2020 Grand Cherokee SRT - 20,000km update

OVERKILL

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This is the thread @The Critic has been waiting for, as he's known about one of the things I'm going to bring up here since it happened. I most recently told him I would bring it up on my 20,000km update and so here we are.

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As most people know, this is my 3rd Grand Cherokee SRT. I originally had a 2016, that got in an accident and was never fixed properly (not by my dealer) and so I traded it on a 2020. I then traded that on a 2019 Audi e-tron, which I had for about a month, and my wife hated it, so I traded that back in on another Grand Cherokee SRT, this one.

Both black 2020's were factory orders with the following specs:
- Upgraded Brembo brakes w/2-piece rotors
- Extended leather (signature leather-wrapped interior)
- Sunroof delete
- No CD player
- High Performance summer run-flats
- Harman/Kardon 19-speaker stereo
- Black trim

Only difference is the 1st one had the trailer tow package, the 2nd one (this one) didn't.

Fit and finish is quite good on this one (better than the 2nd one, which had the front clip a little popped out under the driver-side headlight). No squeaks or rattles. One annoyance is that when you delete the sunroof and order the extended leather, they don't give you the suede headliner that you get if you keep the sunroof.

There's a reason I've had three of them, I just really like the WKII as a platform and how these are trimmed. It's quite tossable for an SUV, the interior is really nice (though I'd love the upgraded centre stack the Durango got), particularly with the extended leather:
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It goes great, sounds good, and is a great vehicle to drive year-round, being very competent on and off-road when shod with snow tires.

Issues I've had with it:
- It has developed a brake squeal until the brakes warm-up. Not sure if anything can be done about this, it happened after the vehicle sat in the winter after my surgery. Given the rate these go through brakes, I'll probably just ride it out until they need replacing.

- Factory alignment was off:
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But, the biggest issue, and the one that was the catalyst for why I was shopping and looking at X5's and GLE's for a while and had that X3 as a loaner, was the fact that it caught fire on July 23rd, 2021:
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That is a capacitor for the ignition system. There is one on the back of each cylinder head. The harness is supposed to be fused to prevent this from happening. Clearly, it didn't. I had a case open with FCA for many, MANY months, they investigated it. The failed capacitor was immediately shipped to them. Apparently, this has never happened before.

How did this happen? Well, I left my driveway and was about 1/2 a block from the house when I smelled something hot. I thought it was the clapped-out vehicle in front of me. It wasn't, it was me. That's when I saw some smoke coming from the hood vents so I wheeled it around in a law office parking lot and back to the house and opened the hood trying to determine the source, thinking that something had got on the exhaust. Then flames started coming up the back of the engine. I hit it with the hose, ready to toss it in neutral and roll it onto the street if it didn't go out, but it went out. It was flat-bedded to the dealership about an hour later and that's when I ended up with the BMW X3 loaner.

But it gets better. After the tech (great guy, really solid tech) tears it apart and we get the above culprit and its heavily singed wiring out, the owner and I agreed that it was to get a full harness replacement and that this, clearly defective harness, needed to be sent to FCA for forensic analysis. The tech ordered the harness while I was there with him. Then I get a call about a week later telling me it was ready. I popped in to the talk to the SM, confirming everything had been done correctly and I made a comment about the replacement of the harness and he said he had the tech repair it. I said, you WHAT?

He responds, calmly, that the instruction from FCA was replace or repair if viable, and it appeared repairable so it was repaired.

I shot back that there was a new harness here for it, the vehicle is MONTHS old, there is no way in hell I'm taking it home with a repaired harness

He made some ridiculous analogue to if a phone broke, would I replace the whole phone? I said if the god d****** thing caught fire, I sure as hell would!

He responds, well, it was repairable, so it was repaired. I said, I don't think you get it, I'm not taking this vehicle with a repaired harness, it isn't happening. The harness is getting replaced, I have spent an absolutely obscene amount of money on vehicles here, and the owner had the tech order the harness because he agreed that it was to be replaced. I'm going to go talk to him now, but you can bank on it getting replaced, this is infuriating!

