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Frame Weld Deficiencies Prompt New Investigation Into 2018, 2019 Jeep Wrangler

The JL and JLU went on sale for the 2018 model year, and even though 2020 is right around the corner with the EcoDiesel V6 and mild-hybrid technology, Jeep still can’t get those frame welds right. The problem dates back to a letter received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in October 2018, prompting the Office of Defects Investigation to open a petition.
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After evaluating, the ODI sent an information request to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for frame weld-related issues on the JL and JLU for the 2018 and 2019 model years. A previous recall of the off-road vehicle was caused by a misaligned weld on the front track bar, but the Office of Defects Investigation identified reports about detachments outside the scope of recall number 18V-675.

Additional concerns include steering wobble and shimmy, loose steering, and even lockups. As if that wasn’t enough, ODI and the NHTSA claim that “the information that FCA provided did not adequately address whether frame weld quality deficiencies compromise the structural integrity of vehicles, and therefore may pose an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.”

Speaking of steering issues, Jeep recalled the Wrangler in March 2019 over the possible detachment of the wheel from the column. Certain 2019 models and the Ram 1500 were affected, only 52 units in total. The problem boiled down to an issue with the stub shafts, prone to breaking.

If you happen to own a JL or JLU and look through the NHTSA owner-submitted complaints, you’ll be shocked how many are there. The “death wobble” is a known issue of the new Wrangler, but so many complaints are testament to how little Jeep cares about fixing the problem once and for all.

Approximately 270,000 examples of the breed could be recalled if the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deems the Wrangler unsafe, a lot more than the 18,066 early-build models from a year ago.

It appears that Jeep plans to replace the steering dampers at no cost to the owners, but the action won’t fall under a technical service bulletin. In the meantime, owners of the Wrangler should report any issue to the NHTSA in order to force Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to up the build quality.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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