• JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

Next Generation Jeep Wrangler IFS Myth Debunked

Posted in News on October 31, 2013 Comment (0)
Share this
Next Generation Jeep Wrangler IFS Myth Debunked

There has been a lot of talk lately about the next generation Jeep Wrangler possibly getting a lightweight independent front suspension (IFS) but we’re here to tell you, these rumors are completely false! Why would Jeep ruin the next generation Wrangler by giving it something that would ultimately hinder it’s off road prowess just to save a few pounds.

We’ve come across news articles that hint at the possibility of Jeep giving the tried and true solid axle the axe in favor of a much lighter IFS. While this might make sense on paper (toilet paper maybe), there really isn’t a reason for Jeep to do this since they already offer plenty of other platforms for those who think driving over a curb is what wheeling is all about. For those who love being able to shift into low range and crawl up a steep rocky trail, the Wrangler’s solid axles offer them just what they need.

We decided to gather all the great off road minds at Jp as well as those at our sister publications; Four Wheeler, Off-Road and even Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road to see what our experts had to say about this.

Christian Hazel - Editor In Chief, Jp Magazine

Do you want to see the Wrangler get IFS?
Do I (and anybody at Jp) want to see an IFS Wrangler? Hell no!

What do you want to see on the next redesign?
What do we want to see on redesign? Much of the old Wrangleresque traits that can be traced back to WWII flatties: folding windshield, complete topless/doorless operation, drain holes, removable carpet (like in a boat), high degree of waterproofing; 110-V inverter, onboard compressor option for Rubicon and Moab editions, axle tubes that don’t bend, factory winch included for Rubicon (like Power Wagon pickup), easily removable/installable flares with openings that’ll support 35s, aux rocker switches to support aftermarket electric additions like lights (like the Raptor has)….stuff like that.

Do you foresee the Wrangler getting IFS in the future?
Unfortunately it’ll probably happen, although it won’t be just IFS. It’ll probably be a Unitbody IFS/IRS configuration to save weight and parasitic losses in the interest of meeting increasingly strict Federal fuel economy and pollution standards. Chrysler isn’t foolish when it comes to what makes Wrangler successful – they know what true Jeep enthusiasts want, but unfortunately the government doesn’t care. The only possible way around that would be to limit production and make it an extremely expensive niche vehicle like the Viper.

Would you wheel an IFS Wrangler?
I’d probably wheel one if Chrysler was loaning them out, but would I build and wheel it? Maybe. But it’d have to be one seriously cool vehicle to make me eschew older Jeep models. Hell, I don’t even own a JK. My newest vehicle was built in 1989.

If an IFS Wrangler became a reality, how would you want it to perform in order to say it was still being true to its heritage?
Keep it analog. Don’t rely on electronic widgets and gizmos. Give it a true locking front and rear differential and a real T-case that sends power 50/50 front and rear. That way, even if you’re lifting tires thanks to the independent suspension, it’ll still behave predictably…and the driver will be the one calling the shots…not a computer.

John Cappa – Editor In Chief, Four Wheeler Magazine (Former Jp Editor-In-Chief)

Would You Wheel an IFS Wrangler?
Of course, I’d have to at least try it. I’m sure that in stock form it would do some things better than the current Wrangler, high-speed off-road for example, but I think long-term durability could suffer depending on the design of the suspension, especially if it’s taken from an existing platform. It would need some really heavy-duty A-arms, differentials, and steering components. At the end of the day, if it meets all those requirements it might not be any lighter than the solid axle suspension Jeep would be trying to replace. But maybe Jeep could make use of aluminum suspension components to compensate for that.

How would you respond to this and do you foresee this happening in the near future?
Oh it’s totally possible. With all the new government mandates coming down the pipeline it’s only a matter of time before the Wrangler as we know it is no more. Although, no one expected the four-door Wrangler Unlimited to sell as well as it has. It certainly opened up the Jeep brand to a whole new customer base. An IFS Wrangler could have features that do exactly the same thing. As for the aftermarket, it would be a bummer for sure and everyone in the industry would hate it at first, as they do all new Wranglers. It would likely turn the aftermarket upside-down for a while. Of course there would be plenty of early-adapters trying to make aftermarket parts for it, but over the long term I don’t think an IFS Wrangler would enjoy the same aftermarket support as the current model. I’m sure there would be lift kits and conversions to install a solid front axle but the parts would not be as plentiful as what is available for the current Wrangler.

