knock-free operation at higher, real-world loads.

This translates to a fuel-economy improvement, on its own, of up to 0.8 percent.

Pumping losses are again targeted with the engine’s upgraded Variable Valve Timing (VVT) system. For 2016, it moves to torque-driven cam-phasing, which reduces oil demand.

The new VVT system also increases its range of authority to 70 degrees, from 50 degrees. This helps mitigate knock during hot starts and expands the operating envelope of Engine Stop Start (ESS), a fuel-saving feature that is carried over from the previous-generation 3.6-liter Pentastar.

ESS is driven by a high-speed/high-durability starter that reduces crank time for quicker restarts.

The system is regulated by algorithms, which act on the vehicle’s powertrain and chassis components.

As a result, acceleration is always aligned with driver inputs. Passive accelerator application is met with measured throttle response; hard inputs trigger aggressive starts. And there’s no waiting for either.

The same can be said for torque. More torque is delivered more quickly by recalibrating the VVT system to leverage the benefits of the new intake manifold’s longer runners.

The result is a torque boost of more than 14.9 percent, depending on the vehicle application. And this occurs between 1,000 and 3,000 rpm – engine speeds most customers see very frequently.

Says Lee: “We are particularly proud of this achievement because our engineering philosophy revolves around knowing our customers and anticipating their needs and wants. The new 3.6-liter Pentastar delivers a driving experience that is exhilarating.”

Function
The redesigned 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine benefits from numerous upgrades which better harness the combustion event. The upshot is improved efficiency.

Most notably, the engine’s compression ratio jumps to 11.3:1 from 10.2:1, compared with the engine’s previous iteration.

High-tumble intake ports combine with shrouded valves to take advantage of the engine’s new fuel injectors. Featuring eight holes each, twice the number in the previous iteration’s injectors, they offer optimized atomization and targeting.

Factor in the effect of 100-millijoule high-energy ignition coils with platinum sparkplugs and the above combustion enhancements account for a 1.5-percent improvement in fuel economy.

Multiple friction-reduction strategies contribute to an additional one-percent fuel-economy hike, compared with the engine’s previous iteration.

Particularly notable is the use of HG-R1 on the timing drive guide-faces. The new Pentastar is the first production engine to feature this low-friction material.

Also contributing to friction reduction are new valve springs, low-tension piston rings and piston pins which feature diamond- like carbon coating.

Form
Just as refinement is a defining trait of the Pentastar V-6 engine family, so is component design. Its integrated exhaust manifold contributes to packaging efficiencies that enable plug-and-play-type integration across a formidable range of vehicle segments and drivetrain configurations.

The new 3.6-liter Pentastar debuts on the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the world’s most-awarded SUV. The new intake manifold improves airflow, which benefits volumetric efficiency and enables a boost of up to 295 horsepower, from 290 horsepower.

For model-year 2016, FCA US powertrain engineers were challenged by the potential negative effects of incremental weight wrought by the engine’s new feature content. However, clever component redesign produced an engine that weighs as little as 326 pounds, depending on the application.

That’s four pounds less than the previous 3.6-liter Pentastar, despite the addition of new content weighing 13 pounds.

A thin-wall strategy was used to reduce the nominal thickness of certain die-cast components – without compromising the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics for which Pentastar engines are known.

Windage-tray weight was slashed by 19 percent and front-cover weight was cut by five percent. Two-piece oil pans were eliminated, with the exception of Trail Rated vehicles.

The engine’s crankshaft also went on a diet. Its main bearings and pins were trimmed, which contributed to an overall block-assembly weight reduction of six pounds. This generates additional friction-reduction.

“Our customers have made clear their profound appreciation for the 3.6-liter Pentastar,” Lee says. “We feel the upgraded Pentastar will evoke similarly strong emotions.”

Finale
Model-year 2016 brings to FCA US showrooms a crossover that offers a drivetrain with capability no other vehicle in its class can claim. The all-new Fiat 500X features rear-axle disconnect technology that is unique to the FCA US stable of front-wheel-drive-based vehicles.

It disconnects and reconnects the rear axle – automatically and seamlessly – as needed and at any speed.

When driving conditions warrant only front-wheel-drive, the rear axle disconnects at both the PTU and rear-drive module, which improves fuel economy by reducing the parasitic loss, which occurs with conventional systems.

