Just because all the hype’s coming out for the 2021 Ford Bronco doesn’t mean Jeep is resting on it laurels. The 2021 Gladiator is getting an EcoDiesel 3.0.
When the Jeep Gladiator was introduced to us back in 2018, we were promised that there would be a diesel option of the “Jeep Truck.” Well, announced on July 10, 2020, Jeep will finally give us the oil-burning variant of the JT-chassis later this year.
Not a Huge SurpriseAgain, we knew it was coming and with the JL Wrangler getting a diesel option back in 2019, we again knew it would be coming soon. Chassis-wise, the Gladiator and Wrangler are similar from the front doors forward and it wouldn’t be a stretch to make it work. It was just a matter of timing of when FCA would release it. “Before we introduced Gladiator, one of the most common questions consumers asked us was, ‘Will you please offer a Jeep truck?,’ followed closely by, ‘Will it be offered with a diesel engine?’ While we know the answer to the first question, I’m pleased to answer the second with a resounding, ‘Yes!’,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep in North America. “Gladiator’s combination of unmatched off-road capability and the vehicle’s fun-to-drive on-road performance, best-ever Gladiator fuel economy and incredible driving range underwrite the fact that our customers knew exactly what they were asking for.”
What is the EcoDiesel 3.0The EcoDiesel 3.0 being used in the Gladiator and Wrangler were introduced in 2014 on the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee but will be the third-generation version. The engines themselves are built by FCA Cento in Ferrara, Italy, and based off the VM Motori A630. The changes made are to help it pass emissions standards here in the US but are enough to give its own codename: L630. The L630 is a double overhead camshaft, turbocharged engine with four valves per cylinder. Its block is a 60-degree V6 made of compacted graphite iron while its heads are made of aluminum. The 3.0-liter displacement comes from its 3.27-inch (83mm) bore and 3.62-inch (92mm) stroke and a 16.5:1 compression ratio. It uses a common rail direct-injection fuel system at 29,000-PSI (2,000-bar) with a Garrett Motion variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) that is also water-cooled. Charge air is cooled by an air-to-air intercooler that is mounted just like the four-cylinder gasoline turbo engine (in front of the radiator just behind the grille). All told, it sends 260-horsepower and 442-lb.-ft of torque to the TorqueFlite 8HP75. It also features a new 5.1-gallon diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank. This increases DEF refills to 10,000-miles, matching oil change intervals of the engine. However, there is a DEF level gauge in the instrument cluster so drivers can see if a refill is needed beforehand. Another emissions related change is in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. It uses a low- and high-pressure system they dub as “dual loop.” The low-pressure portion of the system draws exhaust gases after the diesel particulate filter and helps reduce turbo energy losses and increases the EcoDiesel’s fuel economy.
Special Drivetrain for DieselsThe TorqueFlite 8HP75 is a licensed build from ZF Friedrichshafen and based off the 8HP (“8” for eight-speed, “H” for the hydraulic torque converter, and “P” for its planetary gearsets) but is made to FCA’s specifications. It’s able to withstand about 750-lb.-ft of torque (hence, the “75” at the end). According to Jeep, the 8HP75 is calibrated for the lower RPMs of a diesel engine as well as being used both on-road and off. They also say there are more than 40 different shift maps in the ECU that allows the 8HP75 to be optimized for fuel economy, performance, and in four-wheel drive. This also includes the engine start/stop (ESS) technology that comes on the Gladiator Sport, Overland and Rubicon. Other than that, most of the drivetrain doesn’t change much, save for gearing. The front and rear axles remain the legendary Dana 44 but will use a 3.73:1 axle ratio. The Jeep Rock-Trac two-speed transfer case on the Rubicon EcoDiesel comes with a 4.0:1 low-range while the Command-Trac on the Sport and Overland EcoDiesel models will have a 2.72:1 low-range.
When is it ComingAccording to Jeep, the Gladiator EcoDiesel models will go on sale in Q3 of 2020 but customers who are interested can order theirs right now from their local Jeep dealer. With that 4.0:1 low range of the Rubicon, 3.73:1 axle ratio, and 442-lb.-ft of torque, there won’t be must that will stand in the way of the Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel. I can’t wait to see one out at the Hammers to witness what it can really do.