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WranglerEXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Posted by mike on 2006/4/27 21:29:47 (5708) reads

After a long wait, 2007 Jeep Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner has responded to your questions....

1. Can you elaborate on some of the technical changes being made in the 2007 Wrangler? For example, what changes are being made to the drive train and running gear to improve handling and off-road capabilities? What improvements are being made in the 4-wheel drive system to surpass the capabilities of the TJ?

The T case is stiffer and the main case joint is clamped by 18 fasteners instead of 9 previously. The t case consists of three pieces instead of five to reduce the potential for leakage. The largest improvement in capability over the TJ is in the new ETC (electronic throttle control). With the new electrical architecture, the powertrain module knows when the vehicle is in low range and we have developed a unique low range calibration for crawling. In addition, with ESP standard, all vehicles will have BLD (Brake limited differential) which can detect wheel slip and transfer torque to the other wheel with traction. This will provide an increase in capability for vehicles with open differentials.

2. We received a ton of questions about the Wrangler engine choices. With the 2007, we know the power plant will be different compared to the existing TJ. How was it decided to use the 3.8L V-6 as the main engine? What improvements are being made to the V-6 to accommodate the Wrangler? With the current gasoline issues in the U.S., do you anticipate an alternate power plant like a diesel engine or something else being offered in the future?
The new 3.8-liter V-6 engine is more efficient, provides a better torque curve and is quieter than the 4.0-liter I-6 engine. Overall, the 3.8-liter engine provides a better driving experience both on- and off-road. The 3.8-liter V-6 engine is basically the same (application on other products) but has been adapted to the Wrangler for a "north-south" application. This included a new front cover, accessory drive, exhaust manifold and oil filter location change. The oil capacity was also increased to 6 quarts to meet Jeep requirements for engine lubrication.

3. The Bumpers: What is 'blow molding'? Are the bumpers plastic to the ends or is there a solid core that extends out under that plastic? Also, how easy will it be to get a winch onto these new bumpers? How easy will it be to attach aftermarket bumpers?
Blow molding is a process where air is injected into a molten plastic to "blow it" into it's final shape. The bumpers are plastic to the ends and the bumpers are easily unbolted from the body. The stock bumpers will not support the addition of a winch but Mopar will offer one that does and is designed specifically for the new Wrangler.

4. Why did Jeep stick with a part-time 4-wheel drive system instead of a lockable/openable center differential configuration (full-time system)?
Customer feedback over the years has shown that our customers prefer a selectable system.

Check back on Monday for the rest of the interview...



(just kidding - the rest are after the jump...)


5. What height can the new Wrangler be lifted without having to change the driveshafts or swapping the cv-joints for u-joints?
We don't know since we do not produce or test lifted vehicles.


6. I didn't want to paraphrase this next question, it comes from one of our readers with the nickname, 'disturbed': "The number 1 question I have is WHY OH WHY DID YOU GUYS STICK A D35 UNDER THIS THING? This is THE most hated Jeep/Dana axle assembly ever produced and to continue to use it under the entirely new JK platform (even with upgrades) is mind-boggling. The D44 or AAM equivalent should have been used across the board for all JKs."
The Dana 30 front axles have a high pinion design (TJ was a low pinion design) to provide greater gear strength, the housing is stiffer and stronger, and the pinion bearings are larger for improved durability.The Dana 35 rear axle also has a larger pinion and unitized wheel bearings. The prior design had an on-shaft bearing. The axle shafts have also increased in cross section for improved strength. Overall, the axles have been improved over its predecessor. In fact, we are considering different names for the axles since they are virtually all new.

7. Why was the decision made to discontinue the 'Jeep' stamp (or as many people now call it, the 'Joop' stamp) in the body tub? That's been a signature part of the Jeep Universal design since the first CJ5's.
This was a styling decision. The chrome Jeep badge was added to the front grill to fall in line with our other Jeep products.

8. Do you see the JK-platform spawning any other Jeep vehicles aside from the two-door and four-door Wrangler variants. Namely are there plans for a pickup variant?
Not at this time. Unfortunately, we are not able to discuss future products.

