Mopar is unveiling Jeep Performance Parts axles as the latest off-road accessory to the Jeep Wrangler, which itself won the “4×4/SUV of the Year” honors at SEMA for the ninth consecutive year. The show opens Tuesday and continues through Friday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Mopar teamed with longtime partner and auto supplier Dana to develop the axles, which are co-branded under the name JPP Ultimate Dana 44 AdvanTEK. They’re installed on a Nacho Wrangler concept at Mopar’s 15,345-square-foot display.
The high-strength axles are built in the U.S. and feature gear technology that reduces gear set packaging, with added strength and overall rigidity for the trail. The high-clearance carrier design adds an extra half-inch of ground clearance, with an expanded range of gear ratios (4.56, 4.88, 5.13 and 5.38) to accommodate for more tire sizes. Chromoly axle shafts, thicker quarter-inch steel bracket mounts, 9.5-millimeter tubes and upgraded U-joints also add durability, while a nodular iron differential cover adds rugged looks, and its ribbing adds strength and rigidity.
The direct bolt-in assembly allows for use of OEM components and includes electronic differential lockers already installed.
The axles will be available for purchase starting next month.
It’s been a big day for Jeep news. Earlier today, a leaked timeline revealed that the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will make its debut sometime in November, likely at either SEMA or the Los Angeles Auto Show. Now, thanks to our friends at JL Wrangler Forums, we have news that an order guide has leaked and order banks are open. That means you should be able to go to a Jeep dealer and place an order for a new Wrangler now. This order guide only covers the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, but it gives us a pretty clear look at the new model.
At launch, the Wrangler Unlimited will come in three trims – Sport, Sahara and Rubicon. The only available engine will be FCA’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Those hoping for a diesel will have to wait a little while longer. All three models will offer both a manual and automatic transmission. While the current model is available in a wide range of colors, initially only five – Billet Silver, Black, Bright White, Firecracker Red and Granite Crystal – will be offered.
Poring over the guide shows that features line-up pretty closely with the current model. Hardtops are still optional, as is leather on the Sahara and Rubicon. It doesn’t look like you’ll be able to get a Sport with a body-color top and the dual-top option for the Rubicon is only listed on the order banks with a black hardtop. The Sahara and Rubicon both have optional trailer hitches and the Rubicon has an optional steel bumper.
There’s lots we still don’t know, but look for more news in the next month or so after the new Wrangler finally debuts.
Jeep’s much-awaited next-generation 2018 Wrangler looks set for a November reveal, according to a product graphic released by an FCA employee on Twitter. The SUV off-roader will move from Toledo South to Toledo North for production, with no lost production during the changeover.
Information about the 2018 Wrangler has leaked for years now in dribs and drabs. The recent leak of an owner’s manual and user guide provided the most details to date, including engine version — a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter Pentatar V6 — plus features like a power sliding top, removable soft top and doors, foldable windshield, 4WD Auto mode. Options include a blind-spot monitoring system and heated seats.
The new Wrangler is expected to feature an evolutionary restyling, with a slightly more aerodynamic body, aluminum body panels, LED lighting, eight-speed automatic transmission and an available diesel powertrain. Jeep has also confirmed a pickup truck version to be revealed shortly after the Wrangler JL. Here’s a running list of everything we know about the new Wrangler JL.
The FCA chart also suggests Jeep will reveal its new Cherokee and Ram 1500 during the first quarter of 2018, likely at the Detroit auto show.
If you’re looking for some light reading to start your week, we have a suggestion for you. The “Owner’s Manual” and the “User Guide” for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler have leaked, and have been posted on the JL Wrangler Forums. They appear to be the real deal. There’s a ton of information, and many pages to pore over, but here’s a little bit of what we’ve gleaned so far.
The documents (assuming they’re not just some very elaborate and convincing hoax) confirm the power sliding top, which is not removable, though the rear quarter windows are. We’re not seeing any mention of a power soft top, though. There are instructions on door removal, as well as folding down the windshield. The manuals also confirm a 4WD Auto mode that shifts power between the front and rear axles as needed.
What we don’t appear to have yet are complete specifications. The manuals mention the 2.0-liter and 3.6-liter engines, but not their output figures. The 2.0-liter recommends premium fuel, while the 3.6-liter only needs 87 octane. Towing capacity for the two-door models is 2,000 pounds, while the four-door versions are capable of 3,500 pounds.
The manuals also provide a lot of images, if you’re interested in seeing the nitty gritty details of the Wrangler’s various functions. Take a look, and make sure to post any interesting findings in the comments section, below.
The videos here and here, among other things, highlight some of the reasons why it’s so terribly difficult for Jeep to introduce a new Wrangler. Needless to say, the ute has got to work offroad. Not only that, but the engineers need to make sure the vehicle is at least semi-content on the road and in the emissions and safety labs, and they have to make sure it pleases the diehards by keeping vestigial bits like external hood latches. Oh, and it can’t be priced out of the reach of the average car buyer. That’s a tall order.
Nevertheless, we’re pleased to see that Jeep is taking its offroad testing seriously. These videos were reportedly shot at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes near Lake Michigan. You’ll see some splashing through puddles, some steady-state medium-speed cruising, and even some Hazzard-style fishtailing. And you can rest assured that the Toledoans at Jeep have been busy testing their latest Wrangler in other off-road scenarios, like rock crawling at the Rubicon Trail.
These three clips are short, and it’s difficult to draw conclusions on the suspension action since we can’t really tell how flat or bumpy the terrain may be. Still, they’re fun to watch and important to Jeep fans. We expect to see plenty more spy footage of the 2018 Wrangler before its likely debut at the LA Auto Show later this year.
One of our spy photographers caught some FCA employees poking around under the hood of a 2018 Jeep Wrangler prototype. They had the hood open wide, and because of that, we can catch a couple little details that tell us a bit more about the exterior styling of the Wrangler. Mainly that some of the Wrangler’s signature hood details will remain for the new generation.
The first details we caught were the bolt holes in the hood at the base near the hinges. These show that, as with the previous model of Wrangler, the 2018 model will feature chunky, rugged-looking external hood hinges. We can also infer that if these hinges remain, the doors will likely have matching ones, and those will hopefully still be removable.
The second details we spotted were a bit more subtle. On the sides of the hood towards the leading edge, there are some indentations. Based on the positioning, and their small size, we believe these are the indentations for external tie-down latches for the hood, just like the old model. Actually, just like pretty much every Wrangler-style Jeep back to the military models used in World War II.
Based on a report last week from JL Wrangler Forums, we are expecting to see the fully revealed 2018 Jeep Wrangler and its classic hood details at this year’s LA auto show. It is then expected to arrive at Portland Jeep Wrangler dealer, Dick’s Country Dodge, in December with both V6 and four-cylinder engine offerings.