The Wrangler (also known as the YJ, TJ, and JK, as explained below) is an Off-road vehicle produced by American automaker Chrysler under its Jeep marque. Contrary to popular belief it is not a direct descendant to the famous World War II 'Jeep' vehicle by way of the Willys civilian Jeep (Jeep) in the 1950s, later produced by Kaiser-Jeep and by American Motors (AMC). In fact AMC put dash plaques on the last Jeep models that read "Last of a Great Breed: This collectors edition CJ ends an era that began with the legendary Jeep of World War II."
The Wrangler debuted in 1987, was updated in 1997 and again in 2007, and is still popular today. It was a completely new design from the ground up to fill the void left by the discontinuance of the Jeep model for an open topped vehicle. Hence it's new name and model letter designation. Many of it's design parameters, as well as parts, were influenced by the downsized Cherokee model that debuted in 1984 and was a major success.
From 1987 until 1992 the Wrangler/YJ was built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. It was then built in the Toledo South Assembly plant until mid-2006, after which the plant was slowly torn down. The Wrangler is currently produced at Jeep's Toledo North Assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio.
The Wrangler name was not used in Canada, as it was a trim level of Chevrolet pickup in that market. Instead, 1987 to 1995 models were sold as YJ, and 1997 to 2006 models were sold as TJ. The model designations of YJ and TJ are used throughout the world in the Jeep enthusiast community to differentiate which model is being spoken of instead of using the more ambiguous term "Wrangler".
The Jeep YJ, sold as the Wrangler, replaced the much-loved but slower-selling Jeep in 1987 and was built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada until the plant closed on April 23, 1992. It was a new design with a wider wheelbase, slightly less ground clearance, a galvanized body and more comfort. The YJ also had a leaf spring suspension similar to that of the CJ, however, the springs were wider, and the YJs sported trackbars and swaybars for added handling. YJs are easily identifiable by their rectangular headlights, which were a source of controversy when introduced. Despite the new grill, fenders, and hood, the body is very similar to the CJ7's, and it is interchangeable with some major modifications. Many CJ7 owners with a rusted body replace them with a newer YJ body, they are almost identical except for the gas filler location, one body mount, and a doorgate rather than a tailgate. 632,231 YJs were built through model year 1995, though YJs were still produced into mid '96 bringing the total production number to 685,071 units.
The YJ used a 2.5 L AMC 150 I4 or optional 4.2 L AMC 258 I6 until 1991. That year, a Fuel injected 180 hp (134 kW) 4.0 L AMC 258 variant replaced the 112 hp (84 kW) 4.2 L 258 CID straight-6. The NP207 transfer case was used only in 1987 and replaced by the NP231
The sport bar was extended in 1992 to allow for rear shoulder belts, and Anti-lock brakes were added as an option the next year. An Automatic transmission option for 4-cylinder Wranglers came in 1994 along with a center high-mounted stop light.
In 1994, the slave cylinder on manual transmissions was moved outside of the transmission's bellhousing to allow for easier replacement, and in 1995 larger U-joints were used.
YJ Wrangler RenegadeEdit
From 1991 until 1994, Jeep produced an options package on the YJ Wrangler listed as the "Renegade Decor Group". Initially, all Renegades were White, Black or Red. In 1992, Blue was added, in 1993, Bronze. The Renegade Decor Group was a $4,266.00 option over a base Wrangler in 1991 and included special alloy wheels, exclusive body flares, along with many other features.
Contents of the Renegade Decor Package
- 4.0 Litre (242 CID) I-6 Engine
- 29x9.5R15 LT OWL Wrangler A/T Tires
- 5-Hole Aluminum Wheels, 8 inch wide.
- Full size spare tire.
- Highback seats with Trailcloth Fabric
- Off-Road Gas Shocks
- Power Steering
- Fog Lamps (integrated into the front fenders)
- Leather wrapped steering wheel
- Renegade striping (door letters)
- Floor carpeting (full width, and on insides of body tub)
- Floor mats, front
- Extra capacity fuel tank (20 US gal.)
