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CVT Dropped?

Discussion in 'Compacts: Renegade, Patriot, Compass, Caliber' started by chuckt, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. chuckt

    chuckt Well-Known Member

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    While having my 98 G Caravan serviced for an oil change (91,000 miles and has only needed a battery and serpentine belt change), I visited the show room to see the new vans. I also spotted and looked at the Jeeps on the floor. They must have been 2013 carry overs. What I saw on the sticker for the Compass was that it had a CVT. I am no fan of slip and slide but am not in the market for a Jeep either. (I wish Dodge would bring back the SWB Caravan.)
    Reading some of the threads, I happened to go to the Jeep web site and could not find a CVT available for the Compass (figuring it was the cheapest) or other models in the specs. Did Jeep drop the CVT?
     
  2. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    You can still get the CVT in certain combinations but a conventional automatic replaced it in most.
     
  3. chuckt

    chuckt Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if it is due to reliability and performance problems? I noted that both VW and Audi had issues with the design and Nissan has taken JATCO to task. I just cannot see Jeep, being known for ruggedness, to adopt the CVT. If the case is that Jeep dropped the CVT, how does this action make the current owners feel? In 2003, I was looking for another car and really considered the Caliber but dropped further research when I saw the CVT (a manual was out of the question since the wife must use the vehicle and I really did not want to teach it).
     
  4. Stratuscaster

    Stratuscaster Vaguely badass...
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    There has been lots of talk about the CVT2 and the issues that some owners have had, the fact that CVT2 units apparently aren't repaired but rather replaced, and the fact that some consumers simply don't like how a CVT operates, since it tends to keep the engine in a certain power band that can cause the impression that things under the hood are noisy and harsh. Still other CVT owners had enjoyed their cars - or at the very least, put up with them.

    The availability of the CVT2L is what allowed Patriot and now Compass to have Trail Rated models. I believe that is the only remaining use of the CVT.

    Part of the dropping of the CVT could very well be that the contract with JATCO to supply the CVTs has ended or has been changed to provide fewer units. That's purely a guess.
     
  5. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    Agree. The Jeep Freedom Drive II (optional) CVT2L has a 19:1 crawler ratio that allowed the Compass and Patriot a Trail Rated badge. The stick, 41TE or 62TE version transaxles are not Trail Rated. The base Compass and Patriot (Freedom Drive I) is a more civilian vehicle and is not Trail Rated. Now teamed with Fiat and their sourced transaxles, we will likely be letting this contact end.
    The Caliber CVT has done well in the field (I have a 2007 SXT) and is one of Chrysler's least problematic automatic transaxles, reliability-wise. There is no rebuilding these at the dealer level. You can change fluid and filter and some external pieces. If you happen to wear one out, rebuild kits are available online.
    'New one installed and the old one sent back' is probably a stipulation in the contract with JATCO to supply them. ZF 8 and 9 speeds will be the same way and you are looking at thousands of dollars more for one of them than a CVT unit.
    At school, we took one apart and put it together just to get an idea of how it worked, but the instructor did note to us that we would not be doing this in the shop.
    CVT 'feel' is probably it's demise here, although the theory of infinite ratios and selecting the best one for the given instant seems like the best possible solution in any vehicle transmission. That's the beauty of CVT. It is more widely accepted than here in the US, where we grew up used to gears shifting in 'steps'. The CVT 'slide' uncomfortably feels like it is slipping, but it isn't. Some software upgrades for the TCM have helped the progressive ratio change 'feel' to be more acceptable.
    It does have a passing gear kickdown and you can watch the tach creep up and down slightly on hills. The torque converter can go into 'lock-up' much sooner and stay in 'lock-up' much later for better fuel economy. I can get 38 mpg highway with the 2.0L.
    The various Jeep drive systems are covered here. Click on 'details' to watch a video of how they work:
    http://www.jeep.com/en/4x4/
    The JATCO is so much more refined than the crudely mechanical (but still beautiful to watch in action) DAF Variomatic:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NeyoNdsHTI
     
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  6. floridaman2013

    floridaman2013 Active Member

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    What ImperialCrown says is all good except for those of us who need towing power. the CVT when compared to conventional automatics was very weak for towing loads. Just recently Nissan and Subaru have upped their tow ratings but still way below that of conventional automatics. My daughter bought a 2012 Compass CVT last year and I drove it. What a dog with the 2.0! I would never but any vehicle like that. I'm not saying they are bad, just gutless in comparison. I'll keep my Grand Cherokee and Nissan Frontier.
     
  7. link3721

    link3721 Yes, This MK Goes Off-Road

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    +1 ImperialCrown, that pretty much covers it. Only thing I have to add is that the CVT seems very sensitive to fluid quality. Changing the fluid and filter fixed some noises I was having in mine. Mine has the Autostick, which I feel helps avoid certain downfalls of the trail rated version, mostly highway passing. You don't have to wait for it to spool up, just drop a couple "gears" to get in the engines power band and you're good. I've had my Patriot for 5 years now and have a hard time complaining about the CVT.
     
  8. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    The Caliber, Compass and Patriots are quite heavy vehicles for 4-cylinders. Add AWD extra drag/weight into it and they are even slower. They were not intended to house a V6 in the engine compartment, but the turbo 2.4L was 'adequate'. Fuel economy was a prime powertrain design consideration for the PM/MK triplets. The Caliber FWD is about 600 lbs (272 kg) heavier than the Neon was (but a much safer, more robust structure).
    Only use Mopar CVTF+4 fluid in these transaxles. The CVT fluid is green instead of red.
    JATCO does manufacture CVTs that handle much higher torques and could sustain the torque of a V6 or even V8 engines.
    I am glad that the Cherokee offers a V6 option and better towing numbers for those that require them. The Cherokee's ZF 9-speed has yet to be proven, but has to have better public/reviewer acceptance than the CVT did.
     
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  9. chuckt

    chuckt Well-Known Member

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    Nissan is introducing the Micra, a vehicle under $10,000 in Canada. Even with such a low budget car, it has a 5 speed automatic rather than a CVT. That tells one a lot since Nissan is/was really committed to the CVT across its product line.
    Imperial Crown, that was a nice video. A set of variable pulleys and V-belts. Although you state that it is the crude DAF, it still does not give anybody a warm feeling inside. I acknowledge that the auto mfr's are trying to turn out higher and higher geared automatics (and the CVT, giving a continouous ratio is the ultimate), there is the law of decreasing returns. Yes, a 3 speed is hugely better than a 2-speed but a 9-speed doesn't have the same rate of return in comparison to am 8-speed.
    I think that the Caliber had all the right dimensions and would have been a much sweeter vehicle with a 6-speed automatic.
     
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