By on September 20, 2016

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited red

The next-generation Jeep Wrangler needs to satisfy increasingly stringent fuel economy requirements, which means shaving weight off of the brick wherever possible.

While Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has shunned widespread use of aluminum (a la Ford F-150), a significant amount of the lightweight metal will still find its way into the upcoming model, according to an internal Alcoa new release posted to JL Wrangler Forums.

Alcoa — a name synonymous with lightweight metals — claims via the release that the Wrangler will be the first vehicle to use its newly developed C6A1 high form alloy. Two other alloys will also be used, all of them bound for the Wrangler’s front and rear doors and hood.

These are the only components mentioned by Alcoa, but it doesn’t mean that aluminum parts from another supplier won’t find its way into the vehicle. Cost was a major factor in FCA limiting the use of aluminum.

Other changes planned for the 2018 Wrangler also have improved fuel economy in mind. Expect subtle improvements in aerodynamics, an optional eight-speed automatic, and the likely addition of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine option. FCA’s “Hurricane” four makes roughly 300 horsepower, and would serve as an upgrade engine over the existing 3.6-liter Pentastar V6.

In a nod to the Jeep aficionados who have waited for years for a pickup variant of the Wrangler, FCA CEO Sergio Marchione plans to give them exactly that.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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37 Comments on “Details Leaked About 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Aluminum Use...”


  • avatar
    NoDoors

    If it makes the doors lighter to carry after taking them off, fine by me. Better on my back.

    Seriously, as long as they keep making the Wrangler not too far away from the basic configuration, body on frame, etc, the faithful will eat it up. My daughter is waiting for the hybrid Wrangler (that and a real, paying job.)

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      Tell her she better really like her job and get a secure one if she’s going to celebrate it with a relatively expensive truck.

      Among younger people I know, the happiest ones tend to be the ones saving half their paycheck. After a year or two of that, they have a lot of options and decent safety net.

      But hey, if she makes enough money to buy a hybrid wrangler, only God can stop her.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m amazed people shell out $35-50k for such a clunky vehicle.

    I guess I don’t fit the demographic, but I still like them – from a distance.

    • 0 avatar

      It really is a Jeep thing and you really don’t get it. That’s the most factual statement about it all.

      Outside of a fullsize 3/4-ton 4×4 truck, a Wrangler is the only vehicle around where a good portion of the buyers will sign the papers and immediately spend $5-10k on upgrades.

      Its also – along with those trucks – the only time you’ll ever get back what you paid for all that crap.

      ’06 TJs can bring more than ’07 JKs, no Wrangler is ever worth less than $5k, upside down is right-side up and nothing makes sense anywhere in Jeep Land.

      • 0 avatar
        jjster6

        Flybrian…

        Exactly. I can’t understand why someone would spend $30K+ on a Harley but people do.

        I’ve had 2 Wranglers in the past and hope to have another some day.

        It’s a Jeep thing that some people just don’t understand.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        I’m curious, why are the TJs often more desirable than JKs?

      • 0 avatar
        operagost

        My BIL paid less than 3K for a Wrangler, but it was a 92 with non working gas gauge and speedo, the warning light panel hanging from its cable, a leaky radiator, a bad head gasket, street tires that couldn’t even get grip in my driveway, and a broken transfer case. There was even more wrong with it, but I’m already thoroughly disgusted because he bought it when he needed RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS FAMILY and buying it contributed to a mess that continues today.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      My buddy uses it as a farm truck. It’s perfect for chasing cows and mending fences. OK for quick runs into town. It’s terrible on the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I think a Wrangler would be fun to drive – for about two weeks.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Well, most of ’em don’t pay 50k – remember, it starts at $24k, and the “base with AC and some sane basic options” is still under $30k.

      Loaded Rubicons aren’t the norm, they’re the exception.

      (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/2015-wrangler-data-colors-models-etc-whats-the-most-popular-1165401.html

      That’s not Jeep data, because they don’t release it, but it’s a plausible methodology looking at 2015s on Autotrader.

      Over 50% are the Sport trim in some level, either and 37% two-doors.)

      • 0 avatar

        Some depends on area. Here in CT looking thru autotrader almost all are over 30k they seem to average around 35k.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          What you’re saying, Mopar, is that mine is an unusual case where I’ve doubled the mileage of the typical CT autotrader Jeep. I’m only about 300 miles away from there now. Maybe I should bring my JKU up there?

          • 0 avatar

            I was talking price of the average one on the new dealer lot not the mileage.

            http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/Jeep/Wrangler/Bristol+CT-06010?endYear=2017&firstRecord=25&makeCode1=JEEP&mmt=%5BJEEP%5BWRANGLER%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&modelCode1=WRANGLER&searchRadius=50&showcaseListingId=436846681&showcaseOwnerId=9603322&startYear=2016&Log=0

  • avatar
    pbr

    Has anyone published the financial justification for use of aluminum to improve MPG?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That depends upon who’s paying. :)

      You gain/lose about 1% per 100 lbs. Here’s a brief summary:

      https://www.quora.com/How-much-weight-does-it-take-to-reduce-the-gas-mileage-a-vehicle-gets-by-1-mpg

      With aluminum, you save weight, but must add back some structure for high stress areas. Processing is also more difficult and costly, but you save a little in shipping.

      So if the steel Wrangler’s hood and doors weigh 500 lbs, made from aluminum they might weigh 250 lbs, saving 250 lbs. If it costs $5/lb to produce the steel product, and maybe $10/lb to produce the aluminum product, you might break even. Repair costs will be higher, but fuel costs will be lower in the long run.

      So the answer is… it depends.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      pbr,
      The in the end the overall weight saving from aluminium is not as large as many put forward.

