Auto blogFri, 11 Jul 2014 10:10:00 EST
Dodge and Jeep are announcing recalls of a total of 895,000 Durango and Grand Cherokee models worldwide from the 2011 through 2014 model years. There's a possibility that the wiring in the sun visor can short circuit and cause a fire. It specifically affects vehicles built between January 5, 2010, and December 11, 2013, and there are approximately 651,000 of them in the US, 45,700 in Canada, 23,000 in Mexico and 175,000 outside of North America.
Screws that fasten the sunvisor to the headliner may pierce wires in the visor, if the part has been removed or serviced, potentially causing a fire risk. If the wires short circuit, they could overheat and potentially combust. The automakers report three injuries caused by this defect, and according to the investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "there may be a total of 52 unique fire incidents."
To fix the problem, Dodge and Jeep will inspect the vehicles for suspect wiring, and all of the models, whether damaged or not, will get a new sun visor spacer with a wire guide to stop the possibility of short circuits. According to the automakers' announcement, "this condition is not present in vehicles which have not had the headliner or vanity mirror serviced." They will notify affected owners, and repairs will begin in August.
I got a text message from Editor-In-Chief Sharon Carty one afternoon proclaiming that her new favorite SUV is our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee. And she's not alone. I'm not sure if anyone else on staff would go so far as to use the "favorite" descriptor, but after just over a month of honeymooning with our new long-termer, it's safe to say that the Jeep is quickly finding its way into the good graces of a number of Autoblog staffers.
There's good reason for all that praise, too. Thus far, the Jeep has proven itself to be incredibly competent and comfortable for daily life - it's functional, quiet, and packed with a host of amenities that make it easy to live with. It's been wholly trouble-free (with less than 4,000 miles on the clock as of this writing, it ought to be), but even nitpicks have been few and far between.
Jeep's saga with the National Traffic Safety Administration and the voluntary campaign to repair 1.56 million vehicles for allegedly unsafe trailer hitches, is getting yet another chapter. The controversy appeared to finally be over in January when the automaker found a supplier for the replacement parts. Nothing is ever that easy, though, and the government regulator is now requesting documents from the company to clarify why the repairs are taking so long to begin.
Jeep parent company Chrysler has until July 16 to submit documents and answers to NHTSA explaining the situation. The regulator claims that despite its compromise to inspect and repair the models with improper hitches in June 2013, Chrysler didn't find a part supplier until December and didn't order the replacements until January. The government agency believes that the first components weren't manufactured until May of this year and vehicles may not actually be repaired until as late as August. According to the report, if the Chrysler doesn't supply what NHTSA is asking for, the agency could "take additional appropriate action as warranted."
Throughout this entire process, Chrysler has asserted that the vehicles met the applicable crash test standards of the time, and it has kept NHTSA abreast of the repair activity. In a recently released statement it said that the regulator analyzed eight rear impact reconstruction tests and found the replacement hitch to be safe. To keep up with the high demand for replacements, Chrysler is working with multiple suppliers, and they are running three shifts, six days a week to get the parts ready as soon as possible.
You truly have to love surfing to practice the sport in the United Kingdom. The area isn't exactly teeming with warm beaches full of sunbathers, and absolutely no easy spots to find big waves. To be a UK surfer, you need to be a fearless adventurer, not to mention quite lucky. And driving a Jeep might help, too.
Surfers Oli Adams and Micah Lester are traveling around the British Isles in a Jeep Wrangler Overland trying to find the best surf spots out there. These guys don't fit the laid-back surfer stereotype, but that's because finding waves in the UK is hard work. They say that the waves at some of these spots only exist for about three hours every year when the current and winds are just right.
To find these surf spots, the Jeep's offroad capabilities are paramount. In some areas, as you'll see in the video, there isn't even a beach, just jagged rocks. It would be like the movie Endless Summer, that is, if it could start snowing at any moment. These guys are clearly dedicated to their sport.
Okay Jeep fans, you want more diesel options? Time to step up and prove it. The only way Jeep will offer a diesel powerplant in the Cherokee, according to brand head Mike Manley, is if sales of the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel nearly double.
Currently, about eight percent of the Grand Cherokees sold feature the 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V6. That's simply not enough to warrant the bringing an oil-burning Cherokee to the US market, despite the vehicle's presence in Europe, where it's sold with a 2.8-liter diesel V6.
"Cherokee is slightly different because of its weight and size. When I think about bringing Cherokee diesel here, I would like to see Grand Cherokee diesel get much higher than eight percent," Manley told Automotive News. "It would have to be in mid-double digits."
