4,500 Miles Service Shifter Eror - 2018 JLU Sahara

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Hi all,

I'm starting this thread to add to the reported instances of "Service Shifter" in our JL Wranglers. This also serves as a timeline and record of events in case the issue is not resolveable by the dealer.

This post is long, so here's the TLDR
tl;dr - My 2018 JLU Sahara has been in the shop for two weeks after a "Service Shifter" light popped up on my dash. The dealer currently does not know what is wrong and I and my family remain without our Jeep for now. There have been some attempts to fix the vehicle, but nothing has resolved the issue just yet.

I plan to break this inital report up into several sections to clearly outline the history of the problem. From there, I will provide updates as they come in from the dealer. I'll also be commenting on the customer experience I receive from the dealer, FCA, and other stakeholders.

Purchase & Pre-Issue Vehicle History
My Jeep was a new 2018 JL Unlimited Sahara purchaed on July 28, 2019 from John Elway CDJR in Claremont, CA.

After driving off the lot, I was very happy with the decision to trade my 3-Series in for the Jeep. From that moment I drove it without issue between my place in Downtown Los Angeles and my parent's place in Upland, CA on a weekly basis.

Eventually I moved to Northern California to the San Jose area, experiencing no issues that I would consider critical. I did experience some chronic issues such as a creaking driver-side door card and looser-than expected-steering, but due to the low-priority nature of those issues (in my mind), I haven't rushed to get them fixed just yet. Some other intermittent issues we faced during our 3 months of ownership include uConnect not coming online (blank screen) randomly, CarPlay not sensing my phone plugged in, and backup guidelines not showing up.

Other than that, and the more serious issue outlined below, it's been a very happy ~4,500 miles of ownership.

The only modifications to the Jeep are cosmetic - Rubicon wheel/tire take-offs and a stubby 13" antenna.

History of Service Shifter Issue
My Jeep first threw the Service Shifter error and MIL (along with other errors that i couldnot catch, I think one about power steering) when I was at a Starbucks in Rancho Cucamonga, CA on October 25, 2019. A closer parking spot to the entrance of the coffee shop opened up, so I went outside to move the Jeep closer, just to keep it within view.

When I hopped into the Jeep to back out, I was met with a sensation I could only describe as someone slamming on the brakes without my knowledge. The car stopped ubruptly and made some clinking noises most likley related to the rough stop. It felt like I hit a cub. I tried to continue reversing, but the Jeep would not move despite the revs climbing.

I put the Jeep into 'D' to pull forward and that's whenI noticed that the power steering was gone. It was incredibly difficult to turn the wheel given that I just swapped the wheels/tires for the Rubicons wheel/tires. I managed to crookedly pull out of the parking lot aisle and back into my original spot. I tried to reverse again, this time with service shifter message and MIL indicating something is wrong. Again, managed to back out about 5 - 10 feet and boom the same abrupt stop occurs. Power steering still dead.

Okay, now I'm worried. I pop the Jeep into 'D' and struggle to straighten her out. I put the Jeep into Park and look around for any other warnings/errors/lights but only find the Service Shifter message, the MIL light on, and a red lightning/electrical bolt that flashed but went away. I just the engine off. I wait a minute. I start her back up and try to back out again, still with MIL and Service Shifter light on. This time, I manage to backup into a spot directly behind me - no issues. I have power steering and I no abrupt stop. I shift back into 'D' to see what happens. I'm able to move the car to the spot I wanted without issues.

From here, I stop the work I went to Starbucks to do and start researching the issue. Sadly, the solution for this issue hits at both ends of the spectrum. Things from loose connectors, bad grounds, bad wiring harnesses, to shifter replacements and eventually, with time, buybacks and lemon law claims.

Contacting the Dealer
So, now here I am, researching the issue and not finding anything I can do from a DIY perspective. This needs to be taken in. Luckily, I am visiting my parents and dropping off my dog before a trip. Unluckily, all of this happend about 5 hours before my flight was set to leave for aforementioned trip.

