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Problem With Jeep Grand Cherokee Transfer Case


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#1 mer@cisbb.com

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 04:38 PM

We have a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 with the 5.7 liter V8 HEMI MDS VVT engine, and the Quadra-Trac II Active Full-Time 4WD transmission.

 

This automatic transmission vehicle was extremely easy to shift into neutral for flat towing behind our motorhome. Clear instructions in the owners manual made towing the vehicle a snap ... no limitations, no special aftermarket add-ons.  Perfect, and easy!

 

I say WAS, because now there is a problem, and Chrysler appears to be slow in responding and developing a solution.

In November of 2013 we had a recall perfomed. Identified as Recall # N23, it included a software update for the Final Drive Control Module - the computer that talks to the transfer case and allows us to shift it into, and out of neutral for flat towing. There is a  flaw in this software update results in the EVIC (Electronic Vehicle Information Center) display to show that the 4WD system needs service, and the user is unable to put the 4WD system in neutral for flat towing.

 

When this happened to me on 4/25/14, we were packed up and ready to leave South Texas for the summer months. I took it to the Jeep dealer, where a Service Advisor told me that he had seen a number of "Winter Texans" in with this problem in the preceeding 90 days, and that the only solution he could offer was to "re-flash" the Final Drive Control Module. That worked,but it is a temporary fix that is only good for 5-7 days, and then it needs to be "re-flashed" again.

 

I am now 2000 miles from South Texas, and 7 days have passed. The car towed fine for the trip, and shifted back into normal mode for driving at our current destination. but I tested it today, and sure enough!  the EVIC display reads that the 4WD system needs service again!  So I am communicating with Chrysler Customer Care and a local Jeep dealer.

 

As it stands now, there is no solution in the pipeline for this problem, and it appears that Chrysler has not acknowledged that this is a problem or offered a solution. I truly cannot imagine having to find a Jeep Dealer and paying to have the Final Drive Control Module "re-flashed" every 5 to 7 days!  I am posting this because I want to make sure that other Jeep owners are aware of this problem and to ensure that they help to communicate the need for a solution - URGENTLY - to Chrysler!


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#2 gaylemarlowe

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 09:09 AM

We had the same problem with our 2008 Grand Cherokee in January getting ready to tow it to Florida. Dealer had to replace the transfer case servo motor with a new updated design. But, it took 6 weeks to get the new one. Nothing under warranty or no help from Chrysler on the charges tho.

We will be towing to Michigan in a couple of weeks and let's hope this one performs as hoped and we don't get stuck with not being able to put it into neutral. Last time it happened we had to drive the car behind the coach to our destination.

That is a real pain for the wife and I missed the company in the coach!

Seems like Chrysler should step up to the plate on this problem as the dealer told us that there were more the 1900 servo motors on backorder due to this exact problem!


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#3 Walt2137

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 12:30 PM

I saw a work around solution on this problem, I can't remember which forum or the complete work around but it involved pulling a fuse driving forward 5 to 10 ft and installing the fuse then it would shift for towing. Wish I had saved it.


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Walt F191141<p>2000 Dynasty towing 2013 CC F150 4X4 or 2014 Chevy Spark

#4 mer@cisbb.com

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 05:48 PM

Here is an update:  since my original post, we have learned a great deal.

First: this is not new - it has been going on since the N23 recall started being rolled out late in the summer of 2013.  

Second: Chrysler knows all about it.

I was blown off by Chrysler Customer Care (800 number) on my first two calls. On my third call, the support person said all the right things, and made arrangements to get me into a dealer for a "diagnostic work-up" and the promise that if the problem was, in fact, related to the N23 recall, then I would not have to pay for the workup and a STAR ticket would be generated.  I gather that a STAR ticket is kind of a problem escalation procedure, where dealership technicians escalate problem solving to specialist techs in a remote location, and get their help in achieving problem resolution.  On the surface, this sounds like a good plan, does it not?   Problem is - my dealer in Texas did the diagnostic workup on 4/25/14.   The problem recurred in 7 days (as they said it would, since the "reflash" is only a temporary fix). By then, I was 2000 miles away.  So why should I go to another dealer, and surrender the car for SEVERAL days so that they can re-diagnose and start the STAR process?   I would need to rent a car in the interim and would be subject to any dealer charges unless they can prove that the problem is related to the N23 recall.   NOT!

