2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel: An In-Depth Look Under The Hood

  • The 2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel is on its way to dealers.
  • Jeep says the models are in response to consumer demand.
  • The new EcoDiesel has some pretty cool features to boost torque.

Well this is . . . weird. Why, in this day and age, would Jeep make a diesel? Things are going greener by the day. Car companies that were heavily into diesels are going the EV way instead, and the writing may be on the wall already for gas-powered engines. The only thing I can think of is how the 2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel would make the perfect post-apocalyptic ride when the planet runs out of gas.

Oh wait, I see why they made it. It’s right there in the specs: 442 lb-ft. of torque. Well that’s 442 good reasons right there. Officially, however, Jeep says overwhelming consumer demand is what prompted them to drop the EcoDiesel in the Wrangler. Assuming you’re taking your Jeep off-road, the more torque, the better, right? I mean, you’re going to have to pull yourself out of bogs and ruts and up steep snow-covered ravines and whatnot, so torque is your friend.

Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel: How It’s Equipped

For 2020, all Wrangler four-door models will give you the choice of a new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6. This diesel-burning plant puts out 260 horsepower (not bad) and 442 lb-ft. of torque (fabulous!). The drivetrain also has a stop-start feature standard, so you’ll get even better mileage. The Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel can be had in Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon flavors. Jeep says they will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.

This is the third generation of FCA’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. Jeep has worked it over to assure minimal levels of noise, vibration and harshness, while also increasing power and fuel economy. The diesel mill has a compacted graphite iron block; forged steel crankshaft and con rods; aluminum alloy pistons; and heat-treated aluminum cylinder heads with individual bearing caps. The EcoDiesel has dual overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder and a 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel
2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel in Rubicon trim. Photo: FCA US LLC.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel: Diving Deeper

There’s a bunch of significant changes that impact the new EcoDiesel’s performance. First off, there’s a new water-cooled turbocharger with a variable geometry turbine. A low-friction bearing increases efficiency and responsiveness during transient conditions (e.g. when you’re modulating the throttle a lot). Jeep redesigned the cylinder head intake ports for higher flow to increase performance and fuel economy. The exhaust gas re-circulation system was updated as well to a dual-loop system, meaning both low and high pressure. According to Jeep, the added low-pressure circulation system draws gases after the diesel particulate filter to aid fuel economy.

The compression ratio was decreased to 16.0:1 from 16.5:1 for – you guessed it – better fuel economy. The fuel injector nozzles were redesigned for higher pressures (29,000 psi/2,000 bar) and to better match the new combustion chamber. Elsewhere under the hood, the pistons are lightweight aluminum alloy jobs with thinner rings and a low-friction, diamond-like carbon coating to cut parasitic loss. Jeep even went so far as to offset the piston pin by 0.3 millimeters from the center line to work the NVH numbers even lower.

Okay Jeep, we get it: This guy is the strong but silent type. Jeep even reworked and improved the vacuum pump system (there’s two of them) with new blades.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel
The EcoDiesel, now available for the 2020 Jeep Wrangler, was on of Wards 10 Best Engines for three consecutive years (2014, 2015, 2016). Photo: FCA US LLC.

Transmission & Transfer Case Tech

All EcoDiesel Jeeps come with a new TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic to handle the greater torque load. This new gearbox is calibrated for lower RPM shifts, as well as the off-road rigors Jeeps are commonly subjected to. There are more than 40 individual shift maps to optimize shift points for fuel economy, performance, and 4×4 capability. Good job Jeep!

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel uses third-gen Dana 44, front and rear, heavy-duty axles. All Wrangler EcoDiesels feature a 3.73 axle ratio with two transfer cases: the Rock-Trac two-speed case with a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio (Rubicon models); and the Command-Trac part-time two-speed case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio on Sport and Sahara models.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel
2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel in Sahara trim. Photo: FCA US LLC.

Does The Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel Use DEF?

A 5.1-gallon diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank is located just behind the fuel tank, with the filler port next to where you put in the diesel fuel. Jeep says you’ll have to refill the DEF when you change your oil, which should be up to 10,000 miles. Impressive. Just in case you don’t trust that, levels are monitored via the new DEF gauge in the front cluster.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel Gallery

Photos & Source: FCA US LLC.

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