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Jeep Agrees to Settlement Over Wrangler, Gladiator ‘Death Wobble’

Owners of certain Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator models might be getting cash back and an extended warranty for out of pocket repairs for death wobble.
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A class-action lawsuit against FCA US is moving forward and owners of certain Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator models suffering from “death wobble” might be getting an extended warranty and cash back for certain repairs paid out of pocket. 

According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, six class representatives for owners and lessees of 2018-2020 Wrangler and Gladiator models have come to a proposed agreement where FCA US will admit no wrongdoing and also pay up to $3.95 million for attorney fees and $4,000 for each class representatives, including an extension of the warranty to an eight-year, 90,000-mile warranty. The extended warranty would cover parts and labor needed to replace a front suspension damper, but it’s unclear if it will cover other parts of labor on the vehicles. 

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Death wobble is an issue that can afflict most vehicles with live-axle type front suspensions, because of the need for several linkages to steer. Ball joints are needed to articulate the linkages, and a steering damper is needed to attenuate any unwanted vibration. But the multitude of linkages that usually aren’t rigidly mounted can cause a harmonic vibration to form that self-amplifies. A steering damper normally fixes this, but steering components in a live axle vehicle tend to wear more quickly than a rack-and-pinion. 

There’s a similar issue afflicting new Ford Super Duty trucks, which is catching traction on social media. It’s also a famous issue for owners of older Jeeps and trucks in general, and why old live axle trucks need some special care and attention. It’s not an issue unique to these Jeeps, but it’s strange that it hasn’t been fully figured out by the major automakers.

The proposed agreement stipulating the warranty and cash back will be heard in a fairness hearing on April 19. 

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