This Jeep recall announcement expands an earlier 2020 campaign.
As of late April, some 93,228 Cherokee SUVs built between the 2014 and 2017 model years may have an issue causing loss of motive power or a rollaway while parked. A new defect report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mirrors a similar Fiat Chrysler publication from 2020, noting “the power transfer unit (PTU) may become damaged and disengage the transmission and differential, resulting in a loss of drive power or loss of park function.”
The earlier campaign, affecting 67,248 cars built between April 14, 2014 and October 10, 2016, details worn input splines within the two-speed PTU, equipped as part of Jeep’s “Active Drive II” or “Active Drive Lock” systems on its higher-end all-wheel drive models. Damaged splines may cut power from the transmission to the front differential or may prevent the transmission from engaging Park when it’s stationary. At the time, FCA’s solution was to put out a software update that will engage rear wheel drive if the vehicle’s moving, or engage the parking brake if the fault occurs while the driver’s trying to park, as well as alert the driver.
This time around, another report went out for 25,980 Cherokee models for the exact same issue.
This Jeep recall impacts 25,980 Cherokees built between September 3, 2015 and September 23, 2016. Again, per the document, the company built some vehicles with a PTU that “allows relative movement between the differential input splines and the transmission output shaft.” This results in a loss of motive power and loss of the Park functionality — same as before. According to what Stellantis told the NHTSA, only 1% of Cherokees in this recall population actually have the issue.
Vehicles outside the recall population either don’t have a PTU at all, were built with a different PTU part, or were built with “more robust differential splines”. As of April 20, 2023, FCA US says it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue.
What’s the fix for this problem?
Like the 2020 campaign, Jeep dealers will again try and tackle the issue with a software fix. “The remedy component will be a software flash that, if failure of the input splines occurs, causes a malfunction indicator lamp to illuminate, rear axle engagement to prevent a loss of motive power, and electronic parking brake activation when the vehicle is in PARK to prevent a loss of PARK function.”
While the report does not mention a follow-up procedure, like replacing the PTU and/or worn-out splines, it seems this recall aims to home in on which Cherokees actually have the problem, rather than individually inspect more than 93,000 vehicles for potential damage. The company says it will reimburse owners who paid to repair the problem out of their own pocket, but made no mention of extending warranty coverage on PTUs that may be damaged and need mechanical repairs.
FCA will mail out notices to affected owners on June 16, 2023. Owners can contact the automaker’s support line at (800)-853-1403 for more information. The previous (2020) recall campaign number is W47, while the recent recall has the internal designation of W47. The NHTSA also has all the details on its website, through its hotline at (888)-327-4236 (TTY (800)-424-9153), with the recall number 23V-302.