So, left his office, absolutely livid, walked over to the owner's office, who was like, WHAT??!!! But the harness is HERE! I watched him order it! And I'm like, yeah, insane. Guess I'm keeping the bimmer for a bit? And he laughs and says yeah, I'll call you when it's properly fixed, I'm so sorry bud, I'm going to go talk to him now, I don't know what the hell he was thinking!

So, I leave it again.

I pop by the next day and the tech who had done the investigation on it had it completely apart, replacing the harness with the new one. He showed me the old harness, said he had to send it to FCA, which I understood to be the original plan.

I picked it back up when he had it back together, looked perfect. There really wasn't any damage other than the harness, as everything in that area is covered in heat shields and flame retardant stuff.

So, I didn't post about it online at all until the investigation was complete. The SM implored me not to share it, but I was only willing to oblige until the investigation was over.

Of course that whole experience left an awful taste in my mouth, so I was vehicle shopping for months, but just couldn't fall in love with anything other than the i4 M50, and my wife didn't like it, so I decided to just keep the Jeep. Put the Borla exhaust on it, once I committed to holding on to it.

Then, of course, after all the fire stuff was resolved, I'm in the hospital for heart surgery, so I let my dad borrow the Jeep. He's driving it for like a month or so and ends up falling in love with it, so then he was trying to buy it off me! Even though my mom has a bear of a time getting in and out of it.

So, plan, for now, is to hold on it it. I may, in the future, sell it to my dad and buy a BMW EV, though now that they are changing battery types, that may be a while until I'm confident that they have things adequately sorted to make that switch. I'm certainly in no rush.

Sales guys nicknamed it "Blaze" :LOL:
 
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I really liked the dynamics of my v6 WK1. It was all in all a fine vehicle to live with. The chassis flexed a lot, which was a little odd - WJs I’d known seemed more rigid, though allpar claimed the WK1 was 50% more torsionally stiff. BUT, circulating electronic glitches with surging, stalling, a sibling rivalry between the cruise and transmission, and an odd leak in the fuel rail did it for me - i just couldn’t see it as the one I wanted to stay with. I always wanted a WK2 for the exact reasons you mentioned but just can’t get past the experience with the 08.
 

Ws6

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I told you owning a Chrysler would catch up with you, but you just kept on owning a Chrysler. See why I hate Jeep? No quality. But they are cheap for what you get, feature wise. Budget MB. That said, I have a Volvo now, and its absolutely the Jeep of Europe, lol! So I won't throw the rock too hard until I get rid of it in a few months.
 
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Wow it's hard to believe the mechanic didn't want to replace the entire harness. I like the Jeep SRT's since my little brother had a nice black one a few years ago. He since went to a 2022 Tundra. Good it all worked out for you!
 

dishdude

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Well that review sure took a twist I wasn't expecting! :oops:

I do love the WK2...maybe more than the ZJ...and the ZJ was one sweet JGC.
 

OVERKILL

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Wow it's hard to believe the mechanic didn't want to replace the entire harness. I like the Jeep SRT's since my little brother had a nice black one a few years ago. He since went to a 2022 Tundra. Good it all worked out for you!
Wasn't the mechanic, the mechanic ordered the entire harness, it was the Service Manager. He's new there, or was at the time. We get along OK now, this was my first real run-in with him.
 

OVERKILL

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Is it ironic that your high performance ICE Jeep had an electrical fire and you go through all that and you're thinking about a high performance EV?

Did you ever get the romance back for the Jeep or is the flame gone? (HA!)
I was very mad at it for a while, but am back loving driving it again. Did you see my Macbook Pro battery thread in the computer section?

