Jeep History

1954: CJ-5 (1954-1983) enters production, based on the Korean War-era Willys M38A1

  • 2.2L Willys Hurricane Inline-4
  • 2.5L Iron Duke Inline-4
1965: Jeep CJ-5 Receives Buick V6 Dauntless Option, Power Steering Option 1967: 2-barrel carb for V6; added 5hp and 10lb-ft torque 1969: Side Marker Lights Added

1970: Kaiser sold to American Motors Corporation (AMC)

1971: Powr-Lok Replaced by Trac-Lok Limited Slip Differential 1972: To accommodate new engines, hood stretched 5 inches, wheelbase also extended 3 inches
  • 2.5L Iron Duke Retired
  • Replaced with 3.8L Inline-6
  • 4.2L Inline-6 Option
  • 5.0L V8 Option
  • Full Floating Front Dana 30 Axle
1973: Updated Dashboard, Center Gauge now has Speedometer, Fuel, and Temp Gauges

1976: Jeep CJ-7 (1976-1986) Enters Production

  • Wheelbase 10-inches longer than CJ-5, rear curvature of door deleted for more open design, hard top, full steel doors, and an automatic transmission were all options. Optional AWD Quadra-Trac system. Improved handling, comfort, and stability over CJ-5.
  • Engine Options: AMC 2.5L I4, 2.5L GM “Iron Duke”, 3.8L AMC I6, 5.0L AMC V8
  • Transmissions: Tremec T-150 (manual, 3 speed), Trecmec T-176 (manual, 4 speed), Borg-Warner SR-4 (manual, 4 speed), Borg-Warner T-4 (manual, 4-speed), Warner T-18 (manual, 4 speed), Borg-Warner T-5 (manual, 5-speed), GM TH-400 (optional 3 speed automatic), TF-999 (optional 3 speed automatic for 4.2L), TF-904 (optional 3-speed automatic for 2.5L).
  • Transfer Cases: Aforementioned Quadra-Trac #1339 (1976-1979), Dana 20 (1976-1979), and Dana 300 (1980-1986).

1976: Changes to CJ-5 Design

  • CJ-5: Frame goes from open channel to boxed in front of rear axle, tub became more rounded, windshield angle changed. 1976 switched from Dana 44 one-piece rear to AMC 20 2-piece assembly. Some early 1976 models may retain the desirable Dana 44.
  • Implications: Soft tops from 1955-1975 (early model) will not fit 1976-1983 (later model, sometimes referred to as “long nosed” CJ-5). AMC 20 axle, while having a larger ring gear than the older Dana 44, uses a 2-piece assembly; former 1-piece Dana 44 is a stronger design.
1977: Power disk brakes, optional A/C, Optional “Golden Eagle” package (1976-1983). 1979: Standard engine becomes 4.2L I6, Carter BBD 2-barrel carb 1981: AM/FM Radio Option 1980: CJ-5 changes to standard GM “Iron Duke” 2.5L I4, 4.2L retained as an option.

1981: CJ-8 Scrambler (1981-1986) Enters Production

  • 103-inch wheelbase, longer than CJ-7
  • Removable Half-Cab Option
  • Manual front locking hubs, 4 or 5 speed manual transmission
  • Optional 3-speed automatic
  • Rare Full Steel Hardtop available on Alaskan Postal Service CJ-8s
1983: Production Ends for CJ-5 1986: Production Ends for CJ-7, CJ-8

1987: Introduction of Jeep Wrangler YJ (1987-1995)

  • Slight change in appearance from older CJ models
  • Square headlights
  • Front clip is more angled, less rounded off like the CJ’s
  • Wider leaf springs, track-bars, sway-bars for improved handling
  • Wipers moved to base of windshield
  • Engine options were AMC 2.5L (5-speed AX-5 Manual), AMC 4.2L (TF999 Automatic, BA-10 5-speed manual)
  • Interior now has a more prominent dashboard
  • NP207 Transfer Case (1987)
  • Soft Top, Half Doors Standard
  • Full Doors and Hard Top Optional

Jeep Wrangler YJ Trim Packages:

  • SE: Base model, standard with 4-cylinder, radio, 2 speakers, manual transmission. A/C optional, Inline-6 option, optional automatic transmission on some years.
  • Laredo: Chrome Grille, bumpers, trim, A/C, hard top, half doors, Laredo appearance package.
  • Sport: AMC I6 standard, in 1991 upgraded to EFI 4.0 I6, Sport graphics, rear bench seat. Optional were cassette player, rear sound bar, A/C, and high-back bucket seats.
  • Sahara: Most options are standard, usually I6 engine, body colored fender flares, Sahara trim interior with green seats, fog lamps, rear bench seat (removable), high-back bucket seats, A/C, AM/FM radio and cassette player, Sahara model steel wheels.
  • Rio-Grande (1995 model year only): Themed interior trim package, special exterior color schemes, optional for base 4-cylinder models.

