Unlike the CJ, YJ, and even the TJ swapping the motor in the new JK/JL platforms isn’t as simple or cheap as it used to be. Supercharging and turbocharging offer similar performance to a V8 for less money.
Disadvantages of power adders versus a V8.
One of the major concerns when using a power adder versus a V8 swap is longevity. Not only are you adding more wear parts, but you are also adding stress to your factory engine. Many stock engines are capable of handling the power because they are built to last a long time. You end up trading years of use to attain more power. If you are unlucky enough to have an engine with a flaw from the factory adding forced induction will reveal that flaw much earlier than normal use.
The other disadvantage is where power is delivered. In older V8 swaps it was really easy to change the camshaft, intake, and even the crank to modify the engine displacement and to boost power where you wanted it. When modifying the 3.6L V6 you can add power but it will only go where power was before. Meaning you still won’t have the low-end torque we really need off-road.
Advantages of power adders versus a V8.
There are still good reasons to supercharge or turbocharge your Wrangler. More power is still more power. The 3.6L V6 leaves a lot to be desired in the JL/JK platforms. Mediocre low-end punch, a choppy power curve, and a less than pleasing exhaust note are just some of the complaints.
Adding power won’t make it sound better but it can smooth that power delivery and give you more low-end punch. So what are the advantages?
For starters, a turbo or supercharger kit is much easier to install. That saves money if you are paying someone else to do it.
Turbo and supercharger kits cost around 6-8000 dollars versus a V8 swap that runs double or even triple that cost. The cheapest JL swap I know of was 10K. That was with some free parts, free labor, and a really cheap donor motor.
Because you are still using many factory parts you still have a warranty on many items under the hood. That big ole V8 definitely does not.
Do you think a turbo is a viable option for off-road use?
This is something I see mentioned often. Jeep obviously thought so when they developed the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder for the JL platform. The advantage there is Jeep was able to design the engine specs to match the turbo to provide boost where it was needed most.
Adding a turbo, or even a supercharger, to a naturally aspirated motor, certainly has more compromises than a factory developed turbo motor.
What are your thoughts? Turbo, supercharger, or V8?