Last post on Jun 10, 2011 at 5:43 AM
You are in the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan
What is this discussion about?
Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country, Car Comparisons, Van
#15 of 256 3.8 vs 4.0 fuel economy
Mar 29, 2009 (3:41 pm)
I'm looking at buying a 2009 Doge Grand Caravan and unsure as to which engine to get. I have a question for any one who owns a 2008/2009 Grand Caravan about the engine options and real world fuel economy. According to Dodge the 3.8 liter with the 6 speed gets 17/24 and the 4.0 gets 17/25. Can any one tell me what sort of fuel economy they get City/Highway with either engine and the 6 speed transmission and any thoughts on why the fuel economy would be better for the 4.0 liter? I am happy to stick with the 3.8 liter and the 6 speed but if the 4.0 would for some reason truely be more fuel efficient I would be willing to consider it.
Also had a talk with the dealer and was told all their engine options have timing chains designed to last the life of the engine without maintenance or adjustment. He made a big point of telling me that. There was a post here that was talking about the 4.0 liter having a timing belt? Just wondering about that reference or clarification.
#16 of 256 4.0
Mar 31, 2009 (2:01 pm)
I am getting 25.9 at 65, 25 at 70MPH, 23.8 at 80 and 19.7 going to work with the 4.0. I suspect if you ran 42 PSI in the tires, used synthetic oil, and drove 48-56 MPH you will get 28-30 MPG.
The 4.0 and 6 speed are a good combo but this is a brand new engine designed by Mercedes Benz. It runs like it is a balanced engine. My daughter has the same vehicle and loves it. The 3.8 has been around a long time and has a proven track record. But with the lifetime warranty who cares. Government backed too.
#17 of 256 Re: 4.0 [etp]
Mar 31, 2009 (2:29 pm)
I've seen any number of claims that Mercedes-Benz designed the engine and transmission of the Gen 5 minivans, however, I've yet to see a shred of evidence to support those claims. As far as I know, the 4.0 V6 is quite simply an enhanced and upgraded 3.5 V6; in fact, they're both built on the same assembly line and use the same tooling.
As for the new 62TE 6-Speed automatic, it also traces its roots back to earlier Chrysler automatic transmissions (from the 4-Speed units of the 1990s and 2000s in this case). Yes, its supposed to be greatly upgraded, stronger, more reliable, and offer much improved performance and fuel economy, but no, it was NOT designed by Mercedes-Benz (and given the automatic transmission issues they've had starting in the mid to late 1990s, I'm not sure you'd want it to be).
Mar 31, 2009 (4:21 pm)
Hi and thanks to etp and shipo for your responses. I had to ask my dealer's mechanic about the timing chain vs belt question (all engines in question have timing chains) he linked me to this website which has a very informative piece on the 3.3 3.8 and 3.5 4.0 engines. apparently the 3.5 to 4.0 is viewed as a stop gap development to be phased out by 2015 once the Trenton engine plant renovations are completed.
It is somewhat comforting to know there is a history of longevity and proven performance behind the 4.0 derived from the 3.5. Given the information about the improvements in the design and its performance data to date I think I will go for the 4.0. Its only $630. for the upgrade in the SXT. that's about the same as the towing prep package and with that you don't even get the trailer hitch out of them. I'm sure the difference will be well worth it especially once I'm towing something and the MPG info looks very promising so far.
#19 of 256 Re: 4.0 [drdavidbowman]
Mar 31, 2009 (6:53 pm)
"I had to ask my dealer's mechanic about the timing chain vs belt question (all engines in question have timing chains)."
Just to be clear about this; the 4.0 liter engine has a Timing Belt, not a Timing Chain.
An excerpt from a Town & Country Owner's Manual:
Chapter 8 - Maintenance Schedules
Replace the timing belt on 4.0L engines. -- 102,000 miles -- 170,000 KM -- 102 months
I hope this helps.
Apr 01, 2009 (10:36 am)
That is interesting news. I wonder what acounts (other than confusion) for the conflicting information I have gotten from the Doge dealer? I'll have to look in to this, if I learn anything of interest I'll let you know.
#21 of 256 4.0
Apr 01, 2009 (2:04 pm)
My dealer said it was a joint design with a major manufacturer and my daughters dealer said it was a Benz designed engine. The manual says it has a timing belt ( manuals and mechanics can be wrong). Also this is the first year for the 4.0. I was surprised how little the dealers know about the transmission and engine this year. So if the experts on this thread have some real links for us with the real truth, please help us. I can only repeat what I was told and tell you it is a quality product so far. Time will tell for sure. With the government now backing your warranty if GM or Dodge goes out of business, I say go make a deal on a 4.0 SXTL with sport suspension.
PS/ I ordered all the service manuals so that should settle the matter when they get here unless someone has built this engine on this thread. If so please speak up.
PS/2 On fit and finish I consider the paint job and interior perfect and better than my Honda. As far as body parts fit they are not as good as a Toyota or Honda but good enough for me and I am picky. Also with all the sliding doors I bet it is a night mare to align up everything perfect.
#22 of 256 Re: 4.0 [etp]
Apr 01, 2009 (2:22 pm)
Dealerships are notorious for being, ummm, less than accurate (giving them the benefit of the doubt), or outright liars, especially when it serves their purpose. When it comes to things I've heard from dealerships, regardless of whether it came from a sales doink or from a service advisor, I always use the "Trust but verify" approach. Nine times out of ten, if what they say doesn't smell right, it turns out to be either a self-serving / convenient embroidery of the truth or a 100% died-in-the-wool fabrication.
As for reference points, the AllPar web site is always a fount of information regarding all things Chrysler. In this case, please check out the following two links:
#23 of 256 Re: 4.0 [shipo]
Apr 01, 2009 (2:28 pm)
You da man.
PS/ I hope Fiat and Dodge make a deal thats good for all of us.
PS2// I noticed some minor mileage errors in one of my posts. All I can say is that the 17/25 is a conservative number. I am running 40 PSI and will be putting in synthetic oil the next earl change. lol
Apr 01, 2009 (3:56 pm)
I emailed the Dodge customer service people today to make sure its a belt just for my own edification. I am not as enthusiastic about the belt only because the last timing belt I had was on a 2.2L in my dodge shadow, replaced it myself 3 times every 80.000 as scheduled, it was sort of a nuisance, but I did get over 200.000 miles out of that engine with no issues whatsoever. To have to dig through the front end of this V6 looks like it will require pulling it out of the engine compartment. Still, your MPG info is very encouraging and I feel the 4.0L is the best choice for my needs. Its also good to know you're satisfied with yours. JD Powers has given Dodge an unfortunately low reliability rating so real world feed back becomes just that much more important.
Thanks again for your input.