Newbie, lessons learned on a road trip with the 3.8 with 6-speed manual and soft top


BLACKJKU

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I don’t have the 3.6, but I can tell you from reviews from multiple sites... believe me - I looked before dropping the cash on one, 99% love it. A lot of them also used the PC on their Chargers, Durangos, Rams, GCs and other ones that have the 3.6.

I’ve only seen a couple that complain about going into Limp Mode. I believe they tried to use cruise control in ECO mode, which states in the instructions NOT to do. I also read of some people’s accelerator not working, but they could’ve reset it themselves. I wonder if it’s because they did not let the car stay off for 5 minutes to allow the electrical system to fully shut down and/or leave the key fob at least 35 away during install.
Overall, I’ve seen way more positive reviews (mostly 4 or 5 stars). If/when I get a newer one - I’d install it in any model Wrangler. - just because now I know what it can do. I’ll update if something goes wrong.

@BLACKJKU - have you had any issues? How long have you had yours?


No issues with my PC, the main issues i've heard is when someone has made a setting change while driving. NOOO don't do that and as long as you follow the directions it should work like intended. I've had mine a little over a year now.
 
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72c10

72c10

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UPDATE: 5 months later. Just took the same trip with the PEDAL COMMANDER. It's like night and day difference for the same trip with multiple steep grades going up 500 - 1000 feet in elevation at a time (estimated) for a mile or more. I was able to maintain 70-75 up these hills in the right gear. Love it. The Utah speed limit on I-15 is 80mph and I maintained that at the least (some times were 85 in 6th gear) on flats.

Soft top hack: noise level (and collaterally, insulation) reduced a bit (40-50%) when I bought a 3 to 4" by 3' foam pad that you get for a camping bed from Home Depot and put it between the roll bar and the soft top, before closing. Hindsight, I could've gone with a 6" by 4' if that's even available. I know - ghetto, but it works. I don't even see the pad, because I left the bikini sun shade on and the pad is between that and the top.
 

JerryD

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UPDATE: 5 months later. Just took the same trip with the PEDAL COMMANDER. It's like night and day difference for the same trip with multiple steep grades going up 500 - 1000 feet in elevation at a time (estimated) for a mile or more. I was able to maintain 70-75 up these hills in the right gear. Love it. The Utah speed limit on I-15 is 80mph and I maintained that at the least (some times were 85 in 6th gear) on flats.

Soft top hack: noise level (and collaterally, insulation) reduced a bit (40-50%) when I bought a 3 to 4" by 3' foam pad that you get for a camping bed from Home Depot and put it between the roll bar and the soft top, before closing. Hindsight, I could've gone with a 6" by 4' if that's even available. I know - ghetto, but it works. I don't even see the pad, because I left the bikini sun shade on and the pad is between that and the top.
I used to use pipe insulation on my old CJ's soft top bows (against the windows) to reduce the smacking... never thought about the pad solution. I should try the pipe insulation trick on my JK. Forgot all about it until you mentioned the pad.
 
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MacGuyver

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lol, the newer soft tops are much quieter. A thing I was recently reminded of when I took the TJ out for the first time this year the other day.

Flap flap flap goes the TJ.
The JKs premium top is a dream. Though the wind noise is more than hardtop.

My quick fix for the flap is to turn up the fan. The positive pressure created quiets it down quite a bit, however then you can't open the windows.

I've also done the foam trick. I think I used insulation foam, I also created another cross bow out of pvc. At the end of the day I just really need to replace the top, I'm pretty sure it is the original.
 
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72c10

72c10

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Just completed a 300 mile (each way trip) with my '07 JKU X with the 3.8l, 6 speed and soft top. Here are the lessons learned if you were like me and studied the Wranglers before you bought or just bought yours.

Bought my JKU with 118,500 mi used as a 3rd vehicle to putt around on weekends. We went to St. George, Utah a few weeks ago and thought "damn, the jeep would've been fun to bring down", due to the availability of fun trails, sand, etc. that you can just take the jeep to in a matter of 5-10 minutes around there (Sand Hollow, desert, Top of the World and other damn good trails). So, we did... As listed above, my specs listed were my concern - the 3.8 matched with a manual transmission with 32" tires (255/75r17) BFG KMs with the 3.21 rear end/gears and a damn SOFT TOP. Before we get to the end, I'll tell you right now that the loud ass noise at 70-80mph was worth taking it down, as well as the struggles to find the right gears when climbing 2000 plus feet of elevation a few times in the trip and only being able to go 70 to 80 mph.

1. Soft top is loud as hell, but I could still hear the stock stereo (bluetooth adapter) and could barely hear my 2.5yo twins whining :)

2. When going up hills and trying to maintain at least 70 - 75mph, I had to gear down to 4th gear sometimes... keeping the RPMs at about 2,900 to 3,000. Question: that's not bad is it? I figured I was wayyyyy away from the redline. 5th gear was sufficient if you gassed it when in 6th gear, before going up the hill.

3. 3.21 gears SUCK, but I could always regear or just get 265/70r17 tires next time and it may help, without spending $1200 - 1500 to regear. Or I can just regear... or buy a jeep with at least 3.73 gears. At the end of the day, still love this jeep.

4. I didn't burn oil... freaking love it.

5. Remember to air down when hitting the trail... I forgot, but quickly got out of deep sand when I aired down to about 20psi on the BFG KMs.

6. Cruise control: try to get cruise control. Mine X doesn't have it, so if you don't... have a good foot massage therapist at the end of your trip :)

Questions:

1. Would a hard top help with the wind noise? My friend has an '18 American Fastbacks Jeep JKU and he said that his was loud on the same trip. Would a factory one be quieter?

2. It won't harm the engine if I'm rocking 3,000 rpm for a mile or two on an incline, will it? I didn't burn oil, my temp stayed below half, I felt good torque.


This is an FYI and my learning process (the questions). At the end of the trip - I like my jeep even more. It's fortunate I have a badass wife that doesn't mind the noise or utilitarian road trip (we take our comfy car usually).

View attachment 117126

COMPARATIVE UPDATE 1.5 YRS LATER:

1. SOFT TOP: I actually bought a new (used) one. Found one on a local classifieds and just wanted the stock TINTED windows. The guy only wanted $50 for the top (YES-$50). My plan was to offer him $50 for the windows and he could keep the rest. I arrived and saw the top - it was pristine, and allegedly used twice on his 09. I loaded the whole thing up and paid him. I put it on 8 mos later - it was QUIET on long trips. I felt stupid for not putting it on sooner. My old one must've not sealed right.

2. I installed some 285/75r17 Falken Wildpeaks AT3s (32.5" x 11) and the Pedal Commander still helped TREMENDOUSLY on trips to Moab and St. George going up hills with the shit 3.21 gears. BTW- Those Falken AT3s have been awesome off road (Moab obstacles/trails).

3. 3.21 gears.... Yup, they suck, so - I just picked up my Jeep yesterday from the shop from having 4.56s installed. Holy hell, big difference in the city. With 285 size tires, I think I would've been happy with 4.10s installed with my 6sp manual (RPM-wise for the long trips)- but, I will put my trust in the shop and every other Jeeper. It was $1800 well spent.

4. I still don't burn oil at 127,000 miles now. I'm feeling fortunate.



For newbie jeepers that read this in the future, I hope a thing or two on this thread will help you from what I've experienced and what everyone else has advised.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

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