Steering gear box TSB, am I screwed? Need advice.

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ccjcc81

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There is absolutely no way you are getting the steering gear installed for 400 bucks. The part costs more than that.
I assumed that the dealership could at their discretion cover it "under warranty" since it so recently expired, and were just charging me as a bonus because they know I'm desperate and will pay it. It's a horrible dealership, and I've had several horrible experiences there, so I'm cynical.
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29k miles is still a new car. If it hasn’t had the shit beaten out of it on a trail and bent parts, the steering gear box is a good place to start. The problem with it is that it requires a reflash so you can’t really do it at home in the garage.
It looked pristine. Everything under it was clean, no mud, no rust, no rock rash on any skid plate that I could see. I was convinced that it had never been off road when I bought it.

After steering to full lock left, when I steer right something binds, there's hesitation, then a click I can hear and feel through the wheel. If I've been driving all day it's worse, heavy hesitation and a loud click, as if the steering gears are binding. We made a 600 mile drive a few weeks ago, and I got to see it at it's worst. It freaked us out. We have 3 young children, at that point I was fearing the worst.
 
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I just got back from the dealership/shop Carmax recommended. The service advisor saw the lift and told me they usually don't handle vehicles with lifts, and got the service manager out there. I explained the TSB to him and he acted like I was making it up and told me that he had never heard of it and that they haven't worked on any Jeeps under that TSB. He also told me that Mopar only offers a 2" lift. I explained that through my online research my professionally installed 3" lift should be within the TSB's allowance. He said he'd check. He also confirmed that when he reports it to MaxCare with the lift that my warranty will probably be voided. I asked him about Jeep dealerships making warranty exceptions as I'm just under 34,000 miles and only 2-3 months out of warranty. He said his shop only does that for 1 owner vehicles that were purchased at their dealership. I'm going to contact @JeepCares and see if they can help. Wish me luck. And thanks for all of the advice so far, I appreciate your time.
 
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I just got back from the dealership/shop Carmax recommended. The service advisor saw the lift and told me they usually don't handle vehicles with lifts,
...
Hmmm..a Jeep service dept that can't work on lifted Jeeps? What, do they specialize in ...minivans? A 3" lift with 35" tires doesn't sound too hard core. But whatever..., you mentioned they said "manufacturing date" is why you are out of warranty. It is actually the in-service date when the warranty clock starts ticking and you can find that on the CarFax. Its possible you were in warranty when this whole thing started, so it may help your case.

Also, read your CarMax warranty fine print to be sure they are not responsible to fix your defect. The way I always understood them, they fix the easy stuff themselves in house, or they take it to a dealer of their choice is its something bigger (regardless of manuf warranty status). In any event, you are not supposed to deal yourself with the dealer they chose (MaxCare covers car's out manuf warranty.. that is the point of it). You drop off at Carmax and you pick up from Carmax. What they did in between and where they took it to get it fixed is irrelevant. If it's covered by Carmax, they are responsible for dealing with Jeep service dept themselves.

I assumed that the dealership could at their discretion cover it "under warranty" since it so recently expired
....
(See first paragraph above)

I just got back from the dealership/shop Carmax recommended. The service advisor saw the lift and told me they usually don't handle vehicles with lifts, and got the service manager out there. I explained the TSB to him and he acted like I was making it up and told me that he had never heard of it and that they haven't worked on any Jeeps under that TSB.
. . .
You don't have to 'explain him' about a TSB, you just have to print it off the internet and show him the exact one. They all get leaked out there somewhere eventually. Or just give him the number, he will look it up.

At this point, if CarMax won't honor it and you can get it done for $400, just do it. But maybe pick a different Jeep dealer that has worked on Wranglers before.
 

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The difference between aluminum / cast iron steering box on mine was night and day. It was genuinely scary on the highway in crosswinds.
 
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Hmmm..a Jeep service dept that can't work on lifted Jeeps? What, do they specialize in ...minivans? A 3" lift with 35" tires doesn't sound too hard core. But whatever..., you mentioned they said "manufacturing date" is why you are out of warranty. It is actually the in-service date when the warranty clock starts ticking and you can find that on the CarFax. Its possible you were in warranty when this whole thing started, so it may help your case.

