How to Upgrade Performance on 3.6 Jeep JK? (Cost, Explained)

When you are seeing that your neighbor’s car has more power, it is hard to resist upgrading your own. Or, your Jeep JK’s engine may have gotten older.

In either case, knowing how to upgrade performance on 3.6 Jeep JK can bring the old off-roading memories back.

After some research, I have come with 8 performance upgrade ideas that you can apply right now. Without further commotion, let’s get started.

Can You Upgrade Performance on 3.6 Jeep JK?

Yes, you can upgrade the performance of a 3.6 Jeep Wrangler JK engine.

Once you have made up your mind about spending a couple of thousand dollars, you can proceed with the help of a car mechanic.

No matter how much experience you have with engine repairing, it is always better to let a professional handle the complete upgrade process.

Or, you can choose to do a partial upgrade, check out the steps, assess the complexity, and do it by yourself.

But let me tell you about when to do the upgrade quickly before the main part.

When Should You Upgrade Performance on 3.6 Jeep JK?

I know that lots of owners don’t have money lying around idly. So, let me explain the signs and symptoms of a declining Jeep JK 3.6L engine.

It will help you pinpoint the right time to upgrade little parts and get back the old performance.

Poor gas mileage, power loss, and engine stalling are the most common symptoms of a declining diesel engine.

I know that you are looking for something specific for a 3.6L JK engine, but that happens to all; Jeep JK isn’t an exception.

If the engine starts overheating, or there is not enough lubrication, you will start hearing metal sounds.

Smelling odd smells is a significant sign indicating something seriously wrong with the engine.

For some problems, you may see a dash warning light turning on. No matter what, suspecting anything should be dealt with almost immediately.

How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade Performance on 3.6 Jeep JK?

Some of the installation tasks can be done by people without much experience, and some can’t.

For estimating labor cost, you have to calculate yourself according to the given tasks to a mechanic.

Considering the cost of parts, you may need to spend almost 9000 bucks. A major portion of the cost is in supercharger installation.

The Edelbrock Stage 1 Supercharger alone costs almost $6500. You can skip it if the budget is tight.

My Top Recommendation on 3.6 Jeep JK Performance Upgrade:

For 8 performance upgrade suggestions, I have listed and talked shortly about 8 different parts here.

1. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

The reason Jeep JK owners like this air intake upgrade are because of its efficiency and effectiveness. According to Dyno-test, K&N air intake is capable of providing 50% more airflow compared to the stock part. Also, you won’t require cleaning it within 100,000 miles.

2. ELONN Wrangler 3.6L Throttle Body Spacer

For Jeep JK 3.6L engines built between 2012 and 2021, you can get this throttle body spacer from ELONN. The benefit of the spacer is that you can increase horsepower, torque, and throttle response with the help of a tuner. Heavy-Duty 6061-T6 Billet Aluminum is the material used to make it. So, don’t worry about its durability.

3. MagnaFlow Axle-Back Performance Exhaust System

MagnaFlow has designed this premium exhaust system to unleash the power of the Jeep Wrangler 3.6L engine which is held back by the factory default part. It fits the 2007-2018 models perfectly. And, it is legal in all 50 states. Because of using black coated stainless-steel material, the exhaust lasts longer than competitors.

4. SUPERCHIPS TRAILDASH 2 IN-CAB TUNER

For 2015-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK, one of the best tuners is TRAILDASH 2. It has a nice large display, user-friendly design, and the necessary tuning options. One main benefit is that you can see multiple gauge screen layouts.  

5. Magnaflow 15313

Here, I have got a stainless-steel exhaust header that fits 2012-2016 JK 3.6L engines. For better performance, you have to get rid of the restrictive stock option. It is built for any rough riding and increases efficiency.

6. Edelbrock Stage 1 Supercharger

One of the best superchargers for the 2012-2014 3.6L Jeep Wrangler is Edelbrock Stage 1 1527. Its design comes with minimal components for easy and quick installation. Several parts of the kit ensure maximum flow, minimum temperature rise, and quiet operation.

7. NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs

For 2012-2014 3.6L engines, this is a pack of 6 compatible spark plugs. I like it because of its long-lasting build quality. With corrosion-resistant center and ground electrodes, you can drive the car smoothly. Ignition efficiency is important for upgrading performance.

8. Chrysler Jeep 3.6L Engine Camshaft

The listed product is a Camshaft Intake Mopar suitable for Jeep 3.6L engines. For Exhaust Camshaft Mopar, check out this one. You need to install both of them in order to get the best results.

How to Upgrade Performance on 3.6 Jeep JK?

As it is not possible to explain all performance upgrade methods in this single article, I have shared videos for the.

Also, you will know which one is easier to be handled by owners and which upgrades are better left alone for professionals.

1. Upgrade the Air Intake System

A very effective way to increase the horsepower is by feeding the 3.6 Jeep JK engine crisp, fresh air.

I have already suggested a good-quality and popular product above, and you can watch this video to perform the installation.

It perfectly fits the 2012-2018 Jeep JK 3.6L models. Because of the kit’s OEM fit, you won’t have to make any adjustments.

From the steps shown in the video, you can tell that it doesn’t require a professional to finish the task.

2. Install A Throttle Body Spacer

Here is a video showing how easy it is to install a throttle body spacer on your Jeep Wrangler.

Like air intake installation, one can do it without hiring a mechanic. The package contains all the necessary parts and components for the upgrade.

Completely remove the throttle body, place the spacer, and put it back. Tighten the bolts, and reinstall the intake tube along with the sensor.

The task of the spacer is to increase atomization and help the engine with better combustion; hence, the performance upgrade.

3.   Upgrade the Exhaust

ExtremeTerrain shows us how to install one of the most popular and premium exhausts for a Jeep JK 3.6L engine.

They explain things in their YouTube video in the simplest way so that any owner with almost no prior experience can do the swap.

It takes only one bolt to remove the old system and install the new one. Get underneath your Jeep. And, you will be all set within an hour or so.

4.   Upgrade Using A Tuner

With the help of a suction cup holder, you can mount the tuner in place. For handheld models, there is no need for mounting.

After that, connect it to the Jeep’s computer control system. It can make your life easier as there are several preset tunes.

One can also customize the parameters according to the performance requirements and hardware modifications.  

Here is a video explaining what to do with the tuner.

5.    Upgrade Exhaust Manifold

To maximize exhaust flow, owners should replace their Jeep JK’s exhaust manifold with a better aftermarket model.

Installing this kit may require some tools that are not common. Watch this video to see how to install it properly.

It would be better if you hire someone for this particular upgrade.

6.   Upgrade Installing Supercharger Mod

One of the most desired and obvious performance increases is achievable by installing supercharger modifications.

The product I have suggested above has a bypass valve for preventing parasitic loss and improving mileage.

I am not going to describe how to install it because the best way for performance tuning with superchargers is by letting a professional do it.

You can watch the review of other mod kits. And, let me know if you find a better one for your Wrangler JK 3.6L.

7.    Upgrade Spark Plug

Replacing the stock spark plugs is not a big deal for JK owners. NGK is worldwide renowned for its spark plugs and oxygen sensors.

Installing their products can help you achieve the maximum horsepower and torque.

8. Upgrade Camshaft

A labor-intensive and complex task is replacing the old camshaft of a 3.6L Jeep JK engine.

Anyone with the right tools and muscle strength can do it. For proper installation, I would rely on a car mechanic.

Still, those who are willing to do it in their garage can take the help of this video.

Conclusion

That is how to upgrade performance on 3.6 Jeep JK within a minimal cost. Some of the parts cost higher than their competitors’ products.

It is because of quality and efficiency. Spending a lot of money and not getting the expected performance improvement ruins the whole point of doing it. That is why I didn’t compromise and chose the best available mods.

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