I call John Elway CDJR for help. I initially call to get their opinion but they can't say for sure without seeing the vehicle. I hang up do more research, don't find any new info, so I call back again to speak with someone. I describe the issue and was asked if this was for a Cherokee. I said this is for a JL Warngler and the SA seemed surprised. The service advisor, who has been a great help so far, said there were no appointments for that day, but I'm more then welcome to drop it off and they'll take a look at it. I opt for that option.

My girlfriend and I pack up our stuff and starting crossing my fingers that I can limp the car to the dealer. We start up the Jeep, MIL is still on but no Service Shifter message. We back up and pull out without issue and 15 minute trip to the dealer goes off without issue. About 10 minutes into the trip, we received the Service Shifter message again, but no loss of power steering and no abrupt braking. Jeep continues to shift and operate normally.

We pull into the service bay. I meet with the Service Advisor I spoke to over the phone. He checks some stuff and pulls some diagnostics up on his iPad. He reads off a lot of codes that were inconclusive and says it'll be investigated. I'm happy enough that it's getting looked at. I sign and the dealer arranges an Uber to come take us back home.

Updates on Repairs After Drop-Off
At this point, my initial plan to let my family use my Jeep is out of the window. I'm not able to utilize the vehicle in the way I intended and that kind of sucked. Instead its on the shop.

From this point on, I receive updates on the vehicle. I shoot an email to the dealer on Oct 30 reminding them that I'm on a trip, but I'm reachable so please send status updates.

The first update I receive is on November 6, 2019 stating that, and this is a summarization, "...technicians have identified a communications issue with the canbus system. Conventional troubleshooting methods have been exhausted. This isn't something they've seen happen on a JL before. An escalation to STAR has been submitted and that I'll be updated when a solution is ready."

Okay, cool. No problem on my end. Hopefully it gets figured out soon.

The next update was on Nov 7, 2019 stating that, and this is a summarization, that the techs attempted a different repair strategy by replacing the transmission valve body. Unfortunately, it did not resolve the issue and the STAR escalation case was updated with the same.

Where We are Now (As of this writing at least...)
I'm now waiting for the dealer to open so that I can inquire about a courtesy/loaner vehicle so I can get back home before work on Monday (remember when I said I live in San Jose area?).

Right now, the issue is still a mystery. Dealer and star are still figuring out what's going on. Right now, the Jeep has had one visit to the dealer, seemingly multiple attempts to resolve the issue, and a total of 15, going on 16, in-the-shop/out-of-service days.

I'll keep this thread updated on how things go. Adding in @JeepCares in case this is something they can help with.





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OP

tearacks

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To help illustrate the issue, this video shows something very similiar to what I saw:

 
OP

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November 11: 17th Day Out of Service

On 11/09 we went to the dealership to inquire about a loaner vehicle given that the repair process is taking longer than we expected. Unfortunately, Jeep dealerships are not required to maintain sublet contracts with 3rd party rental companies.

I rented a car to get back home from Southern CA to Northern CA, and have gone through FCA, who will be calling me today, to talk about loaner coverage for duration that I'm out a vehicle.

Service counter said there was no updates from STAR yet. I asked to retrieve a set of keys from my Jeep but was told that no one on-site had keys to the garage. I was told that someone today (11/11) will be able to check. I found this a bit odd, but okay! I'm having them check today.

I sent an email to my service advisor, with general manager and service manager cc'ed, and was met with an email response stating that the email address no longer exists or the inbox is not receiving messages. I tested w/ another email address and got the same. Hopefully that's just a technical issue or a full inbox. :lipssealed:

Overall, not impressed here with Jeep's level of service (at this dealership so far). I came from BMW and perhaps my expectation of receiving service excellency was a bad expectation to have. I should've been offered a courtesy vehicle the moment they escalated to STAR and saw the long lead time. I should not be asking for updates all the time, the dealer should be proactively updated me - even if there is no update. I'm hoping they can resolve the issue come Thanksgiving time...
 

JeepCares

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Hi all,

I'm starting this thread to add to the reported instances of "Service Shifter" in our JL Wranglers. This also serves as a timeline and record of events in case the issue is not resolveable by the dealer.