For model-year 2016, FCA US engines – except for the 8.4-liter V-10 that powers the Dodge SRT Viper – will be E15-compatible in anticipation of the fuel’s proliferation.

About FCA North America Powertrain

Rejuvenated when the Company was established in 2009, FCA US powertrain organization has intensified its efforts to develop engines that deliver superior performance, improved fuel economy, reliability and driving enjoyment. Since 2009, nearly half of Chrysler Group’s total manufacturing outlay (more than $2 billion) has been invested in powertrain projects.

1 Except the 8.4-liter V-10; select engines will accommodate higher ethanol blends, such as E85



 

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A lot more complication, and a little less weight, does not a good engine make, IMO. Lots of hype, but little backup to the claims, when the cylinder head acts up.

There are still problems with cylinder # 2 on the 2018 DGCs.

My 2016 had the $1,500 tick, extra cost, cylinder #2, option. Ticks are like everything else these days - expensive. :(

The Canadian Class Action Lawsuit Tick covers 2014 to 2020 models
The 3.6L Pentastar engine problems allegedly present an unreasonable safety risk of harm or injury to drivers and passengers because excessive heat allegedly develops on one side of the engine which causes premature wear of the valvetrain.

According to the plaintiff who sued, the temperatures are so high that it prevents the oil from adequately lubricating the component parts.

The Chrysler Canada class action lawsuit asserts metal shavings are circulated throughout the Pentastar 3.6L engine as the components wear down.

Vehicle owners allegedly must pay to replace the rocker arms and the failed Pentastar 3.6-liter engines because the automaker has concealed the engine problems since 2014. Additionally, the alleged Pentastar engine problems diminish the values of the Chrysler vehicles.
Are you using 5W-20 oil? Mine has 5W-35 in it now plus a more efficient filter than the Mopar. I have seen the tiny metal flecks trapped by the filter media.

Note:
“Our customers have made clear their profound appreciation for the 3.6-liter Pentastar,” Lee says. “We feel the upgraded Pentastar will evoke similarly strong emotions.”
Yes, with numerous Class Action Lawsuits for not taking responsibility for/fixing know design problems. A beautiful engine but ...... There is a "but".
 

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Yes, with numerous Class Action Lawsuits for not taking responsibility for/fixing know design problems. A beautiful engine but ...... There is a "but".
Yes I was just looking at how much was changed during that year, different compression ratio, variable valve lift, numerous other upgrades/changes that to me make this more of a GEN2 engine than a Pentastar GEN1. Perhaps the minor upgrade was in 2013 when they upgraded the oil cooler and dropped the OIL viscosity.
 

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The Grand Caravan did NOT get the revised engine which can be identified by NOT being a flex fuel engine. The Grand Caravan carried on with the flex fuel version till the end. Likewise the Promaster had the old engine and 6 speed trans until 2021. (In 2022 the Promaster got the new engine along with a 9 speed transmission.)

Posting bad information will simply confuse readers of this post.
 

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@Cciman if you are talking about new vs old Pentastar, I think that is far fetched because of the different VVT systems, injectors, and the addition of EGR, it's gonna take a whole different control module and the new Pstar has 8 speed transmissions also.

GM makes like 5 different iterations of their 3.6 "high content" V6 engines and those aren't interchangeable either. Their crate stuff is generally simple V8 crate engines. (In fact, in 1990 I blew up a 305 in an old GMC van and the fix was a Targetmaster long block.) I know some high-tech crate engines are sold with a standalone ECU, but don't think that translates to being usable in a newer, electrically controlled vehicle.
 

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A lot more complication, and a little less weight, does not a good engine make, IMO. Lots of hype, but little backup to the claims, when the cylinder head acts up.

There are still problems with cylinder # 2 on the 2018 DGCs.

My 2016 had the $1,500 tick, extra cost, cylinder #2, option. Ticks are like everything else these days - expensive. :(

The Canadian Class Action Lawsuit Tick covers 2014 to 2020 models


Are you using 5W-20 oil? Mine has 5W-35 in it now plus a more efficient filter than the Mopar. I have seen the tiny metal flecks trapped by the filter media.

