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2003 Press Release


The Rubicon name isn’t just for a Class 10 off-road trail anymore — it’s also what the Jeep® brand is calling their limited production, ultimate off-road rig. The new 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is engineered to take on the most demanding trails, including those previously reserved for only highly modified vehicles.

"The 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon features an off-road performance package, as only Jeep can engineer, allowing serious off-road enthusiasts the opportunity to drive over some of the most extreme trails in the country, and then drive it home,” said Craig Love, Vice President — Jeep Product Team, DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

While beefy off-road tires and diamond plate sill protectors hint at the tremendous capability of Wrangler Rubicon, the underpinnings make it worthy of the Rubicon name. In response to the demands of hardcore off-road enthusiasts, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model features locking front and rear differentials, front and rear Dana model 44 axles and a 4:1 low-range transfer case.

The new Wrangler Rubicon features Tru-Lok™ locking differentials that can be driver-actuated when the transfer case is in low range with vehicle speed below 10 miles per hour. A dash-mounted rocker switch allows the driver to lock the rear axle and toggle the front axle locker on and off for improved maneuvering. When engaged, this feature mechanically locks the axle shafts together to drive all four wheels at the same speed. When unlocked, the rear axle has a torque-sensing limited-slip feature to provide better traction and handling on-road. Dana model 44 axles with 4.10:1 ratios front and rear provide the durability and strength needed for extreme off-road driving.

"This combination of what would typically be aftermarket hardware provides tremendous off-road capability to give our enthusiast owners a rig that is ready for their favorite trails, right out of the box," added Love.

The Rock-Trac™ transfer case with 4:1 low range slows vehicle speed to give the driver more control and increases the amount of torque available at the wheels. This fixed-output NV241 Off-Road transfer case was engineered specifically for the Wrangler Rubicon to meet the demanding durability requirements of an intense off-road vehicle. For the same reason, this model also includes heavy-duty driveshafts with 1330 universal joints.

Goodyear Wrangler “Maximum Traction/Reinforced” 31-inch tall tires feature a beefy tread pattern that wraps around the sidewall to help grab ledges along the trail. This state-of-the-art off-road tire includes a three-ply sidewall and advanced silica compound for excellent durability and puncture resistance. The new tread pattern provides increased tread stiffness and uniform tread wear. The largest tires offered from the factory on Wrangler, these LT245/75R16 tires add an extra half-inch of ground clearance over the 30-inch tires.

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon features unique exterior design cues and will be available in all 10 Wrangler exterior colors. Reminiscent of legendary Jeep vehicles, a “Rubicon” graphic is prominently placed on each side of the hood. Heavy gauge diamond plate sill guards are bolted to the bodyside to protect
rocker panels from damage in off-road situations. And new 16-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels are designed with a dished face to protect the wheel
from off-road obstacles.

For 2003, an all-new 42RLE four-speed automatic transmission debuts on Jeep Wrangler. Offered on all models, this smoother-shifting transmission provides better highway fuel efficiency and quieter engine operation at highway speeds compared to the previous three-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the standard fuel tank and transfer case skid plates, a new automatic transmission skid plate provides additional off-road protection.

New for Jeep Wrangler SE is an NV1500 five-speed heavy-duty transmission. Also used on Jeep Liberty, this transmission gives Wrangler a synchronized reverse gear and improved shift quality in cold weather.

Offering significantly more horsepower and torque, Jeep Liberty’s 2.4-liter Power Tech™ I-4 replaces the 2.5-liter I-4 as the standard engine on 2003 Jeep Wrangler SE models. This 2.4-liter engine provides an estimated 150 horsepower (112 kW) at 5,200 rpm and 165 lb.-ft. (224 N•m) of torque at 4,000 rpm, representing a 25-percent increase in horsepower and an 18-percent increase in torque. This increased power and torque is achieved through the use of aluminum cross-flow cylinder heads, dual overhead cams and a four-valve-per-cylinder design. The new 2.4-liter engine is quieter, more fuel-efficient and engineered for longer life and ease of maintenance. It also meets NLEV (National Low Emission Vehicle) standards.

The Jeep Wrangler X, Sport, Sahara and Rubicon models feature as standard the 4.0-liter Power Tech I-6 mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Also available with the new 42RLE four-speed automatic transmission, the 4.0-liter engine is rated at 190 horsepower (142 kW) at 4,600 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. (319 N•m) of torque at 3,200 rpm.

New for 2003, available four-wheel disc brakes give Jeep Wrangler better brake feel on-road, with decreased stopping distance and reduced brake fade. Off-road, four-wheel disc brakes are self-cleaning.

A new fold-and-tumble rear seat can be more easily removed. Jeep Wrangler’s rear seats are equipped with the LATCH (Lower Anchors and upper Tethers for CHildren) system in 2003 for mounting the new generation of aftermarket infant child seats. With the LATCH system, child seats attach directly to the structure of the rear seat, so they are easier to install.

Safety features standard on all Jeep Wranglers include next-generation air bags, a driver’s side constant force retractor, self-adjusting low-tension three-point belts, height-adjustable shoulder belts, and new for 2003, energy-absorbing foam is added to the sport bar and new trim is added around the windshield and on the back of the hard top.

An all-new interior gives Jeep Wrangler several interior refinements, while still preserving the true essence of the Jeep brand icon.

New front seats on Jeep Wrangler offer an additional 20 millimeters of rearward travel, allowing taller drivers to sit a more comfortable distance from the steering wheel. Taller seat backs provide a more comfortable ride, with a lever on the side of the front passenger seat for easier access to the rear.

