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Build your Wrangler fighter here!

Discussion in 'Auto Industry News' started by Rick, August 10, 2000.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Rick

    Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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    If you could build a new Ford 4x4 that would compete directly with the Jeep Wrangler, what would it look like? What kind of equipment would you want it to have? Use this thread to build the factory 4x4 of your dreams! You never know who might be listening!
     
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  3. donkey boy

    donkey boy Well-Known Member

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    Ford, here I come, I take the challange

    The basics/drivetrain:
    - a strong frame w/about 100 inch wheelbase,
    - sturdy steel bumper on both ends
    - frame lowest point to protect transfercase, exhaust, tank etc., skid plates,
    - two solid axles on coil springs,
    - 4 wheel drive system without lots of electronics, mechanical shifter, viscous coupling,
    - a reliable auto tranny,
    - gearing that is not to short for a good fuel economy,
    - but a shoooooort transfercase, like 1:4,
    - Possibility of full time 4x4 low for twisty trails and manoevering with trailers,
    - 31x10.5-15 standard wheels, but enough fenderroom for individual upgrades

    Engine:
    - Something with lots of low end torque; I personally would like to see a turbo diesel

    Body:
    - Kind of retrodesign (Do I need to mention that I would not mind if it would look like a Defender :D
    - Somewhat bigger than a Wrangler, maybe sizewise like an Explorer sport (main reason that I, and lots of others, don't have a Wrangler is, that it is impossible to fit a family of two adults/two kids in it. This would give the car a bigger market)
    - Using old fashioned screws and bolts instead of high tech plastic fasteners, so people can work on their cars, kind of I giant meccano kit.

    Interior:
    - A base model with easy to clean, but comfortable interior,
    - seats made from a breathable, easy to clean material like some seat covers are made from
    - electronics avaliable for thos who like them in EB edition

    I think the car should not have too many trail specific extras like lockers, etc.. This would make the car expensive with parts which a) lot of people never need, b) we anyhow like to upgrade ourselves. But it should be factory designed for being upgraded, like I said, similar to a giant meccano kit.

    After what I'm gonna write now to the address of Ford (you never know who is reading :D ) I'm probably gonna get :hammer: , :shoot: and kicked out of this board. Mercy, please!!

    Ford, you just bought Land Rover. The Defender is ready to be redesigned. The Defender has the same that makes the Wrangler so special and what probably the Bronco would have had, if it would not have been discontinued: There is a cult around these cars; they have history, tradition and they make people dream of freedom and adventure. This all is something the best marketing department can not create.

    Instead of building a new car, why not taking influence in development of the new Defender that it complies with U.S. standards, and that it comes to the U.S. as what it is in Europe: the best 4x4xfar, for everybody, not just the rich and the beautiful. I remind, that a Defender costs in Switzerland between $ 22'000 and $ 26'000!

    The car you want to build, the ultimate Wrangler fighter, exists already in your own company in form of the Defender. If you want, sell the Defender in the U.S. with Ford-batches, I don't care, but I think it is really stupid to create competition in your own house.

    OK, who's next?

    [Edited by donkey boy on 08-10-2000 at 01:28 PM]
     
  4. Gofast

    Gofast Moderator Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

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    Well stated!

    I can't really add much more to what Donkey Boy stated.

    My strong points would be Turbo Diesel.

    High clearance under vehicle, skid plates for the important stuff. What's important? Anythin under the vehicle.

    Convertible, so we can run the bikini tops and maybe lose some of the topside wieght.

    Yes, looks similar to the defender.

    No c-clips on axels, if I break something I want to be able to drive home. So a full floater axel option would be nice.

    On the Marketing side.

    Why not have items like this as an option? I would order new with 33" tires, adjustable RS shocks or Fords version, 4:56 gears or the optional Atlas II t-fer case.

    Can you imagine ordering the vehicle the way you want it from the dealer? No secondary trip to remove perfectly good parts and replace them with aftermarket equipment from another vendor.
     
  5. rpenner54

    rpenner54 Moderator Emeritus Moderator Emeritus

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    Body parts avalible in JC Whitney. :D So when I smack something to hard it gets replaced with ease. No top. I want something very basic. That 3.9l(?) 4cyl Cummins with a NV4500 behind it and an ATLAS II with Dana 60's in each end and enough room to just cut away enough sheet metal to fit 39's under it. Yeah that would do. :D

    Naw... just the biggest thing for me would be cheap and easy to replace body parts. That and a better front end then this stupid TTB!!! (Still mad about that DUMB bolt!)
     
