MI - 1/9/2006 - After the debut of the 2007
Jeep Wrangler this morning, I had the opportunity to speak
with some of the engineers on the project, including Jim
Issner and Dave Yegge. This page is some random notes, questions
and answers and thoughts from the morning.
Oops! Did I call it that? I mean, "Sport Cage," yes, that's
it. Even Jim Issner admitted to calling it a cage on ocassion.
The tubing is definitely thicker than the outgoing TJ's.
In fact, the tubing inside of the padding on the Jeeps we
saw today will not be as fat as the production models. Yes,
the bar that goes forward to the dash is removable when you
fold down the windshield.
Yup, it's curved, alright. And that is the reason there is
only one, big, fat hinge in the center of the windshield,
compared to the TJ.
Doors and Windows -
These are an option. The switches are in the center of
the dash, beneath the radio. You can see the switches in
the press kit photos. There is then a quick-connect that
is used along with the door strap to get power to the doors.
Yes, it's based on the 3.8L found in Chrysler minivans.
One reason it was used is that it is shorter front to back
and that helps Jeep meet new frontal-impact regulations.
If you look at the engine
photos you can see there is a lot of space in front
of the engine. So much so that you can clearly see the
axle below! This combined with crush zones on the front
of the frame make the new Wrangler more crash-worthy up
All three axles (Dana 30, 35 and 44) are wider, of course,
to match the wider body of the Jeep. The Dana 44 is actually
upgraded so much that the engineers really wanted a new
name for them. One Jeep rep. even suggested that it should
be a "Dana 45," but of course, at this time it
is not. The gears are larger, the pinion is larger and
the shafts are now 32 spline instead of 30 spline. Rubicons
still get a similar locker, though it is a bit larger than
the TJ's and is electrically-actuated.
and Tires -
A sharp I will notice that the wheels are no longer 5 on
4.5" bolt pattern. Like the Grand Cherokee and Commander,
they are now 5 on 5". Rubicons get BFG Mud Terrains now
instead of Wrangler MT/R, partially for a quieter ride,
partially for better ride characteristics, and partially
- well, politics and bean counters.
Approach angle for the Rubicon actually shrinks but not even
1 degree. Breakover is the same, but you can see in the photos
that we now have a better-tucked transfer case skid and a
smoother line to skid along. Since the gas tank is now mounted
inside the frame rails under the passenger side, the rear
is in compliance with 301 Regs, which require the vehicle
to sustain a 50mph rear-end collission without experiencing
a fuel leak. By moving the gas tank the Wrangler's departure
angle increases by six degrees. Nice.
Thankfully, the carpet still comes out and there are drain
holes. Underneath the carpet is water-proof material. This,
in addition to blown foam in tub cavities and a dash silencer
contribute to much lower interior noise.
Headlights - Gone are the old-school sealed beam headlights. The new
ones use a light element inside the lens, however, it is
not an H4 bulb.
to read all of the Jeep press materials and check out the