My 2020 Jeep Rubicon “JLUR” could have killed me and my family this weekend.

Fsttanks

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This is a STRONG WARNING to all Jeep JL owners!
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The following is a short summarization of the event, some details have been left out and will be discussed with Jeep before I add them.

This weekend while taking a short family trip in our five month old 2020 Jeep JLUR we had TWO COMPLETE computer failures both without ANY warning.

The first was at a busy intersection the engine shut down and ALL the instruments and infotainment system went crazy included the SOS which started sending alerts that could not be stopped. I had NO ability to activate the hazards lights to warn other vehicles behind me or any ability to restart the engine. Twice we were almost rear ended so when it was safe enough I had my family exit to safety. My Jeep remained immobile in the intersection for almost 10 mins. At which point the computer system reset and I was able to move the Jeep to a safe location. After the incident there were no engine warning light of any kind and all the system were back to work as normal.

Thinking this was a one off glitch we continued on our trip. Well that was a huge mistake. Not much more then 10 min later while driving at freeway speeds there was another COMPLETE computer failure and total loss of ALL vehicle control. The steering all but froze up, engine was sputtering and loosing power worst the brakes were NOT working! All this on top of the other instruments going crazy. I managed with some effort to muscle the steering wheel enough to get the Jeep over to the extremely small “emergency lane” but then had NO brakes to stop with and our speed at this time was around 50mph. I was literally standing on the brake pedal and it was having almost no effect. I ended up having to use the “E” brake to stop our Jeep!

Once stopped, again NO “hazard lights” could be engaged and NOTHING worked! So now we were half in and half out of the traffic lanes. I carry flares and being this had just happen a few minutes early I was thinking about them so I deployed them to warn traffic and hopefully not get rear ended by a high speed passerby.

15 or so minutes later the computer system once again reset? I was then able to move the Jeep off the freeway. This time the “check engine” light was on. Seeing this I though REALLY NO F’N KIDDING.

Needless to say Jeep had a call from me and I have filed a report with the NTSB. Had either one of these incident occurred just a short time early as we had driven through a high speed (70mph) section of winding mountain roads I would not have been able to steer or brake sufficiently enough to have avoided a major crash. Fortunately I am a trained EVOC driver with decades of high speed and off-road skills to draw from. Had my wife or son or anyone with far less experience “behind the wheel” been driving when the last incident happen there is no way they could have safety made it off to the side of the road. Hell I was shaking and almost S**T my pants. I have had failure of steering and brakes before while on the job in other vehicles, but NEVER all the major systems at the same time let alone while at 70mph.

In more then 35 years of drive both personally and as a professional I have never been scared of driving a vehicle until today. I will never trust my JLUR again until Jeep can 100% in writing guarantee me this will NEVER happen again!!!

I don’t think the majority of JL owner actually realizes just how much of their Jeep is controlled solely by the one computer with no backup and that they have no real control over their vehicles except which the computer grants them. So be aware if your computer fails you are just along for the ride. And it’s a scary one!!!

P.S. Yes I am aware there have been other threads on similar topics. But none state the real danger involved. The Jeep was towed to my local dealerships where it will sit until ?. It is not a battery issue as both show full charges and voltage.

Your thoughts and constructive input are welcome.

HUGE UPDATE come soon and it’s not a good one!!!

EDIT NOTE:
1) This JLUR is a standard 3.6 with automatic transmission.
2) The ESS was turned off via the dash off button in both incidents. Always turn it off when I start the Jeep.
3) The tires are 315/70/17 BFG AT2.
4) NO computer “chip” mods were done.
5) The infotainment system is the Alpine with 8.4 screen.

UPDATE 11/27

Second dealership provided me with a copy of the OBD print out. The service writer said it was by far the longest print out of problems they has seen on a JL or JT. Nearly all the electrically powered/controlled system have failed or show faults!!
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UPDATE 11/30
Simplified version:
Dealerships said “infotainment” system and alternator were damaged during the events making it impossible to sort through ALL the failures and faults.
Both will need to be replaced before they can even start tracking down the cause of the issues.