- Color Keyed Fender Flares with integrated bodyside steps
- Front and rear bumperettes (plastic)
- Center console with Cup holders
- Courtesy and engine compartment lights
- Interval Wipers
- Glove box lock
Additionally, hardtops received a mandatory rear window defroster at a $164.00 premium. Hardtops themselves were a $923.00 option.
All Renegades typically had the Tilt Steering wheel ($130.00) and an AM/FM/Cassette Stereo Radio ($264.00).
A column shift automatic was also an available option (this option was rare).
While a base Wrangler with the inline 6 went for $12,356.00, the Renegade package pushed that price up to $18,588.00 in 1991. Dealer mark-up moved the price to $19,273.00.
These vehicles were sent as optioned Wranglers to Auto Style Cars in Detroit, where the Renegade Decor Package was installed, then shipped back to Jeep for delivery to dealers. Renegades all have a small sticker on the driver's side door, right above the latch denoting the visit to ASC.
At the price premium over a standard Wrangler, sales were fairly limited, so finding one today is a semi-rare occurrence. The price, plus what hardcore Jeepers felt were "funny looking plastic fenders" limited the sales. Although having nearly identical off-road capabilities, these Jeep were typically used as "beach cruisers" because of both their price and rarity, as well as the fact that their over sized flares and body cladding were not designed for the abuse that tree branches and over sized tires can deal out.
North American YJ/Wrangler were available in the following standard trims.
- Base (also referred to as "S" & "SE" at different points in the model run; first few years the back seat and rear bumperettes were optional, some years the 6cyl engine was an option, other years only the 4cyl was available in the "Base" model)
- Laredo (Chrome grille, bumpers, and trim, hard top and hard full doors, tinted windows, faux leather interior, body color fender flares and alloy wheels)
- Islander (which included "Sunset" Islander graphics and body colored wheel flares)
- Sport (which featured "sport" graphics and, beginning in 1991, a 4.0 L 242 CID inline-6 cylinder engine)
- Sahara (which came standard with most available options, including body color fender flares and alloy wheels)
- Renegade (which ran until 1994, and featured a similar option package as Sahara, but added premium wheels, deluxe interior group as well as oversized "Renegade" wheel flares and body cladding)
- Rio Grande (Available in champagne gold, moss green and white, with a Pueblo themed interior trim package, this trim was only available in 1995 and was added to spice up the base model Wrangler 'S' hence this trim was only available with the 4-cylinder models)
The YJ gave way to the TJ for the 1997 model year (note that there was no 1996 model year; the 1997 TJ was released in Spring 1996). This updated Wrangler featured a coil-spring suspension (based on that of the Jeep) for better ride and handling, and a return to the CJ's iconic round headlamps. The engine is the same 4.0 L AMC 242 Straight-6 used in the Jeep and Jeep. A 2.5 L AMC 150 Inline-4 motor was available on entry-level models until 2003 when the 2.4 L DOHC Chrysler 4-cylinder engine replaced it.
A right hand drive version of the TJ was available for export markets, and was also offered for sale to US rural route postal carriers. The version offered to US postal carriers was only available with an automatic transmission.
Other changes included the 1999 additions of a larger standard fuel tank, child seat tethers and sound system improvements in 2000, and a new console, steering wheel, and a revised dashboard for 2001. 2002 saw other minor changes including new colors, along with available wheel styles.
TJ Wrangler RubiconEditThe Wrangler Rubicon (named for the famed Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains) was introduced in 2003. It featured front and rear Dana 44 axles with built-in air-actuated Locking differentials, 4:1 low-range NV241OR transfer case, 4.10:1 differential gears, 16 in alloy wheels, and Goodyear MTR P245/75-R16 tires. 2003 to 2004 featured a standard NV3500 five-speed Manual transmission, which changed in 2005 to a Mercedes-sourced six-speed. The optional 42RLE four-speed Automatic transmission was available from 2003 to 2006.