  6. Alec

    Alec Elite Moderator Moderator Emeritus

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    I don't know how dumb this sounds, but also provide factory light hookups for our PIAA's and stuff like that. They could make it like the police-ready Crown Vic and provide easy plug harnesses and powerpoints in the grille, front bumper, wig-wags, and roof lightbar. Hey, why not? The wiring's already pretty-much there, why not make it easy to access?

    Hey, how about an engine snorkel?
     
  7. FlyAU

    FlyAU Well-Known Member

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    All of this reminds of a truck we've seen before...the International Scout II.
     
  8. NoBoundaries

    NoBoundaries ECX Member Moderator Emeritus

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    I have a better example: 1977 Ford Bronco! The last and best of the Early Broncos. Maybe this offroad machine the Ford is thinking of building is the next Bronco?! I maybe stating the obvious, but there has been some talk of it coming back, and with the recent news, this sounds like it will be interesting. Anywho, a 1977 Ford Bronco, out of the box, it wasone of the best offroad trucks made.
     
  9. Peter Weber

    Peter Weber Active Member

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    I fully agree with donkey boy and Gofast. And since it would be build in the first place with options like you're suggesting, it would be a whole lot more efficient to be produced that way instead of having to tear it apart and rebuild it after it leaves Ford and the dealer. Also, Ford has more clout to get a good price for a transfer case or heavy duty, adjustable shocks etc. then a small custom outfitter.
    Building it to order on a production line (yes, with computer controlled production lines you can build to custom order) it would also be quite a bit cheaper than custom building it in a local garage.
    One problem I can see with an approach like this is that people get into off-roading gradually. A novice doesn't know what he/she wants or needs and probably would not know to order options to get the vehicle that they eventually want to end up with. To some degree, they would still build the vehicle up step by step. But having a more capable off-road vehicle from the factory would still be a good idea. The hardcore segment (as represented here ;) and I definately do not fall into that category) could not be completely satisfied. Individualism is the american way.
    But as I told Rick Haas and Vera and various other Ford engineers at last years Colorado Color run, Truckhaven and Moab, start with a base vehicle more geared towards off-road enthusiasts allowing build up without major redesign and rework.
    I like donkey boy's idea of a redesigned Defender or something like the Gelaendewagen from Daimler-Chrysler.
    A little side note here. Why are these vehicles not sold here, where off-roading is lot more popular than in Europe. I know, they have to pass crash tests. But come on, they are offroad vehicles supposedly build very strong. But then, maybe I answered my own question.
    Using the Defender as base, it should also be lightened without loosing strength, which shouldn't be a problem with the materials available now compared to when it was originally designed.
    Since they own Land Rover anyway, they could build it there as a world market vehicle and utilize the underused facilities already in place.
    That would allow them to keep the cash cow Explorers and Expeditions for the general population.
     
  10. Diff Whack Daddy

    Diff Whack Daddy And the Roll Over Posse! Under the Hood Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Doesn't Ford make bigger trucks and RV's with a dual battery option. Bring this to a 4x4 off the showroom floor. Maybe even add a winch to back up the reasons for a dual battery.:bounce:

    The computer would have to much more non-Ford-technician freindly. Allow it to interface w/ a simple programing device for specific functions like timing, tire size, and gear ratios so we can easily modify w/out messing up air fuel mixtures.

    How bout a key operated switch, like the passenger air bag in trucks, for the anti-lock brake system. Yeah, I know, it turns off when you engage 4 low :rolleyes: or supposed to anyway.

    And what happened to bumpers that used to be able to support the weight of the vehicle :eek: Oh yeah, it's not safe for the person rear ending you :banghead: Well, if they can't drive, the deserve to be :shoot:
     
  11. Paul Gagnon

    Paul Gagnon Poseur SUV Moderator Emeritus

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    Bronco re-born

    Here is what I would like to see. Some of the items are current Ford practices (high roof) and some used to be but have since been taken away (long travel seat tracks, passenger's door keyhole,) or made optional(skid plates).