This will be at least a TWO WEEK process because there are no “off the shelf” replacement 8.4 Alpine information system available as these are “coded to the VIN” of each vehicle.

UPDATE 12/03

Spoke with Jeep Cares today and the ordered parts that were supposed to arrive on 12/12 will now not arrive until at least 12/21 !!

Also spoke with the dealership doing the work and they said they moved ahead with replacing the alternator and just for good measure both batteries. Upon doing so they discovered the infotainment system was now working(?) and could do further investigations into the electrical system failures and that I might not need a new infotainment system after all.

UPDATE 12/04

Well surprise the Jeep is “fixed” 😆 LOL time will tell though.

Ok here is a summarization of what I have been told the issues were (?) in no specific order because they don’t actually know the sequence of the failures.

1) Nearly all the fuses were tight and initially felt seated, but it was found they were only seated about 60% and needed to be pressed further into proper position. This could have caused some shorting and possibly limited surge protections.

2) The almost $600 “smart” alternator aka “generator/inverter” had the smart part burn up and was working solely as an old fashion alternator without the inverter aspect to “balance out the electrical power frequencies” which in turn upset the electronics.

3) The ESS relays were malfunctioning aka “burned out” and the ESS did not know what to do, hence why the engine would shut down and not want to restart or would not turn off. It did not matter that the ESS off button was engaged in fact it “might” have made the situation worst with it selected to the OFF setting. Just confused the ESS system even more.

4) Batteries were damaged during all this and although mostly showing holding of power and volts both had some cell issues and both were replaced for good measure.

My theory if what the dealership is saying is the cause of all this, is that the problem started with the engine bay fuse box and the fuses not being seated properly. This caused the smart “generator/inverter” to have to work harder controlling/regulating the electrical system power and it finally burned up. The ESS was the primary victim of the fuses and generator failure. The fuses not being seated fully, thus unknown if working correctly, could have been the reason why all the smaller functions went haywire during each event.

Please feel free to add your thought or theory based on what the dealership reported. It will help others that are experiencing these issues.

UPDATE 12/06

Back to the dealership on Monday morning there is still more work to be done. Lost steering power, curse control, park sensors, voltage output drops and a few service “xyz” systems warnings while driving though a hilly twisting turning frwy section on my way home. Surprised NO...P’d off YES!

Can’t wait to see what the OBD print out says this time.

UPDATE 12/08

This is the latest OBD print out of the problems experienced on 12/06. Still ALL electrical related !
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UPDATE 12/11

Well its been FIVE days now at the dealership 12/07-11 and on 12/07 they are bringing in a Jeep factory engineer to find the problems? Since then radio silence.........

UPDATE 12/23
Jeep is still at the 2nd dealership going on two+ weeks. I have retained a lawyer to assist me with my issues and on his advice I will not be posting further information related to what is going on with my Jeep until all is settled. I have also removed the video of one of the failures that was posted on my Instagram.

UPDATE 04/2021
Sadly the electrical issues could not be solved by my Dealership or FCA. My Jeep has been bought back and I am now in the market for a new one. Keeping my fingers crossed I find something suitable soon.
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TowDawg

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Interesting. It would seem like even with complete shut-down, you would have still had steering and brakes, albeit both "manual" and requiring significantly more effort than normal.
I wonder if the brakes seemingly didn't work because the ABS module essentially locked down and wouldn't let any fluid at all pass through it? So many damn computers in everything these days, but you'd think they'd at least have some kind of "by-pass" to the ABS block to allow the brake to work manually for precisely this kind of situation?
 

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This is a STRONG WARNING to all Jeep JL owners!

This weekend while taking a short family trip in our five month old 2020 Jeep JLUR we had TWO COMPLETE computer failures both without ANY warning.

