9 Nerdy Facts About The Jeep Gladiator Mojave
Get nerdy before you get dirty in Jeep’s first “desert-rated” truck.
Jeep launched the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave at the Chicago Auto Show. It's being touted as Jeep's first "Desert Rated" vehicle, one designed for high-speed desert running rather than low-speed rock crawling. What Jeep didn't have to say is that it's aimed squarely at the yet-to-be-introduced Ford Ranger Raptor. We took a walk-around with a Jeep product expert to learn more geeky details about the Gladiator Mojave.
There's a reason it's a Gladiator and not a Wrangler.
Why base the Mojave on the Gladiator rather than the Wrangler? It's not just because the pickup is new and shiny. Chrysler thought the Gladiator was the better choice for their first "Desert Rated" vehicle, as the longer wheelbase gives it more stability for high-speed off-road driving.
The Gladiator-specific frame bits have been strengthened.
The Gladiator's frame differs from that of a Wrangler from roughly the B-pillar to just aft of the rear axle. Engineers concentrated on that area when they strengthened the frame, primarily with additional welding.
The Gladiator Mojave is the first production vehicle to have hydraulic jounce bumpers.
The jounce bumper is the suspension's means of last resort, intended to cushion the moving bits should the suspension bottom out. Usually they're made of rubber, which is fine for street driving and low-speed off-roading. Since the Mojave is designed to crash-land, Jeep used hydraulic jounce bumpers. They're available as aftermarket accessories but this is the first time they've been factory-fitted.
The front shock reservoirs live behind the front bumper.
One of the Mojave's most important upgrades is the change to 2.5-inch diameter external-reservoir shocks. Up front, those external reservoirs are tucked in behind the front bumper and behind the skid plate, connected to the shock bodies by hoses. The rear shock reservoirs, which are less vulnerable, are mounted next to the shock body.
The steering knuckles are cast iron.
The stock Gladiator uses an aluminum steering knuckle to reduce unsprung weight. Aluminum is fine for the low-speed off-roading for which Jeep's "Trail Rated" vehicles are designed, but for high speed and hard impacts, the Mojave needs more strength—hence the switch to cast iron. Other strengthened parts include the track bar, front upper control arms, and shock and jounce-bumper brackets.
The hood scoop isn't functional, and shouldn't be.
One of the styling details that differentiates the Mojave is the hood scoop. But if you're driving fast in the desert, a hood scoop is simply a more expedient alternative than hand-shoveling sand into the engine compartment. Hence the hood scoop is sealed, and the Jeep spokesperson told us it'd take a rotary tool to open it up.
The steering wheel was inspired by Dodge.
The Mojave's steering wheel has thumb rests to help the driver stay oriented vis-à-vis the wheel's position during high-speed driving, an idea that Jeep engineers borrowed from Dodge. Regular Gladiator (and Wrangler) wheels are smooth, as protrusions can be problematic if the wheel kicks back hard.
The wider track width is done with wheels.
The Mojave needed a slightly wider track (about 0.6 inch) to provide clearance for the larger Fox shocks. Rather than change the suspension bits, Jeep accomplished this by changing the offset of the wheels. So, note to future Mojave owners: Gladiator Rubicon wheels won't fit, at least without a spacer.
That high-range lockable rear diff? It's a year away.
One of the features Jeep touted is the ability to lock the rear axle in 4WD High range, something that can't be done on current Gladiators or Wranglers—and it turns out it can't be done on the Mojave, at least right away. Jeep plans to incorporate this feature in 2022 model year vehicles, and we should see it in the Rubicon as well.