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3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? #5455688 06/16/20 11:16 PM
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ram_man Offline OP
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We are looking at 2 used minivans one is a 2010 107,000 miles with the 3.8 looks clean the other is a 13 town and country with the 3.6 almost exact miles the t/c is $2400 more than the grand caravan sxt.
I’ve seen plenty of 3.8 over the years some with very high miles and others with major issues and severely neglected. I’ve seen a couple head gaskets on the 3.8 but once again they were older and neglected. The 3.6l I haven’t seen a bunch from but I’ve heard of rocker arm and camshaft issuers. Which engine would you prefer? Any personal experience with either? Which would you go with? Thanks everyone!


2014 dodge dart GT
1995 Dodge ram 1500


Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5455703 06/16/20 11:41 PM
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joegreen Offline
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I think the early 3.6 might have had a few issues. The 3.6 is a sweet motor though. It revs nice and is smooth. I have no experience with the 3.8. I would probably go with the 3.6 for ease of getting parts. The 3.6 is in so many fca vehicles pickings are ripe.

Last edited by joegreen; 06/16/20 11:43 PM.

1978 Chevrolet k20
Engine: Delo 10w30xle
Transmission: Castrol transmax dex/merc

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 turbo diesel
Engine: Delo 400 15w40le
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5455730 06/17/20 12:29 AM
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FordBroncoVWJeta Offline
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I'd get the 3.8. All of them ive seen at walmart took some real abuse and they still keep trucking along. The earlier 3.6 id stay away from. The newer ones are awesome though.


2017 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T - 2015 Honda CRV 2.4 - 2012 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 - 2007 Chevy Trailblazer 4.2 - 2003 Ford Taurus 3.0 Vulcan
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5455734 06/17/20 12:47 AM
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I don’t have any experience with the 3.6 but there are two Chrysler vans within my extended family with the 3.3 and 3.8 and both are at or near 200,000 miles with very poor maintenance done to them and they are still surviving.


2019 Subaru Impreza 2.0i Sport 5,800 miles
2020 Ford F-150 STX 4x4 550 miles
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: fisher83] #5455750 06/17/20 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by fisher83
I don’t have any experience with the 3.6 but there are two Chrysler vans within my extended family with the 3.3 and 3.8 and both are at or near 200,000 miles with very poor maintenance done to them and they are still surviving.


Yep. My parents 2004 with the 3.3 is somehow still living at almost 190k. And yes, original transmission that’s only seen one flush (jiffy lube) in its life.

I really like the 3.6, very smooth. 2011-2013’s did have the extended warranty added to one of the cylinder heads, and the oil filter housing changed around that year or 2014.


2019 Ram 1500 Classic
2018 Dodge Grand Caravan GT

Slight Mopar obsession
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5455773 06/17/20 05:23 AM
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demarpaint Offline
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I'd go with the 3.6L. When you consider 10,000,000 of the first generation 3.6L engines were made, IMO issues with them seem to get blown out of proportion. If possible I'd look at 2014 or newer.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5455787 06/17/20 05:44 AM
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supton Offline
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I would probably go with the van that less options and in better shape.

The 3.6 will run better all around, but the money savings on the 3.8 would pay for the increased gas bill (and any oil consumption it may have). Pretty sure both these are 6 speed autos? Early 3.6's could have a bad cylinder head--but most of them should have been replaced by now. I'd rather have the 3.6 for increased HP and mpg but the 3.8 has more than proven its ability to pile on miles and get the job done.

Oh the 3.6's do commonly break oil cooler housings--I don't know what the cost is to replace but it's a common issue.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 206k
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 160k
2003 CRV, 2.4L/4AT, 161k
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: supton] #5455815 06/17/20 06:37 AM
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I have a 3.6 flex fuel on my 2003 Town and Country. 150k and not a hiccup.......


"Facts are pesky things"

2003 Town & Country--143 k
2016 Fusion 8 k
2016 Fusion 40 k
2017 Santa Fe 8k
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5455824 06/17/20 06:54 AM
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I've had both in T&C minivans. A 3.8 in a 2007, and a 3.6 in a 2011. Dad's girlfriend has a 2011 T&C 3.6 with 180,000 miles.

Both performed just fine. The 3.8 started burning oil at the 80,000 mile mark, despite documented timely oil changes throughout its life. Disappointing.

Sure, the 3.6 performs better, but the problem with the 3.6 model isn't really the engine itself. TIPM failures on both (one remote started itself inside a closed garage attached to a house). Rear AC failure on one. Both of these are $1500+ to fix. One TIPM failure also led to rental car costs. Rust around the wheel openings on the body. Typical Chrysler issues.

There's a known head failure issue on the 3.6, I haven't seen it on either one.

You don't want a 08-10 model with the 4.0... unless you want to deal with a timing belt. Had a friend trade one with a 4.0 in, as it had a bad TIPM. It was his wife's van, and it would randomly stall and not restart.



2004 Silverado - on its 3rd Jasper engine in less than one year.
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5455826 06/17/20 06:55 AM
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I'd go with either one. Only issue with the 3.3/3.8 was intake manifold gaskets after they get some age on them (and possible corrosion of the aluminum intake). The 3.6 is just like everyone said, some occasional issues on early ones. Likely pretty rare.


84 Olds Cutlass - 350 Olds
83 Chevy Caprice - 305 Sbc
05 Silverado 1500 4wd - 4.8/4L60E
79 Honda CX500
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5456007 06/17/20 11:47 AM
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We had a 2010 3.8 Town & Country, 2 stroke motor, unless you keep check oil, used +1 quart every 3,000 miles. Run

Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: anpconnors] #5456014 06/17/20 11:55 AM
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supton Offline
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Originally Posted by anpconnors
We had a 2010 3.8 Town & Country, 2 stroke motor, unless you keep check oil, used +1 quart every 3,000 miles. Run

How old was it? It's not really that high--I'd be miffed in a new mill, but TBH I think most OEM's will tell you that up to a quart per 1,500 miles is "normal". That I think is kinda severe--but after 100k is on the clock I'm not sure that a qt/1k is that bad. Annoying for sure.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 206k
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 160k
2003 CRV, 2.4L/4AT, 161k
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5456024 06/17/20 12:11 PM
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The 3.6 will have much more power than the 3.8. Don't the Chrysler minivans have transmission problems?

If you can find one, get a 4-cylinder Sienna. About the same power as the 3.8 Caravan, but much easier to work on and no transmission problems!

But if you like the Chrysler vans, the 2013 3.6 will be better since it has much more power and is newer, so less rust or chance of rust.

Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: ram_man] #5456169 06/17/20 03:08 PM
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JTK Offline
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Which ever is cleaner and for the $ you want to spend.

The 2013 will have larger and better rear brakes. I believe even the 2010 should have the 62TE 6spd transmission. I wouldn't go for the 2010 if it does not.

Like said, there isn't anything wrong with the old pushrod 3.8L V6 other than it being underpowered in this application and not as fuel efficient as the pentastar.


2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV
2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L.
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6 S
Re: 3.8 grand caravan or 3.6? [Re: supton] #5456394 06/17/20 07:52 PM
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Van started oil consumption @ 38,000 miles stayed same till loss @ 145,000 miles . I thought the vintage design would have been more robust too. Changed PCV valve every 25,000 miles no effect on consumption. Yes if you have the discipline to monitor/check it will run fine. Front brakes would not go more than 30,000 miles, know issue. Random no start, had to get Vertical Visions kit for TIPM/TPIM. Lots of rattles too after 75,000 miles.

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