The first thing to do is look at the MK Parts Book. You can get it here at nearly,normals site: http://www.nearlynormal.biz/jeep/patriot_info.html
Down load it and save it. Once you have it you can go through the front and rear suspension, transaxle and rear axle sections and you’ll find that the only major component differences are the following:
Transaxle, CVT2 vs CVT3 (2L)
Front half shafts – may be a different spline to match the transaxle (likely) or a different length (not likely).
Rear Axle Assembly – different gear ratio (likely) or different mounting (not likely).
Clip for rear axle vent tube for FD II only (water fording).
Transmission Control Module.
Rear Lower Control Arm – has extra bracing. See pics 3rd post, last picture http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f98/patriot-limited-fd-ii-test-drive-402333/
If you fully scroll down threw ALL of the pages just keep an eye on the BODY and TRANS headings looking for anything that is EXCLUSIVELY for BODY 74 (Patriot) and DAW (Cont.Var. w/Off-Rd Crawl Ratio Tran) and you’ll find what makes up the FD II package. What you will NOT find a difference in is springs, shocks, struts or any other suspension components including spacers. The codes such as SDC, SDE, SDF, ZFR, ZUR, ZFS etc. are different pieces for different engines, transmissions, FWD, A/C etc.
Having said all that and if you’ve made it this far the answer that you’re looking for is:
The FWD Patriot has 8.0’ gc
The FD I Patriot has 8.5” gc
The FD II Patriot has 9.0” gc because of a .7” taller tire = .35” more gc.
Now I do know my math, that’s only 8.85 gc
How about +.15” for marketing hype. Engineering tells them “about 1”, the first draft of the sales brochures drops the “about” and the final comes out with “a full 1” over the standard Patriot. Sounds like good PR work to me.
Figures don’t lie but I do expect to catch some flak on this. That’s why I had to put in all of the stuff from the parts manual.
Additional input is welcome!