MCJA

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This post is about my experience regarding my 2020 JLU Rubicon EcoDiesel and the warranty engine replacement that my local dealership just completed. This post includes both objective, factual information about the issue, as well as my thoughts (e.g. frustrations) about the whole experience. Portions of the post about my experience are marked with **. Feel free to skip.

TL;DR summary:
  • Manufacturing defect on my engine block.
  • Miserable dealership experience.
  • Jeep Cares was little help.
Timeline of events:
  • April 2020: Purchase
  • May 2020, ~500 miles: I smelled a strong, plastic burning odor and saw faint white smoke coming from the right-front wheel well. That issue was never definitively resolved. At this point, I don't think it's related to the main issue in this post, but I wanted to include it here for reference. I posted about this issue here: https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/fo...ll-any-idea-what-it-may-be.26882/post-1102440
  • September 2020, ~3300 miles: I noticed a small oil puddle beneath my front differential. I inspected beneath my vehicle and noted that the oil was coming from the engine and dripping down onto the differential.
  • October 2020, same mileage: My dealership informed me that the engine block had a manufacturing defect and the entire block had to be replaced.
  • November 2020, same mileage: Received my vehicle back with a new engine.
I initially noticed a small puddle of oil beneath my front differential. It wasn't a lot - maybe 20-30 drops worth. It formed over the course of a few days - so it was a pretty slow leak. My first thought was that was the front differential seal, but I got underneath to check.

Upon further inspection, I saw oil drops forming on the oil filter housing on the driver side of the block, directly above the front differential. The photo below shows the oil drops forming on the engine. For reference, this was taken facing toward the front of the vehicle. On the right is the engine oil pan. On the left is the front differential (you can see oil drops on it) and the front pinion mounting flange and U-joint yoke. You can see a large oil drop forming on one of the round plugs on the housing, and oil residue along the edge of the mating surfaces of the housing body.

2020 EcoDiesel Oil Leak.jpg


** Obviously, this was incredibly concerning and frustrating. No new vehicle should leak any fluids, from any source. Finding an engine oil leak is arguably the most concerning of any fluid leak.

I immediately scheduled a service appointment with my local Jeep dealership, which was early the following week. My vehicle remained parked in my garage until I drove to my appointment. I dropped off my vehicle and explained to the service advisor everything I described in the preceding paragraph of this post. I was sure to explain that oil was dripping down from the engine onto the front differential. A few hours later, the service advisor called me and said they were going to replace the front differential seal.

** I was floored. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Wait, I take that back. I was hopeful that I wouldn't hear that, half expected that I would, and not surprised that I did. I had to drive back to the dealership and get underneath it with the service advisor to show him the leak in the photo above. I also asked him to feel and smell the oil. Gear oil has a much different viscosity than engine oil, and it has a very distinct odor. Upon pointing it out, he agreed that it wasn't coming from the front differential. Revelation! This is Fluid Leak Troubleshooting 101: GRAVITY WORKS. When tracing a fluid leak, continue going "up" until you find something that's dry. Do *not* assume that the lowest wet component is the source of the leak. Still, two months later, I'm stunned that I had to explain it first, then physically point it out to the "factory trained experts." Frustration is mounting, confidence is diminishing.

I left my vehicle with the dealership so they could put it back on the lift the next day to find the true source of the leak. Three days later I learned that the source of the leak was the seal between the oil filter housing and the engine block. The seal needed to be replaced, but it was on critical backorder for 5 weeks.

** I left my vehicle at the dealership overnight. Or, what I thought would be overnight. Three days later I called the dealership to inquire on the status. Important distinction here: I called them. They didn't call me. After 3 days, nothing heard about an oil leak on a brand new vehicle? And then, find out there's a 5 week part delay? What was their intent? Were they just going to let my vehicle sit in the service lot for 5 weeks? More frustration.

I returned to the dealership and retrieved my vehicle so I could park it in my garage while I waited for the seal to arrive. I did not drive it again until I returned it to the dealership later for repairs. After 4 weeks elapsed (with no updates from the dealership) I contacted @JeepCares to see if they could help in getting the seal expedited.

