Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) Jeep division says it has come up with a solution for a Wrangler SUV steering issue known as the "death wobble".
Jeep describes the phenomenon as a vibration or resonance that can occur when the Wrangler's front wheels hit a bump at highway speeds. If the conditions are right, a rapid steering oscillation will continue indefinitely unless the driver speeds up or slows down.
The Wrangler's steering has a damper – a shock absorber, essentially – whose job is to quell such vibrations. But in speaking to the Detroit Free Press, FCA's chief technical compliance officer, Mark Chernoby, said the vibration is caused by air getting into the damper in cold weather. FCA's fix is a redesigned damper to correct a problem Chernoby attributed in the Free Press interview to "a combination of design and manufacturing process."
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In the US, FCA is facing a class-action lawsuit claiming a design flaw in 2015–2018 model year Wranglers.
FCA insists the vibration is not a safety issue, so they are calling the fix a "customer satisfaction note" instead of a recall. However, like a recall, FCA will install the new part at the company's expense. FCA Canada's Lou Ann Gosselin said the campaign also applies to Canadian Wrangler models, and that letters have been mailed to owners of affected vehicles.