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Fiat JL’s and the new “immobilizer” feature.

JR4X

wheeler
race
Joined
May 20, 2020
Member Number
445
Messages
3,553
Loc
Farmington NM
Anybody else have a run in with a remote immobilized Jeep JL somewhere yet? I didn’t know that was a thing till 7/4/20 this year. Long post to follow which is a copy paste that I wrote nearly 3 months ago. The guy I sent the following rant to is in Moab right now trying to help remove a POS JL that decided to shut itself down in the hole on the escalator, Hells Revenge trail.

4th of July this year I was at the Eureka mine campground between Silverton and Animas Forks. We’d already been over to Lake City and back that day. Now drunk at camp someone shows up looking for immediate assistance.

“A friend of my family has some adult step sons in their 20s. He's got a canam utv and was trying to talk these inexperienced kids into renting a SXS to go for a cruise in the mountains for the 4th of July. Kids puss out and rent a new JL diesel.

They drove past our camp on their way up so Mike knew we were there, we didn’t know he was there. They make it a few miles past our camp and the kid, not paying attention just drives the Jeep off the side of the road. It turns upside down and luckily didn't go any further than that. Mike tried to pull it with the canam but it wasn't heavy enough. So he leaves the kids with the Jeep and hauls ass to our camp to ask for help. My fam and I had parked it for the day, were already in no position to drive.

When we get there, Dan Mick from Moab had already been there with two of his tour Jeeps and tried with two 12,000 pound winches together to pull it back up on the road and it wouldn't budge. They said they dogged out both trying to pull it and it wouldn't roll. We couldn't get the transmission or t-case in neutral.

It's somewhere in the 12,000 ft elevation area, way up above Animas Forks, on a pretty crappy part of a trail. We tried to pull it with 4 vehicles and rolled it again with Kevin in it trying to steer it. Because what we didn't know, was that as soon as it went upside down, the computer locks everything up.

While it was upside down again, Kevin was able to get the t-case in neutral so the tires will roll. So we use the tracker and pull it back on it's wheels again, and left the tracker holding it so it can't roll down the hill any more. Then using dad's LJ, and Shawns Vitara they towed it back on the road to safety.

This is the part that bothers me. We spent the next hour trying to get the computer to stop freaking out so it can be driven or towed down to Silverton. Disconnected the battery, reconnected. Looked for crash switches. The computer would not let go. Fiat made it so if it's been rolled, it has to be dragged up onto a roll back with all 4 wheels locked up, and dropped off at a dealership.

So if we pushed on the brakes, the pedal would go to the floor like it had no brakes. But when we would tow it, the traction control would kick in and stop the tires from turning. We dragged it down the mountain anyway. It would roll down the road for a second then the brake lights would come on and the tires would lock up with no input from the brake pedal. We dragged it about 5 miles like that to get it where a tow truck could pick it up.

I don't know if a JK is the same but I'm on a mission to find out what is the first year the computer system has that much nonsense to it. Another thing I forgot to mention. As soon as it went over it sent out an SOS with injury to the nearest search and rescue. So we're working on it when two suvs with flashing lights on pull up looking for injured persons. Not a good sight for what looked like cops to find. Luckily they had no interest in helping once they found out there were no injuries.”

TL;DR? Jeeps are now so complicated that they can’t easily be driven or towed off the trail if you piss off the computer. Since we normally take these things where tow trucks can’t exactly get to, I see it as an enormous problem that’s going to cause trail closure issues down the road.
 
I cant believe the computer has that much control. Would disconnecting the battery prevent the brakes from locking up? I don't understand having a vehicle make decisions for you like that.

Try removing the computer and flipping it upside down :laughing:

wonder if it's a rental equipment safety device
 
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Sounds about right. 99 percent of new jeeps here in Las Vegas are driven 20 year old girls.
 
I cant believe the computer has that much control. Would disconnecting the battery prevent the brakes from locking up? I don't understand having a vehicle make decisions for you like that.

Try removing the computer and flipping it upside down :laughing:

wonder if it's a rental equipment safety device

After we got home and did some digging that’s what we should have tried. Completely disconnect the battery and proceed as planned. We had no phone service or internet where we were.

We hooked my manual transmission tracker on the back of the Jeep so I could be hold back. Dad pulled it and I kept it from tail ending him. We could have towed it with zero brakes.
 
Wasn't there a thread on the old site about this same thing happening on one of the EJS runs? If I remember correctly they even had factory Jeep techs out there that couldn't fix it on the trail. I think they ended up towing it out and it went to a dealer for further diag and repair.

