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2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ Unlimited - '06 TJ Unlimited Diesel

Right Front Angle
4WD & SU Staff | Writer
Posted February 1, 2010
Photographers: Dan McKeag

A 2.8L Liberty Diesel Fits Nicely...

How often have you looked at another vehicle's power plant and thought that it would fit nicely in your Jeep? The 2.8L CRD diesel engine that came in the 2005 Jeep Liberty is one of those motors. It is compact, lightweight, and puts out respectable power for its size. Fuel mileage is also respectable as a diesel Liberty is capable of 25 to 30 mpg. Here's the recipe for one cool Jeep: take one part wrecked diesel Liberty and combine with one part 2006 TJ Unlimited Rubicon. The result is something almost everyone wants a piece of.

Diesel conversions are no easy task. Wiring systems, fuel delivery, and computer controls are vastly different than their gas-powered counterparts. To start this project, a rolled-over 2005 diesel Liberty was purchased at a local auction by Burnsville Offroad. The vehicle was brought into the shop, and the power train, wiring and instruments were all stripped to be put into the Unlimited. Rather than use the automatic transmission that came in the diesel Liberty, a six-speed manual was to be installed instead. At the same time, a set of take-out JK axles were set aside to be used in the build-up. The axles were prepped with 4.88 gears, ARB Air Lockers, and axle bracketry was changed over from JK to TJ so that the Rubicon Express long arm kit would fit with no hassles. JK axles are not only beefier than the stock TJ axles, they also come equipped with ABS wheel sensors, which are essential to making the Liberty computers function properly.

In order to keep all the functions of the diesel engine intact, several components of the Liberty were swapped into the Unlimited. The steering column, instrument cluster, and 75 percent of the wiring harness were all incorporated into the Wrangler. That way, the sentry key that was originally with the Liberty crossed over to the Unlimited enabling all of the VIN protected modules from the diesel donor to be retained. The gauge cluster from the Liberty was custom fit to the dash of the Wrangler, giving it an OEM appearance. Even the Liberty's cooling module, A/C condenser, and inter cooler were all reused in the build-up.


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