This post is long, so here's the TLDR
tl;dr - My 2018 JLU Sahara has been in the shop for two weeks after a "Service Shifter" light popped up on my dash. The dealer currently does not know what is wrong and I and my family remain without our Jeep for now. There have been some attempts to fix the vehicle, but nothing has resolved the issue just yet.

I plan to break this inital report up into several sections to clearly outline the history of the problem. From there, I will provide updates as they come in from the dealer. I'll also be commenting on the customer experience I receive from the dealer, FCA, and other stakeholders.

Purchase & Pre-Issue Vehicle History
My Jeep was a new 2018 JL Unlimited Sahara purchaed on July 28, 2019 from John Elway CDJR in Claremont, CA.

After driving off the lot, I was very happy with the decision to trade my 3-Series in for the Jeep. From that moment I drove it without issue between my place in Downtown Los Angeles and my parent's place in Upland, CA on a weekly basis.

Eventually I moved to Northern California to the San Jose area, experiencing no issues that I would consider critical. I did experience some chronic issues such as a creaking driver-side door card and looser-than expected-steering, but due to the low-priority nature of those issues (in my mind), I haven't rushed to get them fixed just yet. Some other intermittent issues we faced during our 3 months of ownership include uConnect not coming online (blank screen) randomly, CarPlay not sensing my phone plugged in, and backup guidelines not showing up.

Other than that, and the more serious issue outlined below, it's been a very happy ~4,500 miles of ownership.

The only modifications to the Jeep are cosmetic - Rubicon wheel/tire take-offs and a stubby 13" antenna.

History of Service Shifter Issue
My Jeep first threw the Service Shifter error and MIL (along with other errors that i couldnot catch, I think one about power steering) when I was at a Starbucks in Rancho Cucamonga, CA on October 25, 2019. A closer parking spot to the entrance of the coffee shop opened up, so I went outside to move the Jeep closer, just to keep it within view.

When I hopped into the Jeep to back out, I was met with a sensation I could only describe as someone slamming on the brakes without my knowledge. The car stopped ubruptly and made some clinking noises most likley related to the rough stop. It felt like I hit a cub. I tried to continue reversing, but the Jeep would not move despite the revs climbing.

I put the Jeep into 'D' to pull forward and that's whenI noticed that the power steering was gone. It was incredibly difficult to turn the wheel given that I just swapped the wheels/tires for the Rubicons wheel/tires. I managed to crookedly pull out of the parking lot aisle and back into my original spot. I tried to reverse again, this time with service shifter message and MIL indicating something is wrong. Again, managed to back out about 5 - 10 feet and boom the same abrupt stop occurs. Power steering still dead.

Okay, now I'm worried. I pop the Jeep into 'D' and struggle to straighten her out. I put the Jeep into Park and look around for any other warnings/errors/lights but only find the Service Shifter message, the MIL light on, and a red lightning/electrical bolt that flashed but went away. I just the engine off. I wait a minute. I start her back up and try to back out again, still with MIL and Service Shifter light on. This time, I manage to backup into a spot directly behind me - no issues. I have power steering and I no abrupt stop. I shift back into 'D' to see what happens. I'm able to move the car to the spot I wanted without issues.

From here, I stop the work I went to Starbucks to do and start researching the issue. Sadly, the solution for this issue hits at both ends of the spectrum. Things from loose connectors, bad grounds, bad wiring harnesses, to shifter replacements and eventually, with time, buybacks and lemon law claims.

Contacting the Dealer
So, now here I am, researching the issue and not finding anything I can do from a DIY perspective. This needs to be taken in. Luckily, I am visiting my parents and dropping off my dog before a trip. Unluckily, all of this happend about 5 hours before my flight was set to leave for aforementioned trip.

I call John Elway CDJR for help. I initially call to get their opinion but they can't say for sure without seeing the vehicle. I hang up do more research, don't find any new info, so I call back again to speak with someone. I describe the issue and was asked if this was for a Cherokee. I said this is for a JL Warngler and the SA seemed surprised. The service advisor, who has been a great help so far, said there were no appointments for that day, but I'm more then welcome to drop it off and they'll take a look at it. I opt for that option.