Your thoughts and constructive input are welcome.
FWIW, this is not new to Jeeps. My first (cheap) Jeep was a diesel Liberty. All of the safety nannies failed in the rain and my wife was admittedly driving faster than she should have been and pirouetted off an entrance ramp and into a Jersey barrier. That Liberty had so many other issues, I traded it away after Chrysler paid to fix the damage. Wife and I looked at a Grand Cherokee Overland a number of years later and had it on an overnight test drive. Same issue happened with the sensors. I bought something else and again shied away from Jeep. Now, I have a 2019 F-150 King Ranch and purchased a 2020 Rubicon and hope and pray that things were different, but this is not an everyday vehicle. Thanks for your story.
 
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Fsttanks

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Interesting. It would seem like even with complete shut-down, you would have still had steering and brakes, albeit both "manual" and requiring significantly more effort than normal.
I wonder if the brakes seemingly didn't work because the ABS module essentially locked down and wouldn't let any fluid at all pass through it? So many damn computers in everything these days, but you'd think they'd at least have some kind of "by-pass" to the ABS block to allow the brake to work manually for precisely this kind of situation?
Steering and brake are electrical assist. Just how much electrical assist I don’t think most know until it’s gone.

One would think there would be some braking force that could be applied by the average sized person. I am almost 200lbs and in quite decent shape and I was all but standing on the brake pedal to get laughably little braking effect. My 120lbs wife pushing on it would have done nothing.

The steering was far heavier then vintage 1960 non power truck steering. One would think it would be at least better then that. Nope not without electrical power.
 

D60

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JL brakes are electric assist, not vacuum? Really? How does that work?
 

Whiskey 13

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First and foremost very happy that you and your family did not get injured. These types of things happen a lot more than the public hears about. The problem is by no means limited to FCA and Jeep. I have had friends with Fords and Chevys have similar issues.

Years ago I had a TJ 2 door that after three days of rain light up like a Christmas tree and spit and sputter to a stop at night on a four lane 55 MPH road and believe me it was quite a pucker factor situation. I managed to get it home and Jeep could never find the problem.

I went about fixing every ground
 
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Fsttanks

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JL brakes are electric assist, not vacuum? Really? How does that work?
Don’t ask me I did not design or build them. I do not know how the electrical system integrate with them. It’s just how it was explained to me. They wording was electrical assisted braking.

They are computer control and with no computer you have NO brakes to speak off!! That is the point regardless of how they work.
 

zgrw

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This is so concerning, please update us when you hear from service about what the issue might be. I am glad you and your family survived without anything terrible happened.
 

Whiskey 13

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While fixing the grounds on that TJ I found many loose and some corroded on a 1 year old vehicle but after I fixed all of those issues I never had a repeat and I drove the TJ for 10 years
 
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Fsttanks

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First and foremost very happy that you and your family did not get injured. These types of things happen a lot more than the public hears about. The problem is by no means limited to FCA and Jeep. I have had friends with Fords and Chevys have similar issues.

Years ago I had a TJ 2 door that after three days of rain light up like a Christmas tree and spit and sputter to a stop at night on a four lane 55 MPH road and believe me it was quite a pucker factor situation. I managed to get it home and Jeep could never find the problem.

I went about fixing every ground
My TJs were overall decent Jeep’s except for their piss poor cooling systems but that was easy to remedy. My last Jeep a built 13 JKU with 150K was super reliable and I trusted it without pause. At this point I wish I had just kept it instead of trading it in on the 2020 JLUR.
 
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Fsttanks

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This is so concerning, please update us when you hear from service about what the issue might be. I am glad you and your family survived without anything terrible happened.
I plan on it. I am going to be posting about this on numerous media forums. This is happen to others too and it is an extremely dangerous situation.
 

entropy

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Nuts. How many miles on the Jeep? and dont forget to update once you find out wth is going on. How did you stop it with the e-brake? I mean if you wouldve set the e-brake at highway speeds it wouldve meam major disaster. You must have been going really slow. Mechanical brakes and steering at low speeds can be quite the workout.
 
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