** I didn't have a usable vehicle for over 5 weeks. No offer from the dealership or "Jeep Cares" for a warranty rental or loaner. Just "Here's your car back. Maybe we'll call you in 5 weeks or so." Zero communication from my dealership. I had to return to the dealership in person to get any updates - they simply don't return phone calls.

Once the replacement seal arrived I drove my vehicle back to the dealership for the repair. The next day I called to inquire about status. (** There's a trend here.) The service advisor informed me that the technician discovered a defect in the engine block and that the block itself had to be replaced. I returned to the dealership that afternoon and took the picture below. Note the machining swirl marks in the side of the block. This is where the oil filter mount attaches to the engine. For reference, this picture was taken from the front driver side wheel-well with the wheel/tire removed and the inner fender liner removed.

2020 EcoDiesel Oil Filter Mount Defect.jpg


** I was glad the tech did the right thing and said the block needed to be replaced. He could have just as easily put a new seal on there and sent me on my way. My appreciation ends there. Brand new vehicle. 3300 miles on the clock. ***ENGINE REPLACEMENT*** I know nothing is perfect, and there's always a small chance that any new vehicle can have problems. I don't wish these issues on anyone else - but I admit I was thinking "Why me?!"

I discussed the situation with the service manager. He explained that they could either remove all of the components from the original block and re-install them on a new block, or just order a complete engine. Obviously, I insisted on a new engine. He eagerly agreed. Neither of us liked the idea of building a new engine. The dealership ordered the replacement engine with a projected 10 business day delivery time. I also requested to be notified when the new engine arrived so I could observe the swap.

** Fun fact, kids: you can get a whole new engine from FCA faster than you can get a $2.00 oil seal. Two weeks went by and - no surprise - nothing heard from my dealership. Shocker! In keeping with tradition, I called the dealership. "Oh, the swap is done. We should have it ready to go today." I. WAS. LIVID. Does this dealership *ever* communicate with its customers?!

** During the engine swap period, the dealership initially set me up with a rental vehicle. After a few days of driving a really cool minivan, I called to ask if they had a loaner available instead. They did. So I swapped out for a Grand Cherokee. Seemed like a good swap - until we found fingernail clippings in the door pocket and on the floor, and some French fries and trash under the seats. Classy. Really classy.

I picked up my vehicle after the engine swap was complete. I noted two large scratches on my front bumper. After about 50 miles of driving, the engine appears to be functioning nominally. It's hard to say if there are any leaks - there's still some fluids on the undercarriage from the transplant operation. I haven't seen any fluid puddles on my garage floor, so it appears to be alright.

** When I picked up my vehicle I noticed that the paint was gone from all of the bolts on the front differential. I asked the tech about it. He said he replaced it because the service order said it was leaking. I just shook my head in unsurprised belief.

** My thoughts on the whole experience
  • If you're reading this post as a current EcoDiesel owner, it might be worth your time to check for oil seepage around your oil filter housing.
  • If you're researching a vehicle to buy and you're considering an EcoDiesel, I still think it's worth looking at. As far as I know, I'm the only one to post about this issue. My wife owns a 2016 Grand Cherokee with the Gen 2 EcoDiesel, and it has been flawless. That said, I have no idea if this is an endemic problem across the product line, or if I'm just that 1 in 100,000 lucky guy. Time will tell.
  • My local dealership is awful. I am stunned at their inability to diagnose a problem correctly and communicate with their customers. The tech that performed the swap seemed solid. He's a master tech - their only one. But the tech that "diagnosed" a differential cover leak after the customer stated that oil was dripping from the engine needs to go back for some retraining. I'll drive an extra hour to the next closest dealership from now on.
  • Jeep Cares is a placebo. It's little more than a corporate apology service. "We tried contacting the dealership too, and left a message. We haven't heard back yet." So, what exactly is it that you do here, Bob?
  • I'm a long-time Jeep enthusiast. I've owned plenty, wheeled them plenty, enjoyed them thoroughly. But my confidence is shaken. Mechanical failures are inevitable. Even on new vehicles, there's a small possibility that if all of the mating parts are on the extremes of their tolerance thresholds that you can get a problem like this. Rare, exceptional, unfortunate. But what is most upsetting is how poorly my dealership and Jeep Cares handled the problem.
  • I give credit to Jeep Cares that they contacted me regularly. At least they did that. The problem is that all they said was "We don't have any new information from the dealership." Right. That was the frustration I relayed to *you*. It's not helpful for you to relay it back to me.
  • I had big plans for my build journal and all that. I may continue. For now, I just have a sour taste in my mouth. We'll see.





