The Top 4 FCA Pentastar 3.6L Engine Issues. The FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) 3.6L Pentastar engine powers several Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler models from 2011 until the present. There’s a reason this 3.6L V6 has been around for as long as it has. Performance is adequate for a NA V6 engine producing 275-305 horsepower. Furthermore, the Pentastar 3.6L engine is efficient and dependable. However, all engines have flaws, and the Pentastar is no exception. This page discusses FCA 3.6L Pentastar reliability as well as some prevalent issues.
What Vehicles Make Use of the 3.6 Pentastar?
The 3.6 V6 Pentastar engine is found in the following Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, and Ram vehicles:
Dodge Pentastar 3.6L
- Dodge Avenger 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014
- Dodge Challenger from 2011 to the present
- Dodge Charger from 2011 to the present
- Dodge Durango from 2011 till the present.
- Dodge Grand Caravan 2011-2020
- 2011-2019 Dodge Journey
Pentastar 3.6 Chrysler
- Chrysler 200 from 2011 to 2017
- From 2011 till the present, the Chysler 300
- From 2016 to the present, Chrysler Pacifica
- Chrysler Town & Country 2011-2016
- Chrysler Voyager (from 2020 to present)
Jeep Pentastar 3.6L Engine
- Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011-present
- 2012-2018 Jeep Wrangler
Pentastar 3.6L V6 Ram
- Ram 1500 from 2012 till the present
- Ram ProMaster from 2013 till the present
- Ram Cargo Van from 2011 to 2015.
Common Pentastar 3.6L Issues
Some of the most prevalent problems with the Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Chrysler 3.6 Pentastar engine are as follows:
- Head of a cylinder (2011-2013)
- Arms for rocking
- The cooling system
- The oil pump
Each of these issues is discussed in detail below. It’s time to make a few quick remarks. Simply because these faults are classified as common does not imply that they will occur in every Pentastar engine. Furthermore, engines are prone to a variety of issues, particularly as they age and accumulate mileage. 3.6 Pentastar engines may have issues that are not covered in this article.
Finally, the Pentastar is employed in a variety of models that each serve a unique purpose. These include Ram 1500 pickups, off-roading Jeeps, and performance versions such as the Challenger, Charger, and C300. Depending on how the vehicle is used, certain failures may be more or less common on different models. Before we get into the usual 3.6 Pentastar engine problems, here’s a list of all the vehicles that use the engine.
1) Failure of the FCA Pentastar Cylinder Head
This is a nice problem to start with because it predominantly affects early 2011-2013 Pentastar engines. Early 3.6L V6s experienced cylinder head problems on the left bank. The underlying cause is overheating of the valve seats on cylinder #2. Fiat-Chrysler resolved the issue in mid-2013 with hardened valve guides and seats. They also did their best to make it right for customers. FCA extended the 3.6L Pentastar warranty to 10 years or 150,000 miles for the left cylinder heads on 2011, 2012, and some 2013 models.
It appears the Jeep Wrangler was the most prone to the 3.6L Pentastar cylinder head problems. However, the issue affected many various models. The good news is most FCA Pentastar engines should still be covered under the extended warranty. That or the problems were already fixed.
Pentastar Cylinder Head Problems Symptoms
Symptoms of cylinder head failure on the 3.6L Pentastar include:
- Check engine light
- Engine ticking
- Power loss
Ticking and check engine lights are often the most noticeable symptoms. However, if the problem is left then the cylinder may eventually drop compression. That leads to symptoms like misfires and loss of power.
Cylinder head replacement for the 3.6L Pentastar isn’t cheap. Again, most early cars should be under the warranty extension. If not under warranty then cylinder head replacement can be thousands of dollars. It’s also important to note cylinder head failure can occur on any year. However, it’s not a common issue on later engines.
2) Pentastar Rocker Arm Issues
This issue is sometimes mistaken with the one mentioned above. It’s understandable given that the rocker arms are placed in the cylinder head. However, not all Pentastar rocker arm issues are the same. Cam followers are another name for rocker arms. For this issue, FCA released a service bulletin, which we’ve imaged here. The complete service bulletin can be seen here. As of the 2014 bulletin, there is a superseding section. Some later Pentastar 3.6L engines, however, exhibit the same issues. As a result, it appears that the upgraded section isn’t a great solution.
Problems with the FCA 3.6L Pentastar Engine
Despite the existence of the service bulletin, we are not aware of any longer warranty time for the rocker arm problems. As a result, if your factory warranty expires, you’ll have to pay out of pocket. However, because it is a known issue, you may be able to negotiate a reduction with FCA. Failures of rocker arms are unlikely to be as widespread as the internet suggests. At the same time, it’s a critical concern because rocker arms are one of the more costly 3.6 Pentastar issues.
Symptoms of FCA 3.6 Rocker Arm Failure
Typical Pentastar rocker arm symptoms include:
- The engine is ticking.
- DTC stands for diagnostic problem code.
A ticking sound from the upper engine area is one of the most prevalent signs of rocker arm failure. Fault codes, often known as DTCs, may be shown. Typically, the codes indicate a cylinder misfire.
