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Cherokees on the move

by David Zatz on


Today was the day 2014 Jeep Cherokees went from “in storage” to “moving out,” at long last. Chrysler had put a quality hold on the vehicles until a firmware upgrade was developed, tested, and installed, rather than relying on dealers to “reflash” the cars or, worse, letting them get sold and then issuing a recall or “customer satisfaction program.” In addition, each and every vehicle is being test driven to make sure that the issues have been resolved.

While the general public is likely unaware of the issues and delays, Allpar readers and other more dedicated industry followers have watched the Jeep Cherokee’s launch date get pushed back numerous times. There have also been delays in getting the nine-speed automatic transmissions to full production volume, though Chrysler reportedly beat the ZF factory into regular production; their self-made transmissions are tested on the same equipment as ZF’s, reportedly to the same standards. The 3.2 liter V6 engines were reportedly ready fairly early on, but TigerShark fours, according to one source, were not.

The primary issue in this case is with the innovative and highly efficient axles, which rely on “zero slippage” dog clutches. The problem is that the timing of this type of clutch is hard to predict precisely, which seems to have thrown off the transmission programming; the transmission itself has nanosecond-scale timing. (This analysis is partly conjecture based on available information.)

The new “KL” Jeep Cherokee has gotten rave reviews so far, based on ride-and-drive sessions, both on-road and off-road.

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