— Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee TIPM problems will finally be fixed after a federal judge granted preliminary approval to a "totally integrated power module" (TIPM) class-action lawsuit. The original lawsuit included numerous Chrysler models, but the settlement agreement includes over 500,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.
The settlement stipulates Fiat Chrysler is not admitting a defect or that a liability exists and the automaker has only decided to settle to avoid costly long-term litigation.
The TIPM lawsuit alleges Chrysler sold and leased model year 2011-2013 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs equipped with defective "totally integrated power modules, which allegedly cause a variety of electrical problems including non-starting, stalling and fuel pump problems.
The plaintiffs claim Dodge and Jeep owners have spent a small fortune on unneeded repairs for batteries, fuel pumps and other car parts, all while the real trouble was caused by defective TIPMs.
Chrysler ordered a recall in September 2014, but that recall included only the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs. Then in February 2015, another recall was ordered for the 2012-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs.
As part of the settlement agreement, Chrysler acknowledges that finalization of the terms of the agreement is based on a voluntary recall of 2012-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs to install a stronger pump relay external to the TIPM-7. The recall is based on findings the SUVs can experience failures in the fuel pump relay within the TIPM-7 that could result in a stall condition or the inability to start the SUVs.
Chrysler says in the recall notices sent to owners, it has offered, or will offer affected owners reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs for prior repairs of the TIPM defect. Owners can get back the $1,100 to $1,200 repair cost of a TIPM-7 module and for the cost of a rental vehicle.
As part of the settlement agreement, Chrysler will reimburse owners for costs for prior repairs including an offer to reimburse part and labor costs for not only the fuel pump relay condition, but also related parts and labor and rental car costs so long as such expenses are supported by appropriate documentation.
However, FCA US will make an attempt to locate the documentation if the owner cannot provide it.
Chrysler also agreed to extend the warranty period for the external fuel pump relays installed in accordance with the recalls. Owners of the 2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs are covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty on certain vehicle components.
The warranty extension will cover a period of seven years from the original date of sale of the vehicle or 70,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first. The automaker agrees that it will repair or replace the external fuel pump relay free of charge during this extended warranty period.
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) tried to wake-up the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about Chrysler TIPM problems, but the government ignored CAS and never opened an investigation even though years of complaints stacked up about the Dodge and Jeep TIPMs.
"The Safety Act requires NHTSA to grant or deny a defect petition in 120 days. NHTSA took 337 days to deny CAS’ Defect Petition, failed to obtain a single document from Velasco [the plaintiff] including ones that showed Chrysler began an investigation more than a year earlier than it told NHTSA, and used the 337 days to construct a strawman denial of the CAS Petition." - Clarence Ditlow, Center for Auto Safety
The Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee TIPM class-action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Velasco, et al. v. Chrysler Group LLC.
The website for the TIPM settlement is TIPMSettlement.com.