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August 2009 Dispatch - Jeep News

Posted in News on August 1, 2009
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Photographers: Insurance Institute For Highway Safety

Jeep News & Rumors
*If Jeep gets sold by Fiatysler, will the asking price be $4 bil?

*Anyone still care about Camp Jeep? It's dead this year after all, with no good reason. Well, other than that little thing about everything crashing down and burning around Chrysler.

*And taking it from those moments of doom to gloom: Could the release of the '11 Grand Cherokee get delayed due to plants going dark during Chrysler's bankruptcy process?

*Now from gloom to zoom: Mopar is expanding the parts catalog with more Jeep options, including for Wranglers a 2-inch lift for '07-'09 models, half-window kits for '07-up, and a '97-'06 Dana 44 axle kit. Last year Mopar was considering a stroker motor for Jeeps, and coming in September will be the ATK 4.7L stroker.

*And from zoom to loom: Some '09 Grands, Wranglers, and Commanders may be recalled due to a wiring issue; the wiring may be reversed, making the driver-side airbag unable to deploy. Meanwhile, some '02-'03 Libertys in Salt Belt states may be recalled for potential corrosion in the upper control arm ball joint, affecting steering control.

*Now, loom to room: Could they pave paradise and put up a shopping mall? No paving required: Jeep HQ, aka Chrysler's Auburn Hills location in Michigan, according to Business Week, was designed back in the early 1990s to be repurposed as a shopping mall if Chrysler ever went out of business.

*And finally, from room to hmmm: The '11 Grand will get a new 3.6L V-6 named Pentastar. Could that be the swan song of Chrysler symbolism?

Moab Jeeps
Hazel covers some of the more cool and interesting Mopar Underground Jeeps that appeared in Moab in this very issue, so we'll show you two he didn't, the Grand Canyon II and the Wrangler Overland. The Overland is an '09 Rubicon Unlimited, which had the rear seat yanked in favor of a rubber utility floor, got one of Mopar's new suspension lifts and a rear sway bar, 35-inch rubber, an AEV heat-reduction hood and snorkel, and Daystar bumper-mounted lights. The theme is "on-the-go self-contained campsite," meaning that's a two-person tent mounted on top, not a body bag.

The Underground team called the Grand Canyon II the "most luxurious off-road vehicle built to date" by them, but we didn't spot mink, caviar, bubbles, or Grey Poupon anywhere, so we mark this one FAIL. Or maybe they meant they took what they consider to be the most luxurious Grand already available and make it mo' better at four-wheeling, since what we did find was bigger rubber on Wrangler Rubicon wheels, a 4-inch Superlift suspension, an ARB high-clearance front bumper, and some beefy Mopar rock rails.

Industry News
*This year, Currie Enterprises turns 50. The rest of this item will be difficult to type because of all the confetti lodged in the keyboard. If you geek out for commemorative stuff, then know that if you buy a custom-built rear end, RockJock product, or 4x4 rearend, you'll get a limited-edition gold, embossed medallion. Well, that and the part you're buying, too. Get more info at

*Speaking of Web sites, is for locating performance parts or installers easily, but mainly for finding retailers nearby so you can check out parts in person. You punch in your zip code and the site will display retailers in your `hood. Just make sure you click the yellow Find Fast Parts Fast logo in the center of the page or you might go crazy trying to figure out where to put in your zip code--if you're not the type who reads instruction manuals.

*Heard rumors in the news that our parent company Source Interlink Media went bankrupt and all the magazines, including Jp, will be killed off? We're alive, well, and kickin' and aren't going anywhere. It was one of those good bankruptcies.

*Daystar ( has expanded: Thanks to a 10,000-square-foot addition, the facility is now 40,000 square feet. This caps off further good news, that 2008 was its best year since business started in 1977.

*Need a shipping-price estimator for vehicle transport? has created just that at, and you can get info by distance and weight as well as trucking routes and availability.

*GM will euthanize the Pontiac brand in 2010.

*There's talk that the Viper brand will also be dead next year.

*In a 2008 J.D. Power and Associates study of customer satisfaction of UK vehicles, Fiat ranked dead last among the 29 brands included.

AtoZ Errors
It seems the Great Copy Editor Slaughter of 2009 didn't go as smoothly for Jp's parent company as the suits had hoped. Without our little word monkeys checking on our editors, Hazel's goof up of AtoZ Fabrication's contact information in the story "Winch Weight Weaning" in the May `09 issue went unnoticed. The correct contact information for the company is AtoZ Fabrication, 570/385-3931,

Auto Graphs
*The cash-for-clunkers bill may not have passed--but in linguistics only. It has been repackaged as the CARS act. That stands for Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save--nice spin, eh?

*Can gravel roads give you lung cancer? The Associated Press is reporting that some in western North Dakota use erionite, which has properties like that of asbestos. Scientists intend to study the effects--but they're having some trouble finding volunteers, who would get $100 each.

*Last issue we told you about the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's roof-strength rating system. And now the U.S. Department of Transportation has set into play its new roof standards, which will double the current roof strength for light vehicles weighing up to 6,000 pounds. Driver and passenger sides must be capable of withstanding force equal to three times the weight of the vehicle.

Grand Headlight
We all know about the secret messages on Beatles' songs played backward, and the weird crap we're supposed to catch on Lost, but there's also a secret message of sorts for Jeep folks on the new Grand Cherokee. The '11 model got a complete redesign, which we told you about in our July issue, and within the headlights you'll find more headlights and a grille, a "salute to the Wrangler," according to Ralph Gilles, Chrysler's VP of design. Yes, possibly the only nod to Jeep heritage on the entire vehicle. We dig it, but we're just sayin'.

Things to Do With Your Jeep
Through July 8: Military Vehicle Preservation Association's 2009 Transcontinental Motor Convoy, from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco (convoy of historic military vehicles),

September 18-20: Jeepstock hosted by MidwestJeepthing, Washita Offroad Trails park, Farmington, Missouri,

September 26-27: Wheelers for the Wounded Charity Southeast Main Event hosted by Matanzas Jeep Club, River Rock, Georgia,

November 1: Jeep Charity Toy Run hosted by Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance, Classic Harley-Davidson to Reading First Energy Stadium, Reading, Pennsylvania,

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