NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2008 Jeep Wrangler

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2008 Jeep Wrangler, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Air Bag Clockspring Wiring Failure

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE15025

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: June 19, 2015
    • Date Closed: December 07, 2015
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: In it's response to ODI's PE15-025 Information Request letter, FCA identified 1,703 consumer complaints, field reports and legal claims responsive to the subject defect condition on the subject Wrangler vehicles.Six of these reports alleged an air bag non-deployment in a crash in which either the air bag warning light was allegedly on or came on afterward the crash, one of which also alleged injuries as a result of the non-deployment.FCA also provided data on other make, model and model year vehicles using the same clockspring.Additionally FCA provided 16,955 warranty claims related to the replacement of the air bag clockspring wiring assembly.It should be noted that FCA initiated an Extended Warranty Program on the left hand drive MY 2007 Wrangler in late calendar year 2011.6,777 of these claims are from the MY 2007 left hand drive Wrangler.FCA advises that some of the warranty claims involved clockspring failures that would not affect the air bag operation, for example due to noise, cruise control and/or radio operation issues.Many of these claims involved newer model year subject vehicles.FCA also noted that Wrangler's removable roof and door configuration may make it more susceptible to outdoor water/moisture and dust ingress.ODI investigated the right hand drive Wrangler in calender year 2011 for a similar clockspring issue under PE11-019.That investigation lead to NHTSA Safety Recall 11V258 on right hand drive model year (MY) 2008-2012 Wranglers.FCA redesigned the remedy clockspring to improve its durability and environmental protection and revised the design of the steering wheel to column shroud.Base on the data reviewed, this Preliminary Analysis (PE) is being upgraded to an Engineering Analysis (EA).The reports cited above are listed in the public investigative file available at SaferCar.gov under this investigation ID.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Airbag Clockspring Failure

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE11019

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags: Roll Protection
    Air Bags:Frontal
    Air Bags:Frontal:Driver Side Inflator Module
    Air Bags:Frontal:Sensor/Control Module
    Air Bags:Knee Bolster
    Air Bags:On-Off Switch Assembly
    Air Bags:Side/Window

    Summary: In its July 29, 2011 response to ODI's May 27, 2011 information request letter, Chrysler provided 153 MY 2007-2008 owner reports, additional to the 28 ODI Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQs), which related to the illumination of the air bag light (ABL) due to a faulty clockspring (CS) wiring circuit.The right hand drive (RHD) vehicles, which were first produced in MY 2008 and account for only 1% of vehicle production, accounted for 82 of these 181 reports (45%).The MY2007 left hand drive (LHD) vehicle accounted for 61 of the remaining 92 LHD reports and exhibited a higher complaint rate than the MY 2008 LHD vehicles.ODI did not identify any incidents of crashes/injuries attributable to the CS circuit failure.Since May 27, 2011, ODI has received another 32 consumer complaints bringing the total to 213 reports at this closing.In addition, and for comparative purposes, Chrysler provided another 42 owner reports it received on the MY2006 and MY2009-2010 Wrangler vehicles; these populations showed a lower incident rate than the subject vehicles, especially in comparison to the RHD subject vehicles. Chrysler's investigation showed that the higher rate of RHD Wrangler CS failures were due to a more severe duty cycle for these vehicles which are primarily used by US Postal workers/mail carriers delivering mail in rural regions.Chrysler concluded the unique vehicle usage, much of which occurs with the driver's window open and under dusty environmental conditions, is the cause of premature CS failure.Chrysler's analysis also indicated that the somewhat elevated MY2007 LHD rate, which showed a declining failure trend, was the result of start-up production/assembly issues that occurred with the introduction of a new design CS.The new design CS incorporated both dual airbag inflator circuitry and a steering wheel angle sensor (for the electronic stability control system).On November 1, 2011, Chrysler submitted a defect notice indicating it will conduct a recall of all MY 2008-2012 RHD Wrangler vehicles (11V528).The estimated 5,334 RHD Wrangler vehicles include the 2,297 MY 2008 RHD Wrangler vehicles, which were the subject of this investigation, plus an additional 3,037 MY 2009-2012 RHD Wrangler vehicles that Chrysler determined potentially have a similar CS concern as the MY 2008 RHD vehicles.Chrysler intends to replace the existing CS with a yet-to-be-produced improved CS assembly, or an improved steering housing assembly that is less susceptible to dusty environments.Owner notice is scheduled to begin in November, 2011.Chrysler also informed ODI that it intends to initiate a consumer satisfaction campaign for MY2007 LHD Wrangler which will extend the CS warranty coverage for 10 years or 150,000 miles.Accordingly the investigation is closed.