Do you want to see the Wrangler get IFS?
What’s funny is that part of me does and part of me doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love the simple and durable solid axle design, but I can also appreciate a well-performing IFS suspension like what’s on the front of a Land Rover Range Rover Sport or Ford Raptor. If I wanted to lift the Jeep, take it rockcrawling exclusively, or just plain beat the crap out of it, I’d want the solid axle. Otherwise the IFS makes more sense. Plus I think the Wrangler is ready for a shakeup. Going to Moab Easter Jeep Safari and seeing nothing but JKs is getting way old. I want to see people build other 4x4s, maybe an IFS Wrangler is just the catalyst needed to make that happen.

What do you want to see on the next redesign?
I like the current Wrangler because it does so many different things well and I wouldn’t want to detract from that. But I’d also like to see it lose some fat. It’s pretty porky. Maybe dump 700-800 pounds, narrow it a bit, give it a 2.0L to 3.0L diesel option, or maybe offer a limited-run V-8 version. I won’t hold my breath for a Hemi Wrangler, even though it would likely be the best selling Wrangler ever built. I’m OK with losing things like the fold down windshield frame, as long as I can still unbolt and remove it. You can’t really half-way screw something up, so if Jeep does decide to go with IFS, the company might as well fully screw the pooch and install IRS to get the additional wheel-travel and handling benefits. Ooo, how about some long-travel center-mounted A-arms!

If an IFS Wrangler became a reality, how would you want it to perform in order to say it was still being true to its heritage?
The truth is, in stock form I think an IFS Wrangler would still be true to its heritage. Jeep wouldn’t be foolish enough to screw it up that bad. I’m sure it would still be the most capable vehicle in its class, regardless of if the aftermarket embraces it or not. But I also think that Jeep would learn a hard lesson about brand loyalty and realize its enthusiast customer base is (or was) its best salesman, a salesman that would jump ship at the slightest whiff of an IFS Wrangler.

Jerrod Jones – Editor-In-Chief, Off-Road Magazine

Would You Wheel an IFS Wrangler?
First of all, I’d never wheel any Wrangler, period. I’m too big to fit comfortably in one. That being said, if I did wheel Wranglers, I don’t think I’d wheel an IFS one. At that point, I’d switch to a Tacoma or an F-150 or something like that.

Do you foresee the Wrangler getting IFS in the near future?
I think we all saw this coming, or at least dreaded it coming. The only solid axle vehicles left in North America are the Wrangler, the Super Duty, and the Ram 2500/3500. The latter two are heavy-duty trucks that demand solid axles and can offset the unsprung weight. The Wrangler is not.

Do you want to see the Wrangler get IFS?
Would I find a flaming bag of dog logs on my porch if I said, “Yes?”

What do you want to see on the next redesign?
For what it’s intended for, the Wrangler is an excellent vehicle as is. The one thing I would change is the power output. Enthusiasts always want more power. If there was an HO power option on the next Wrangler’s engine, it would be well received. Any other improvements beyond that (nicer seats, higher-quality interior, etc) would just drive the price up out of the average enthusiast’s reach.

If an IFS Wrangler became a reality, how would you want it to perform in order to say it was still being true to its heritage?
It would have to perform similar to an Ultra 4 car (obviously, on a less dramatic scale). It would be much improved by some type of forced articulation on the A-arms that would be able to mimic the actions of a solid axle suspension in rocks.

Rick Pewe – Editor-In-Chief, Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road (Former Editor-In-Chief of Jp Magazine)

Would You Wheel an IFS Wrangler?
No, because Chrysler wouldn’t call an IFS jeep a Wrangler.

How would you respond to this and do you foresee this happening in the near future?
Someday the end of the world will occur.

Do you want to see the Wrangler get IFS?
Editor’s note: Rick didn’t even dignify this with an answer.

What do you want to see on the next redesign?
A return to the basic Flatfender. True mechanical art!

If an IFS Wrangler became a reality, how would you want it to perform in order to say it was still being true to its heritage?
See answer number 1.

Related Articles

Comments

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Sponsored Content