Jeep Wrangler investigated by NHTSA for bad frame welds, steering problems - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 09-21-2019, 01:17 PM
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Jeep Wrangler investigated by NHTSA for bad frame welds, steering problems

The agency suspects badly-welded frames can cause steering issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into thousands of Jeep Wranglers made during the 2018 and 2019 model years. The agency wants to determine whether early examples of the current, JL-generation off-roader suffer from bad frame welds, and if the problem can cause dangerous steering issues.

The Office of Defects Investigation began looking into the problem in October 2018 after a Wrangler owner complained about a frame that had been improperly welded at the factory. Some of the welds were porous, some had dripped, and others had splashed. The disgruntled owner found a long list of defects in various locations on the Wrangler's frame.

Before deciding to launch an investigation, the ODI asked Jeep for more information about weld-related problems, and about the steering issues (sometimes described as a death wobble) some early JL owners reported. They ultimately led to a lawsuit. NHTSA hasn't released its findings yet, but it uncovered enough evidence pointing to frame problems to warrant an investigation.

While FCA is complying with the investigation, the documents it shared with NHTSA didn't allow the agency to determine whether the botched welds compromise the Wrangler's structural integrity. That's one of the major questions the probe aims to find an answer to. Investigators also want to determine whether the various steering problems are related to the welding issues.

NHTSA hasn't revealed how long its investigation will take. Jeep will need to launch a costly recall campaign if the probe determines bad welds make the Wrangler structurally dangerous. As of this writing, the carmaker isn't aware of injuries or deaths caused by the allegedly bad welds.

If this sounds familiar, it's likely because Jeep already recalled the fourth-generation Wrangler over frame-related problems. The safety bulletin it published in October 2018 explained that, in some SUVs, a bracket can separate from the front part of the frame it's welded to, and cause the driver to lose control. About 18,000 cars were fixed during that campaign.

Jeep hasn't linked the so-called death wobble to defective welds. Instead, it stressed the phenomenon is not a safety problem, and said fitting a new steering damper eliminates the problem.

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Old 09-21-2019, 01:18 PM
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2018 and 2019 Wrangler models are affected.

The Jeep Wrangler SUV is currently under fire as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opens an investigation into frame weld issues with 2018-2018 Wrangler JLs.

For starters, this issue isn't new as it dates back to almost a year ago when a citizen petitioned an investigation to NHTSA on October 24, 2018. The complaints cover weld deficiencies, including porous welds, excessive slag, lack of weld penetration, over penetration of welds, overweld or weld drip, and weld splash, that could affect the structural integrity of the off-roader. By that time, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) needed to further evaluate the issue if it warranted the requested investigation.

This month, however, ODI granted the petition and opened the investigation. Earlier this year, ODI sent an Information Request to FCA regarding the issue at hand. This is line with the previous recall on a misaligned weld on the front track bar on Jeep Wranglers, which has caused steering wobbles among affected Wrangler units. It could also be related to the "death wobble" that has been reported before, which led to a class-action lawsuit against FCA.

With the information gathered involving the parties, ODI granted the petition and consequently started the investigation, dated September 17, 2019.

Just to be clear, the Wrangler weld issues aren't related to the recall imposed upon its pickup truck counterpart, the Jeep Gladiator. The returning icon was recalled this week over a possible fracture of the rear axle driveshaft, affecting 3,427 Gladiators, which caused a stop-sale directive on the pickup truck.

Going back to the Wrangler, an estimate of 270,000 units of the off-roader are included in the investigation, covering MY 2018-2019 Jeep Wrangler JL vehicles.

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Old 09-22-2019, 11:00 AM   #3
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:14 PM   #4
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My 2019 JL MOAB is fantastic in every way but one. At highway speeds, the steering wanders. Very tedious on long trips. Requires more concentration than on any vehicle I’ve ever owned. Dealer says it’s normal due to new Electronically Assisted Steering.
Anyone else finding this to be a problem?
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Old 10-23-2019, 06:18 AM   #5
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EPAS electric power assist steering Ford got it right in the F150 and so did Honda, drive them both and love it.
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Old 10-23-2019, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NLeischen View Post
My 2019 JL MOAB is fantastic in every way but one. At highway speeds, the steering wanders. Very tedious on long trips. Requires more concentration than on any vehicle I’ve ever owned. Dealer says it’s normal due to new Electronically Assisted Steering.
Anyone else finding this to be a problem?
Sorry to hear.

My Tacoma has many issues, but at least fatigue from constant steering correction is not one of them.

My recent JL test drives did bring up that “disconnected” feel. I read 2018 JLs had the issue and it had been resolved on 2019s. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I have to admit this does give me pause....hmmm
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Old 10-24-2019, 03:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by NLeischen View Post
My 2019 JL MOAB is fantastic in every way but one. At highway speeds, the steering wanders. Very tedious on long trips. Requires more concentration than on any vehicle Iíve ever owned. Dealer says itís normal due to new Electronically Assisted Steering.
Anyone else finding this to be a problem?
Hi NLeischen, when was the last time you were at the dealership? We would be happy to look into this for you, please feel free to send us a private message with your VIN so we can discuss further.

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