    I would like to see a the Bronco re-born as an updated version of the classic '66-'77 models. First off it MUST be full frame. Unibody just does not cut it in a truck. I would like to see it with a 100" wheelbase, a solid axle non c-clip 8.8 in the front, a solid axle 9.25" rear end (again non c-clip). Coil spring suspension all around. Available three speed transfer case (4:1 super low, 2.72:1 low, 1:1). Optional locking differentials (preferably electric or cable actuated). Available manual shift everything. Same engine choices as a an F150 and maybe a small turbo diesel. Manual transmission available for every engine combination. Air intake at cowl height. Removable hard top and soft top options. Round headlights like an Early Bronco. Grille and body panels an updated version of an Early Bronco. Available chrome grille and bumpers. Heavy duty STEEL bumpers with a receiver built into the rear bumper so it doesn't look like an add on (or hang down too far). No plastic bumpers, not even as an option! Available with a rubber floor mat instead of carpet (carpet optional). Bolt on inner fenders and radiator support (just like trucks of old). Relatively low step in height WITHOUT sacrificing ground clearance (ie: narrower door sills and rocker panels). All drive line and exhaust parts tucked up inside the frame. Skid plates as a standard feature. Available waterproof seating fabric. Great sounding audio system with Marine speakers (waterproof). Roll cage that does not use the windshield as the front support. Possibly a fold down windshield. Two doors only. Rear tailgate without power window. Locking steel storage compartment. Minimum 25 gallon gas tank. Optional dual batteries. 6000lb towing capability. Minimum 31" tires with wheel openings that are around the same size as an F150. Overall width no more than 72". Minimal front and rear overhang (no more than 8" not including bumper). Oversize easily folding mirrors (with power optional). Seats that are adjustable for people who are tall. A high roof line so that taller people can see out the windows. All trim levels available but options also easily chosen individually. Available front bench seat. Seating for 5. Basically what I want is full size running gear available on something that is approximately the width of an Explorer Sport and maybe a little bit shorter AND that looks somewhat reminiscent of an Early Bronco.

    And another thing. If people want a nice smooth car-like ride in an SUV build them a CAR BASED SUV. Don't go messing up the trucks(and truck based SUVs), taking the truck out of trucks. I love the way that trucks ride compared to what they used to be and I love all the fancy options but don't assume that if I order leather in a truck that I don't intend to do any work with it because I do and so do most other people who are going to be looking at them. A comfortable roomy truck is what people want but they still want it to be a work horse just the same. Or lets say for example that they want an F150 SuperCrew. They want a truck but they also want to have the roomy interior and comfort too. They want to be able to order the 7700 package on an F150 SuperCrew and I want a 6' box on an F150 SuperCrew and they want to have a normal tailgate and box on an F150 SuperCrew not some funky hybrid fleetside box with a stepside tailgate and lights that make the box opening 8" narrower than a regular box. Can anyone guess why I didn't buy one?

    Also any vehicle that I buy had better have at least as many standard features as it did last year. It had better have a key hole on the passengers door and that had better not be an extra cost option or I will go elsewhere. Hello Ford are you listening?
     
  12. Tom Wilk

    Tom Wilk Active Member

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    Gofast and Donkey Boy have the right idea. I'll just add to the list:

    I'd opt for a gasoline engine, maybe a 4.6L (I guess I just like spark plugs).

    Choice of 5 speed auto or manual.

    Front and rear lockers as an option with Torsen limited slip maybe standard.

    Either a TTB or solid axle up front, unless they want to use the type of axles (portal axles) a Hummer has along with 4 wheel independent suspension. Either way, it needs lots of travel.

    Integral 2" receivers front and rear built into the steel bumpers.

    Rear-mounted spare.

    Built in roll cage.

    Lots of tie down points in back.

    Factory hi-lift jack.

    Removable fiberglass roof.

    Big fuel tank!

    PS If I had read Paul's response, I would have pretty much not had anything to say. :)


    [Edited by Tom Wilk on 08-10-2000 at 06:27 PM]
     
  13. donkey boy

    donkey boy Well-Known Member

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    Rob, Peter, Paul and Tom, great ideas! I think all together, we could elaborate a great concept for the ultimate Wrangler fighter.

    BTW, on my way home I remembered that there was an article in the July issue of "Land Rover Owners Magazine" about how Land Rover enthousiasts would build their next Defender. If somebody has an idea how I can get this 7 page article w/drawings and pictures on this board, let me know.

    [Edited by donkey boy on 08-10-2000 at 07:25 PM]
     
  14. Brian1

    Brian1 Elite Explorer

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    Everything that is already said plus manual locking hubs and a lever shifted transfer case as standard equipment.
     
  15. Lewdog

    Lewdog New Member

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    I would like to see doors that are easily removed, removable hard top, built in soft top, better ground clearance. I guess my ideal would be similar to the current wranglers, but with a somewhat longer wheelbase, and styling remniscent of a mid 70's Bronco.
     
  16. Diff Whack Daddy

    Diff Whack Daddy And the Roll Over Posse! Under the Hood Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Let's talk options:bounce:

    How about one of those new refer/coolers that has its own modular storage spot, ie, locks into place and has a cigarette plug right next to it to plug it in.
    Some sort of modular storage system, ie, roof rack, trail rack, tire carrier, jerry cans, shovel, etc...
    Stock rocker panel protection that is more useful than just for cosmetics. I could go on forever.
     