A quick review of the internet shows that many, many Jeep owners are going throught this same process right now, and it seems that dealers are replacing components (like acutators) that do not resolve the problem, but do result in charges to the owners.

 

We may have solved the problem today!

 

We called a multitude of "used auto parts" companies around Western New York until we found one that had a Final Drive Control Module that was compatible ... jeeps from 2005 - 2010 used the same component.  The Final Drive Control Module is the computer that talks to the transfer case and allows it to shift from 4WD to neutral, or 4WD LOW, etc.  The module is located under the rear passenger bench seat (driver side) and it is very very easy to pull the old module and install the new one. It is "plug & play" wiring, but you do need to disconnect the negative terminal from the battery before you do it.  Will need some basic tools (18mm socket) to lift the backseat off to access the module. The module itself just slides out of the bracket - easy.  The module we found was one generation earlier than the one in our 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee ...  it said that it was for 2008-2010 Jeeps.  

We plugged it in, and it worked fine, and I was able to put the car into neutral for flat towing!   Tested it twice and it worked both times!   This module clearly has not had the N23 recall, and we plan to keep it that way!   Per the concerns that triggered the recall, we will set the emergency brake each time we park the car.

 

The really good news is that these folks have more of the modules, and they will ship them to you!!!!!  This company is located just east of Rochester, NY

If you need one, you can call:

Wilbert's Lakeside AutoParts

6333 Lakeside Road

Ontario, NY 14519

800-836-8418

we worked with Chris Perrello - but I think that anyone can help you.

http://www.wilbertsinc.com

 

On a final note: if you Google "final drive control module Jeep" you will see some images that include photographs showing which module is which under that bench seat!


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#5 gaylemarlowe

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 07:56 PM

Update to my last post!!!

Decided today to check the ability of  our 2008 Grand Cherokee to shift into neutral before the day to leave actually gets here. This is the Jeep I mentioned we just had the servo motor replaced on 5 weeks ago. Guess what? No shift!

Took it back to Jeep dealer and now they tell me the NEW servo motor is bad. I can't believe this new (supposedly new design) servo motor is bad already as we have only shifted it twice since they put it in. I think the module cure may be the fix.

 I am going to print off this entire post and take it to him and maybe we can educate this guy. I also had called Chrysler trying to get some help previously, but as others have found out, they do not want to admit the problem and will not help.

It's really too bad as we like the vehicle and it's ability to tow quickly, but this kind of problem and this kind of service really takes the shine off our satisfaction with the Jeep.


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#6 1428kenneth

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 05:20 PM

The fuse you want to pull is number 25 in box closest  to fire wall. Pull fuse then start engine and move car forward and back a little ways.. Before turning engine off put fuse back in and turn engine off. I have had the flash done several times and had the motor replaced four times This does not work for a permanet fix until they get the software fixed I hope this will continue to work for us.


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#7 gaylemarlowe

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 11:55 AM

Update to my previous post. Got the Jeep Grand Cherokee in to the dealer, gave him the print off from this entire discussion, and he ran several computer checks. He then agreed that the module was the culprit and ordered a new one. Picked it up yesterday and now it does shift into neutral with no warning being displayed on the dash display. Let's just hope this fix will last a long time and not reoccur as it has with us and many others. We play on leaving Sunday and will hope for a trip with NO problems. :)

Thanks to this site, we are now back on schedule!


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#8 Walt2137

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 12:13 PM

Found this on another forum this might help in a emergency.

Walt

Here is an alleged 'work around' that I got off the Jeep forum. It may be worth a try before you invest a lot of money. It's worked for some on that forum and has not worked for others. I have not tried this.


