Jeep Wrangler ('12) Electrical Problems

Hoping for suggestions on a nettlesome problem that two dealers have not been able to fix (despite charging a whole lot of money on solutions they KNEW would cure the problem. Essentially, while driving, one or more warning lights will light up very briefly, while at the same time my speedometer, oil pressure gauge, tachometer, and engine temp gauge will all briefly drop down to zero then pop up. Cruise control shuts off. Warning chime comes on. Initially started with ABS and traction control indicators, now sometimes ALL warning lights come on. Dealers have replaced PCM, some brake signal sensor, ABS module. Seems like it has to be an obvious short in the system. It seems other Jeep owners have experienced this. Any suggestions on how to track something like this down, or reputable trouble-shooters in the Cary NC area? All the local dealers can do is plug in diagnostic, and treat whatever problem is indicated - which is obviously treating the symptoms here, not the problem. Will be eternally in debt to anyone who can help suss out this problem!

It’s time to contact the manufacturer and get them involved NOW. The have representatives in customer service. Get a friendly voice, attach a name to it and plead our case. Extended warranty and service is their department not the dealership. All the money comes from the manufacturer for work beyound warranty. They can easily extend coverage for your problem which the dealership can’t . And I think they should if it can’t be resolve at the dealership level. You should not have to pay any more money for work on a car problem that can’t be resolved that at least age wise, is so close to warranty coverage.

Have you researched the lemon laws in your state? If you have cronic problems that repeated repair attempts cannot fix, you may be entitled to a full refund of the purchase or a replacement truck of comparable features. The threat of a lemon law claim is usually enough for the dealer to contact the right people to fix this.

Is there a reason none of this was covered by the warranty? Time to move this up the chain above the dealership level. There are contact numbers in the back of your owners manual. My dad had so many electrical problems with a Caravan once Dodge ended up buying it back.

I see this sort of thing often on the Wrangler forum, and it usually ends up being the clock spring in the steering wheel. Should be under warranty though, eh?

I think other folk here with Jeeps have reported this. I don’t recall if it was the Wrangler model though. But you might try searching this forum, see if there are other threads about problems with Jeeps and dashboard instruments.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a loose or broken wire or connector, more likely in a place where the wires are flexed, like as mentioned above, the comment about the clock-spring.

If I had something like this happen to my Corolla, what I’d do is hook a DVM probe on the voltage regulator (and the panel ground) which provides the reference voltage for all the dash instruments, then place the DVM where I could keep an eye on it while I drove the car over the course of a few days, see if I noticed anything unusual happening with that voltage.

I still feel strongly about using the lemon law. But, guessing on the problem, Chrysler uses a single twisted pair CAN system to communicate between all the modules. The gauge cluster is also considered a module, and most of the gauge readings and warning lights are triggered by signals through this system. The gauge failures and light issues are a sign of a communications problem in the CAN network. I believe the BCM is used as the network hub and should be inspected and probed to determine if it is the source of the problems.

I’m agreeing with the above. Why did it cost you a lot of money while being under warranty? I would call corporate like the other person stated. I’ve had very good luck talking to them. Although my experience was with ford corporate and they was amazing. Good luck!!

I’m assuming the car is out of warranty by mileage

Problems like this are a frustration for everyone that has to deal with the car and this trouble. I think you gave up some good clues to help pin down the trouble, especially with the gauges going out briefly. This is a big clue, to me at least, that there could be an intermittent connection to power for some those things you mentioned. This could also possibly effect some other engine operations that is causing the warning lights to turn on. Power from the ignition switch and to the fuse that supplies power to the gauges needs to be checked out. Monitoring the voltage at the fuse may be a good place to start though the trouble could be after the fuse.

I suppose another possibility could be with the alternator causing the trouble but while some of the clues seem to fit that possibility, some of the others don’t seem to. The warning lights circuit passes through the alternator field lead but I don’t see how an alternator issue could cause the gauges to go to zero.

You really need a savvy tech with very good electrical troubleshooting skills working on this. Guessing at this problem will just really cost you a lot. I think the power supply is the best bet.