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WTF is going on at FCA?

Discussion in 'Mopar / FCA News' started by aldo90731, Jul 20, 2020.

  1. Adventurer55

    Adventurer55 Well-Known Member

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    My grandfather bought a 54 Belvedere brand new. Got to drive it off the assembly line in a promo the dealer had at the time. Manual steering with powerflite. He hated that car. He sold it to his aunt who had it until she died. She in turn gave it to my dad. It wouldn't pull a sick wh--- out of bed. He always kicked himself for not waiting until 55 and getting one with a V8. Funny thing was, he never bought another new car until 1971 a Dodge Coronet. Had just bought my dad's hand me downs which were usually about 2 years old.
     
  2. page2171

    page2171 Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with you. If it was up to me, Jeep would only get 4wd models. Base trims would get the "normal" 4wd setup, and higher trims would get the Trailhawk setup. Dodge and Chrysler would get FWD and on-road biased 4wd setups.
     
    XRT2SRT and Adventurer55 like this.
  3. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Yes. This is the same broken record @valiant67, Erik, myself and many others had been saying but stopped because no one wanted it to hear it: that offering so many pedestrian models that competed head-on against mainstream vehicles was going to dilute the Jeep brand and, over time, was going to make them gradually less competitive. And that’s exactly what we are seeing - sales of Renegade, Compass and Cherokee were declining by double digits well before the lockdown, and incentives were going up significantly.

    The Jeep brand has now effectively split up into two: a desirable group of Jeeps made up of Wrangler, Gladiator and Grand Cherokee on one side, and a ho-hum group made up of everything else.

    In which camp upcoming Grand Cherokee replacement and Wagoneer land will depend greatly on the product execution. If they are such that the public views them as rather generic offerings pinned against Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Explorer, they will end up in the 2nd group.

    The good news is that Wrangler took Jeep’s brand identity with itself to the 1st group.
     
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  4. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Here’s another post; this one encapsulates what thousands of JL owners are experiencing with their brand-new Jeeps:

    “Since day 1, I have had issue with the steering. Wandering and play at the wheel. If I had driven the Jeep prior to purchasing I would not have bought this vehicle. It would needed to have been corrected or another 2 door 2020 Willys found WITHOUT this sloppy steering . My JKs ( 2doors) never drove like this.

    Jeep continues to work on issue but they admit, ‘they have NO fix’.

    I am working with a Jeep Care contact which has been helpful thus far.

    I suggest you take it in and test drive with the technician to point out your concern. Otherwise, the technician will drive alone and say nothing is wrong. I had to do this on my last visit since they are convinced wandering and lose steering are ‘working as design’ is good enough......it is NOT good enough. Something is wrong and not all Wranglers have this problem.”

    —Harts1Spitfire, Rochester, MN; 2020 Jeep Wrangler Willys
     
  5. Jerry Simcik

    Jerry Simcik Well-Known Member

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    If you have a wandering steering, it's because you don't have enough caster. Install a camber adjustment kit if you can't adjust it more with the OEM components.

    You want as much negative caster as you can dial in. This will keep the steering centered and WILL NOT cause additional wear on your tires (like a camber and toe will).

    I like my front ends aligned dead-ahead, very slightly toed in (negative) and cambered in (negative) on both sides, and leaned back as far as possible. I don't want the alignment set to try to compensate for a crown in the road, because that varies far too much as you travel and I want to know what the road is telling me. The only trade-off to high caster is a slight increase in steering effort, but again, that's EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT if you have a wandering suspension.
     
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  6. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    This isn't going to help if the underlying cause is a sloppy steering box or the frame is flexing where the steering box mounts - both issues which have been observed on JL and JT.
     
  7. Jerry Simcik

    Jerry Simcik Well-Known Member

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    Yes it will! Ask anyone who drives a Ford E-Series-based RV...

    High caster angles require the tire to LIFT the chassis when it tries to turn in either direction. Because of this, the tires will stay straight ahead as long as possible...

    If the steering box is loose or the frame it mounts to is weak the steering response MAY be delayed (because it will have to either take out the slack or flex before being able to overcome the forces needed to turn the tire), but the wander will be gone and the vehicle will track straight naturally.

    This is extremely well understood. Please read just about ANY alignment/vehicle handing information.

    For example: What is Caster? (Negative vs Positive Caster Effects) (at https://cartreatments.com/what-is-caster/ )

    The ONLY downsides of positive caster is increased steering effort and a risk of increased understeer. Neither of these should cause any real-world issue with a Jeep...
     
  8. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    I think it’s a little hard to say what will work, because nothing really has so far, at least not in all cases. The ones who SHOULD be offering a fix are conspicuously not doing so.
     
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  9. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    Here is my thought:
    The JL and JT steering is so marginal that just about anything out of tolerance may cause an issue. And maintaining tight tolerances is an issue, either for FCA or the low budget vendors selected. Maybe this is why there are so many people who still have issues after "repairs" and others who have reported success from different "fixes".
     
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  10. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    This is a perfect example of treating symptoms rather than the cause.
    Not everyone with steering problems on JL/JT is reporting wander. Some are, but there are enough other issues besides wander to indicate it's beyond alignment issues.
    And then, since these are built with a preset caster, why are only some experiencing the issue? Is the build that sloppy?
     