1. Unplug your battery.
2. Unplug the fdcm (someone also just removed the FDCM fuse)
3. plug battery back in
4. Drive around down your street and back
5. unplug battery
6. plug fdcm back in (or replace fuse)
7. plug battery back in
8. Test it out!


The FDCM is under the rear seat, drivers side. Two 18mm bolts hold the seat down.
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Walt F191141<p>2000 Dynasty towing 2013 CC F150 4X4 or 2014 Chevy Spark

#9 mer@cisbb.com

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:34 AM

Update to my previous post. Got the Jeep Grand Cherokee in to the dealer, gave him the print off from this entire discussion, and he ran several computer checks. He then agreed that the module was the culprit and ordered a new one. Picked it up yesterday and now it does shift into neutral with no warning being displayed on the dash display. Let's just hope this fix will last a long time and not reoccur as it has with us and many others. We play on leaving Sunday and will hope for a trip with NO problems. :)

Thanks to this site, we are now back on schedule!

I do hope that you are successful!   I know that the Jeep Service Advisor at the dealership in South Texas told me that he had tried that solution for other owners before me. He said that the problem was, the new modules all have the bad software, so the problem will continue to occur. He even said that they had tried to "uninstall" the software, but that it did not work. That is why we sought out an older module that had not gotten the N23 update.  

I do hope that your fix works, and would like to hear about it, once you have traveled and have put a few miles and days in.


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#10 Bertha

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 11:18 AM

We had the recall performed in Sep., 2013, on our 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  We had the message cleared, and then towed it home to AZ for the winter.  First time out in Feb., the same message appeared.  We were only going about 60 miles away, so the wife drove the Jeep separately.  When we pulled in to our destination, another Jeep owner came over and asked if we were having this problem.  He then told us at length about all that he had been through in researching what the cause and solution was.  Thank heavens for all this info!  We got ahold of our dealer in CO, and he told us that 4 engineers from Chrysler were coming to his location, to try to work a fix for the problem.  After a week, no solution.  Our dealer then offered to try to find a FCM off of a wrecked Jeep, and sure enough, he located one and had it shipped to us in AZ (at our expense, of course.)  This has fixed the problem so far, and averted a summer of headaches.

 

We are having a hard time believing that Jeep is not acting more urgently in fixing this problem.  This is our 10th Jeep, and quite possibly our last.  We have always had Jeeps because of the ease of towing.  Doesn't anyone realize the problems and frustrations they are putting a very loyal customer base through?  I will be quite surprised if a class action lawsuit is not in the future.

 

Good luck to all of you out there who are having this problem, expecially you full-timers.  We can only hope that there are enough wrecked units out there for everyone who needs one.


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#11 ShelbyTom

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 06:10 PM

Here is an update:  since my original post, we have learned a great deal.

First: this is not new - it has been going on since the N23 recall started being rolled out late in the summer of 2013.  

Second: Chrysler knows all about it.

I was blown off by Chrysler Customer Care (800 number) on my first two calls. On my third call, the support person said all the right things, and made arrangements to get me into a dealer for a "diagnostic work-up" and the promise that if the problem was, in fact, related to the N23 recall, then I would not have to pay for the workup and a STAR ticket would be generated.  I gather that a STAR ticket is kind of a problem escalation procedure, where dealership technicians escalate problem solving to specialist techs in a remote location, and get their help in achieving problem resolution.  On the surface, this sounds like a good plan, does it not?   Problem is - my dealer in Texas did the diagnostic workup on 4/25/14.   The problem recurred in 7 days (as they said it would, since the "reflash" is only a temporary fix). By then, I was 2000 miles away.  So why should I go to another dealer, and surrender the car for SEVERAL days so that they can re-diagnose and start the STAR process?   I would need to rent a car in the interim and would be subject to any dealer charges unless they can prove that the problem is related to the N23 recall.   NOT!

A quick review of the internet shows that many, many Jeep owners are going throught this same process right now, and it seems that dealers are replacing components (like acutators) that do not resolve the problem, but do result in charges to the owners.

