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I brought it to the dealer the day we left with that TSB in hand the morning before we left...no luck. They tried the TSB, didn't work. They found the transfer case control module was bad, busted their asses to get a new one the same day, put it in, programmed it (twice), still no luck and time had run out. I do commend the dealer for trying so hard. I just showed up with no appointment and they tried their best but there was not enough time.
So, we got to take our trip with a 2WD. It sucked. If I didn't need a 4WD I would have bought a 2WD! Damn near $40K for a brand new 4WD vehicle so we wouldn't have to worry about these things...our '51 Willey's Jeep hasn't ever had the 4WD go out.... We lucked out weather-wise for the most part (it could have been worse) but it still sucked.
I couldn't hunt in the thing because there was a fair amount of snow on the ground. I drove it offroad some and while it does have very good traction compared to many 2WD vehicles I've used in the past, it simply couldn't get where I was going. After being spoiled in the "YuppyMobile" let me tell you, stuffing three guys and their rifles in the cab of a 20 year old diesel pickup that barely runs, most of the stuff doesn't work, is loud as a freight train, rides like somebody welded the shocks solid, heater doesn't work, etc...sucks. It really sucks.
On the way back, the first 200 miles or so were glare ice on the roads. People were sliding off the road left and right in front of us. There were 5 serious accidents in front of us within the first 100 miles. Going up a steep hill on glare ice, fighting to keep the rear end behind the front end all because the 4WD on you brand new damn truck doesn't work really, REALLY, SUCKED!
For the first time, I really feel like this thing has failed me. All the other problems we've had (wandering mirrors, license plate gasket--on my second one now--rear hatch seal, rear hatch strap, etc, etc, yada, yada yada) have pretty much been annoyances. But this was a major failure.
My dad always distrusted any 4WD where there wasn't an actual physical connection between his dirty, pissed off hand and the gears of the transfer case. After owning a '98 Jimmy with a "push button system" for a few years, that thing was flawless. Never any type of problem with the 4WD. I learned to trust the "electronic" systems.
Well, they have taken a serious step backward in the reliability department with these new rigs. This is the 3rd time my 4WD has acted up on this thing in 1 year. That is not a good sign. At least the first two times the 4WD still worked (even if it was stuck in 4WD when it shouldn't be). This time it didn't simply "act up." It failed. Done. Dead. Caput. And I needed it.
In the past, for something like this to happen a few large METAL parts would need to BREAK. Not so now. A "Module" gets "confused." An "encoder motor" decides not to "encode." There is nothing a shadetree mechanic (or even most small town shops) can do to fix that. They can weld broken metal parts (as could I) but they can't pull "modules" out of their posteriors.
The more I think about it the more infuriated it makes me. But what the hell can I do? Lemon law the thing? We've had it long enough and haven't documented anything I think would actually qualify. Besides, we really love it 99% of the time. Talk about a love-hate relationship. It's the most wonderfull vehicle we have ever owned. But it sucks and can't be trusted.
Anyway, it was back at the dealer today and the found the encoder motor was bad. They'll put a new one in tomorrow. It'll probably work after that. But how will I ever know it will work when I really need it?
Sorry for the rant. I feel better now.
In case you're wondering, we did OK despite having to "rough it."
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