1987: Chrysler buys AMC (American Motors Corporation)

1988: NP231 Transfer Case replaces NP207 1988: YJ Islander Trim Option (1988-1993)
  • Body colored fender flares
  • Optional 20-gallon fuel tank
  • "Sunset" Appearance Package
1989: BA-10 Manual Transmission replaced by AX-15 Manual Transmission for Wrangler YJ

1991: Jeep Wrangler YJ updated with EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection)

  • AMC carbureted 2.5L replaced with AMC fuel injected 2.5L
  • AMC carbureted 4.2L replaced with AMC fuel injected 4.0L
  • Optional 3-speed TF999 automatic transmission for 4.0L
  • Standard 5-speed manual AX-15 for 4.0L

Jeep Wrangler YJ Renegade Optional Trim Package (1991-1994)

  • 4.0L I6 Engine
  • Power Steering
  • Fog Lamps
  • Paint matched fiberglass body kit (extends fender flares, internally mounts fog lights in front fenders)
  • 20 gallon fuel tank
1992: Older CJ style “sports bar” replaced with an extended “family bar” to further protect rear seat. 1992: Electronic speedometer added. 1993: ABS (Anti-Lock Brakes) option added 1994: Slave cylinder for manual transmissions moved to outside of bellhousing for easier access.
  • New 3-speed TF904 Automatic Transmission for AMC 2.5L I4
1995: Larger U-joints for Dana 30 front axle and at rear pinion, fully galvanized frame and body

1996: Jeep Wrangler YJ Production End

There were no Jeep Wranglers sold as 1996 models, although the YJ was produced until mid-year. These YJs were sold as 1995 models, and may sport certain parts from the next generation TJ, such as the updated 4.0 AMC I6 Engine or reinforced tailgate hinges, for example.

1997: Jeep Wrangler TJ (1997-2006) Introduced Spring 1996

  • Utilized Coil Suspension, as opposed to older leaf-sprung setup
  • Carried over EFI AMC 2.5L and 4.0L Engines
  • Return of classic round headlights, turn signals moved to fender flares
  • Air bags (not seen in any previous model)
  • Improved handling from CJ and Wrangler YJ models
  • Improved ride and comfort
  • Updated dashboard, gauges now above steering wheel
  • Windshield wipers moved off of windshield frame
  • Last model Jeep to use AMC engine or parts

Jeep Wrangler TJ trim packages:

  • SE (1997-2006): Standard with 4-cylidner engine (1997-2002, AMC 2.5L, 2003-2006 2.4L Chrysler; AMC 4.0 optional for 2005-2006), AM/FM radio, 2 speakers (later models featured a CD player and 4 speakers), rear bench seat (removable), 14 gallon gas tank, 5-speed AX-5 manual transmission, Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear axle. Optional A/C, 30RH 3-speed automatic transmission, 19-gallon gas tank, full doors, hard top, fog lights, etc.
  • Sport (1997-2006): Standard AMC 4.0L I6, AX-15, Dana 30 front axle, Dana 35 rear axle, AM/FM radio, and four speakers. Options include A/C, Dana 44 Rear with Trac-Lok limited slip, 3-speed 32RH automatic transmission full doors, hard top, fog lights, etc.
  • Sahara (1997-2004): Standard with most options; 4.0L AMC I6, AX-15, body colored fender flares, rocker sills, Sahara interior and exterior package, includes decals, premium cloth seats, and alloy wheels. Optional full steel doors, Dana 44 with limited slip, 3-speed 32RH automatic transmission, fog light and tow hook group, and special tire/wheel group.
1998: Increased options for Jeep Wrangler TJ:
  • Cruise control, defeat switch for passenger side airbag
  • 3-wide “grille” style hood vent/intake replaced by single vent/intake in the center, located at the base of the windshield.
  • Late model 1998+ replaces slider style HVAC controls with dial system
1999: 19-gallon fuel tank becomes standard 2000: 4.0L engine replaced distributor with direct-ignition system, redesigned cylinder head, new exhaust manifold, addition of a second catalytic converter.
  • NVG 3550 5-speed manual transmission replaces AX-15 5-speed manual on 4.0L engines
  • Sound Bar standard on Sport models
  • Tow hook option now includes rear tow hook
  • Optional tilt steering wheel now available in SE and Sport trim packages
2001: Updated multi-function switch on steering column, new fuel tank and skid plate on late 2000 models.

