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By Michael Cohn

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2007 Jeep Wrangler Debuts in Detroit!
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Detroit, 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.

Cage - 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.

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.

Electric 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.

Engine Stuff - 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 front.

The Axles - 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.

Wheels 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.

Angles - 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.

Interior - 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.

Be sure to read all of the Jeep press materials and check out the photo gallery!



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