  11. Jerry Simcik

    Jerry Simcik Well-Known Member

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    Bullsnot!

    Even with the tightest steering setup you can imagine, a vehicle with too little caster will wander. It will drive like a shopping cart, and there are no roads as smooth and level as your local shopping center... Any imperfection will result in a sudden change in direction. Caster prevents this behavior.

    Regarding "slop" in the build, there are tolerances on EVERYTHING. Not all vehicles leave the factory EXACTLY THE SAME, and beyond that, once it's left the final check point, you have NO IDEA what happened to it. If it hit a curb, was strapped down overly tight on the hauler, had something modified, has been taken off-road, hit a pothole, loaded with gear differently, etc. It does not take much to tweak an alignment... That's why it's recommended that you get one every 6 months.
     
    #271 Jerry Simcik, Aug 7, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  12. Jerry Simcik

    Jerry Simcik Well-Known Member

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    That's likely because, speaking will all due respect, most automobile owners are not familiar with suspensions and steering systems. They do not understand how they really work and what creates the symptoms they are seeing; how can they then be trusted to properly identify the root cause? These are the same people who go from 32" tires to 40"s and wonder why they have "death wobble"....
     
  13. Adventurer55

    Adventurer55 Well-Known Member

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    With all due respect, are you saying it's all on the owners who simply don't understand the complexities of this setup?
     
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  14. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    Excuse me, I test drove twelve completely stock, brand-new JLs from five different dealerships: four of them drove like sh*t.

    I have been driving Wranglers for the past 12+ years. I don’t need an engineering degree to know when a Jeep wanders all over the road. Nor should I need an engineering degree for the dealer to take me seriously.

    Blaming the customer is the shortest path to bankruptcy.
     
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  15. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    When the first complaints came up on JL steering, everyone said "You just don't understand. A jeep doesn't handle like a BMW/Honda/whatever". But over time, more of the people complaining said "I had a (or several) JK(s) and it didn't have this issue".
    The same pattern is going on in the Gladiator forums now.

    Perhaps since the "solution" has been posted in this thread, this person needs to contact FCA and help them with the problem.
     
  16. aldo90731

    Staff Member Level III Supporter

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    This post popped up today:

    I have a 2019 JLUR. From the beginning the steering wasn’t right. I had wandering and a significant dead spot at the top. Driving it was tiring due to the constant adjustments required.

    First I tried the mopar lift LCAs. No improvement. Then I installed the alpine adjustable LCAs and a teraflex track bar. Some improvement as caster was at 6.8, but still difficult. Then I did a teraflex steering dampener. No difference. Lastly I tried the sector shaft brace. No improvement.

    During each of those mods I was taking it to the dealer to complain about the steering and letting them know what I was doing to try to fix it. They kept telling me it was normal, which I knew was ridiculous. After my last mod, I brought it back to the dealer with the same complaints. Finally the service manager agreed that something wasn’t right.

    After some cajoling, they put in a new steering box. the steering is now tight and right, as it should be. I’m glad this odyssey looks to be complete. My Jeep now steers fine.

    —Jasonep, Seattle, WA
    I am happy this individual got his steering problem resolved. But it shouldn’t take numerous visits and a fair bit of arm-twisting to get dealers to do their job. Especially on a $50,000 vehicle! Tens of thousands of Jeep owners have been experiencing this issue for the past three years. But unless one is willing to argue and coerce dealers into fixing the damn thing, most won’t even lift a finger.

    The longer FCA takes to seriously address this issue, the more different hypotheses, home remedies and one-off dealer solutions will pop up.
     
  17. page2171

    page2171 Well-Known Member

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    If it really is as simple as fixing the alignment, then this really isn't a good look for FCA. Because if it is just a change to the alignment specs, it means that FCA is either too incompetent to figure it out (when some random dude on a internet forum figured it out), or they are too lazy to address the issue. Neither inspires a whole lot of confidence in FCA.
     
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  18. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic

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    As I’ve said before, if the customers who are complaining about this were all first time Jeep buyers, then you could possibly attribute it to not understanding how or why Jeeps drive the way they do. When it’s customers commenting who have had several Jeeps already, and have test driven several different JL/JT’s and notice the difference in how the steering feels...then, no it’s not unfamiliarity with Jeep products or how they work.

    I’ve seen many videos claiming to have the “fix” by customers and outside parties, but that really should be unnecessary. The ones responsible for fixing the issue are the ones who designed and build these vehicles. That is if they are interested in satisfying the very “cash cow” customers they claim to love so much (for all the margins!!). And these “fixes” seem to me to be more about symptom management, and not actually curing the problem that’s causing the issue in the first place.

    I would love to have heard Norm’s take on all of this, and I REALLY wish Mr Sheaves was still hunting these waters to get his take on it. Unfortunately, them’s the breaks.
     
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  19. Adventurer55

    Adventurer55 Well-Known Member

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    It would appear from this person's experience that there is some steering gears out there that are not right.
     
  20. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    I have no doubt Norm would be turning, no, spinning in his grave. The quality issues such as this would be intolerable in his view. Especially when it concerns the bread and butter product (what Jeep is known for) of the Jeep brand.
     

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