I could be completely wrong though..... :laughing:

:flipoff2:
 
Wasn't there a thread on the old site about this same thing happening on one of the EJS runs? If I remember correctly they even had factory Jeep techs out there that couldn't fix it on the trail. I think they ended up towing it out and it went to a dealer for further diag and repair.

I could be completely wrong though..... :laughing:

:flipoff2:

Link? :flipoff2:
 
After we got home and did some digging that’s what we should have tried. Completely disconnect the battery and proceed as planned. We had no phone service or internet where we were.

We hooked my manual transmission tracker on the back of the Jeep so I could be hold back. Dad pulled it and I kept it from tail ending him. We could have towed it with zero brakes.

I haven’t totally dig into enough to know it, but there’s also a second battery in the system somewhere. Weird system that entails needing a fused jumper to bypass the logic for Jump Starting also.
 
I haven’t totally dig into enough to know it, but there’s also a second battery in the system somewhere. Weird system that entails needing a fused jumper to bypass the logic for Jump Starting also.

Whatever tricks there is I want to know them. I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to again in the future to need to perform an extraction. The guys today couldn’t get it out of park and the t-case shifter has an interlock that stops you from shifting it. So they pulled the drivelines out so they could make it roll against it’s will.
 
Loosen brake bleeders and/or pull driveshafts? Seems like that would defeat most of the ways it could be locking up. Obviously wouldn't be driveable, but would at least roll.
 
Whatever tricks there is I want to know them. I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to again in the future to need to perform an extraction. The guys today couldn’t get it out of park and the t-case shifter has an interlock that stops you from shifting it. So they pulled the drivelines out so they could make it roll against it’s will.

Some cars have the brake pedal depress to shift override. There is a place to put the key in near the shift column. Does the JL have one of those?
 
Some cars have the brake pedal depress to shift override. There is a place to put the key in near the shift column. Does the JL have one of those?


I’m told there is a panel that you can pop off of the console and access the interlock so you can get it out of park. I haven’t investigated it yet. Wished I could have been more helpful to my buddies in Moab trying to figure out how to make one a roller again.

This thing was “keyless” too. Just had to have the key fob close by, push the brake and then push the button on the dash to start or stop it. I think the key was just a FOB, no actual key.
 
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Yes, right beside the shifter is a little plug you can pop out, stick a screwdriver or similar object in and press down to release the lock and shift to neutral.

The fobs have keys, there is a little slide you can push to release the key from the fob. The key is the metal part the keyring goes through. Some of the newer models have a little "switchblade" sort of deal where the key flips out, but those are normally the "milled" style cut keys.
 
Wasn't there a thread on the old site about this same thing happening on one of the EJS runs? If I remember correctly they even had factory Jeep techs out there that couldn't fix it on the trail. I think they ended up towing it out and it went to a dealer for further diag and repair.

I could be completely wrong though..... :laughing:

:flipoff2:

I thought it was the Rubicon:confused:
 
Thats fucking ridiculous. A vechicle should not have that much control over what you can and can not do. Especially if its an absolute necessity to get it out of harms way or off a trail.

Hello???
Fiat??
Are you listening?
 
Thats fucking ridiculous. A vechicle should not have that much control over what you can and can not do. Especially if its an absolute necessity to get it out of harms way or off a trail.

No kidding, I love my old junk, new stuff is for suckers.
 
All the jeeps I owned throughout the years had several built in immobilization features:flipoff2:
 
Just a thought, but maybe AlphaOBD software could help out? Provides some dealer level access to FCA/Fiat vehicles. There may be setting that can be reset or altered.
 
I wonder if just pulling the ABS fuses would fix the brakes locking up issue. I haven't heard of it being immobilized after a wreck though. Thats good info to know!

Kevin
 
From all the people I’ve spoken to, who have purchased new Jeeps within the past year or two, there is no way I would even consider buying one. I talked to one woman who was left stranded three times with a brand new Jeep because it wouldn’t start. One of my employees has the same issue.

Their whole computer ordeal is ridiculous. The no-start issues aren’t even throwing codes, so dealers just tie them up for a day and give them back with no solution.

My 2010 will be the newest car I own. I’m not buying any modern vehicle with 30+ computers/garbage in their system.
 
My wifes 2016 JKUR is loaded with computers. We wheel it, but not like I used to wheel my TJ.

I don't trust it enough.
 
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