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Poster Thread
mike
Posted: 2006/5/3 15:30  Updated: 2006/5/3 15:30
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 Follow up questions submitted
For those of you following this thread - I sent Jim a couple of followup questions yesterday - one about a diesel option and one about expected fuel economy. I'll post his responses as soon as I hear back.

My contact at DaimlerChrysler also added the following:
Please know that there will always be questions we can't answer, due to competitive concerns.
This is important to remember - as badly as we want to know the answers to all of our questions, Jeep's competition wants them even more...

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2006/5/4 12:50  Updated: 2006/5/4 12:50
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Posts: 494
 Re: Follow up questions submitted
Mike -

As are a lot of Jeep fans, I'm really perplexed on the choice of this 3.8L minivan engine. Didn't they figure we'd KNOW it was a friggin' minivan engine? I mean, for ~20 years the 4.0L was essentially a for-Jeeps-only engine and (at least for YJ TJ) really a beloved icon of its own. To "borrow" an engine off a minivan seems to be a real setback (especially when I see only a minute increase in HP & ft-lbs and the JK coming in heavier). I guess I should reserve judgment until the first test drive, but I'm really not hopeful. The suspense is toturous.

The 4.0L was awesome. With a manual trans, with me at the helm, my stock 4.0L Wranglers (2) would consistently break 8sec from 0-60mph. With a Borla exhaust, air tube intake, and a few tweaks, it was a lot better than that. God bless torque. I put 241000mi on my last one and it was still running strong.

If this 3.8L turns out to be a dog in this heavier JK, I'm gonna puke.

Why oh why didn't they just share the new 4.0L V6 255HP/275ft-lbs Dodge Nitro R/T engine? What a perfect choice that would have been! I know, fuel economy... Unlike some others, I'll take grunt over a few lousy mpg anyday.

And that's why we need the diesel.

Poster Thread
phishjeep
Posted: 2006/4/30 22:12  Updated: 2006/4/30 22:12
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Does anyone remember the weight of the Unlimiteds being posted? (Unlimited Rubicon especially) I can't seem to find it anywhere, but the JK weights are posted in the specifications PDF on Jeep.com

Poster Thread
gladiator
Posted: 2006/4/30 23:42  Updated: 2006/4/30 23:42
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
from rockcrawler.com

CURB WEIGHT
Wrangler Unlimited X, Man. Trans……4075 lbs. (1848 kg)
Wrangler Unlimited X Auto. Trans……4100 lbs. (1860 kg)
Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, Man. Trans……4269 lbs. (1936 kg)
Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, Auto. Trans…4294 lbs. (1948 kg)
Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, Man. Trans……4315 lbs. (1957 kg)
Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, Auto. Trans…4340 lbs. (1969 kg)

Poster Thread
gladiator
Posted: 2006/4/29 18:04  Updated: 2006/4/29 18:04
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
I saw the 2007 Unlimited Rubicon at the Atlanta Auto Show today. Put a diesel in it, preferably the Bluetec, offer it with the 6 speed manual, and that will be my next vehicle.

Poster Thread
Yesfan70
Posted: 2006/4/28 23:58  Updated: 2006/4/28 23:59
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Why hasn't there been any published numbers on the fuel economy? It's always 205HP followed by 'better fuel economy' or a 3.8 litre engine that's 'more efficient'.

I know we are talking about a 4x4 Jeep here and not a Honda Accord, but surely the MPG should be better than many SUVs out on the market (like my '99 Discovery for instance)

Poster Thread
RUBICON
Posted: 2006/4/30 14:26  Updated: 2006/4/30 14:26
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
I am going to guess that the numbers will come in around 17 or 18 city and about 23 highway.

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2006/4/28 12:52  Updated: 2006/4/28 12:52
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Ditto, along with all the other disgruntled enthusiasts. He skipped some questions, avoided any new info on others. What a letdown and frigging waste of time this was. Thanx for making us wait for nothing.

