The Jeep YJ, sold as the Wrangler, replaced the much-loved but slower-selling Jeep CJ in 1987 and was built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada until the plant closed on April 23, 1992. It was a new design with a wider wheelbase, slightly less ground clearance, a galvanized body and more comfort. The YJ also had a leaf spring suspension similar to that of the CJ, however, the springs were wider, and the YJs sported trackbars and swaybars for added handling. YJs are easily identifiable by their rectangular headlights, which were a source of controversy when introduced. Despite the new grill, the body is very similar to the CJ’s, and it is interchangeable with some minor modifications. Many CJ owners with a rusted body replace them with a newer YJ body, they are almost cosmetically identical and the lines from the nose match up perfectly. 632,231 YJs were built through model year 1995, though YJs were still produced into mid ’96 bringing the total production number to 685,071 units.
The YJ used a 2.5 L AMC 150 I4 or optional 4.2 L AMC 258 I6 until 1991. That year, a fuel injected 180 hp (134 kW) 4.0 L AMC 242 variant replaced the 112 hp (84 kW) 4.2 L straight-6.
The roll cage was extended in 1992 to allow for rear shoulder belts, and anti-lock brakes were added as an option the next year. An automatic transmission option for 4-cylinder Wranglers came in 1994 along with a center high-mounted stop light
In 1994, the slave cylinder on manual transmissions was moved outside of the transmission’s bellhousing to allow for easier replacement, and in 1995 larger U-joints were used.
YJ Wrangler Renegade
From 1991 until 1994, Jeep produced an options package on the YJ Wrangler listed as the “Renegade Decor Group”. Initially, all Renegades were White, Black or Red. In 1992, Blue was added, in 1993, Bronze. The Renegade Decor Group was a $4,266.00 option over a base Wrangler in 1991 and included special alloy wheels, exclusive body flares, along with many other features.
North American YJ/Wrangler were available in the following standard trims.
- Base (also referred to as “S”&”SE” at different points in the model run; first few years the back seat and rear bumperettes were optional, some years the 6cyl engine was an option, other years only the 4cyl was available in the “Base” model)
- Laredo (Chrome grille, bumpers, and trim, hard top and hard full doors, tinted windows, faux leather interior, body color fender flares and alloy wheels)
- Islander (which included “Sunset” Islander graphics and body colored wheel flares)
- Sport (which featured “sport” graphics and, beginning in 1991, a 4.0L 6 cylinder engine)
- Sahara (which came standard with most available options, including body color fender flares and alloy wheels)
- Renegade (which ran until 1994, and featured a similar option package as Sahara, but added premium wheels, deluxe interior group as well as oversized “Renegade” wheel flares and body cladding)
- Rio Grande (Available in champagne gold, moss green and white, with a southwest themed interior trim package, only the 4cyl engine was available, model was offered in the last two years of the YJ model run)