By on October 6, 2018

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

A key component tasked with taming the Jeep Wrangler’s front live axle might not live up to expectations, forcing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to issue a recall on 2018 and 2019 Wrangler JL models.

The problem lies in a weld that, in about four percent of the recalled JLs, did not occur in the right place.

Confirmed by JLWranglerForums, the recall impacts about 18,000 2018-2019 Wranglers. In a dealer communiqué, FCA claims some vehicles “may have been built with a front track bar bracket weld located off the seam,” which could lead to the bracket separating from the vehicle’s frame. “The separation of the front track bar bracket from the frame may cause a reduction in the steering response, which can cause a vehicle crash without prior warning,” FCA states.

In response to the voluntary recall, FCA has issued a stop sale on afflicted vehicles. Owners of existing JLs will be notified this quarter if their vehicle is included in the recall, with all impacted vehicles inspected for the wonky weld. The automaker will re-weld the bracket if deemed necessary.

Instances of front track bars shearing off of new Wranglers first appeared on owners forums earlier this year.

In September, the new Wrangler’s popularity helped the Jeep brand reach a monthly sales record, with volume up 14 percent, year over year. Wrangler sales rose 2 percent last month, despite one less selling day than the preceding September and a number of factors that suppressed sales across the industry. Year to date, Wrangler sales are up 27 percent.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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27 Comments on “America’s Favorite Off-roader Recalled for On-road Danger...”


  • avatar
    baconator

    Serious question: How does this happen? This isn’t a supplier issue, it’s a factory issue. I assume that these welds are automated, so someone set the welding machine incorrectly. They did not catch it in testing – surprising error #1. Eventually they caught it and recalibrated the welding machine, but somehow not before a whole bunch of cars left the line – surprising error #2.

    Somehow this seems more egregious than the average recall, and not just because it could gum up the steering.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Agreed; how did this happen? It seems weird that only about 4% of the cars have this issue, so it seems more like it wasn’t a calibration issue so much as too much play in the robot’s joints, allowing it to go out of spec.

      I wonder if this might be due to using an older robot that’s either in need of overhaul or outright replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      xtoyota

      Inspector was on a coffee break (beer break) :=)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah it is likely a supplier issue as it is very common to have a supplier supply fully finished frames.

      Since this is Chrysler I don’t find it surprising at all, they are not known for making quality control and proper testing a high priority, particularly when they are launching a new vehicle that was expected to have high demand and high profits.

      The kid who has adopted me as his surrogate father recently took delivery of a JL he ordered to his liking. Upon delivery he found a badge installed crooked, the bolts that hold the spare tire bracket mangled from extremely sloppy installation along with an interior trim panel that was not properly attached.

  • avatar
    robert_h

    It’s a Jeep thing; you wouldn’t understand. Just so everyone’s clear, the “track bar” (aka Panhard bar) locates the front axle side-to-side. If it becomes disconnected, “reduction in steering response” is putting it mildly.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Jeep-FCA should hire some auto engineers from an established company like Tesla, to prevent problems like this. What amateurs.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    One drunk, high or stupid worker can cause ripple effects downstream. It happens. Not everything can be caught 100% of the time.

    Wondering if TTAC will cover the well publicised Consumer Reports story on Honda’s 1.5 turbo engine failures causing stalling, etc. Pretty nasty story when CR criticizes Honda, urging them to issue recall. Something tells me it either won’t be covered or will be covered with such editorial slant, filled with caveats that it will seem like a non issue lol.

    NBC carried the story.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      thegamper – Stop! Honda is the epitome of quality, engineering, and value. There will be no dragging the holy name of Honda through the mud here. Any negative issues with Honda vehicles have been proven by Honda dealers time and time again to be the fault of the ham-fisted and incautious owners. Shame, SHAME.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        My 2007 Honda Accord has 200,000 miles and the chrome is peeling off the H. Totally unreliable!