Note:


Yes, with numerous Class Action Lawsuits for not taking responsibility for/fixing know design problems. A beautiful engine but ...... There is a "but".
You keep saying 5w30 protects better but oil viscosity will not fix this problem. You had less than 100k mileage from what I read before it happened. Did you have lose bolt on head as well?
 

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You keep saying 5w30 protects better but oil viscosity will not fix this problem. You had less than 100k mileage from what I read before it happened. Did you have lose bolt on head as well?
I noticed the tick when changing the oil at 150,975 km / 93,812 miles / 2478 engine hours. I also noticed very tiny, shiny metallic specks on the oil filter pleats. I don't know when the wear on the needle bearings first began, could have been early on.

The problem seems to be related to heat which brings film strength into play.

Viscosity is the primary contributor to film thickness. From:
However, if you are still contemplating on what option is the best for your automobile, give preference to 5w30.
Compared to 5w-20, 5w-30 keeps a greater level of film and shear strength.
The earlier 3.6L engines specified 5W-30, the 5W-20 for fuel savings, rather than durability, being specified later on. The Owner's Manual does not rule out 5W-30, it's mentioned there..

There's no doubt in my mind that the design Engineers would prefer 5W-30 be used. Ford, for example use to call for 5W-20 in North America and 5W-30 in Europe, for the same engines. We all know what's going on with that - CAFE. Ford was a company that praised 5W-20 early on. Go figure

I don't know about the bolts, the work was done at the Dealership. I assume they checked, since it seems fairly common.

I didn't run any 5W-20 in the engine after 55,000 miles / 964 engine hours, that I know of. Wear may have started before that, I don't know, it takes several thousands of miles to get real bad. It doesn't happen overnight. The 5W-30 may have helped to slow it down, don't know that either. Many have the problem earlier on.
 

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I noticed the tick when changing the oil at 150,975 km / 93,812 miles / 2478 engine hours. I also noticed very tiny, shiny metallic specks on the oil filter pleats. I don't know when the wear on the needle bearings first began, could have been early on.

The problem seems to be related to heat which brings film strength into play.

Viscosity is the primary contributor to film thickness. From:


The earlier 3.6L engines specified 5W-30, the 5W-20 for fuel savings, rather than durability, being specified later on. The Owner's Manual does not rule out 5W-30, it's mentioned there..

There's no doubt in my mind that the design Engineers would prefer 5W-30 be used. Ford, for example use to call for 5W-20 in North America and 5W-30 in Europe, for the same engines. We all know what's going on with that - CAFE. Ford was a company that praised 5W-20 early on. Go figure

I don't know about the bolts, the work was done at the Dealership. I assume they checked, since it seems fairly common.

I didn't run any 5W-20 in the engine after 55,000 miles / 964 engine hours, that I know of. Wear may have started before that, I don't know, it takes several thousands of miles to get real bad. It doesn't happen overnight. The 5W-30 may have helped to slow it down, don't know that either. Many have the problem earlier on.
Most of failures are from early years and those speced 5w30. When engine temp is normal you can't tell the difference between the two as it is miniscule.
At 100 Celsius 20 grade is 9.3 same as 30 grade.
Yes 30 grade goes higher but it is only 2 cst. So no a 30 grade will prevent failure as you already found out. So many opinions not based on fact but based on what was speced 10 years ago. Remember oil specifications have changed alot.
 

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Most of failures are from early years and those speced 5w30. When engine temp is normal you can't tell the difference between the two as it is miniscule.
At 100 Celsius 20 grade is 9.3 same as 30 grade.
Yes 30 grade goes higher but it is only 2 cst. So no a 30 grade will prevent failure as you already found out. So many opinions not based on fact but based on what was speced 10 years ago. Remember oil specifications have changed alot.
If I were a Chemist and a customer came to me and asked: "I'm using 5W-30 oil and want a more robust oil Mr. Chemist". I might say: "I can make you a 5W-32.5 but certainly wouldn't say 5W-20." :)
If it weren't for the "squeezing a smidgen more fuel mileage" by reducing weight and effort", we would not likely be dealing with lesser viscosity oils and their anti-wear additive challenges or plastic parts that go "poof".

I don't know that the earlier Pentastars had the rocker arm needle bearing issues that we have experienced say from 2014 onward per the Class Action Lawsuits. They certainly had defective cylinder heads, particularly the left (front) head. There were design or manufacturing reasons for that.
 
