Cool new pickup truck you’ve got there, pal! What is that, like, a Jeep Wrangler with a truck bed or something? A “Gladiator,” you say? They make those now? Wow, what a world we live in. Too bad it’s already being recalled.
Fiat Chrysler filed documents with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dated Tuesday, recalling 3,427 Gladiators over the potential for their rear driveshaft to fracture. The Gladiator debuted in late 2018 as a Jeep Wrangler-style pickup for the 2020 model year, and as of June, FCA reported having sold 7,252 Gladiators in the U.S. thus far.
The recall, documents posted by NHTSA said, is for Gladiators built between Dec. 15, 2018 and June 25 of this year. The estimated number of the nearly 3,500 Gladiators with a defect is only 5 percent, but likely because of the nature of the recall, a stop sale was issued on affected Gladiators until a fix is complete.
Trucks involved in the recall could experience a driveshaft fracture, courtesy of some grease left off during assembly. From the documents:
Certain 2020 MY Jeep Gladiator vehicles built from December 15, 2018, through June 25, 2019, may have a rear driveshaft that was assembled without grease in the monoblock joint portion of the driveshaft. [...]
A monoblock joint is a constant velocity joint within the center of the driveshaft. A monoblock without grease may overheat and seize, which may result in a fractured rear driveshaft.
The documents said a fractured rear driveshaft could separate, potentially leading to a loss of motive power if the truck is in rear-wheel-drive mode, or road debris if the driveshaft completely separates from the truck. Owners, the documents said, could experience a noise or vibration before any fracturing.
Documents said FCA noticed the grease error when it received four driveshafts from warranty repairs and sent them to the supplier for analysis around June, and decided to issue the recall in late August. FCA also said it isn’t aware of any injuries or crashes related to the issue, but that it’s had six warranty claims. FCA confirmed, according to the documents, that trucks not included in the recall were found through supplier records to have been built containing grease.
FCA said it’ll replace the driveshafts for free in the recall, and that owners who have paid for work related to the problem elsewhere will be reimbursed with the right documentation. The plan is to notify owners on Oct. 18.
Until then, maybe pay attention to any vibrations that might occur, should you choose to take the truck out of the garage. It might not just be the noise of the whole town abuzz about your mysterious Wrangler pickup truck, but your truck itself, about to have a fractured rear driveshaft.