Originally Posted by COST554
The “Jeep Manifesto” and “Creek Fording” commercials especially came to mind when deciding to purchase a vehicle we could use on our yearly vacations to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We purchased a 2011 Grand Cherokee, “Trail Rated” Laredo with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 Engine and it truly performed well driving to our beach house with “4x4 ONLY” beach access. During the vacation, we drove thru a 12" rain puddle , at about 5mph, thinking nothing of it. During our 700 mile trip home from North Carolina, around midnight and only 25 miles from home, we experienced a CATASTROPHIC engine failure, requiring us to be towed home.
On Monday, October 11, the vehicle was towed to the dealer. The Service manager called and told me I experienced hydro-lock on the engine and it threw a rod and punched a hole into the oil pan, causing a complete loss of oil. I went to look at the vehicle and the torn down parts and was shown some water in the air intake plenum, which led the service manager to the hydro-lock analysis. The regional reps and national warranty manager went along with this conclusion. I was told this is not covered by warranty and it would cost $8,000 for a new engine.
As a new owner of a new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with 2194 miles with about 50 hours on the engine and only (6) weeks old, I wanted to bring this to your attention. Jeep markets the Grand Cherokee as a Flagship On and Off road SUV and promotes a driving experience to play in the absolute premium market. I purchased the “Trail Rated” package for the ability to safely drive off road with confidence.
First, I have worked with the Jeep Dealer, having gone through the Warranty System, from the Chrysler field reps, all the way to the General Manager of Chrysler Warranty Administration. They continue to maintain that this is not a warranty issue. I believe based on my above discussion that while this may not be a defect in material or manufacturing, there is a serious design issue that is involved here. An open air scoop, with no way to drain water from the air plenum! I have even discussed this with the Chief Engineer of Jeep, Phil Jansen, and he told me that Mike Manley, Jeep President & CEO was also aware of my problem. They stand by their design, with 2 years of testing for the air intake.
Secondly, per my dealer’s service manager, there are no drop-in engine’s available, and he would have to rebuild the one he just completely tore down and as such, it would only have a 12 month, 12,000 mile warranty. Even a new drop in would only have 36 months and 36,000 miles. The expectation when I purchased the vehicle was that the advertised 5 years, 100,000 mile drive train warranty should be in effect on any drive train repair.
I do not believe I did anything out of the ordinary from the “Trail Rated” Jeep performance parameters which have been advertised. I have been without a vehicle for almost six weeks, and am now letting the public know what has happened to a once happy customer.