A limited run of 1,001 Wrangler Rubicon "Tomb Raider" models were produced in 2003 to promote the Tomb Raider sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Along with the standard Rubicon fare, it also included exterior features such as 16 inch Alcoa forged aluminum wheels, Tomb Raider badging, and Mopar accessories including a light bar, riveted fender flares, tubular grille guard, diamond-plated bumper guard, etc. Interior features included Dark Slate fabric seats with red accent stitching down the center, silver surround instrument panel bezel, red seatbelts and a Tomb Raider badge with serial number. To match the vehicle in the film, it was offered in Bright Silver.
TJ Wrangler UnlimitedEditIn 2004, Jeep introduced the Wrangler Unlimited with a 10 inch (~25.4 cm) longer wheelbase (LWB), a Dana 44 rear axle with a 3:73 gear ratio and the Command-Trac 231 transfer case; this model is also known by its unofficial designation of LJ. In 2005, Jeep released the Rubicon Unlimited, which has the wheelbase of the Unlimited and the off-road features of the Rubicon such as front and rear Dana 44 axles with locking differentials, diamond plate rocker guards, an NVG241OR transfer case with a 4.0:1 low range, 245/75R16 Goodyear MT/R tires, a six-speed manual transmission and other comfort and convenience options not offered on other Wranglers.
- Base - also referred to as "SE"
- X (available after 2002, it was the equivalent to earlier standard optioned 'Sport' models
- Sport - which came standard with the 4.0-liter (242 CID) inline-six-cylinder engine
- Sahara - the premium model until 2005, which came standard with most available options, including the 4.0-liter engine, alloy wheels, fog lights and the premium interior group
- Rubicon - beginning in 2003, the premium "off-road" model, which came standard with most of the available off-road options and included the "Rubicon appearance package", which included alloys, fog lights, and lower bodyside "diamond" plating. Rubicon models also received front and rear air lockers, Dana 44 centre differentials front and rear, as well as a 4:1 transfer case with fixed rear output dubbed the NV241OR.
- Unlimited - beginning in 2004, Unlimited offered more interior room (increased legroom for rear passengers, and improved storage space behind the rear seat), greater towing capacity, 3,500 pounds (1600 kg), and was available in a standard or Rubicon trim. A 4.0 L and alloys were standard on all models. On soft tops, the "Sunrider" flip-back sunroof feature is standard as well.
The 2007 model year brought the complete redesign of the Jeep Wrangler, in both two and four-door models. The TJ platform was replaced by a new JK platform. This next-generation Wrangler was significantly larger than the existing model, with a 2 inch (50.8 mm) longer wheelbase and 3.4 inch (86.4 mm) wider track, though the two door model is actually 2.5 inches shorter in the overall length than the TJ, allowing for better approach and departure angles. With a larger available standard tire size of 32 in, breakover angle is unchanged.
Some Wrangler enthusiasts decried this new vehicle's larger size, claiming that it runs counter to the character of the Wrangler, and is too big to be an effective off-road vehicle. Similar complaints were expressed during previous redesigns. Jeep reportedly sought to cement the Wrangler's position as the marque's most-rugged vehicle as new car-based Crossover SUVs took some of Jeep's on-road market share.
JK was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show with past Chrysler group CEO Tom LaSorda driving one up some steps and through a plate glass window, just as Robert Lutz had done at the show in 1992 with the Jeep. The JK was first available for purchase with the 2007 model year.
The JK Wrangler is offered in two versions:
- A short-wheelbase 2-door, in X, Sahara and Rubicon trim levels.
- A long-wheelbase Unlimited 4-door, also in X, Sahara and Rubicon trim levels.
The Wrangler X is available with factory installed right-hand drive. This model is targeted at mail carriers who need a vehicle that allows them to get out of their vehicle without the risk of getting hit by traffic. For the 2007 and 2008 model years, the short-wheelbase Wrangler was the right-hand drive Jeep. For the 2009 model year, the right-hand drive Wrangler will be replaced by the right-hand drive Wrangler Unlimited.
A 3.8 L Chrysler V6 with a displacement of 230.5 cubic inches (3778 cc)
The 2008 edition of Forbes Autos lists the four-wheel-drive convertible Jeep Wrangler at number four among the top ten vehicles with the highest resale value.
- External links
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