Earlier this year, Jeep introduced the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, a new trim level for its pickup truck designed specifically for high-speed off-roading in the desert. More than just a badge, it has real mechanical improvements to make it last in the hottest, harshest places on Earth.
What Are the Mojave Parts?
In order to survive hitting rocks, dunes, holes, bumps, moguls, and jumps at high speed, Jeep needed to make the suspension both stronger and softer. The individual parts, such as the axles and steering components, needed to be made stronger to withstand impacts. Meanwhile, the suspension needed to be made softer so it could better absorb the terrain and keep the vehicle stable.
The most important parts are made by Fox Racing, which makes off-road shock absorbers and other parts for race trucks. Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with remote reservoirs are installed at all four wheels. The large-diameter shocks are necessary to cope with the force of impacts, and the remote reservoirs give the oil inside the shocks a place to cool down. Overheated shocks are common in the desert and lead to blown-out seals and shock failure.
Whereas other trucks, most notably the Ford F-150 Raptor, have Fox Shocks, Jeep also installs Fox hydraulic jounce bumpers in the front suspension. Better known as hydraulic bumpstops, think of them as a second set of shock absorbers. A typical bumpstop would be a piece of rubber designed to keep the axle from slamming into the frame when the suspension bottoms out after a big hit or jump. Hydraulic bumpstops keep the axle from hitting the frame and also slow down the axle’s movement and absorb some of the force, giving the regular shock absorbers an extra hand with the worst impacts. The front end is also raised 1 inch to give the front suspension more room to move before it bottoms out.
Other parts to complete the Mojave package include Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires for better grip, a half-inch-wider front track to increase stability, a skidplate under the front bumper to protect the radiator and engine, and reinforcements to the truck’s frame to cope with the abuse. Jeep also installs its standard 2.72:1 four-wheel-drive transfer case on Mojave models so they can go faster in four low.
How Is a Mojave Different Than a Rubicon?
Jeep’s Rubicon models are designed for extreme technical off-roading and rock crawling rather than high-speed off-roading, making them great all-rounders. Rubicon models receive a 4.0:1 four-wheel-drive transfer case to increase their ability to crawl over larger rocks and obstacles. Similarly, Rubicon models have the ability to unlock their front anti-roll bar at low speeds. This allows the front axle to pivot much farther than it normally would on-road and get the front wheels over large obstacles and down into deep holes without tipping the vehicle.
Rubicon models also have manually selectable differential lockers on both the front and rear axles. These lock the left and right wheels on each axle together so there is always power going to all four wheels. This is important off-road when one or two wheels may not be touching the ground and would otherwise spin while the wheel with traction doesn’t move. The Mojave does not have a manually selectable front axle locker. Instead, it uses the front brakes to stop the wheel in the air from spinning and force the wheel on the ground to turn.
What Does Desert Rated Mean?
For years, the most capable Jeeps off-road have come with a Trail Rated badge. This means they can tackle extremely difficult off-roading situations right off the showroom floor without aftermarket modifications. With the Mojave models, Jeep has introduced a new Desert Rated badge.
Jeep says there are five criteria for a Desert Rated badge: ride control and stability, traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, and desert prowess. To meet them, Mojave models are subjected to a desert racing course with terrain similar to the Baja 1000 as well as low-speed desert trails.