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Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:27 AM

 

Actor crushed to death by his jeep, shines a spotlight on a known problem with the vehicle


The death of the actor Anton Yelchin, killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backward down a driveway and crushed him against a mailbox pillar last weekend, has cast a public spotlight on a problem with some models of Jeeps and other Fiat Chrysler vehicles.

But for the company, there is nothing new about the issue — which federal regulators first flagged last August.

The question is why, nearly a year later, Fiat Chrysler has still not come up with a fix for the problem, which has now been linked to hundreds of accidents, dozens of injuries and now — potentially — a well-publicized death.

The company, which issued a recall notice on more than one million affected vehicles in April, will say only it is still working on a solution, there was no decision about a recall until this year and there has been no delay. It has written to federal regulators that the remedy will include a software change and “an additional mechanism to mitigate the effect of operator error.”

<snip>


read:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/22/business/anton-yelchins-death-highlights-a-known-issue-with-jeeps.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/business/jeep-that-crushed-anton-yelchin-had-been-recalled.html

17 replies, 1180 views

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Reply Actor crushed to death by his jeep, shines a spotlight on a known problem with the vehicle (Original post)
cali Jun 2016 OP
marble falls Jun 2016 #1
cali Jun 2016 #2
marble falls Jun 2016 #4
rjsquirrel Jun 2016 #3
cali Jun 2016 #5
marble falls Jun 2016 #6
rjsquirrel Jun 2016 #7
marble falls Jun 2016 #9
rjsquirrel Jun 2016 #10
Glassunion Jun 2016 #15
rjsquirrel Jun 2016 #16
Hassin Bin Sober Jun 2016 #17
merrily Jun 2016 #8
Igel Jun 2016 #12
merrily Jun 2016 #13
MindPilot Jun 2016 #11
ecstatic Jun 2016 #14

Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:37 AM

1. Its a shame a year old problem needs the death of a celebrity to get any attention.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:44 AM

2. yes it is.

 

at least the autopsy report shows that he died quickly. It's a gruesome story.

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:49 AM

4. Small comfort, how many more deaths will there be? Part of Jeeps defense will be like Ford's Pinto..

defense: moving too quickly will be taken as an admission of culpability.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:46 AM

3. Fiat-Chrysler. FTW

 

Nearly every single person I know who owns a modern-era Fiat/Chrysler product (other than Dodge pickups maybe) has buyer's remorse.

Also here's another poke in the old fashioned and incorrect view that because you buy a car assembled in America you've bought an American car. The transmission in question is sourced in Germany and also used in Audi, VW, and Mercedes models.

A big difference appears to be that the engineers at FCA decided not to add a fail-safe electronic parking brake used in those other luxury models, probably to add $200 profit to their bottom line.

But the consumer desire for faux "luxury" also drives unnecessary innovation that in this case wasn't necessary at all. Automatic transmissions should all work the same way and provide tactile as well as visual feedback, as they have for decades. A shifter that requires you to visually confirm you're in the right gear is many kinds of disasters waiting to happen. Shifting an auto transmission between PRND should be boringly routine. Instead, trying to emulate the luxury feel of new joystick shifters, Jeep took a shortcut by adding the blingy touch without the corresponding fail safe technology. Among other things it's just one more thing to break (expensively) that doesn't do the job any better (in fact, provably worse) than what it replaced.

Truly an epic fail by FCA.

ETA: here's s good Jalopnik piece that explains the problem and includes a video showing how the shifter works by design.

http://jalopnik.com/heres-the-problem-with-jeeps-recalled-gear-shifter-1782364420

If you own a car with a joystick style transmission shifter (its not just on jeeps) you should really go over your manual or instruction videos. Same for a lot of new car tech, including stuff designed to save your life. Our cars have become semi-autonomous already and full of distractions. It's easy to forget you're responsible for moving two tons of steel at 70mph.

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Response to rjsquirrel (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:49 AM

5. thanks for the information. I'm ignorant as hell about these things

 

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Response to rjsquirrel (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:50 AM

6. Well explained, thankyou.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #6)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:52 AM

7. And lol I'm getting Jeep Grand Cherokee ads on the page

 

The algorithm can't tell I'm trashing their brand.

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Response to rjsquirrel (Reply #7)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:53 AM

9. You weren't trashing it, you were explaining it clearly.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #9)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:58 AM

10. Thanks

 

I added this to my original post but will repeat here-- a very clear explanation with video.

http://jalopnik.com/heres-the-problem-with-jeeps-recalled-gear-shifter-1782364420

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Response to rjsquirrel (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 11:26 AM

15. I recall the first time I drove a vehicle with this exact transmission.

My dealership gives you a loaner when you drop your car off for service. They are trying to sell you newer models, so they usually give you a really nicely appointed vehicle. Anyhoo... It was a BMW with one of those electronic shifters, far different from my own older 6 speed.