  3. INVESTIGATION: Air Bag Clockspring Wiring Failure

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA15007

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: On May 10, 2016, Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) submitted a Part 573 Defect Information Report announcing NHTSA recall 16V290 involving 394,258 model year (MY) 2007-2010 Jeep Wrangler vehicles.Under the recall FCA will replace the clockspring and install a steering wheel back cover and steering wheel column shroud.This recall also includes approx. 4,524 MY2007-2010 right hand drive (RHD) Jeep Wrangler vehicles commonly used for rural postal delivery services.In addition 7,180 MY 2011-2016 right hand drive Jeep Wrangler vehicles were also recalled under 16V288, the same remedy repair will be used.Upon review of the 1,942 MY 2007-2010 Jeep Wrangler consumer complaints, 17,195 warranty reports and field returned parts assessment, FCA concluded that a defect exists in the driver side clockspring assembly, a device that both connects (electrically) the driver air bag to the control module and allows rotational movement between the steering wheel and fixed steering column.Clockspring failure may compromise the air bag circuit causing illumination of the air bag warning lamp, and may result in non-deployment of the driver air bag in a frontal crash.FCA identified a contributing factor in that the recalled vehicles may be subjected to off-road dusty environments and/or usage with the vehicle roof top/doors removed thus allowing dust and moisture to enter the clockspring assembly.FCA advised that the MY 2011 and later Wrangler vehicles had an improved steering column cover/shroud that may reduce the amount of dirt/moisture that can enter the clockspring assembly.During the investigation FCA and the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) also reviewed 193 MY 2011-2012 Jeep Wrangler consumer complaints, 3,918 warranty reports and field returned parts along with reports from other FCA vehicles that use the same clockspring assembly.Based on this review, the rate of repair and the failure mode does not indicate a defect trend at this time in the later MY Wrangler or other FCA vehicles.During the field return parts review, FCA found a significant number of MY 2011-2012 Wrangler returned parts that operated normally, the so called "no trouble found? or NTF parts where no fault could be identified through bench testing.On June 10, 2016, FCA informed ODI of its intention to conduct a 15-yr, 150k mile extended warranty program due to the NTF issue and the MY 2011 and later vehicles having a somewhat elevated level of warranty replacement.Consumers will be notified of the program in writing.FCA will collect clocksprings replaced under the warranty extension program to further examine and study the root cause failure.ODI will monitor FCA"s analysis to determine if any further field action is warranted.Based on the actions taken by FCA to recall the MY 2007-2010 Jeep Wrangler vehicles and the MY 2008-2016 right hand drive Wrangler vehicles, this investigation is closed.FCA has also agreed to conduct a warranty extension and further evaluation of the MY 2011-2016 Wrangler.At the time of FCA's field data submission in PE 15-025 (September 2015), ODI was aware of a total of 416 MY 2007-2010 and 23 MY 2011-2012 VOQs relevant to this issue.In addition, there have been an additional 90 and 16 VOQs (respectively) received since the recall announcement (i.e., thru May 2016).The reports noted above can be viewed at SaferCar.gov under the reference (ODI) numbers cited on the attached listing.

  4. INVESTIGATION: Totally Integrated Power Module Failure

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP14004

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 25, 2014
    • Date Closed: July 24, 2015
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System

