Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has announced that it is voluntary recalling 3,005 of its 2020 Jeep® Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models for a left side lower control arm bracket and weld may not be correctly positioned. This is not a good sign for the iconic off-roader, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) already has certain 2018 to 2019 models under investigation for questionable welds.
The suspect period began on July 22nd, 2019, when parts built on a broken welding fixture were used in vehicle production, through October 26th, 2019, when parts from that broken fixture were no longer used in vehicle production. The component population was determined by reviewing the supplier’s front axle production records during the suspect period to identify which axles may have been welded with the bracket off location. Front axle traceability records were then linked to vehicle production records to determine the suspect vehicle population.
Similar vehicles not included in this recall were built with front axles that were assembled outside of the suspect date range or were confirmed through the supplier’s records to have been built with a front axle whose lower control arm bracket was welded with a properly performing fixture.
According to the recall, a left side lower control arm bracket out of position during the welding process may result in the weld being off location. An off location weld may allow the lower control arm to separate from the axle. A separation of the bracket from the axle may cause a reduction in directional control and/or allow the lower control arm bracket to hit the ground while driving, potentially resulting in road debris.
• On October 15th, 2019, the FCA US LLC (“FCA US”) Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance (“VSRC”)
the organization opened an investigation as a result of a report submitted by a dealer technician to the FCA US
VSRC through a vehicle safety reporting system.
• In October 2019, FCA US LLC Quality received four front axles with the left front lower control arm bracket
separated from 2020 MY Jeep Wrangler warranty repairs and sent them to the supplier for analysis. The
supplier determined that all four axles had off location welds.
• Between November 2019 and January 2020, FCA US VSRC continued the investigation with the supplier. The
supplier determined that on July 22nd, 2019, the part-contacting detail holding the left side lower control arm
bracket to the front axle tube in the weld fixture detached. This allowed the left side lower control arm bracket
to be off location on the axle tube by up to approximately 12 mm. Therefore, some welds made during the
suspect period may not have sufficient penetration between the axle tube and the bracket.
• As of January 16th, 2020, FCA US has identified 2 CAIRs and 1 field report relating to this issue.
• As of January 16th, 2020, FCA US has identified 5 warranty claims related to this issue.
• As of January 16th, 2020, FCA US is not aware of any accidents or injuries relating to this issue.
• On January 16th, 2020, FCA US determined, through the Vehicle Regulations Committee, to conduct a voluntary recall
FCA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the front axles, replacing them as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on March 14th, 2020. Owners may contact the FCA customer service line at 1-800-853-1403. FCA’s number for this recall is W01. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.