The Jeep Geek

The Jeep Geek's Blog
Mar 2011

Rumors, Rumors, and More...

The Jeep Geek is often asked about future products from Jeep. It is true, The Jeep Geek can see into the future. But the images are sometimes dark and fragmented, so much is left to interpretation. In this article, The Jeep Geek will comment on a number of rumors regarding Jeep...and maybe some other topics as well.

Rumor #1 The wrangler with a Pentastar engine. OK...The Jeep Geek deals with this on a weekly basis. The Pentastar engine provides almost 100 additional horsepower and about a 10% improvement in fuel economy in other platforms...probably will show similar benefits if placed in the wrangler.

sub-rumor - Jeep will de-tune the engine - The Jeep Geek doubts this sub-rumor. There is no advantage to de-tuning the engine. The only complaint from Jeep owners is lack of horsepower...what could possibly be the rationale for detuning the engine to prevent if from solving the only issue with this great product?

sub-rumor - The Pentastar engine will ship in April. No way. The Jeep Geek cannot order one at this time...ordering for a new model opens about 60 days before scheduled production runs...from the production run it takes about 30 - 45 days to reach the Jeep Store that The Jeep Geek works at. So, at least 90 days out...probably more.

Regarding Rumor #1. The Jeep Geek thinks it is likely that this wonderful new engine will be included in the 2012 Wranglers. Likelihood if this rumor being accurate...85%. Here’s how we will know if it is coming in the 2012 model year. Jeep will provide significant rebates to 2011 Jeep Wrangler purchasers to move out this inventory. If we see large rebates, then the new engines will be just around the corner.

Rumor #2 - Jeep will introduce the Wrangler with a CRD (Common Rail Diesel) engine. Proponents of this rumor have the fact that Jeep sells this configuration in Europe and has done so for a number of years. It is one thing to design a vehicle/engine combination for European regulations, and quite another to make this fly in the US.

It would be nice to have a diesel variant here. The Diesel offers impressive torque, especially at the low end where you want it for off-roading. It also provides a bit better fuel economy. The Jeep Geek is all in to get a diesel wrangler...however he doubts this rumor will become reality. The Pentastar engine solves the problems of lower performance and fuel economy of the current engine nicely, Americans are not as in-tune with diesel as Europeans, so it will be a niche engine, not really the sort of thing one does when re-building a car company...better to offer fewer configurations that focus on larger markets. Likely hood of this rumor being accurate - less than 10%.

Rumor #3 - Wrangler will lose its solid axles in favor of independent suspension. Tilt. The basis for this rumor is two-fold. First, Fiat doesn’t understand off-road and they are calling the shots at Chrysler. Second, the solid rear axle in the Grand Cherokees was replaced by an independent rear axle in the 2011 Grands.

The Jeep Geek will take a deep breath and try to unravel this gordian knot. First, the head of Jeep is a gentleman by the name of Mike Manley. His Wrangler team is largely intact. The Wrangler kept Chrysler afloat into and through bankruptcy (Ram trucks did well also). No Fiat executive wants to tinker with the success of Jeep’s most iconic brand. While an independent suspension would yield a tamer on road ride...and perhaps a bit better fuel economy, it will limit the off-road performance in numerous ways. Not the least of which is: it is easy to lift a vehicle with solid axles, quite a bit different altogether to lift independent suspensions. Solid axles can take more abuse...like we see on Jeep trails. So if someone wants better on-road performance, almost every vehicle on the planet is available...however if someones wants the ability to go almost anywhere in a Jeep, only the Wrangler will work...removing this capability will create quite a hole in the market.

Likely hood of this rumor being accurate - near nil (The Jeep Geek computes this to be 1:100,000,000,000,000.) If it does become true, you will know in advance because The Jeep Geek will become The Mini-Van Geek.

Rumor #4 Chrysler won’t make it. The rumor runs along the lines that Chrysler was the weakest auto company in the US and didn’t have the product lineup to compete with Ford and GM.