    Summary: In a letter dated August 21, 2014, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a defect investigation of alleged failures associated with the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) installed in Chrysler SUV-s, trucks, and vans beginning in the 2007 model year. The petitioner alleges that TIPM defects may result in engine stall, airbag non-deployment, failure of fuel pump shutoff resulting in unintended acceleration, fire, and other symptoms. On September 25, 2014, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened DP14-004 to evaluate the petition for a grant or deny decision. ODI analyzed complaint data provided by CAS as well as complaints submitted to ODI from consumers. In total, there were 296 complaints submitted by the petitioner in the original petition and five supplements, including 271 complaints related to the subject vehicles equipped with TIPM-7. Approximately 3 percent of CAS complaints are related to vehicles equipped with TIPM-6 and ODI-s review of these complaints did not identify any safety defect trends. ODI conducted a detailed review of complaints narratives submitted by CAS and consumers including careful analysis of vehicle repair histories, warranty claims obtained from the manufacturer and any available Customer Assistance Inquiry reports (CAIR). Analysis of the field data indicated that MY2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles exhibited significantly higher complaint rates related to fuel pump relay (FPR) failures than other subject vehicles. In a September 3, 2014 letter to NHTSA, Chrysler submitted a Defect Information Report (DIR) identifying a defect in the FPR within the TIPM-7 which can result in a no start or stall condition in approximately 188,723 model year (MY) 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK) and Dodge Durango (WD) vehicles manufactured from January 5, 2010 through July 20, 2011 (14V-530).In a February 24, 2015 letter, Chrysler submitted a second DIR expanding the scope of the FPR defect condition to include an additional 338,216 MY 2012 through 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured from September 17, 2010 through August 19, 2013 and MY 2012 through 2013 Dodge Durango vehicles manufactured from January 18, 2011 through August 19, 2013 (15V-115).ODI analysis of the CAS allegations of TIPM defects resulting in stall while driving, airbag non-deployment, unintended acceleration, fire and other faults identified a single defect condition related to 1 of over 60 different circuits in the TIPM assembly. The most common effect of this defect condition, related to the fuel pump relay, was a no-start concern, but it could also result in stall while driving (76 complaints). No valid evidence was presented in support of claims related to airbag non-deployment, unintended acceleration or fire resulting from TIPM faults and these claims were found to be wholly without merit based on review of the field data and design of the relevant systems and components.Except insofar as the petitioner's contentions relate to the defect condition addressed by the Chrysler recalls, the factual bases of the petitioner's contentions that any further investigation is necessary are unsupported. In our view, additional investigation is unlikely to result in a finding that a defect related to motor vehicle safety exists or a NHTSA order for the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect as alleged by the petitioner at the conclusion of the requested investigation. Therefore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the agency's safety mission, the petition is denied. This action does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will take further action if warranted by future circumstances. Please see the Federal Register notice in DP14-004 file (www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/defects).

  5. INVESTIGATION: TOW BAR ASSEMBLY FAILURE

    NHTSA Equipment Query #EQ09006

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: July 22, 2009
    • Date Closed: August 19, 2009
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Equipment
    Equipment:Mechanical

    Summary: The defective tow bar assemblies involved in this recall were supplied to Chrysler for use on some of its Jeep Wrangler vehicles.the purpose of this investigation was to identify any additional purchasers of identical or substantially similar defective assemblies and to initiate additional defect reporting and safety recalls as necessary.to accomplish this rmd contacted the supplier of the assemblies, valley towing products, and confirmed no other such assemblies were distributed.this eq is therefore closed.

  6. INVESTIGATION: Fuel Spill During Refueling

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE10032

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: August 23, 2010
    • Date Closed: February 16, 2011
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly:Filler Pipe And Cap
    Fuel System, Other
    Fuel System, Other:Storage
    Fuel System, Other:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Other:Storage:Tank Assembly:Filling/Charging

    Summary: ODI found the rate of warranty claims related to fuel spit back on the subject vehicles is lower than other vehicles previously recalled to correct defects related to fuel spit back.Although the rate of complaints reported to the agency on the subject vehicles is higher than or similar to the rates experienced in previous investigations where safety recalls were conducted, ODI suspects that the NHTSA safety complaints submitted by subject vehicles owners may have been influenced by internet related publicity both before and during this investigation.A safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted.Accordingly, this investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.The agency will monitor the issue and reserves the right to take future action if warranted by the circumstances.See attached report for additional information.In addition, Chrysler is initiating a lifetime warranty program, at no cost to the consumer, to address the fuel spit back problem in approximately 135,000 model year 2007-2008 Jeep Wrangler vehicles built from March 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008.Chrysler will notify all affected vehicle owners of this action.Consumers should refer to the warranty and service bulletins and sample owner notification letter available in the investigative file.The vehicle build date can be found on the certification label located on the driver door or door jamb.

  7. INVESTIGATION: TRANSMISSION OVERHEATING / FIRE

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE09037

    Component(s): Power Train
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission
    Power Train:Manual Transmission

    Summary: In a letter dated November 3, 2009, Chrysler group llc (Chrysler), notified NHTSA that it will conduct a safety recall of approximately 161,000 model year (MY) 2007 and 2008 Jeep Wrangler vehicles built with automatic transmissions.Chrysler stated that "these vehicles were not equipped with a transmission fluid temperature warning system and the operation of these vehicles beyond the limits of reasonable usage over a period of time could result in transmission failure and in some cases transmission fluid expulsion."the expelled fluid could come in contact with a hot engine or exhaust component and cause a fire.Chrysler will conduct a safety recall to install a "hot oil" warning message in the instrument cluster and a chime indicating an elevated transmission fluid temperature condition.an owner's manual addendum stating the purpose of the "hot oil" message and chime to include caution and warning statements regarding elevated transmission fluid temperature conditions will be provided to owners.based on Chrysler's decision to conduct a safety recall this engineering analysis is closed.

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