        • 0 avatar
          thegamper

          Johnds, did you read the story about Consumer Reports calling out Honda for high number of engine failures for gasoline mixing with oil in the CRV 1.5t? Pretty serious issue and CR really hammering Honda for not recalling, likely a combination of huge volume of vehicles and no available fix on hand. You are right, who cares about chrome, and “I” am not personally trying to diminish this particular Jeep recall, as it too is a serious issue. You won’t catch this guy accusing Fiat Chrysler of excessive quality and reliability. I’m just calling out TTAC on their purposefully unbalanced coverage that seems to rear it’s ugly head whenever Honda is involved. A generous heaping of extra, often undeserved praise….or a little “under the rug” sweeping when called upon by their corporate sponsor overlords ;) The Honda issue is likely a considerably more serious and widespread problem. Just sayin.

          • 0 avatar
            RedRocket

            Clearly this must be FAKE NEWS since everyone on the Internet knows that Honda vehicles never require maintenance or repair, and are manufactured and designed perfectly to last forever, or at least until their bodies rust out.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    FCA, what a disgrace!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      At least they weren’t stupid enough to discontinue most of their cars and focus on higher profit vehicles. Oh, wait…

      Really, though, $#¡Г happens. I mean, its a mass produced, man-made, incredibly complex machine built with the use of many other man-made, incredibly complex machines. Sometimes things don’t go perfectly. At least they caught it and a are taking care of it.

      Of course, when Ford has to recall a few hundred units due to a misprinted label on a brake fluid cap, its “lets unleash the troll guns full blast”, even though it was incredibly minor and small in scope. Yes, bigger F ups do/did happen at other times, there and at any automaker, and any one who says different is so full of crap, it’s spewing out of their orifices and on to their Cheeto-stained keyboard. Ford handles it just like any other automaker, catching it first and taking care of it, or taking care of it after its become known later. WeadDeight can pretend that isn’t so all he wants, and those stupid enough to believe his rambling ignorant hate speeches are right up there with him on the full-of-it meter.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Of course, when Ford has to recall a few hundred units due to a misprinted label on a brake fluid cap, its “lets unleash the troll guns full blast”,”

        — A few hundred labels, perhaps… But how many MILLION vehicles has Ford recalled in the last five years? Ten? Twenty?

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Some recalls seem trivial. but this one does not. You chose the perfect stock photo for this story!

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    “The automaker will re-weld the bracket if deemed necessary.”

    At the dealer? I wouldn’t have expected a welder to be a standard piece of shop equipment. Nor would qualified welding skills to be common among techs. I have very little faith that the dealer will properly prep, weld, and repaint the area afterwards.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    This is disgusting. How does something like this happen? Wow, just wow. Fiat and GM, where “quality” go hand in hand! YIKES!

  • avatar
    65corvair

    If you ever worked in a factory, you wonder why this kind of thing doesn’t happen more often.

  • avatar
    mikey

    65corvair….My thoughts exactly..

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Hyundai Mobis made JK frames in a facility actually attached to the Jeep Toledo factory, but the HM plant shut down April 7 for retooling to make the JL frame, and that refitting is supposed to last into 2019.

    So where the current JL frame is manufactured is not clear. It’s a secret, a last sacrifice from Sergio the Magnifico to the altar of quality.

    But likely made by two men and a boy in a shed on the back forty somewhere, judging by the crap welds you can see going to a Jeep forum. Looks hand-done by people with no skill – no robot would make such awful and inconsistently placed welds with spatter everywhere and even welding rod sticking out of the mess. Would it? If true we need have no fear of an AI future because the RoBos are incompetent yet don’t know it, cutting the I part out of AI. The Speedy Muffler guys are Artistes by comparison. People should take a gander at these photos; it’s beyond a joke and many owners seem worried.

    https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/track-bar-sheared-off-at-the-weld-i-feel-like-i’m-cursed-with-my-new-jl.6979/page-9

    There you can also read about the ball-joint problems, and the steering-box problems plus all the other niggles that make Jeep JL such a paragon of rubbishity.

    https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/loose-steering-feels-like-it-has-play-and-drifts.3691/page-91#post-360374

    Another (low) quality vehicle made only in ‘Murica for the oblivious-to-reality Trumpian crowds to cheer, the most US content of any vehicle supposedly, and it’s junk on wheels.

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