Laguna Hills, CA – Sept. 26, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced the recall of certain 2020 Jeep Gladiator vehicles that were outfitted with rear driveshafts that may have been incorrectly assembled. The manufacturer estimates that 3,427 vehicles will be affected by the recall, and that roughly 5 percent among that number contain the defect.
The defect relates to the monoblock joint, which is a constant velocity joint within the center of the driveshaft.
Chrysler’s depiction of the defect, which they included with paperwork filed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, stated: “Certain 2020 MY Jeep Gladiator vehicles built from December 15, 2018 through June 25, 2019 may have a rear driveshaft that was assembled without grease in the monoblock joint portion of the driveshaft.”
Due to the lack of grease, the driveshaft may fracture, which could cause a sudden loss of driving power if the vehicle is in rear-wheel drive mode. Additionally, the driveshaft itself could separate completely from the vehicle and then become a road hazard. To rectify both safety risks, as well as others that may come as a result of the faulty driveshaft, Chrysler has enacted a recall on vehicles that may contain the defect.
Chrysler notes that in vehicles which contain the defect, if the part were to fail as a result, occupants may experience a noise or vibration prior to the driveshaft fracturing.
Timeline of Events
According to the paperwork filed with the NHTSA, Chrysler first became aware of the potential for the defect in June 2019, when it received four rear driveshafts from warranty repairs that had initially been assembled without grease in the monoblock joint. It was determined that the cause of the defect was that the grease bypass button had been activated at the assembly line station while the given parts were being manufactured.
Based on those cases, Chrysler opened an investigation into the matter, and eventually identified additional examples of the defect, including four additional warranty claims (although the company found no field reports, accidents, or injuries relating to the defect). On Aug. 22, 2019, Chrysler determined, in collaboration with the Vehicle Regulations Committee, to conduct a recall of the Jeep Gladiator vehicles that may potentially lack grease in the monoblock joint portion of the rear driveshaft.
“The suspect population was determined by reviewing the supplier’s driveshaft production records from the beginning of production of this driveshaft to identify which driveshafts may have been assembled without grease,” according to Chrysler’s records. “Driveshaft traceability records were then linked to vehicle production records to determine the suspect vehicle population.”
Chrysler will begin notifying both dealers and owners of vehicles which may contain the defect on Oct. 18. Dealers will inspect the vehicles, and verify that the driveshaft contains grease in the monoblock joint. If not, the driveshaft will be replaced free of charge. Sales of vehicles which may contain the defect have been stopped until this repair has been made.
For more information on Chrysler recalls, and other news involving major automobile manufacturers, visit MotorSafety.org.