Automakers the world over are striving to find ways to make their models more efficient, and Chrysler has a solution for some versions of the 2015 Chrysler 200 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee (2014 model shown). The Tigershark 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the 200 and the 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 in the Cherokee are getting a slight boost later this year thanks to the addition of Chrysler's Engine Stop-Start system as standard equipment. The company predicts modest gains - a three-percent improvement in fuel economy and a three percent reduction in CO2 emissions with the new tech compared to without it. While it's not much, those who sit in traffic a lot may see a difference.
Chrysler's stop/start system uses a high-speed starter motor to restart the vehicle in a claimed a third of a second. It works by detecting when the vehicle comes to a stop and turning off the engine. A more powerful battery maintains all of the model's accessories while it sits. When the driver lets off the brake, the car starts up again to drive away. There is even a button in the cabin to turn the ESS off, if desired.
The Jeep will be the first to receive ESS in the third quarter of this year to coincide with the start of production of the 2015 model-year version. The 200 will follow in the fourth quarter as a rolling change in production.
For a certain cohort of young folks, Jurassic Park is a touchstone film from their childhood. Not only did it play into practically every little boy's love of dinosaurs, the movie included some great action scenes and special effects that still hold up today. In its latest video, The Aficionauto takes a look the Jurassic Park Motor Pool, a California car club with over 40 fans who created replica vehicles from the iconic film.
The club is made up of an interesting cross-section of people. Many of them were Jeep Wrangler fans that already loved off-roading and Jurassic Park, and liked the idea of bringing them together. Like any close-knit club, it ends up being about community and people coming together to share their interests. It's quite a heartwarming video. Also, be sure to stay until the end because The Aficionauto teases a future Jurassic Park-themed vehicle. Scroll down to check out the motor pool.
Chrysler is issuing recalls covering roughly 31,700 vehicles worldwide due to two separate problems. In both cases the company believes that most of the affected vehicles are either still on, or in transit to, dealer lots.
One recall covers roughly 10,700 Dodge Durango, Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SRT models from the 2014 model year built between January 16 and April 17, 2014. The SUVs need a software update for the cruise control. It's possible that when the cruise is on and the driver presses on the throttle, the acceleration could last a second after the pedal is released or two seconds for the SRT. Afterward, they return to the speed originally set by the driver.
Chrysler says it isn't aware of any accidents, injuries or even reported incidents of this happening in the real world. Also, in all cases, if the driver presses on the brake, the cruise shuts off. The automaker believes that there are about 6,100 affected SUVs in the US, 950 in Canada, 425 in Mexico and 3,200 outside of North America. The software upgrade will be ready shortly, the company says.
UPDATE: Here is the statement we received from Chrysler regarding NHTSA's query: "Chrysler Group LLC advised the National Highway Traffic Administration of the six reports and, in accordance with the Company's long-standing practice, is cooperating fully with the resulting investigation. Customer safety is paramount at Chrysler Group. Customers who are concerned may call 1-800-853-1403."
It appears that Jeep's repairs for nearly one million Grand Cherokees from 2002-2004 and Liberty models from 2002-2003 might not be over yet. The vehicles were first recalled in November 2012 because the front airbags could suddenly deploy without being in an accident. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a recall query into them because of reports of inadvertent activation on some already corrected vehicles.
The original problem affected over 919,000 vehicles worldwide, including 744,822 in the US, and was caused by a degrading circuit in the wires that control the airbags. In some cases the airbag warning light would come on just before the premature activation, but in other cases it would just happen. The automaker installed an "in-line jumper harness with an integrated electrical filter" meant to eliminate the power spikes believed to be the cause.
It seems that the software problems with the nine-speed automatic gearbox in the Jeep Cherokee continue to mount. The programming already caused multiple development delays and even postponed the Cherokee's market launch by roughly two months. Now, Jeep has issued another recalibration to hopefully assuage unhappy drivers.
According to Automotive News, this reflash for the allegedly jerky transmission covers over 100,000 Cherokees built before May 5, but it's not technically a recall. If owners are having problems and complain to the dealer, they get the new software. Otherwise, they continue with the current version. New vehicles on dealer lots also receive the latest revision to the programming. It takes only around five minutes to install, but technicians need to take the Cherokee on a test drive to adapt the gearbox to the changes.
The Cherokee's transmission software has been problematic practically since the beginning. The Jeep plant in Toledo, OH, briefly idled its second-shift workers last year to take care of the issue. Since the launch issues for the crossover, demand has been strong. Jeep added another 1,000 temporary workers to the Toledo factory to keep up, and sales were on par with the Wrangler in just its first two months.