Also, read your CarMax warranty fine print to be sure they are not responsible to fix your defect. The way I always understood them, they fix the easy stuff themselves in house, or they take it to a dealer of their choice is its something bigger (regardless of manuf warranty status). In any event, you are not supposed to deal yourself with the dealer they chose (MaxCare covers car's out manuf warranty.. that is the point of it). You drop off at Carmax and you pick up from Carmax. What they did in between and where they took it to get it fixed is irrelevant. If it's covered by Carmax, they are responsible for dealing with Jeep service dept themselves.



(See first paragraph above)



You don't have to 'explain him' about a TSB, you just have to print it off the internet and show him the exact one. They all get leaked out there somewhere eventually. Or just give him the number, he will look it up.

At this point, if CarMax won't honor it and you can get it done for $400, just do it. But maybe pick a different Jeep dealer that has worked on Wranglers before.
I suspect he might have meant "under warranty" when he said they don't work on lifted Jeeps. It sounds absurd to think they wouldn't do any work on lifted jeeps.
 

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Guys, I don’t know what to do. When we bought this JLUR it had 29,000 miles on it, it had the wandering and deadzone in the steering, and I didn’t know what caused it. It was stock when we bought it and we experienced the issues from day 1. I didn’t know about the TSB for the steering gear box until I did some research here and on other forums. I’ve since had installed a JKS Konnect 3” lift and 35” tires. When I discovered the TSB I called my local Jeep service shop in June 2012, and they said that despite the fact that the Jeep only had 32,500 miles on it, it was manufactured in May 2018, so it’s out of warranty. I asked them about the TSB and they told me that they would do it, but they would charge between $250 and $400 to do it because I was out of warranty. I told them I bought the MaxCare extended warranty from Carmax when I bought it, so they told me to take it to them and try to get it done cheaper. I dropped it off last night and got a call from the service manager at Carmax who told me that because I had a lift and 35” tires on the Jeep, MaxCare is going to void my warranty on any suspension and steering parts. I think I might now be past the 36,000 mile warranty as well, or very close to it. What can I do to get this fixed? I can’t afford to pay Jeep $1,500 to $2,000 to have this issue fixed, we have stretched our budget as tight as we can just to afford the monthly payment on this thing. We bought it for my wife, and she refuses to drive it if we go anywhere that requires exceeding 45mph, it scares the heck out of her with all the wandering. I don’t like it either, I have to saw at the wheel just to keep it straight at 70mph. So far, this has been the most regrettable vehicle purchase we have ever made. If I had known about this issue I never would have bought the Jeep. What should I do? Do you guys think @JeepCares can help us with this issue?

I really think Jeep is doing its customers a disservice by not classifying this issue as a Recall. I have a 99 TJ on a Dana 30 with 33” tires that drives as straight as an arrow. Jeep is releasing an “Extreme” version of the Rubicon with 35” tires and a similar lift from the factory to compete with Ford’s Bronco, and they didn’t put the faulty aluminum steering gear box in it, it of course has the cast steel box. I refuse to believe that a $60,000 2018 JL Rubicon with Dana 44s cannot handle a lift and 35” tires. Am I screwed here? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for tagging our team here. We would be happy to dig into your concerns further. Please send us a private message with more details.

Kate
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Thanks for tagging our team here. We would be happy to dig into your concerns further. Please send us a private message with more details.

Kate
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Ok, thanks Kate, done.
 
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Just got this update from dealership:

good morning, on your Jeep I got the ok to replace the steering gear for you, the only thing they did not cover is the EPS software update needed on it, your total with deductible is 445.00. please let me know if we can proceed. thanks

I have a strong suspicion that they will try to replace it with an aluminum gearbox, as the shop manager told me "we'll replace it with exactly what's in there" yesterday. $445 is going to hurt. This sucks. I'm still waiting on a response from Jeepcares, I hope they can help.
 
