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3.3 V6 - any problems?

3887 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Kevin1990
Hey guys,

After 4 years of studiing the 6G72, a 3.3 arrived at my FWD family.

Are there any troubles with those engines?
I heard of a few head gasket failures.....OK, if that happens after 20 years, i don´t see it as a problem or so.

Anything i need to know?

Engine oil....full synthetic 10W 40 OK?
I used a high quality coolant, specially used for aluminium heads.

Thanks again,

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· Virginia Gentleman
8,720 Posts
The 3.3L/3.8L engines are very reliable - they are basically the same block - just different stroke. I had a 3.8L in a 2000 T&C Ltd that we purchased in 2003 w/78K miles and traded in 2008 with 161K miles. Only one real engine issue. The most annoying one was the serpentine belt slipping off. It's recommended replacing the tensioner whenever the serpentine belt is replaced. What vehicle? The Gen III minivans (1996-2000) are probably the hardest to service (plugs/wires), but they also use double platinum plugs that have a designed service life of 100K miles. Didn't replace mine until it had 148K.

Some 3.8's have had a problem with the flexplate developing cracks. The part is relatively inexpensive (~$70) but the labor will kill you. Mine developed cracks and it ended up being a $550 repair.

As to lubricants, I always used 5w-30 oil (recommended) year round. Check the owner's manual. From about mid-90's on Chrysler began using HOAT coolant that has a recommended service life of 100K miles.

Don't want to get into the synthetic/non-synthetic argument, but I've always used regular oil - no major engine failures. I had 3 EEK's that cumulatively recorded over 800K miles - no engine problems - and I only used regular oil. The key is servicing them on a consistent basis whether you use synthetic or non-synthetic.

Today's oils are far better than they use to be. Chrysler has upped the maximum mileage between oil changes. My 2010 Journey SXT (3.5L V6) can go up to 6,000 miles between oil changes. Some of the 2011-2012 models can go up to 8,000 miles.

· Registered
6,099 Posts
I have the 3.3 in my 99 Grand Caravan. I just rolled 195,000 miles and have had zero problems with the engine. All I've done is change the plugs and wires, antifreeze, belt and belt tension pulley and the oil on a regular basis. I run Castrol High Mileage and change mine every 5,000 miles. I also use a Purolator Gold filter.

· Premium Member
1,357 Posts
The rear head gasket went out on my 96 at 60K and the rear valve cover gasket just started leaking at 117K on my 02. No problems with the 3.8 in my 09 JK. Very reliable engines.

1,912 Posts
We have several of these and I've become convinced that they're descended from the /6. They run nearly forever with little to no trouble. Our 92 has 248,000 miles now with no trouble. Change plugs and wires at 50K, water pump, hoses, thermostat at 100K, oil and filter, transmission fluid once a year. We've had a couple of 3.0s in the distant past and the 3.3 does everything better with far less trouble.

· What sanity?
495 Posts
I've had one 3.3/3.8 out of six in the family come down with a broken rocker pedestal, but that's literally the worst problem I've ever had with them. Never had a head gasket go, never saw a cracked flexplate. Two of them were over 420k kms when they left us and running like new.

The one with the broken rocker pedestal is my '91 Fifth parts car. Failed at 250k kms. It's the reason I got that car so cheap despite its rebuilt tranny. If the car's body were in better shape, I'd likely just fix that problem and put it back on the road. But, it's got too much body damage to be worth the effort.

I just love these engines. They sometimes develop noisy lifters, and noisy timing chains, but they just seem to hold up anyway whether you deal with those issues or not. The Imperial's got a noisy lifter right now... last time it had one I ran a liter of tranny fluid in the crankcase to clean it out. Now, it's got another one acting up, so I'll need to clean it again. Don't want my luxury car ticking away like that whether it's harmless or not ;)

I just use regular 5W30 dino oil in these, but Dad's 2008 Caravan wants 5W20 instead.

· Registered
525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow, great to hear, thank you guys!!

I knew that they´re good, but not that good, nice!

I´m impressed about some mileages....for us over here, 200 000 KM is called i high mileage. I mean, lot of mountains, hilly areas, everything´s smaller, much more turns, up and downshifts etc.

The modern European consumer is, sorry that i´´ve to say it that way, too stupid for a regular trans service. Those minivans (3.0 / 3.3; 3.8) are known as export or 100 € vehicles, cause people are not able to service them regular. But most of the vans, bout 80 % are 2.5 VM Diesel / manuals.

So what you guys say and how i treat my vehicles, the 3.3 should last forever in my case :)
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