 

We may have solved the problem today!

 

We called a multitude of "used auto parts" companies around Western New York until we found one that had a Final Drive Control Module that was compatible ... jeeps from 2005 - 2010 used the same component.  The Final Drive Control Module is the computer that talks to the transfer case and allows it to shift from 4WD to neutral, or 4WD LOW, etc.  The module is located under the rear passenger bench seat (driver side) and it is very very easy to pull the old module and install the new one. It is "plug & play" wiring, but you do need to disconnect the negative terminal from the battery before you do it.  Will need some basic tools (18mm socket) to lift the backseat off to access the module. The module itself just slides out of the bracket - easy.  The module we found was one generation earlier than the one in our 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee ...  it said that it was for 2008-2010 Jeeps.  

We plugged it in, and it worked fine, and I was able to put the car into neutral for flat towing!   Tested it twice and it worked both times!   This module clearly has not had the N23 recall, and we plan to keep it that way!   Per the concerns that triggered the recall, we will set the emergency brake each time we park the car.

 

The really good news is that these folks have more of the modules, and they will ship them to you!!!!!  This company is located just east of Rochester, NY

If you need one, you can call:

Wilbert's Lakeside AutoParts

6333 Lakeside Road

Ontario, NY 14519

800-836-8418

we worked with Chris Perrello - but I think that anyone can help you.

http://www.wilbertsinc.com

 

On a final note: if you Google "final drive control module Jeep" you will see some images that include photographs showing which module is which under that bench seat!

Hi all -- I have been struggling with same problem on my 2008 Gr Chke Overland.  I found a final drive module at a local salvage yard (Chicago area) from a 2006 Commander.  Plugged it in and although it allows me to shift transfer case to and out of neutral, I do get a constant "service 4WD system" message on dash.  So I am thinking that maybe I only use this module when toad towing the Jeep.  I have an open case with Chrysler customer care, and am told all the "pablum" about their working on it, understand my frustration, etc., etc., but really frustrating their seeming ambivalence.  Perhaps there just aren't enough of us with the problem to warrant serious attention on their part?


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#12 vwpyles

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 09:58 PM

Wow to all above!!!  I bought a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee in Feb 2014; It was built in September 2013.  I have towed it on one trip about 800 miles in all; I have not encountered any problem at all in shifting the transfer case into neutral on that one trip.  I hope that they have worked out all the problems with 4-down towing;  I sure was surprised to hear of these problems; otherwise I would have never traded in my 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited, which did not exhibit any of the problems described here.  We do really enjoy our new car.  It is a diesel model, and fuel economy is very nice. 

 

I suppose my question is:  are there any problems with the 2014 model of the Jeep Grand Cherokee that are going to surprise me in the next few months that I have not hear of. (of course that is a question IMPOSSIBLE to answer). 

 

Kicker is: I was not aware of issues with the 2006-2010 Grand Cherokee's transfer case.  Had I known, I would have been very reluctant to buy a new 2014 model, basing my desire to go with the similar model vehicle on the 14 years of successful experience with my former 2000 model.  I will definitely use the parking brake wherever I park it.

 

Wendell


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#13 Tvar8827

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:56 AM

I have a Jeep 2007 Commander (new owner) and also just replaced the transfer case motor.  Has any other Commander owners experienced the same problem?  This doesn’t sound good for those who own these vehicles.  Is this suddenly a new problem or has it been around a while?


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#14 mer@cisbb.com

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 12:03 PM

Thanks to all for your replies and information.  What a vexing experience this is for all of us! 

I have little more to report, or to offer. I don't know if Commanders were also affected .... I think so. I do know that 2005-2010 Grand Cherokees were affected. 

 

I think that the important question to ask is:  did the vehicle have the N23 recall?  

N23 was a software update to the Final Drive Control Module (FDCM) to "fix" a potential problem wherein the vehicle could spontaneously shift out of "Park" and just roll away while turned off and unattended. The Notice sent to owners advised them that this was a possible problem that could occur, and that they should use the parking brake until they get the recall completed.