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GtX

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At least you don't have a manual that exploded and burned your Jeep to the ground.

And yes, Jeep cares seems to be of little help in most cases.
 
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MCJA

MCJA

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At least you don't have a manual that exploded and burned your Jeep to the ground.

And yes, Jeep cares seems to be of little help in most cases.
Very true. Could have been worse, I suppose.
 

oceanblue2019

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Thanks for this post as we're all enthusiasts here and it's important we hear the reality of the FCA brand as well.

I wish you good luck with the JLURD.

As a question - did dealership comment on the mods at all?
 

Stormin’ Moorman

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So, you’re telling us that your experience with Jeep dealerships and Jeep cares is exactly like everyone else’s?

Sorry about your issues, I hope the new engine works out.
 

mvng4wd

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I am so sick that there are so many more out there that are going through what I'm going through with my dealership and Jeep Cares. It really is sad. Customer service just isn't what it used to be. I've had the same issues with no returned phone calls, I've had to drive 20 minutes to the dealership on a Saturday to get answers and they didn't have much to share with me. I'm 48 years old, this is my first Jeep, as I have been in Jeep envy for as long as I can remember, and this first experience (steering great TSB) is leaving such a bad taste in my mouth. But we all will just have to grin and bear (or beer) it and move 4wd into another day.
 

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The business relationships between FCA and its dealers need to change. I honestly hope companies like Tesla push these legacy dealerships to get their acts together.
 

Oilburner

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It REALLY pays to establish a good relationship with a quality dealer. If my local dealership wasn't good, I would be owning a different brand vehicle, especially given the complexity of the diesel.
Just too bad that there are so few dealers that don't suck these days :swear:
 
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MCJA

MCJA

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Thanks for this post as we're all enthusiasts here and it's important we hear the reality of the FCA brand as well.

I wish you good luck with the JLURD.

As a question - did dealership comment on the mods at all?
No negative comments at all. They commented on my onboard air setup, but it was positive. There were no issues at all about mods and warranty or anything like that. I used the factory-installed Aux buttons for my OBA and other electrical accessories, so I haven't done anything outside of the warranty.

So, you’re telling us that your experience with Jeep dealerships and Jeep cares is exactly like everyone else’s?

Sorry about your issues, I hope the new engine works out.
It REALLY pays to establish a good relationship with a quality dealer. If my local dealership wasn't good, I would be owning a different brand vehicle, especially given the complexity of the diesel.
Just too bad that there are so few dealers that don't suck these days :swear:
I'm an eternal optimist. I keep hoping we'll read a post about someone's amazing experience with their dealership. I've had good relationships with dealership or repair shops in the past. I've only lived here for about 1.5 years - just haven't found a place that works yet. It shouldn't be a scavenger hunt though. It should be any and every dealership you go to.

The business relationships between FCA and its dealers need to change. I honestly hope companies like Tesla push these legacy dealerships to get their acts together.
I couldn't agree more. During my final conversation with Jeep Cares I said I didn't just want to complain, I wanted to recommend an improvement. I asked if FCA could implement an automated text or email push notification system tied to the dealerships' parts and service systems. i.e., When a part arrives, you get an automated text. When the tech diagnoses a problem and the service writer annotates it in their computer, you get an update. The information is already there, they would just have to tie it to a notification service. The Jeep Cares rep explained that FCA has no control over what systems a dealership uses. They're all different. Pretty crappy way of doing business if you ask me. Oh, and by the way, the *only* communication I receive from my dealership is automated messages about deals on parts, service and vehicle purchase. They have the tech, they just don't apply it to ongoing service cases.
 

