What an amazing month August is... It's the best part of summer, it's my birthday month and it's the birthday of the thing that changed my life! My Jeep Wrangler!
August is a time to celebrate! Which is why I decided to post this series, to celebrate the birth of the JK/JKU on August 28, 2006.
A Wrangler… What is a Wran·gler?
...a person in charge of horses or other livestock on a ranch.
...a person engaging in a lengthy and complicated quarrel or dispute.
Oh wait! Not that kinda wrangler. I’m talking about the Jeep Wrangler. There are several versions of the Wrangler, four generations to be exact. This is Part 1 of 5 of my series "What is a Wrangler".
The Jeep Wrangler family is more than just the JK/JKU’s and even the new JL/JLU’s. I will post one part on each of the generations in the coming days. So keep a look out.
The Jeep Wrangler is a series of off-road vehicle models, manufactured by Jeep since 1986. The Wrangler was born from the World War II Jeep called the Willy's MB. This Jeep was the iconic vehicle of WW2. Who knew if would create such an amazing lifestyle!
The popularity of the Willy's started up the production of a Jeep for civilians, CJ (Civilian Jeeps) produced by Willys, Kaiser-Jeep and American Motors Corporation (AMC) from the mid-1940s through 1980s.
What sets the Wranglers apart from other vehicles...
a separate body and frame
rigid live axles both front and rear
a tapering nose design with flared fenders
a fold-flat windshield
can be driven without doors
part-time four-wheel drive systems
choice of high and low gearing
standard are open bodies with removable hard- or soft-tops
The Wrangler series was designed to be more comfortable on-road in an attempt to attract more daily drivers. Engineers upgraded its suspension, drive-train, and interior, compared to the CJ line. Specifically, the suspension on all Wranglers benefits from the addition of trackbars and anti-roll bars. Then in 1996 with the TJ on, they went to coil-springs instead of leaf-springs.
In 2004 the long-wheelbase versions have been available under the name Wrangler Unlimited. Initially the Unlimited was a two door model, but since 2006 it has been offered as a four-door model.
The Wranglers birth place is in Toledo Ohio at a place called the Toledo Complex. Now owned by Chrysler. Parts of this facility have operated as an automobile assembly plant since 1910, originally for Willys-Overland vehicles.
The Toledo complex has assembled Jeeps since the 1940s, and comprises of two factories: Toledo North and Toledo South. The South Assembly Plant is the original Jeep CJ assembly factory. It was rebuilt to manufacture the JK/JKU on August 28, 2006.
The South plant has two interconnected plants, the Stickney Plant and the Parkway Annex. A conveyor brings the bodies and chassis from one part of the south assembly plant to another.
That 2nd phase is the place where I was able to tour the JK/JKU Assembly line. This is where they added the doors, the seats, hoods and all the finishing parts of the Wrangler.
There are two assembly lines in this part of the plant. Currently the JL is being assembled on one line and the other line is being re-tooled for the JT the new Jeep Truck. The Jeep Truck will be assembled on the old JK/JKU line.
Other Jeeps that came out of the Toledo Complex.
1946-1965 Willys Jeep Station Wagon
1962–1988 Jeep Gladiator
1963–1991: Jeep Grand Wagoneer
1974–1983: Jeep Cherokee (SJ)
1974–1983: Jeep Cherokee XJ
1985–1992: Jeep Comanche
2002–2013: Jeep Liberty/Cherokee
2007–2012: Jeep Compass
2013-2017: Jeep Cherokee