      Just looking at the body of a vehicle it appears that boron alloyed high tensile steel can make saving of up to 35%, whereas aluminium is 40-45%.

      This is just the body of the vehicle and adds up to 100lbs or even less. So in fact the overall advantage vs costs is not as significant by the use of aluminium.

      Then you have the added costs of repairs to an aluminium vehicle when required.

      Even the F-150 claims to have made whatever impressive weight loss, but Ford fails to tell you the previous F-150 also weighed much more than it competitors. So, how much lighter is the F-150 vs Ram vs Silverado/Sierra?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I think the Wrangler’s body is the least of the mpg problems with Jeep – there isn’t much body to speak of, compared to a regular car.

    Change gearing, for one.

    Apparently, mpgs aren’t an issue with the owners of Wranglers – they drive them like a bat out of a belfry on the highway. I imagine they’re getting all of 10 mpg. Good for them, not good for me.

    I still want one, though – Wrangler Sport, half-doors, A/C & auto tranny. That’s all. Oh – in either red or yellow, please.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Zackman:
      The Wrangler’s body is definitely a factor in mpg; moreso because of its very squared-off shapes than the weight of its body, though at over 4000# gross, it’s no lightweight. Changing gearing alone doesn’t help… or at least, changing the final drive. With that blocky body, fuel economy falls rapidly the farther over 55mph you drive. I typically achieve 23-25mpg in my ’08 model, but I also hold it down to 65mph or lower and have realized almost 30mpg when holding it to 45mph. The newer Pentastar engine could probably do better, but it still needs a broader span in the transmission itself rather than pushing the final drive farther. Best economy comes when the engine is turning around 1500-1700 rpm on the old minivan engine (good enough but at 200 horses lacks torque at higher speeds) and even the Pentastar could do better if fourth, fifth and sixth gears (manual) were each marginally taller to let the engine turn at 1500 while rolling at 65mph. As it is, 62mph reads exactly 2000rpm on my early JKU. Improving aerodynamics would help most certainly, but gearing to could use tweaking and still offer the bottom-end grunt to be effective off-road even in low range.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The windshield will be slanted back some, 8 speed auto, and I expect further use of aluminum other than the doors and the hood. PSU version of the Pentastar will be used as well which supports start/stop tech.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        That is unfair to Oakville and Chicago comparing a wrangler to their product.

        Oakville and Chicago are f*cking Rolls compared to a garbage Wrangler. You have got to be kidding me or you’re more drunk than me.

        Edit: looks like I replied to the wrong comment. I am too drunk to Internet

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    I have a 15 JK and a lighter door would be nice. Honestly the existing sheet metal is so flimsy I can’t see how aluminum could be lighter at this point, unless it’s foil. Whenever I wash it by hand I fear in putting dents in it.
    Not good on the highway above 70, I try not to use it on long trips.
    I could go on about other limitations but bottom line is it is the most satisfying car purchase I have made in my 30 years of car buying.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’d offer to swap with you if I could; my JKU has no less than nine 1500-mile road trips under it in less than 80,000 total miles driven. It served as my primary driver from ’07 through ’14, after which a Fiat 500 took over primary driver duties seconded by a ’97 Ranger nine months later. The problem with both of those is that they lack AWD/4WD capability, relegating the JKU to long road trips (more interior capacity) and foul weather.

      And as I mentioned above, if you keep your speed down to a reasonable level, economy could be far, far worse. It still managed better than the ’90 Ford F-150 I drove as an at-need truck for four years both in town and on the highway.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    YOU KNOW THIS IS GOING TO BE A CAKE WALK FOR FCA BECAUSE STAMPING STRIATIONS, OPEN HEMS, OIL CANNING, MARS AND GENERAL METAL DEFECTS IS A JEEP THING.

    F*ck, marketing has Jeep owners willingly accepting sh*t NVH, poor fit and finish, 90% air leakage and other quality nightmares as an endearing quality.

    You can build a f*cking jeep in a war zone and people would line up to buy it.

    I am angsty because most of the 4 door Jeep Wrangler top hat was engineered by people who I knew that got punted. That and if I built Wranglers I could huff spray paint and still do a good job

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      This is what I’m talking about. (see my comment above ^^^)

      Put those “features” into any other SUV/CUV, and the press would be screaming. But Jeep gets a pass.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah they get a pass. It’s one of those things, certain cars get a pass from the public. In return for the questionable build quality you get a unique vehicle a 4WD with a softop. A car that easy and fun to modify (see the Harley comment above). A car that still stays true to it’s original mission. A car that still looks the way it’s supposed too. A car with real truck running gear. I haven’t owned one yet (did have an XJ cherokee) but many I really would love a JKU. I took a 2007 for a testdrive when they came out and I loved it.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        The flaws are somewhat irrelevant, because it has no competition.

        As with Harleys, I’m sure many owners enjoy the crudeness.

        roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a30324/the-case-for-the-four-wheeled-motorcycle/

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          It’s relevant if FCA sticks it to their customer base and outsources the value stream, just as it is with any other OEM. Jeep has less of an excuse as it’s easier and cheaper to pump out garbage.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “Jeep has less of an excuse as it’s easier and cheaper to pump out garbage.”

            Sorta like what comes out of Oakville and Chicago?

          • 0 avatar
            Zackman

            It’s not for nothing that Jeep stands for:

            J-just
            E-empty
            E-every
            P-pocket

            They’re still cool…

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      The “90% air leakage” is something that escapes from the anus of ignorant commenters.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    FCA should focus on making it profitable and pay the silly fines. The Wrangler’s poor aerodynamics kills it’s mpg more than anything, especially all the exposed junk underneath.

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