By Sepehr Daghighian
Owners of FCA’s 2011 to 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durango have suffered through years of frustrating vehicle defects, repair half-measures, recalls, visits to the dealership, and continued vehicle defects. Most recently, on November 14, 2019, FCA (Jeep and Dodge’s parent company) announced yet another recall to address the Grand Cherokee and Durango’s notorious stalling problem.
Owners of 2011 to 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durango began complaining as early as 2011 about an extremely dangerous tendency by their vehicles to spontaneously shut off or not start. Vehicle owners complained, particular while making turns, that their Grand Cherokees and Durangos would suddenly turn off, resulting in a loss of power and difficulty controlling the vehicle. Also, Grand Cherokees and Durango owners found that their vehicles would intermittently not start. Adding insult to injury, when taking their vehicles under warranty to their authorized Jeep/Dodge dealerships, all too often, vehicle owners were told that there was “no problem found” or that nothing was wrong with their SUVs.
By May of 2013, FCA traced the root of the dangerous stalling condition to the vehicle’s TIPM or Totally Integrated Power Module. The TIPM serves as the electronic distribution system in Grand Cherokees and Durangos, distributing power to all of the vehicle’s components, including the fuel pump. FCA found that, when the TIPM failed to provide power to the fuel pump, the fuel pump wouldn’t supply fuel to the motor, and the vehicle would either stall or not start. By May of 2013, FCA prescribed a fix for the beguiling TIPM problem in the form of Star Case No.: S1308000399. While the Star Case prescribed externalizing the fuel pump’s relay to the TIPM, the Star Case’s remedy was not immediately deemed a mandatory recall. Therefore, countless Grand Cherokee and Durango owners continued to suffer through frustrating and dangerous no-starts and vehicle stalls.
On August 21, 2014, the Center for Auto Safety (“CAS”) sent an investigation demand to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) wherein it lambasted FCA for its TIPM and the half-measures, which had been implemented to address the stalling concerns. The CAS Petition described, “The TIPM consists of a computer, electric relays, and fuses, and is responsible for distributing power throughout the entire vehicle. Not only do Chrysler’s faulty TIPMs result in vehicle stalling, they have also been implicated in airbag non-deployment, random horn, headlight, taillight, door lock, instrument panel and windshield wiper activity, power windows going up and down on their own, failure of fuel pump shutoff resulting in unintended acceleration, and fires.” Many of these same defects have been experienced by CCA’s attorney’s clients. The Petition went on to state, “Chrysler owners seeking relief of these conditions are currently being forced to pay for TIPM replacement, and wait weeks or months for the part to become available, due to incredible demand. In the interim, these owners remain at the mercy of a defect which many have likened to the vehicle being possessed and uncontrollable. A look at consumer complaints filed with CAS suggests a better name for the TIPM – Totally Inept Power Module.”
Only after CAS had petitioned NHTSA did FCA issue its first recall for the TIPM defect. In December 2014, FCA issued Recall P54, which essentially prescribed the same fix that FCA was aware of in May of 2013 in the above Star Case. Therein, FCA admitted that: “The Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) on about 188,000 of the above vehicles contains an internal fuel pump relay that could operate intermittently or fail without warning. An intermittent or failed fuel pump relay could cause the engine to stall while driving and cause a crash without warning.” However, the P54 recall only applied to owners of 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos. Incredibly, owners of 2012-2013 vehicles, which were equipped with the same TIPM and suffered from the same dangerous defect, did not receive a recall. What is worse, even after P54 was applied to their vehicles, many Grand Cherokee and Durango owners continued to suffer from vehicle stalls and no-starts.
Inexplicably, FCA waited until July 2015 (a full year and a half later) to issue recall P54 for 2012-2013 Grand Cherokee and Durango owners. This new recall was called “R09” and also prescribed the same fix as the Star Case from May of 2013. No explanation was given as to why FCA waited over 2-years to implement this fix as a recall. What is worse, vehicle owners continued to suffer through vehicle stalls and no-starts even after the recall was applied to their vehicles. Frustratingly, the FCA dealerships continued to tell them that “nothing was wrong” or would charge them for expensive repairs.
Only very recently did FCA acknowledge what its customers have known all along: that the half-measures prescribed by the Star Case, Recall P54, and Recall R09 were insufficient to adequately address the stalling concern. On November 14, 2019, FCA issued Recall V62, wherein it acknowledged that “Some 2011 through 2013 MY Dodge Durango vehicles that are included in the NHTSA Recalls [P54] and [R09] vehicle population may have had a fuel pump relay installed as a recall remedy that is susceptible to silicon contamination of the relay
contacts that can cause the relay to fail. The vehicle population was determined to be all vehicles that are included for NHTSA Recalls [P54] and [R09], including all remedied and unremedied vehicles… The total affected vehicles for this model is 147,846.” Incredibly, while some of the Durangos and Grand Cherokees are now nearly a decade old, the initial recall does not yet issue a fix for the TIPM problems, stating, “The remedy is currently under development.”
CCA’s attorneys are some of the most experienced in California with regards to the history of vehicle stalling and no-starts afflicting FCA’s vehicles (Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Ram, Fiat, and others). If you’ve suffered through excessive repairs or if your FCA vehicle hasn’t delivered the quality that you were promised, we invite you to call us today for a free consultation with a Lemon Law professional: (833) LEMON-FIRM.