THE END... for me at least
There is nothing I hate more than seeing a thread like this one without the resolution being shared... so I realized I never updated the final "resolution" for my dilemma here.
After exactly 6 months of the vehicle being dropped off at the dealership for the 10th or so time and my refusal to drive it again until it was fixed, the dealership KREBS DODGE in Gibsonia, PA called to tell me to piss off and pick up my vehicle. They claimed it could not be fixed and they were done trying. I picked up our vehicle with over 1500 miles on the odometer since I had dropped it off, and with previously discussed damage to the interior not repaired left quite pissed off. AVOID KREBS DODGE AT ALL COST. The owner told me to sue him if I wanted resolution. Chris Krebs would be selling shoes at Payless if his father didn't start that dealership in my opinion.
Back to the Jeep. I own a GMC truck and while hanging around a GM forum I mentioned my issue there. Up pops a Mopar sponsored drift team owner and former SAE Engineer for Chrysler. He tells me how his Chrysler 300 had the same problem and he nailed the diagnosis in his first attempt... he is my hero and Chrysler is worse off without him in my opinion.
Long story short, the piss poor design of the gas tank in my former Jeep was the culprit. Since there is no overflow in the filler neck, if a gas pump doesn't shut off correctly, as the gas pours over your quarter panel it also spits into the vent tube for the EVAP system. Eventually the charcoal canister becomes drenched in gasoline apparently when it's supposed to only be sucking fumes back into the intake and causes some sort of a vapor lock? My technical grasp of the actual problem area is weak if you can't tell, but the diagnosis was spot on.
I'm one of those guys who has ignored the "Don't Top Off" warning on gas pumps for decades but apparently Jeep doesn't want you to top off. To test the theory of failure, after the Jeep stalled I took the gas cap off and drove for two days without another stalling issue. Thinking it might be as simple as a new gas cap, I tried it unsuccessfully. Every time we filled the tank without topping off, it stalled a dozen times before the next fill up. However, when we stopped short of a full tank when refilling - IT NEVER STALLED AGAIN.
The responsible thing would have been to have the gas tank replaced (according to the gentleman helping me online the entire thing was one assembly and the solid state device in the filler neck that failed could not be replaced individually so he replaced his 3 times). However, seeing as how we'd be without a vehicle long enough and did not want to deal with another service department, we waited for the lawsuit to settle and traded it in on another brand vehicle.
Our attorney did what I'd consider a good job given our situation, but in the end Chrysler cut us a check for $6k for our troubles and told us to piss off like the dealership did. I liked this Jeep more than the other two Mopar products I'd owned up until this failure started, however I'll never purchase another one again simply because of how the organization as a whole treated our problem. According to the many attorneys we spoke with, Chrysler is THE WORST when it comes to resolving customer complaints / lemon resolutions / etc. Basically their lifetime power train warranty is about useless as I've learned the hard way.
So, we drove our Jeep for another 5 months until the lawsuit was settled, took a bath on our trade in despite being a low mileage 4 year old vehicle thanks to the mile long service records showing on its history, and bought a another brand vehicle. Unfortunately, my goal of having this Jeep crushed for safety was not Chrysler's so my prayers go out to the new owner of the death trap.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO TRIED TO HELP AND CONSOLE MY FRUSTRATIONS OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS WITH THIS THING! I would have posted this sooner, but to be honest I was so disgusted with it all it took a few months for me to be able to spend my free time talking about it!
I hope ALL OF YOU have better results with your Jeep. I do miss certain aspects of the vehicle and the new ones look so tempting, but until the day comes when I can afford 2-3 backup vehicles I'm afraid the SRT-8 I've always wanted to cruise around in is off my dream ride list!
My sincerest thank you to everyone on this board - this is by far the greatest forum I've been a part of and it is the one reason I wish I still owned a Jeep.