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Old 11-20-2010, 03:30 PM
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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

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 ONLYbeach 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.

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Old 11-20-2010, 03:43 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

I know the design of the engine bay, where the air intake and such is located. How did 12" of water end up that high in the engine just crawling at 5 mph through a puddle? I have a completely open custom made CAI that has the filter located down in the front bumper close to the ground. Not to mention my Jeep is lowered 2.5" in the front. I drove threw a trememdous rainstorm 2 weeks ago for 5 days and my filter didnt even get wet. I was doing some interstate driving at 75-80 mph and having rain thrown on my windshield by other vehicles.
But some how water made it to the top of your engine bay and into your intake manifold. Was the areas you drove through severly flooded? I have heard of a few WK's with hydro-locked engines...but they were fording rivers and creeks. I do know that Phil Jansen mentioned in our engineers chat here that the 2011's could forde water up to 20" deep I do believe...maybe more. Its in the engineers chat forum if youd like to have a look.
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:44 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

I'm sorry to hear this. But how exactly did water from a 12" puddle get into the air scoop three feet about the ground?
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:49 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

Stated fording depth is up to 20" from the Jeep Owner's Info and Website.
Quote:
Do not attempt water fording unless depth is known to be less than 20 inches
This is presumably for the non Quadralift Laredo.

12 inches should have been no problem. If there was water in the air intake, it had to have reached a level higher than at least 20"
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:51 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

There is no way that 12" of water would have made it into the air intake, unless someone was flying through the water. Even then I have flown through water deeper than that and never got water in the intake. These Jeeps even have a drain for water that makes it down the intake tube.

I would ask the service people just how much water was in there. If it rained it would even show a few drips of water in there.

Also there is no way that water would have damaged the engine and you made it nearly 700 miles before you experienced any problems. It would have been an immediate failure. It sounds as if the engine threw the rod as described and the engine blow due to having no oil.
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:55 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeep2011 View Post
Also there is no way that water would have locked the engine and you made it nearly 700 miles before you experienced any problems. It would have been immediate failure.
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:01 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

that doesn't make sense either ... are you sure it was due to going through 12" of water or some other factor from before?
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:58 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

Surely you took pictures. Please post them.
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Old 11-20-2010, 06:24 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

Given how cogent your story sounds, it sure feels like something else went bad with the engine and perhaps Chrysler should step up to the plate. If you are absolutely certain the max you drove through was a 12" puddle, at any speed let alone 5mph, then you should continue to press this case.

I'm sure you are livid, disappointed, and tired of the wasted time and opportunity costs. If you haven't already, suggest letting Chrysler know that you expect to be treated properly, otherwise you'll pursue other avenues including carpetbombing the bejeebus out of the interwebs if necessary.

Our condolensces. Good luck with this.
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:15 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

If your Jeep got some water in the air intake it will shut off or blow the engine right away NOT several hundred miles later. Are you sure "the mechanic did not drop his drink in your intake during investigating your engine"? I would hire good attorney and would not buy their story. It is more like manufactured defect in your engine.
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:56 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

I missed that it blew 25 miles from home during a 700 mile trip. If water enetered the intake and got into the combustion chambers...it wouldnt have made it 100 ft probably
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:21 PM
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Re: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6L Pentastar V6 BLOWN-UP ENGINE!

my experience is hrdro-lock is pretty instananious. water fills a cylinder. the rod cant move that pistoma and it all breaks. BANG DONE.

contact your insurance company. it was 'an accident' casued by mother nature and the storm. they will cover your motor for sure. seen it done more than onc.
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