WXman

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Here's the real kick in the nuts: Based upon the photos you included in this thread, there is a HIGH likelihood that the real problem with your engine was the common leak at the timing cover. Several guys have had their timing covers replaced due to machining issues that allow oil leaks, and it presents itself exactly the way you show it here.

I was without my truck for 2 weeks getting the timing cover replaced at around 5,000 miles due to a leak that looked EXACTLY like yours. After further research I discovered that it is somewhat common and they had a bad batch of timing covers that caused it. Since I got the new cover popped on there hasn't been a single leak in that area.
 

GearWhore

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There are 6 Jeep dealers within about an hour of me. I've been to each for various issues, including ongoing Uconnect system errors in my 2018 WK2 diesel. None of them were worth a damn. Each one would claim the issues were not present and they would "reflash the computer" and send me on my way only for the issue to repeat within a day. Finally got one dealer to order the new Uconnect system but after 6 weeks of weekly check-in calls ("yeah, it should be here next week") I was told they were on backorder. Then told they lost my paperwork. Took it to another dealer and started another 6 week process, including several contacts with Jeep Cares (they don't, except when it's survey time!). Ugh.

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Definitely something I'll be watching. I hope the new engine does the trick without any weird side effects.
 
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MCJA

MCJA

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Here's the real kick in the nuts: Based upon the photos you included in this thread, there is a HIGH likelihood that the real problem with your engine was the common leak at the timing cover. Several guys have had their timing covers replaced due to machining issues that allow oil leaks, and it presents itself exactly the way you show it here.

I was without my truck for 2 weeks getting the timing cover replaced at around 5,000 miles due to a leak that looked EXACTLY like yours. After further research I discovered that it is somewhat common and they had a bad batch of timing covers that caused it. Since I got the new cover popped on there hasn't been a single leak in that area.
That's very interesting. It makes me wonder if that's what the problem really was. Of course at this point, we'll never know. Like I said in my original post, they didn't do such a great job diagnosing the problem the first time around. (They thought it was the differential cover.) I have no way of knowing if they were right or wrong the second time. It could very well have been the timing cover.

I can't say this with certainty, only with high confidence: I doubt they did any research on the problem before declaring I needed an engine swap. Specifically, I doubt if they contacted FCA or any other dealerships to find out if anyone else has had similar *symptoms*. I emphasize *symptoms* because to assume you already know the problem is the fallacy.

Anyway, I'm needlessly philosophizing. We'll never know at this point. I just hope my new engine holds up better than the first.

Thanks for all the feedback, guys and gals.
 

Petey

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At least you don't have a manual that exploded and burned your Jeep to the ground.

And yes, Jeep cares seems to be of little help in most cases.
I was wondering about this exploding thing ... what is the particular point of failure ...Flywheel? Clutch ? High rpms?
 

WXman

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That's very interesting. It makes me wonder if that's what the problem really was. Of course at this point, we'll never know. Like I said in my original post, they didn't do such a great job diagnosing the problem the first time around. (They thought it was the differential cover.) I have no way of knowing if they were right or wrong the second time. It could very well have been the timing cover.

I can't say this with certainty, only with high confidence: I doubt they did any research on the problem before declaring I needed an engine swap. Specifically, I doubt if they contacted FCA or any other dealerships to find out if anyone else has had similar *symptoms*. I emphasize *symptoms* because to assume you already know the problem is the fallacy.

Anyway, I'm needlessly philosophizing. We'll never know at this point. I just hope my new engine holds up better than the first.

Thanks for all the feedback, guys and gals.
Yeah with the EcoDiesel engine, particularly in the Jeep application, there is NO room to see anything under the hood. Massive maze of hoses, wires, ductwork, and parts. Unless a guy really digs into it, it's easy to assume the leak is coming from somewhere other than where it's really coming from.

Glad your Jeep is back together. Hopefully it'll hang on for many years to come. For the future, anybody who sees a leak on the bottom of their engine should have the dealer take a close look at the timing cover. I've seen the CAC hoses leak also, but typically the timing cover is what makes the bottom wet. Just fyi....
 

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