Unlike the Jeep, it was super easy to figure out, and there was no confusion. You want the car in park, you simply press the letter 'P'.

I'll stick with my '07 though. Much more fun to drive.

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Response to Glassunion (Reply #15)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 12:14 PM

16. And in that Beemer

 

if you DID actually leave the car in N or R and opened the door or shut off the engine an electronic parking brake automatically engages. This is what Jeep failed to provide.

For everyone, you really need to keep an old habit: when you stop your car to get out, you put on the parking brake (wrongly called an "emergency brake". Always. As a habit that becomes automatic. Many many people have been killed and injured and property has been damaged in rolling incidents involving cars besides this badly designed Jeep.

Save lives. Just like driving with your lights always on, or looking over your shoulder before changing lanes even if you have sensors, make this a habit.

That is the purpose of that brake. It's amazing how many people simply never use it because they think it is for "emergencies." It exists to prevent rolling.

Every time the car is turned off, engage the parking brake. Teach your kids this. Never roll into anyone or anything.

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Response to rjsquirrel (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 12:19 PM

17. Great post!

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Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 07:52 AM

8. A known problem with America is that the people within Chrysler will not go to jail for murder.

Until that happens, individuals within corporations will continue to weigh the cost/benefit of recalling fatal products.

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Response to merrily (Reply #8)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 10:22 AM

12. It was recalled.

How's this:

Citizens must not be allowed to continue to hold recalled products. Until that happens, individuals will continue to way the cost/benefit of complying with recalls.


Of course, if government enforces that law it means a registry must be kept of every product purchased by consumers and phalanges of consumer-protection "advocates" must have the ability to go in and confiscate any recalled product.

I'd hate for that to have happened with the Spaghetti-O recall just after I reorganized the pantry. No, I didn't return the cans; yes, we had some of the product. It was easier to throw the two cans away than lug them around until we got back to the store. (http://www.campbellsoupcompany.com/newsroom/news/2015/11/12/spaghettios-original-14-2oz-cans-recalled-due-to-potential-choking-hazard/ )

But if I'd fed my kid the crapasta product and he'd choked, it would have been my fault. I knew it was recalled, the company did due diligence, and if I was too foolish to care about my kid's life that's my foolishness. It's on me. I'm my own first line of defense against danger. If somebody had gone through my trash, pulled them out, and fed them to their kids so that their kids choked, that's not something I could easily help. Nor is it something I'd know about.

I'll blame the auto-victim here (pun very much intended), and just be content that his foolishness didn't kill anybody other than the fool involved. He was his own first line of defense against danger, and he did nothing to mitigate the danger he should have known of, as far as well I can tell.

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Response to Igel (Reply #12)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 10:37 AM

13. Look at you, making sure I know you're joking about this guy's death. My point stands, though.

This is not the first, and it won't be last, time a product kills or injures someone.

Sometimes the product takes a fix, before it leaves the factory and it's deemed not worth the fix. Sometimes the issues become obvious later, but a recall is not issued until several have been hurt or killed. We've all seen these cases, including in the auto industry, and we will continue to see them until the individuals involved in the lethal decisions are held responsible.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 08:15 AM

11. File under mistakes that should not be repeated.

 

It might be time for some harsh penalties since this is not the first time.

Ford had this issue during the sixties and seventies. On the cars with column-mounted gear sectors, they would literally fall out of Park. As a Ford technician, it happened to me on three separate occasions on vehicles I was working on.

A brand new Granada that was running while I went to the bench to complete the paper work, dropped into the reverse and backed out of the shop.The open door caught on a support column and folded the driver's door against the fender as the door trim shredded.

The others I was able to run and catch before there was any damage.

For years Ford would not admit the problem existed, but finally issued a recall in the late 70s or early 80s. The fix was a re-designed detent and stiffer spring to give the shifter a more positive feel. but it still wasn't applied to more than a narrow range of model-years.

This is a serious case of not learning from other's mistakes and not considering the human engineering factors required.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Wed Jun 22, 2016, 10:44 AM

14. "still working on a solution"

WTF? It seems simple. Get rid of the fancy button gear shift knob and return to basics. I almost got a jeep. SMH. Thank goodness their website is ridiculously confusing with WAY too many models and trims to choose from.

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