 

What we have learned is that Jeep (now part of Fiat Chrysler) was compelled to do this recall by the federal government. The corporation who actually manufactured these vehicles has changed twice since 2005...it was Chrysler (2005?), then it was Daimler Chrysler (2007?), and now it is Fiat Chrysler. So it is clear that the new entitiy is not overly concerned about spending additional resources to fix vehicles that they did not make.

 

If the vehicle had the N23 recall, then I think that you can be pretty sure that the problem is the software in the FDCM, and not transfer case motors, actuators and the like. And I am pretty sure that a new FDCM will not help, since it comes from Jeep with the bad software already installed!   Thus, the solution of finding a salvage yard FDCM is a pretty attractive option. I appreciate the info on workarounds involving pulling fuses and disconnecting stuff, but the idea of having to do that weekly was not appealing to us.  We paid $75 for the used FDCM and we are back in business. Just had it in N for flat towing yesterday!

We saved our OEM module (with N23 software) and if Jeep ever does come up with a fix we will reinstall it and get the fix. Until then, we are able to put the vehicle in N and flat tow as we always did. We just have to remember to set the parking brake when leaving the vehicle parked.

So that it cannot roll away. And get wrecked.

If we were at the top of a steep hill, though .....or maybe a cliff ?.... the idea does have some merit !!!!!   LOL   :-)

Good luck everyone!


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#15 garyvonmarsh

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 09:23 PM

I have a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and was considering trading for a new model, however after reading all the negative posts about the newer Jeeps, I am having second thoughts.  My Jeep has about 216000 miles on the odometer and another 100000 being towed and I have never had any kind of problem towing.  I will keep reading the posts here in case there is a resolution to the FDCM problem since i would really like to have another Jeep.


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#16 Rafter

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 08:45 PM

I have a 2005 Grand Cherokee with the same issue. Contacted Chrysler with the same results others have described. Local dealership has no idea what to do. I suggested the option of finding a FDCM that didn't have the N23 recall performed to it and was told that this wouldn't work because the module is coded to the the VIN and it would mess-up all the other modules on the rig. Anyone else have an issue with this?
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#17 mer@cisbb.com

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 07:39 AM

Hi Rafter....we think that dealer reply is nonsense. We got a used FDCM and it is working fine on our 2010 Grand Cherokee. Many other folks have also gone that route successfully. Please see my post above on who you can call to buy the module and get it shipped to you. It is very easy to access and install. If your dealer won't help you perhaps you can find a private garage to assist you? Good luck!
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#18 Rafter

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 08:04 AM

Thanks mer. I'm currently on the hunt for a pre-n23 fdcm to install. In the meantime I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA and plan file another complaint with the FTC regarding Chrysler's handling of this issue. Yesterday I was able to finally get my transfer case to shift by pulling a fuse in the power center but this is only a temporary fix.
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#19 tomgarrett

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 05:38 PM

I have a 2008 Grand Cherokee with the N23 problem too.  After dealing with it since January when I discovered I couldn't tow I have tried many things.  When I discovered this forum and saw the success folks were having after locating a used module I began to go this route.  I found one (the guy in New York is sold out and every contact he has is sold out too due to the previous posting with his contact info).  I met with my dealer and we had it shipped.  But like the other person the old vehicle VIN number is in the module and it won't work in my vehicle.  The Service Manager and his tech have tried everything they know to do to remove the old VIN w/o success.  He wants to know what others did to get around this problem?

 

Please respond ASAP!!!

my cell is 928-300-7554


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#20 tomgarrett

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 04:11 PM

Could Gayle Marlowe please respond to me.  After almost two months with that new final drive control module what results are you having?  Have you had any problems shifting in or out of the neutral towing position or with shifting into four wheel drive?

 

My dealer is about to try that solution and I would like to hear from your ASAP!!!

 

Tom Garrett

Sedona, AZ

928-300-7554


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