In addition to new front and rear seats, the 2003 Jeep Wrangler features:
. New interior electrochromic rearview mirror with map lights, temperature and compass display standard on Sahara, optional on Sport and Rubicon models
. New four-spoke steering wheel
. Additional power outlet on the dash
. Replacing the optional sound bar, new standard corner pods located just behind the b-pillar on both sides of the vehicle house interior lamps, providing theater lighting and optional speakers
. Dark Slate or Khaki interior

For 2003, Jeep Wrangler is offered in four new exterior colors — Bright Silver Metallic, Inca Gold Pearl Coat, Intense Blue Pearl Coat and Light Khaki Metallic. Dark Khaki replaces Tan on the new three-ply soft-top, that retains the quiet features of the previous four-ply top, while being easier to operate. Sport and Sahara models feature new badging. A new exterior mirror design reduces vibration, while increasing stability and durability.
Sold in 100 countries around the world, Jeep Wrangler is available in right- and left-hand drive versions. Wrangler is built at DaimlerChrysler’s Toledo (Ohio) Stickney Avenue assembly plant.


New Rubicon Model
Dana 44 heavy-duty front and rear axles
Tru-Lok™ rear electronically controlled locking differentials with limited slip. A push-button operated switch allows either both the front and rear axles to be locked or just the rear differential for increased off-road performance
4.11 axle ratio
Rock-Trac™ heavy-duty part-time transfer case with 4.0:1 low range
LT245/75R16 MTR 31"-tall tires
16" x 8" Moab aluminum wheels
Four-wheel disc brakes
Diamond plate sill guards
Unique “Rubicon” graphic

2.4-liter Power Tech™ DOHC, 16-valve I-4 engine replaces 2.5-liter Power Tech OHV, eight-valve engine
42RLE four-speed automatic transmission with skid plate is optional with 2.4-liter and 4.0-liter engines

Four-wheel disc brakes optional on Sport and Sahara

New exterior colors: Intense Blue Pearl Coat, Inca Gold Pearl Coat, Bright Silver Metallic and Light Khaki Metallic
Top color: Dark Khaki replaces Tan
New side view mirror design

Dark Slate and Khaki replace Agate and Camel interior colors
New vinyl steering wheel for SE and X models
New leather-wrapped steering wheel for Sport, Sahara and Rubicon models
New front seats
Smoker’s Package optional on all models
Auxiliary 12-volt outlet
Speaker Pods replace Sound Bar
New flush-mounted AM/FM cassette radio with CD changer control
New flush-mounted AM/FM compact disc radio with CD changer control
New electrochromic rearview mirror standard on Sahara

Interior Upper Head Impact Protection to meet 2003 federal standard
LATCH (Lower Anchors and upper Tethers for CHildren)
On-Board Refueling Vapor Recovery (ORVR)
NOTE: The information shown is preliminary and based on data available at the time of publication.

Preliminary Specs:
(measurements in inches (millimeters) unless otherwise noted)

Engine: 4.0-liter PowerTech™ I-6
Transmission: Automatic / Manual
Transfer Case: NV241OR with 4.0:1 Low Range
Axle: Dana M44 4.10 ratio
Driver selectable electricpneumatic locking axles front and rear
Wheelbase: 93.4 (2373)
Overall Length (including spare tire): 156.1 (3966.3)
Overall Width: 68.2 (1734.6)
Height: 70.8 (1800.3) hard top / 72.0 (1831.6) soft top
Track (front/rear): 57.6 (1463) / 57.8 (1470)
Running Ground Clearance: 10.2 (259.0)
Approach Angle: 45.1 degrees
Ramp Breakover Angle: 25.8 degrees
Departure Angle: 34.4 degrees
Headroom (front/rear): 41.3 (1050.4) / 39.5 (1004)
Legroom (front/rear): 40.9 (1040.3) / 35.3 (896.1)

Cargo Volume:
Rear seat up 11.6 cu. ft. hard top / 12.0 cu. ft. soft top
Rear seat folded 42.4 cu. ft.hard top / 42.4 cu. ft. soft top
Rear seat removed 46.1 cu. ft. hard top / 47.7 cu. ft. soft top
Total Volume:
Rear seat up 105.8 cu. ft. soft top / 104.0 cu. ft. hard top
Rear seat folded 94.6 cu. ft. soft top / 91.6 cu. ft. hard top

Curb Weight 3715 lbs. (1688kg) 4.0L 4WD M5
3745 lbs. (1699kg) 4.0L 4WD A4

Assembly Plant Toledo (Ohio) Wrangler

This page last updated: 16-Apr-2008

Content and Design © 2002-present WanderingTrail,  Ron Seegert
Common Sense and Safety should always be observed when working on your vehicle or doing modifications. Jackstands, wheel blocks, disconnecting the battery are a few of the basic safety precautions that should be used and may not be mentioned in the write ups on this site. You are responsible for your own installation, these write ups are a helpful guideline and should not be taken as an official installation instruction. My write up may be different from the kits currently out there, so alwasy double check the manufacturers installation instructions when installing anything. I try to keep the site up to date with changes that have occured as I discover them, but may not have the latest unless someone lets me know. If you feel that an install is above your capabilities after reading my write ups, I recommend getting together with a club and getting some help. Only a few times have I needed to employe some actual help from a shop to get something done. Usually welding or A/C work.
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