Pentastar Rocker Arm Replacement 3.6
Surprisingly, several people appear to have reported dealerships replacing the complete cylinder head for this problem. The cylinder head does not need to be removed for this job. Cam follower replacement, on the other hand, is not cheap. Because the valve covers must be removed, it is a somewhat time-consuming process. This repair should be left to experienced mechanics or do-it-yourselfers. Fortunately, the parts are reasonably priced. The majority of the Pentastar rocker arm repair costs are labor. The job will cost between $500 and $1,000. While you’re in there, you might as well replace all of the rocker arms.
3) Problems with the FCA Pentastar 3.6L Cooling System
The Pentastar water pump and radiator are the primary topic of this article. Rather than writing comparable information on both situations, we’ve combined them. Other components, such as the heater core and oil cooler, may also fail. FCA produces the V6 Pentastar utilizing sand-casting techniques. Of course, there are some sand deposits that must be removed before the cylinder head can be mounted. However, it appears that sand deposits can sometimes be found in the engine after it has been manufactured.
Sand accumulates in the cooling system over time, causing sludge and deposits throughout the system. This eventually leads to Pentastar issues such as water pump, radiator, heater core, and oil cooler failure. As with other things, the problems are probably not as widespread as the internet claims. However, it’s not uncommon to run across forum users who have gone through the same fixes several times.
Cooling system issues can occur independently of the various factors listed above. Many of the Pentastar 3.6L cooling system components are worn out. Natural wear faults are not uncommon north of 100,000 miles.
Symptoms of Fiat-Chrysler 3.6L Cooling System Failure
Keep an eye out for the following Pentastar cooling system problems:
- Engine overheating
- Heat or air conditioning issues
- Coolant leak that can be seen
- Fault codes or an illuminated check engine light
Overheating is usually an indication that something is wrong with the cooling system. A faulty Pentastar 3.6L water pump or radiator will prevent coolant from flowing properly throughout the engine. You may also notice that your heating or cooling systems aren’t keeping up with the desired temperature. There may be failures that may not result in coolant loss, however the vast majority will result in a visible leak or rapid coolant loss. Finally, depending on the precise cooling problem, you may receive fault codes and a check engine light.
Correction for the Pentastar 3.6 Cooling System
We’ll keep this brief because this section is general and not focused on a single topic. Most cooling system issues aren’t too expensive or difficult to fix on your own. Depending on the nature of the problem, you could end up spending $200-800 at a repair shop. However, because of the sand difficulties mentioned above, you may need to repair many pieces. Costs may begin to mount at this point.
4) Failure of the 3.6L FCA Pentastar Oil Pump
This part will be brief. This is most likely the least prevalent Pentastar problem described in this essay. It may not even be worth mentioning. Nonetheless, oil pump failures are a severe problem since they might result in a loss of oil flow. The ECU should detect a decrease of oil flow quickly and do all possible to prevent additional harm. The 3.6L oil pump problems appear to be partial failures rather than full failures. That’s good news because the computer should limit the revs and power soon. No additional damage should occur as long as the oil is flowing through the engine and the engine is not overworked.
Many oil pump failures may be caused by the same issue that causes cooling system elements to fail. Both oil and coolant pass through the cylinder head of the Pentastar. If any sand deposits remain, they may be picked up and become trapped in the oil pump over time.
Is the 3.6L Pentastar Engine Reliable?
Yes, in a nutshell. The 3.6L Pentastar engine from FCA is dependable. We rate the Pentastar as above average in terms of dependability. There’s a reason why this engine powers so many marquee vehicles from Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, and Ram, and why it’s been around for a decade. The FCA 3.6L engine is dependable and efficient, delivering decent performance.
Having said that, it’s not difficult to keep investigating the 3.6L Pentastar engine and finding lots of owners who are having issues. Over 10 million Pentastar engines have been built to date. That is a large number of engines. All engines have flaws, especially with that amount of manufacture. Mistakes occur. There is no such thing as a flawless machine or person. Sometimes dependability is simply a matter of chance.
Fortunately, it appears that the vast majority of Pentastar V6 owners are pleased with the engine. Maintenance is one of the things we can control. Maintain your FCA 3.6L properly, and it will most likely be a fantastic engine that you can enjoy trouble-free for many years. There have even been reports of the Pentastar lasting 500,000 miles or more. How’s that for a long life?
3.6 Summary of Pentastar Common Issues
It’s always frightening to read about typical difficulties. At least, it is for us; we instantly begin to imagine and assume the worst. That’s the last thing we want to hear when writing about common engine problems, and it’s especially true with the 3.6L Pentastar. Overall, it’s a great sound engine. Performance that is dependable, efficient, smooth, and solid. There isn’t much to criticize, but no engine is flawless.
Some early versions of the 3.6L Pentastar had cylinder head issues owing to overheated valve seats on the #2 cylinder. Other well-documented concerns include rocker arms, cooling system components, and oil pumps. However, we feel they are widely documented due to the 10 million or more Pentastar engines produced. The 3.6L FCA Pentastar engine is a fantastic, dependable powerplant. No engine is perfect, but there’s a reason why there are so many Pentastars out there. We feel the reason is that it is really good at what it does.