My girlfriend and I pack up our stuff and starting crossing my fingers that I can limp the car to the dealer. We start up the Jeep, MIL is still on but no Service Shifter message. We back up and pull out without issue and 15 minute trip to the dealer goes off without issue. About 10 minutes into the trip, we received the Service Shifter message again, but no loss of power steering and no abrupt braking. Jeep continues to shift and operate normally.

We pull into the service bay. I meet with the Service Advisor I spoke to over the phone. He checks some stuff and pulls some diagnostics up on his iPad. He reads off a lot of codes that were inconclusive and says it'll be investigated. I'm happy enough that it's getting looked at. I sign and the dealer arranges an Uber to come take us back home.

Updates on Repairs After Drop-Off
At this point, my initial plan to let my family use my Jeep is out of the window. I'm not able to utilize the vehicle in the way I intended and that kind of sucked. Instead its on the shop.

From this point on, I receive updates on the vehicle. I shoot an email to the dealer on Oct 30 reminding them that I'm on a trip, but I'm reachable so please send status updates.

The first update I receive is on November 6, 2019 stating that, and this is a summarization, "...technicians have identified a communications issue with the canbus system. Conventional troubleshooting methods have been exhausted. This isn't something they've seen happen on a JL before. An escalation to STAR has been submitted and that I'll be updated when a solution is ready."

Okay, cool. No problem on my end. Hopefully it gets figured out soon.

The next update was on Nov 7, 2019 stating that, and this is a summarization, that the techs attempted a different repair strategy by replacing the transmission valve body. Unfortunately, it did not resolve the issue and the STAR escalation case was updated with the same.

Where We are Now (As of this writing at least...)
I'm now waiting for the dealer to open so that I can inquire about a courtesy/loaner vehicle so I can get back home before work on Monday (remember when I said I live in San Jose area?).

Right now, the issue is still a mystery. Dealer and star are still figuring out what's going on. Right now, the Jeep has had one visit to the dealer, seemingly multiple attempts to resolve the issue, and a total of 15, going on 16, in-the-shop/out-of-service days.

I'll keep this thread updated on how things go. Adding in @JeepCares in case this is something they can help with.
Hi Nathan,
We're sorry to hear about your experience. We would be happy to open a case on the Customer Care side to connect you and your dealer with a Case Specialist. If this is something you would be interested in, please send our team a private message.
Alex
JeepCares
 
OP

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Hi Nathan,
We're sorry to hear about your experience. We would be happy to open a case on the Customer Care side to connect you and your dealer with a Case Specialist. If this is something you would be interested in, please send our team a private message.
Alex
JeepCares
Hi Alex,

Yes I would like to do that. I will send a PM. Thank you!
 
OP

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Thank you @JeepCares.

I've been working directly w/ FCA and so far so good. They seem to be very helpful and interested in resolving the issue. I was able to confirm loaner car assistance and am now putting around in a tiny Hyundai Elantra.

I've had two calls so far w/ my assigned Case Specialist, once on 11/11, where she was been very helpful in describing the process and chasing down updates from the dealer and the technical team in Michigan. And again on 11/12 with no updates, I hope I receive an update on the vehicle soon - nothing has come back yet. I've had no response to my emails sent to the service departmnet of the dealer.

Currently we are at 20 days out-of-service. Patiently waiting and hoping for a fix. I was able to call the dealer to ship my house keys to me, so that was very nice of them.
 
OP

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Received voicemail from FCA case specialist stating that dealership is looking into the wiring of the Jeep. Received email from dealership that another tech will be looking at the vehicle today for a fresh set of eyes.
 
OP

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Received email update from FCA Case Specialist. They left a message with the dealer asking for an update on a pending attempt to repair the vehicle (wiring harness). They will contact me when they get news on the latest happenings.

I've confirmed that once we hit day 30, the case can be escalated, at my request, to do a warranty review and proceed w/ lemon law proceeding using their internal processes. I was told FCA has up to 72 hours to respond to my case with a solution.