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Wow. I used to run 10-40 in the winter, 20-50 in the summer in all my cars. How things have changed. The STP (remember that?) oil treatment was even thicker, you had to scrape it out of the can. I wouldnt consider anything 0-20 though, I just changed my van oil, running 5-30 in that.
 

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Wow. I used to run 10-40 in the winter, 20-50 in the summer in all my cars. How things have changed. The STP (remember that?) oil treatment was even thicker, you had to scrape it out of the can. I wouldnt consider anything 0-20 though, I just changed my van oil, running 5-30 in that.
Wise choice IMO, I'm running 5W-35, 50/50 Conventional/Synthetic, Jeepman's blend. Two 6,000ish mile oil changes per one 20,000 mile rated, well built, high efficiency, well documented FRAM XG11665 filter :)

5W-40 in my Jeep with FRAM PH8A, 10,000 mile rated filter, includes silicone anti-drainback valve.
 

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I still change my oil at 3000-3500 miles, and a filter every other oil change. I have always believed that fanatic oil changes and filters is the most important thing you can do for engine longevity. Not much you can do for electronics, and little for transmissions these days. Just turned over 100k on the CV and if it wasnt for the electronic gizmos and the transmission I would love the car.
 

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Very few engines fail from proven lack of lubrication due to spent oil. Our country (USA) is awful in terms of OVER utilization of motor oil with 3k hard branded into everyone's psyche.- it has become dogma.

Timing belts, transmission failures, head gasket, cracked blocks, and headliners falling down are not saved by 3000 mile oil changes.

I change my oil once a year or less in my street cars (about 15K miles). I have sent oil samples for analysis, and even at 15K, there is plenty of oil capacity left to run even longer.
 

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When the lease was almost up on my '15 T & C, I road tested a Pacifica at a "ride and drive" event. Took one look at the massive EGR cooler and revamped cooling system under the hood and that cemented the aversion to the model that was already building in my mind. I didn't even know they had also weakened the castings and crank and further complicated the valvetrain. The 3.6 has enough built-in question marks without all that nonsense!
A more impressive upgrade might read..."Now featuring Chrysler-exclusive Lifetime Rocker Arms, Sta-Tite gallery plugs and Super-Lok valve seats, guaranteed to stay in place! In FWD vehicles, this super-premium powerplant will be mated to an enhanced 62TE transaxle, now featuring...gaskets!"
 

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@edsel 352, the Gen 2 pentastar engine has been out for 6 years and I have seen nothing regarding systemic failures due to EGR, or block and crank "weakness". Do you have any actual evidence that is not based on a small-sample anecdote? There are hundreds of thousands (maybe millions by now) of the Gen 2 engines out there in vehicles that are driven in all sorts of manners; my friend just bought a new Durango to tow his boat and chose the V6...
 

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There was a glitch with some 2016 Jeep GCs and Dodge Durangos, requiring an inspection.

Part 1/2: Recall S85 inspection and 3.6 with EGR valve upper intake removal
 
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@edsel 352, the Gen 2 pentastar engine has been out for 6 years and I have seen nothing regarding systemic failures due to EGR, or block and crank "weakness". Do you have any actual evidence that is not based on a small-sample anecdote? There are hundreds of thousands (maybe millions by now) of the Gen 2 engines out there in vehicles that are driven in all sorts of manners; my friend just bought a new Durango to tow his boat and chose the V6...
I think you missed my point: The changes do not inspire confidence. My Gen1 engine CAN'T suffer an EGR failure, but a Gen2 could. An existing engine design that does not suffer chronic structural failures of block or crank won't be made more durable by removing metal. But it could easily result in new problems. Whether or not the Gen 2's actually do have these problems isn't the point.
 

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We are 6 or 7 years into the Gen2 engine and I am not hearing about any global problems. I understand that more systems cause more problems but if this is the only Pentastar you can buy in a new vehicle, it's the only Pentastar you can buy. Do you buy cars without A/C and power accessories to avoid failures?

If engineers make a block lighter I would guess they would apply their engineering skills and experience to avoid failures. Have you heard of multiple block or crank failures in Gen2 engines? Your "point" seems to be your insecurity about a problem that could, but does not, happen. The GM high content 3.6's weigh more than Pentastars but have more problems. Is that better for your?
 
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