Poster Thread
AngryNJ
Posted: 2006/4/28 13:59  Updated: 2006/4/28 13:59
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
My guess is that this was an emailed interview. So I wouldnt be so hard on Mike. He probably just sent the list of questions, and then got back a list of responses so there was little he could do, unless he sends back a response message with further questions about future engines.

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2006/4/28 15:25  Updated: 2006/4/28 15:25
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
My ire is directed at Issner, not Mike. Now back to the country club with you Mr. I.

HELP WANTED! Applicant must be a candid, loose-lipped Jeep mole. No suits need apply.

Poster Thread
mike
Posted: 2006/4/28 15:53  Updated: 2006/4/28 15:53
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Don't worry - I knew it wasn't directed towards me.

Yes, it was an email interview. I'm planning on sending back some followup questions once I get a feeling of what everyone thought of the interview. Should be pretty easy.

-mike

Poster Thread
Yesfan70
Posted: 2006/4/30 10:45  Updated: 2006/4/30 10:45
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Mike,

Can you inquire about the proposed fuel economy? I read where it's supposed to be better than the current TJs, but would like to see some numbers.

I'm thinking it's only going to be a mile or two more than now, but either way it's got to be better than my current ride.

I have my eyes on a '07 Rubicon

Poster Thread
Goes
Posted: 2006/4/28 11:10  Updated: 2006/4/28 11:10
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
I was really dissappointed after waiting this long with the lack of new information. Any slob from DCM could have provided those answers.

Poster Thread
JoeJeep
Posted: 2006/4/28 10:00  Updated: 2006/4/28 10:00
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
This jerkoff completely avoided one of the most important questions.

"do you anticipate an alternate power plant like a diesel engine or something else being offered in the future?"

You should have called him on it at the end of the interview.

Poster Thread
tkmd
Posted: 2006/4/27 22:25  Updated: 2006/4/27 22:25
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Did Jim just totally dog the question about a diesel option?

Put the diesel option (with manual trans) in the Wrangler- for the love of God!! There's a huge pent up demand for such a model. It can be done, after-all Europe's jeeps have them so its not a design issue and with blu-tec emission control it should not have a problem passing state side emissions.

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Josephus
Posted: 2006/4/28 0:37  Updated: 2006/4/28 0:37
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
"Not at this time. Unfortunately, we are not able to discuss future products."

I think they are just letting the hype spin up a bit more so that they can create a PR stunt over Biodiesel after Jan 2007. Kinda like the the E85 thingy.

Come on Jeep, just make the announcement already. Geez, it's kinda getting silly at this point.
Unleaded hits $3/gal = "Window of Opportunity"

Poster Thread
dyg
Posted: 2006/4/28 3:00  Updated: 2006/4/28 3:00
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Interesting how he completely avioded the part of the question about a U.S. diesel engine, isn't it.

Poster Thread
AngryNJ
Posted: 2006/4/28 8:23  Updated: 2006/4/28 8:23
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Wow, not one mention of diesel... Thats depressing...

I may be forced to get something other than a jeep for a couple years, or lease one instead of buying one.

I really want a diesel (if you cant tell)...

Poster Thread
highdesert
Posted: 2006/4/30 10:33  Updated: 2006/4/30 10:33
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Ditto the other comments concerning diesel. It seems that Jeep is willing to offer everyone other that north america with efficient turbo diesels and six speed trannies and we get the grocery getter versions in these newer Jeep vehicles. Diesels outsell gassers in Europe and many other places in the world for good reason!

Poster Thread
toos999
Posted: 2006/5/2 19:10  Updated: 2006/5/2 19:10
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 Re: EXCLUSIVE: Wrangler Chief Engineer Jim Issner Responds!
Yep, he skipped the diesel question. I note that in the news today they say 4x4 sales are falling due to gas prices. DC is hyping Caliber sales as a big winner (yawn). Only GM is reportedly doing better than expected based on "improved" SUV mileage.

Give us a diesel. Better mileage, lots of torque, and higher reliability (if they get the emmisions controls right, unlike the Liberty). Make it capable of digesting B20 or higher biodiesel and you have a real winner. The rest of his comments sounded fine for the most part.
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