FCA is recalling almost 3,500 Jeep Gladiators for an improperly greased driveshaft.
The Jeep Gladiator has arrived at dealerships and so far it’s been a fairly peaceful arrival. Besides a few dealers deciding to charge people an arm and a leg above MSRP, Gladiator owners are very much in love with their new midsize pickup, judging by sales and how often those owners accessorize.
Unfortunately, this is FCA we’re talking about here, so there was bound to be something wrong with a few of these new pickups. Company quality execs have identified a small population of Gladiators that were assembled with an improperly manufactured part that could fail while driving and wind up causing a crash.
The issue is the driveshaft. One of FCA’s suppliers didn’t lubricate the monoblock joint on the driveshaft, which can lead to overheating, seizing, stress fractures, and eventual catastrophic failure at the rear of the shaft where it connects to the rear axle. This is obviously bad since it means the rear wheels will suddenly stop turning and there will be a bunch of metal fragments scattered all over the road.
The issue was discovered after several warranty claims were sent back to the supplier for inspection. They found the issue was they forgot to apply grease to a few of the shafts, and then went back through their production records to see which shafts were improperly made. Those shafts managed to find their way into Gladiators built between December 15, 2018, and June 25, 2019, which accounts for 3,427 Gladiators.
The NHTSA report estimates that just 5% of Gladiators are affected, but better safe than sorry. FCA will begin contacting owners starting October 18th to bring their Gladiators in for a new shaft.
So far, no accidents or injuries have been reported, but there have been six warranty claims so far.
And if you were wondering if your Gladiator might be having trouble, the NHTSA said that "some customers may experience noise or vibration prior to the driveshaft fracturing." So if you hear something a little odd, pull over and call for a tow truck.