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It’s a rough Recall Friday

by David Zatz on

A rather embarrassing item on today’s recall agenda is the nine-speed automatic in the 2018 Pacifica (except Hybrid) and 2019 Cherokee; one part of the transmission may not be welded properly, resulting in a loss of power. Never fear, though, apparently just five transmissions in vehicles sold in the USA had this problem — a far cry from the recent million-plus truck recall.  There may have been a few sold in other countries, as well.

2019 pacifica

The NHTSA hasn’t posted a history on this one, so we don’t know how it happened or how they caught it. The recall begins on September 14, with company number U85 and NHTSA number 18V492000.

Next up are around 61 USA-spec Chrysler Pacificas, and possibly a number sold elsewhere (though the US is, by far, the largest market for these — who are we kidding, for all — minivans).  The issue here is that the front axle half-shafts may have been put together badly, so the shaft isn’t properly secured to the CV joint. That can lead to loss of power, or movement while in Park. The company probably doesn’t have to tell you to use the parking brake until you get this fixed.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

The problem here is that PHEV axle shafts were used in a small number of non-PHEV minivans, so the retaining ring doesn’t secure the axle shaft as it should. Once the company found the problem, it went through production records to find minivans with the problem. Fortunately for Chrysler (or Windsor Assembly) fans, the error was made by a supplier — Posco Daewoo America, of Pontiac — not Chrysler itself.

Chrysler discovered the issue on May 7, 2018, when a mobility upfitter found their van wouldn’t move forward when in Drive; a dealer replaced the half-shaft. From May 7 to June 21, FCA and the supplier found three cases where PHEV production had moved to non-PHEV production where the half-shafts may have been made improperly. So far, there have been no reports of problems other than that one warranty replacement — 15% of the “misbuilt” vehicles, and .9% of the total production.

The minivans with the bad part were made from February 22, 2018, to June 11, 2018. This is FCA recall U80 and NHTSA reference 18V-493.  The parts are likely already available, and the planned start date will be on or before September 14.

2019 Jeep Cherokee off-road

Finally, we have a half-shaft bearing cage failure, which again causes loss of power or movement in Park, this time for 2018 Cherokees with all wheel drive; 702 vehicles in the US, and likely a smaller number elsewhere in the world, are affected. The bearing cage may not have been properly heat treated by GKN (of North Carolina), the supplier. Affected Cherokees were made from October 30, 2017, to November 4, 2017. This recall will, again, start on or before September 14; it’s FCA number U78, NHTSA number 18V-494.

Curious about how they discovered it? A single Cherokee was brought into the dealer on February 1, 2018, with 892 miles and a clicking noise with occasional surging or stalling. The dealer replaced the right front half-shaft. Going into March, GKN reviewed the failed part, reproduced the failure, and found the specific problem. They identified the bad lot, and shared the results with FCA, apparently in early June. The company isolated the affected cars, and confirmed the supplier’s results.

So far FCA knows of a single half-shaft that has failed, around 0.1% of all the affected Cherokees. There have been no accidents or injuries so far.

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