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Two new threads popped up today on the JL Wrangler Forums involving major power train failures: one is from a 3-week-old 2020 Wrangler that blew a timing chain; the other from a 2020 Wrangler with 4,500 kms (2,800 miles) that blew a transmission. Both in Canada. See screen shots below.

This is two major power train failures too many from what we normally see in one month, let alone in one day.

WTF is happening at FCA...?!?!?! Is the pandemic throwing quality into disarray...?



 

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Yes, I saw more engine and transmission failures in the Gladiator forums than I expected, given that the engine and transmission have been around a while. Misfire codes more common than you'd think. And longer than expected wait for parts.
 
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The baffling part is that the 8-speed automatic has been pretty stout. Why all these issues with the 2020 model year?
 

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Cost cutting?
 

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The other scary issue I've seen on the Gladiator forums is people resorting to adjust the play in their steering boxes themselves because the dealer can't (or won't) do anything about the wander that is common on JL and JT to lesser extent.

Is manufacturing tolerance so sloppy FCA (or whatever vendor) can't build steering boxes with a proper setup?
 

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Dealers can’t handle nuance. When an engine or transmission blow up, its black and white. Unfortunately, when a customer doesn’t like how much play the steering has, the dealer can simply go back to “it operates within OEM specifications” and ignore that customer.

But by ignoring the steering issue, FCA is opening itself for someone to organize a class-action suit.

It is really unfortunate that some automakers still operate as if these were the 1950s.
 

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PS - if Bronco offers a viable alternative to Wrangler, Jeep better watch out.
 

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FCA Canada is basically useless in helping you resolve serious issues like these.

I've given up calling as all they do is issue a case number, and then nothing happens. Literally nothing. If you call back and ask, they will just tell you what you want to hear so you will hang up. Not sure if it's just FCA Canada, or the franchise laws here or what, but it's a waste of time. Even when I sent back a very, very nasty survey about the service department at the dealer I bought my Caliber from, they didn't even bother to send a form letter, nevermind following up to see if it ever got resolved. For years afterwards, the service manager was still there too. I respect that the owner of the dealer stepped up and reimbursed me for the damage they caused, but it took far too long to get that resolution too.

I just end up working with our dealer, or an inside contact instead.
 
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I'm not even sure if FCA knows the root cause of the engine problems. Look through forums, I see engines replaced, heads replaced, camshafts and lifters replaced and multiple people getting misfires again after this work - and some claiming it's just "bad gas". All the while multiple "Jeep Cares" posts saying "we want to help" but no action. Several buybacks mentioned.
 

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I was on a rental car company bus last year wearing a Dodge polo shirt and another passenger asked me if I worked for FCA. I said no, I just own some of their vehicles. He said he was on his second or third transmission in his RAM 1500 and I think unfortunately had some problems again. But we have to keep in mind overall this transmission gets a lot of praise. Also, in forums we usually only hear about things going bad and not so much about all the ones that work fine.
 
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True. But people posting that their transmission or their engine blew up is not a daily occurrence even on enthusiasts forums. The fact that these are 2020 models that are only 3 weeks and 2 months old is very concerning.
 
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Wow are the "Jeep Cares" folks getting roasted on the Gladiator forums. I loved this post:
'I also don’t want some overly perky freakin’ millennial with a degree in social media marketing to tell me “Oh we’re sorry you’re having trouble with your new Gladiator. Please let us know if you want to escalate your concern blah, blah, blah....” '
 
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That seems to be their standard line. But I don’t blame those in the front lines at Jeep Cares; they are put in an impossible situation.

The root of the problem stems from a company that only pays lip service to customer service.
 

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PS - if Bronco offers a viable alternative to Wrangler, Jeep better watch out.
Agreed as long as Ford doesn't have the same teething problems as with the Explorer. Competition is obviously good.

I just watched some YouTube videos on BMW V8 N63 engines failures. Sometimes you wonder how car companies can stay in business with these kind of failures. Or is that the Internet problem where we only hear about what is broken? I am not sure. But it would be nice if innovation didn't just mean more gadgets but better reliability, too. It feels like the whole industry is going in the wrong direction. I agree though that components like the Pentastar or 8 speed should be pretty rock solid by now.

A year after I bought my 2010 Challenger R/T you saw a number of engine failures on forums due to broken timing chains that were caused by the guide failing. Strange thing was it was primarily just on (auto transmission) Challengers and I think some AWD Chrysler 300s with the 5.7L HEMI. If I recall correctly it was a combination of MDS and final drive ratio that caused the guide to break prematurely. FCA replaced the guide with a strengthen one for many owners through some customer service campaign.
 

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What's really confusing is the other side of the coin, when you see those very proactive FCA recalls:

"We recalled 7 vehicles for a potentially loose lower passenger-side door trim piece. The existence of the problem was initially deduced by Bayesian Search Theory using a Cray supercomputer, and was traced to vehicles produced between 1:30 & 2:30 PM on August 11, 2018. No damage was reported, and no complaints were registered."

How can this be the same company that lets numerous high-profile Wrangler issues pass without mention?!
 

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Dealers can’t handle nuance. When an engine or transmission blow up, its black and white. Unfortunately, when a customer doesn’t like how much play the steering has, the dealer can simply go back to “it operates within OEM specifications” and ignore that customer.

But by ignoring the steering issue, FCA is opening itself for someone to organize a class-action suit.

It is really unfortunate that some automakers still operate as if these were the 1950s.
I haven’t watched a ton of video reviews of the Wrangle and Gladiator, but pretty much every one I have mentions the huge amount of play in the steering. One reviewer even rocked the steering wheel back and forth between about the 10 and 2 positions, with practically no reaction from the steering.
 

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MotorTrend reported that the steering was fixed for 2020 in the Wrangler. The author had been complaining about the play in their 2019 long term vehicle, drove a 2020, then asked Jeep about it. Jeep confirmed there had been some adjustments. Perhaps it didn’t make it to the Gladiator.
 

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I'm not even sure if FCA knows the root cause of the engine problems. Look through forums, I see engines replaced, heads replaced, camshafts and lifters replaced and multiple people getting misfires again after this work - and some claiming it's just "bad gas". All the while multiple "Jeep Cares" posts saying "we want to help" but no action. Several buybacks mentioned.
These latest developments leave me really concerned and even depressed at the current state of affairs at FCA.

I wait in joyful hope for the arrival of the next Fearless Leader in Q1- 2021
Dear Lord......Please Hurry!
 
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