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Just called the service advisor, they DO intend to follow the TSB and replace the aluminum gearbox with the steel box. I'm very pleased about that. He got it approved with MaxCare, and MaxCare apparently does not cover software flashes, according to him. That sounds logical I guess as Jeep doesn't provide that service OOW also...

I told him to do it. I'm really excited to have the steering box fixed, not so excited about the charges. I'm not the typical JL Rubicon owner that has money flowing out of his ears, lol. We're working together to pay the note for this thing for Carmen, she deserves a nice vehicle, I just didn't foresee costly issues like this so soon. That's on us.

Thanks for all of your advice guys, I really appreciate the help.
 
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Actually guys, a little more advise needed. I'm worried that the shop is going to skip step 9 of the TSB; Restore vehicle configuration. I told the service advisor that he could skip the step that requires writing down the radio stations and reprogramming them later, I told him don't worry about that, I'd do it myself. He told me that they shouldn't have to reprogram the radio stations because what they'll do won't affect the radio. That leads me to believe that they're going to skip step 9. The TSB clearly states that skipping any steps in the TSB may cause adverse handling characteristics. I don't know why they'd skip it, but if they did, would that be detrimental? The thought of it sure makes me uneasy.

9. Using wiTECH 2, perform “Restore Vehicle Configuration” routine. This routine can be found in Guided Diagnostics. Follow all screen prompts to complete this routine.

10. Clear any DTCs that may have been set in any module due to performing a Restore Vehicle Reconfiguration.

11. Install the radio presets that were recorded on the work order in Step 1 of the repair procedure
 
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Wow. What a HUGE difference. Driving home from the shop was gratifying. Now when the wind hits it I don't have to fight a 10° deadzone left, right, left, right, left, right...

I am very pleased, that fixed it right. I am now very happy with this ride. It's worth the payment now. I kind of want to sell my TJ and start saving for a down payment on my own JL. Someday.

Guys, thanks for all of the advice and support. I'm grateful for you and the forum. See you guys around.

Edit: the wife just drove it. She's much happier with it as well. She said it made a big difference.
 
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Wow. What a HUGE difference. Driving home from the shop was gratifying. Now when the wind hits it I don't have to fight a 10° deadzone left, right, left, right, left, right...

I am very pleased, that fixed it right. I am now very happy with this ride. It's worth the payment now. I kind of want to sell my TJ and start saving for a down payment on my own JL. Someday.

Guys, thanks for all of the advice and support. I'm grateful for you and the forum. See you guys around.

Edit: the wife just drove it. She's much happier with it as well. She said it made a big difference.
Glad it worked out for you. Keep an eye on you power steering fluid level over the next few days or week. Even assuming the service tech properly bled the steering system, the fluid level typically will go down some in the first week. You can either go back to the dealer and have them top it off (hopefully free of charge) or buy the special Electronic Power Steering fluid from Jeep. DO NOT use regular PS fluid from a parts store. Last thing you want is for your PS system to get low and suck air or get to low and burn up the new box.
 

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It looked pristine. Everything under it was clean, no mud, no rust, no rock rash on any skid plate that I could see. I was convinced that it had never been off road when I bought it.

After steering to full lock left, when I steer right something binds, there's hesitation, then a click I can hear and feel through the wheel. If I've been driving all day it's worse, heavy hesitation and a loud click, as if the steering gears are binding. We made a 600 mile drive a few weeks ago, and I got to see it at it's worst. It freaked us out. We have 3 young children, at that point I was fearing the worst.
I know this was awhile ago, but did the new box fixing the clicking noise, I have the same issue as you, and bought the jeep with 45k miles...out of warranty, and @JeepCares doesn't want to budge on helping. Thanks
 
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I know this was awhile ago, but did the new box fixing the clicking noise, I have the same issue as you, and bought the jeep with 45k miles...out of warranty, and @JeepCares doesn't want to budge on helping. Thanks
It absolutely did, and tightened up the steering A LOT. Very happy. I had to fight for it with my extended warranty to get it covered. It's worth it. @JeepCares please help this person. I know from experience how scary the wandering and clicking can be. Jeep needs to fix that.
 
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