Wrangler JL, JLU & Gladiator JT FAQ’s
The 2018 Jeep model year started a whole new breed of Jeep Wranglers and added more variations than ever before. From multiple engines to a Wrangler “Truck” (Gladiator JT) there has never been more questions about Jeeps. The answers on this page are just quick responses, but some have links to more in-depth information.
Common Wrangler JL & Gladiator JT FAQ's
The short answer is no. You don’t “need” to, but if you want the best performance, you might want to.
- Better Performance – Re-gearing has a much bigger impact than cold air intakes and exhaust modifications.
- Better Gas Mileage – There is a reason auto makers are putting 8 and 10 speed transmissions in vehicles.
- Use All Your Gears – Re-gearing allows use of both overdrive gears and more efficient use of the rest.
Recommended Gear Ratios
It is generally recommended to find the gear ratio that gets you close to stock RPM’s at 70mph and go up 1 or 2 ratios to make up for the added weight of tires and other accessories. If you have a diesel or Hemi, you can stick with just one ratio up.
- 4.56 Gears – Good for 35″ tires on 2.0L & 3.6L Wranglers
- 4.88 Gears – Good for 37″ tires on 2.0L & 3.6L Wranglers
- 5.13 Gears – Good for 39″ tires on 2.0L & 3.6L Wranglers
Keep in mind, there is only a 5% difference between 4.88’s and 5.13’s, which is little more than the differences between tire brands of a rated diameter. In addition, as tires wear, they get smaller. A well worn 37 inch tire can measure closer to 35 inches, which is a 5% difference!
In 1945, the very first “Jeep” branded vehicle was produced. It was the CJ-2A, CJ stood for “Civilian Jeep.”
In 1976, the CJ-7 was introduced with a longer wheelbase than the popular CJ-5 and became the starting point for the first Wrangler. It was produced until 1986.
Two letter body codes continued to be used to differentiate different types of Jeep vehicles. For example, the original 1963-1983 Grand Wagoneer is considered an SJ and 1984-2001 Cherokees are XJ’s.
The two character body codes only get changed when there is a complete redesign of the vehicle.
In 1987, Chrysler introduced the first “Wrangler” as a more consumer friendly, soft top Jeep vehicle. It was the biggest change in the history of the iconic Jeep. It’s body code was “YJ”, which some claim stands for “Yuppie Jeep”, because it had a lot of creature comforts which CJ enthusiast frowned upon.
For the 1997 model year, Jeep introduced the Wrangler TJ. It was the first Wrangler to have coil springs instead of leaf springs. As with the introduction of the YJ, Jeep “purists” frowned upon it becoming more and more like a “car.” In 2004, Jeep produced a longer Wrangler called the Unlimited. Most people refer to a TJ Unlimited as an “LJ” although it was never the official body code, but that is a whole different story.
For the 2007 model year, Jeep introduced the Wrangler JK. However, they also introduced the 2007 unlimited as a 4 door model. The 4 door Wrangler JK Unlimited’s are referred to as JKU’s. Keep in mind, they are still considered a JK body style.
2018 was a strange year for the Wrangler as both JK’s and JL’s were produced. Since the CJ-7, Jeep was changing body codes every 10 years and they were way overdue.
1987-1995 Wrangler YJ
1997-2006 Wrangler TJ
2004-2006 Wrangler TJ Unlimited or LJ
2007-2018 Wrangler JK (2-Door)
2007-2018 Wrangler JK Unlimited JKU
2018-2022 Wrangler JL (2-Door)
2018-2022 Wrangler JL Unlimited JLU
2020-2022 Gladiator JT
If you have a 2019 or newer Jeep Wrangler, you have a JL. However, if you have a 2018, you could have either a JL or a JK.
Here are a few ways to tell from the front…
- Side markers moved from grill to fenders
- Fog lights moved outward on bumper
- Larger cooling slots modified for headlights
At a glance, they are very similar, especially with aftermarket bumpers and/or flares. The one thing that stands out on a JL is the “vent” on the body behind the front fenders, it looks almost like a gill.
If you are even considering a HEMI or other engine swap, you should check out the 392. It really is a bargain!
Hemi powered Wranglers are not a new thing, the aftermarket has been doing them for well over a decade. To have a 6.4L Hemi put in your Wrangler JL will run you about $35,000. For less than $14,000, you can upgrade to one with a factory warranty and a bunch of other cool stuff.
The main upgrades/features of a Wrangler JL Rubicon…
- Rubicon Wide Track Dana 44 Axles Front and Rear
- 4.10 Axle Gear Ratio’s
- Electronic Lockers Front and Rear
- Rubicon Rock-Trac 4:1 Transfer Case
- Electronic Front Sway Bar Disconnect
- Rubicon Power-Dome Hood
- Rubicon High-Clearance Fender Flares
- Rubicon Wheels and 33″ Tires
Consider the benefits vs cost of a Rubicon if…
- You are considering tires 35 inches or more
- You actually plan on taking it off-road
- You just like the looks of it!