The Jeep Geek is committed to the long term success of Chrysler...as long as it owns Jeep. This fact alone should settle this rumor. No other manufacturer on the planet has The Jeep Geek.

So lets de-construct this rumor. First, Chrysler has a world class management team, some from Fiat (where they have completely turned around this company from a weak player to a world power in the automotive market). Second, the debt removed, union contracts re-worked, and products refreshed, this company is on the rise. In fact Chrysler is growing market share every quarter...new products, new marketing, new management and money in the bank. Things are looking pretty bright here.

With the redesign of the Ram lineup and the Grand Cherokee, we have won almost every award worth wining for these key vehicle segments. New Chrysler sedans are turning heads and likely to follow (Ram and Grand Cherokee) in successful new product introductions.

With the Mercedes ownership, Chrysler implemented new Quality programs such as the 6 sigma. These new programs take time to implement and bear fruit, they are now doing so. Chrysler’s quality is a strength in the new models and make their overall brands highly competitive.

Likely hood of rumor being accurate is less than 10%. Continued economic distress on the nation as a whole, and return to high gas prices will place strain on the entire industry...while companies with no or low debt (like Chrysler) are well positioned to weather any economic storms, no company in this industry is a certain winner.

Rumors will be with us forever. It is The Jeep Geek’s experience that the number of rumors increases when there is less information. That certainly seems the case these days. It would be nice if Chrysler were to just let everyone know what it is planning and what is off-the-table.
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Mag-chloride

Winter here in Colorado is rough. That’s The Jeep Geek’s story and he is sticking by it. While we are having a mild winter this year, we have still had some snow, ice and some extremely cold days (-8 F). Every one of these days The Jeep Geek was glad he was driving a 4x4...although if he were not he may have gotten a few days off this winter.

While there is not much happening off-road this time of year, The Jeep Geek is seeing a lot of vehicles coming off lease with corroded chrome. Being the curious lad that he is, The Jeep Geek began investigating the cause of this malady.

Turns out that the very de-icing compounds that are used in the winter weather cause this corrosion. People on the east coast understand this salt damage on the underside of their cars...the salt is on the road for a large part of the winter, however here in Colorado we don’t get that much snow down here where it is only 1 mile high. So our under-carriages don’t rust out...in fact very few vehicles here have any body rust.

However we do have chrome damage. There are three things that can be done to prevent this problem here in Colorado.

  • Don’t buy a Jeep with Chrome. The Hummer Recovery Vehicle only has one tiny piece of chrome on it...the Jeep Logo on the front of the hood. The Jeep Geek prefers this approach since an off-road vehicle will be damaged on the trail anyway...scratches and scraps are common and referred to as Colorado Pin Striping. Chrome and scratches just clash. The Jeep Geek is such a fashion horse that he would not be seen in such a vehicle.
  • Wash the Jeep every day that it is driven in snow. Get the Mag-chloride off the chrome before it has a chance to react with it. This approach seems like too much work to The Jeep Geek so he does not recommend this method. But some of his customers are this anal and use this to keep their Jeeps show room clean.
  • Chrysler has a couple of products that can be installed at the Jeep store that bonds to the chrome (and paint for that matter) and prevents the mag-chloride from attaching to the vehicle. This is the approach that The Jeep Geek recommends to his customers who purchase Jeeps with lots of chrome on them, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee. These are beautiful vehicles and will benefit from the application of Mopar’s Master Shield products.

Master Shield lasts for about 3 years and re-application is free at the Jeep store that The Jeep Geek works at. This approach provides a lifetime guarantee for all the chrome and painted surfaces. (as well as a free detail every three years!!!).

The value of any vehicle, when it is traded for a new vehicle, is based on two things...miles on the odometer and the visual appeal of the vehicle. Does it look like it was cared for or does it look like it was trashed. This will determine if the vehicle is in execellent condition or is it in poor condition. This can contribute up to a $3000 difference in the value of the vehicle.

So you can choose from the three choices listed above to deal with the ravages of mag-chloride. Life is too short to stop and wash your Jeep after a tough commute in the snow.

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