I called my lender, Chrysler Capital, to see what happens to my loan. They said that in the event that I do repurchase, the dealer will have to do something called an 'unwind' to undo the contract deal on the lemon vehicle. If I do a replacement vehicle, still need to unwind the original deal and need to re-apply for a loan on the new vehicle.

I find that kind of crappy. I have to take another credit hit, possibly qualifying for worse interest rate, because their vehicle was unfixable. I understand that this needs to happen to keep the accounting straight, but I should be pre-approved for the original amount. No credit hit. We'll see how this unfolds.

Today is day 25 out of service for the Jeep.
 
OP

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Wohoo! Just got notice from the dealer that the Jeep has been fixed. There was a short in the wiring - I will gather more details when I pick up in person, but I'm glad this didn't go too far.
 

JeepCares

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Wohoo! Just got notice from the dealer that the Jeep has been fixed. There was a short in the wiring - I will gather more details when I pick up in person, but I'm glad this didn't go too far.
Hi Nathan,
We're happy to hear this! Hope you can get back to enjoying your Jeep!
Alex
JeepCares
 
OP

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Hi all,

Just an update. I have had the Jeep back for about a week. No Service Shifter error, thank goodness.

I will say that I received the Jeep back from the dealer horribly misaligned with trash still in the car (plastic seat covers not removed and paper floor mats still in the car), right front inner wheel well not attached properly, passenger trim not clipped in properly, and miscellaneous dirt/grime stains everywhere.

I'm not sure if the suspension was touched, but the alignmet was pretty off and I now have a wonderful vibration sensation at 70mph that I did not have before. Unfortunately, I did not have time to let the dealership align and balance, being that I needed to hit the road to drive 400 miles back home.

I attempted to get the Jeep aligned at a Wheel Works location here in San Jose because they were able to align the Jeep before, and getting it checked again was free. Although they provided me with a printout of alignement specs, showing values within acceptable ranges, the vehicle still pulls right with the steering wheel needing to be at about 11 o' clock position to track straight.

At this point, the original issue for this thread seems to be resolved and I will monitor it.

But now, there is this steering issue that I am taking the Jeep to dealership for...

SOUNDS LIKE THESE DEALERSHIP TRIPS ARE NEVER GONNA END

@JeepCares - I would like my existing Case Specialist, Chloe, to help me with this if it turns into another multi-day/multi-trip affair with the dealership. I will be going to Steven's Creek CDJR in San Jose.

 

JeepCares

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Hi all,

Just an update. I have had the Jeep back for about a week. No Service Shifter error, thank goodness.

I will say that I received the Jeep back from the dealer horribly misaligned with trash still in the car (plastic seat covers not removed and paper floor mats still in the car), right front inner wheel well not attached properly, passenger trim not clipped in properly, and miscellaneous dirt/grime stains everywhere.

I'm not sure if the suspension was touched, but the alignmet was pretty off and I now have a wonderful vibration sensation at 70mph that I did not have before. Unfortunately, I did not have time to let the dealership align and balance, being that I needed to hit the road to drive 400 miles back home.

I attempted to get the Jeep aligned at a Wheel Works location here in San Jose because they were able to align the Jeep before, and getting it checked again was free. Although they provided me with a printout of alignement specs, showing values within acceptable ranges, the vehicle still pulls right with the steering wheel needing to be at about 11 o' clock position to track straight.

At this point, the original issue for this thread seems to be resolved and I will monitor it.

But now, there is this steering issue that I am taking the Jeep to dealership for...

SOUNDS LIKE THESE DEALERSHIP TRIPS ARE NEVER GONNA END

@JeepCares - I would like my existing Case Specialist, Chloe, to help me with this if it turns into another multi-day/multi-trip affair with the dealership. I will be going to Steven's Creek CDJR in San Jose.
Hi Nathan,
We're sorry to hear about this. I took a look into your case and see that your previous case remains open and you did email Chloe to make her aware of your additional concerns. I also added the appropriate notation to your case and requested she reach out to you to discuss further.
Alex
JeepCares
 

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