I've purchased quite a number of vehicles from this dealer in the past 10 years, so something was bound to happen IMHO. I didn't think that thing was going to be a fire though. I also wasn't super excited to be, apparently, the only person who has ever had one of these capacitors fail in this manner (according to FCA).

And hey, at least I could put this out with a hose, lol. ;)
 

Ws6

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I was very mad at it for a while, but am back loving driving it again. Did you see my Macbook Pro battery thread in the computer section?

I've purchased quite a number of vehicles from this dealer in the past 10 years, so something was bound to happen IMHO. I didn't think that thing was going to be a fire though. I also wasn't super excited to be, apparently, the only person who has ever had one of these capacitors fail in this manner (according to FCA).

And hey, at least I could put this out with a hose, lol. ;)
Ultimately though, I'd be paying $6-800/mo in fuel for an SUV that barely managed to get into the mid 4's 0-60, rather than $100/mo for an SUV (albeit a smaller one) t hat does it in low 3's with an EV. I know which way I'm picking, hose or blanket!
 
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OK, good overview.

Good thing you have the owner as a friend. SM was just following FCA engineering instructions. Your opinion of the proper fix or what was promised would hold little weight with FCA HQ engineering.
As long as the fix meets FCA engineering standards, good to go.
 

OVERKILL

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OK, good overview.

Good thing you have the owner as a friend. SM was just following FCA engineering instructions. Your opinion of the proper fix or what was promised would hold little weight with FCA HQ engineering.
As long as the fix meets FCA engineering standards, good to go.
Well, he would have had the ability to say it wasn't repairable. There's obviously leeway here. I wouldn't have taken the vehicle back if the harness wasn't replaced. I ran it by the previous SM and he was just as flabbergast as the owner that it wasn't just replaced. The vehicle was like 6 months old and was far from cheap, there's some level of common sense that has to come into play here. Would be different if it was a 4 year old Limited or something that wasn't kissing a 6-figure sticker.

Edit: I believe at some point in our conversation (with the SM) I remarked that if I had known that official procedure was to half-*** it, I would have let it burn. That caused a bit of an eyebrow raise from him. I was VERY angry.
 
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@OVERKILL your threads have been on fire lately 🤣

It’s good to hear you got this issue resolved.

Regarding your dad buying the Jeep off of you, are there perhaps aftermarket running boards that would automatically lower to ease ingress for your mom, sort of like in many new pickups? May be worth checking if you haven’t already.
 

OVERKILL

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@OVERKILL your threads have been on fire lately 🤣

It’s good to hear you got this issue resolved.

Regarding your dad buying the Jeep off of you, are there perhaps aftermarket running boards that would automatically lower to ease ingress for your mom, sort of like in many new pickups? May be worth checking if you haven’t already.
There are a few running board options available for the WK2, haven't looked at them in too much detail though.
 
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The failed capacitor was immediately shipped to them. Apparently, this has never happened before.

Isn't that the "canned" response these days?? Shorted ignition capacitors is nothing new, I've seen several Fords with shorted capacitors....Though they do blow the Coil Fuse in every case I've been involved in.

But what if the capacitor wasn't hard shorted, But just enough resistance to ground too heat up & catch fire. Most Chryslers use a 20 amp fuse for the ignition coil power feed. 20 amps of current is more than enough to light some plastic on fire.
 

Ws6

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Isn't that the "canned" response these days?? Shorted ignition capacitors is nothing new, I've seen several Fords with shorted capacitors....Though they do blow the Coil Fuse in every case I've been involved in.

But what if the capacitor wasn't hard shorted, But just enough resistance to ground too heat up & catch fire. Most Chryslers use a 20 amp fuse for the ignition coil power feed. 20 amps of current is more than enough to light some plastic on fire.
Its what Chrysler dealers love to say in my experience. "Oh wow...never seen that before...once we fix it that should be the end of the issues! These are normally super reliable. Thats why our shop is absolutely swamped in repairs I guess..."
 
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