2001: 60th Anniversary Edition

  • All Sahara features come standard except for decals and seat trim
  • CD Player, 5-speaker sound system
  • 60th Anniversary appearance package (decals) and floor mats
2002: Full doors with roll up windows standard on Jeep Wrangler Sport and Sahara models

2002: Jeep Wrangler X Model (2002-2006)

  • Standard 4.0L engine
  • No Dana 44 Rear Option
  • AM/FM Stereo and 4 Speakers
  • A/C an Option

2002: Apex Trim Package (2002-2003)

  • Standard 4.0L
  • CD Player, 7 Speaker sound system
  • Special hood decals
  • Cognac-finished "Ultra-Hide" seats

2003: Changes to SE model engine, options for other trim packages:

  • Plastic interior trim and head impact protection added
  • Hard top vents moved from hard top to tailgate
  • Updated mirror design, moves from metal to plastic
  • Dashboard redesigned, center bezel more oval than rectangular for HVAC Controls
  • Smokers package optional on all models
  • Corner pods mounted on roll cage replace old model sound bars
  • Foam padding for roll bar added
  • Optional 42RLE 4-speed automatic transmission (overdrive)
  • Jeep Wrangler SE changes from 2.5L to 2.4L, updated NV1500 5-speed manual transmission

2003: Freedom Edition

  • 4.0L Engine, full metal doors, fog lamp and tow hook group
  • Fold and tumble rear seat
  • Exclusive decals
  • Body colored fender flares

2003: Rocky Mountain Edition

  • 4.0L Engine
  • Dana 44 Rear Axle
  • Special decals, special interior trim

2003: Rubicon Tomb Raider Edition

  • About 1,000 made
  • Light bar, fender flares, grille guard
  • Unique appearance and Tomb Raider badges

2003: Introduction of Jeep Wrangler TJ Rubicon

  • Factory 1" lift with 31" tires
  • Standard 4.0L engine
  • Dana 44 axles, front and rear
  • Tru-lok pneumatic lockers, selectable in 4-low
  • Limited slip in rear Dana 44 when unlocked
  • Heavy-duty driveshafts and U-joints
  • 4.10 Gear Ratio
  • 16-inch five spoke wheels
  • Diamond plate rock rails
  • Rubicon decal on hood
  • 4-Wheel disk brakes

2004: Trail Rated Badges added, AM/FM transitions to CD player

2004: Columbia Edition
  • 4.0L Engine, fog lamps, graphite fender flares
  • 2-tone seats with Columbia logo
  • Columbia trim and decals

Mid-Year 2004: Introduction of Jeep Wrangler Unlimited LJ

  • 10” longer wheelbase than Jeep Wrangler TJ
  • 5” extra overhang at rear wheels
  • Additional 13 inches of cargo space behind rear bench seat, doubling rear cargo capacity.
  • Additional 2 inches of leg room for passengers in rear bench seat.
  • 3500 lbs. towing capacity (extra 1500 lbs. over TJ)
  • Improved ride due to new springs/shocks and an additional cross member
2005: Transmission and Gear Ratio Changes
  • 6-speed manual NSG370 replaces older 5-speed NV3550 (4.0L) and NV1500 (2.5L) transmission.
  • Jeep Wrangler SE changes to 3.73 ratio from older 4.11 ratio
  • Sahara Edition ceases production

2005: Sahara Edition Unlimited Rubicon

  • About 1,000 were produced
  • Standard Rubicon options included
  • Chrome grille
  • Two-tone premium seats
  • Khaki hard top or soft top
  • Numbered dash badge

2005: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited enters production

  • Rubicon options included on LJ, see Jeep Wrangler Rubicon TJ above.

2006: Golden Eagle Package

  • Unique Tire and Wheel Group
  • Golden Eagle Spare Tire Cover
  • Unique interior and exterior trim and badging
  • Dana 44 Rear Axle

2006: 65th Anniversary Edition

  • All Sahara Options, but without decals, rockers, and trim
  • Fog Lamps
  • CD Player, 7 speaker sound system
  • Sirius Satellite Radio
  • SunRider Soft Top
  • Dana 44 Rear Axle
  • 65th Edition badging, seats, and floor mats

2006: Jeep Wrangler TJ and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited LJ final production year

2007: Jeep Wrangler JK Introduced

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