  17. leebo

    leebo Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Who cares whats on it.......just make it eaiser to work on yourself in your own driveway. I'm sick and tired of making 9000 trips to the store to buy that special one tool that works only of fords.

    o ya....33' tires, coils all around, V8 stock, manual hubs, upgrade thoses darn axles, and make alot of cool parts so I've got something to spend all my money on in the future.

    ps....I know I know, I guess I care whats on it :confused:
     
  18. chipscher

    chipscher New Member

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    Wrangler fighter

    One thing I can say is Keep It Simple Stupid!

    The thing that has kept the wrangler successful is it's simplicity. Do not go crazy with electronic gizmos, or wacky stuff (Memo gizmo on the Explorer Eddie Bauer and Limited, who is gonna use that?????.

    Make it easy to customize. (again, going with the KISS theme)The Wrangler is a niche vehicle, and most of it's appeal is that it is easy to personalize, beyone the front chrome license plate with a logo on it. Being the Jeep is so simple, and effective, it would be difficult to design something like it without incurring at least one lawsuit.

    Look in the parts bins, and raid them for parts. Raid Land Rover for chassis, raid the 4.6 v-8 for engine, raid Explorer Sport for interior (primarily the hose out part). Throw on some cool New Edge styling and you are close to something simple, effective, and cheap.

    I already like the idea, and barring any major recalls, i will be one of the first to own this vehicle!
     
  19. BExplorer

    BExplorer Active Member

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    Wrangler fighter

    -First I would say, make it workable, as much manual control's as possible, so the driver can control his truck.
    -Low gearing transfert case with possible 2wd low.
    -Locker (ARB style, or mechanical lock) in both diff.
    -Turbo diesel engine, for low end torque and fuel economie.
    -Body trim from plain basic to full equiped.
    -No plastic retainer(they always find a way to break).
    -High clearance and protective skid plates
    -Packadge option to make it trail ready. So those who want plain truck are happy and those who want ready to go are too
    -solid axle with coil spring
    -disc brake at four wheels
    -screw's and bolt's that fit conventional tools so it's easy to trail repair
    ... maybe more I have no nowledge of.
     
  20. 4Wheelin

    4Wheelin Well-Known Member

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    This is what I would like to see, basically an nice looking truck because we all know that Wranglers are fugly :D:
    -Something with larger ground clearance at the axles, so if and when it's lifted you don't have to worry about banging the axle on a rock
    -If it's a Ford why not put a Mustang 5.0 V8 302 under the hood for power
    -Tow hooks welded to the frame
    -A larger gas tank, maybe like 30 gal
    -31x10.5 in tires with big wheel wells to fit larger tires
    -Disc breaks all around
    -Comfortable seats whehter its cloth or leather
    -A nice sounding audio system with tweeter mounts so if upgraded there would be a nice spot for them (the Cherokees come stock with Infinity speakers and sound incredible for stock)
    -An optional extreme off road package that doesn't dent you wallet, that could invlove a lift, larger tires, higher gears, lockers, manual hubs, the works because car companies want to sell to the largest audience of customers possible and just making it an offroad machiene would make them lose money and make prices high
     
  21. SteveVB

    SteveVB Elite Explorer

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    Hey, this may be for the 2003-2004 release of a convertible to compete with the Wrangler.
    DC has the Wrangler, GM is redoing the Hummer- the H-2 and Ford is absent from this area it seems.

    What would I like to see?

    Basic, Basic, and very similar to some others above but basic

    Body on full frame with integral roll cage for all seating positions

    Tow hooks F & Rear

    solid axle coil spring suspension

    some type of manual locking diff-air,electric(ala Toyota)-rear mandatory front optional

    Three ranges for 4WD - 1,2.5,5:1 which would allow high axle ratios for your mileage concerns(CAFE)

    A large 4cyl Turbo diesel ( does IH have one?)would be great for power, reliability, and your Mileage once again.

    A gas V-6 would be a second choice

    HD 6 sp or Auto

    Interior that is simple- rugged- along the NO BOUNDRIES Idea which is just lip service at this point.
    Interior should be waterproof- ask Jeep owners why-TJ guys having some probs, also the interior should be able to have a hose taken to it!!

    Also support with parts and upgrades from FRPP. Almost Non existant for the Explorers with out a V-8

    Basic Basic Basic. More like the GPW of WWII than the Explorer. The complaint from the Jeep guys is that DC is getting farther and farther from the orig.

    Look forward to the others Ideas.
     

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