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I'm looking for some advise regarding a recent diagnosis from the dealership. My service 4 wheel drive light had come on intermittently over the past several months. I ended up taking it into the dealership last week. They saw there was a TSB for the final control drive and said this could fix my warning light. They scanned the Jeep and received the codes c1405, c1406, c140f and c1438. Because of these codes the dealership wanted to keep the jeep for further investigation into these codes. After 3 days at the dealership, they called and said the transfer case needs replaced and the front differentials need rebuilt. They quoted me a price of $4500 for the service. I asked how they came to the conclusion the transfer case was bad and the only answer was that they saw metal shavings in the oil of the transfer case. I haven't experienced any grinding, clunking or any weird sounds from the transfer case. The jeep has driven perfectly fine. I told them I didn't want to do the service and I would pick up my jeep. The service manager told me that if I didn't get this fixed, it could potentially go out while driving and could cause a catastrophic accident. When I picked up the jeep the service 4wd wasn't on anymore.

I ended up taking it to a local transmission shop for a second opinion. After a thorough check and test drive, they found no issues with the transfer case or front differentials. They did find that the front differential mounts were bad which they are replacing as well as replacing the transfer case and differential fluids.

My questions are, how can the dealership diagnose this problem but the transmission shop not?

Are there any specific sounds or issues I would see/hear to know the transfer case is going out?

If the transfer case were to go out, what exactly would happen if driving on a freeway?

This jeep is my wife's daily driver with 3 small children. I'm very hesitant to let her continue to drive this knowing what the dealership has told me.

Any advise would be helpful.

2006 Jeep Commander, HEMI, Quadradrive II
 

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Sounds like the dealership thought you were a sucker walking in. I worked for a dealer for years and their most effective sell line is one of imminent catastrophic failure. They know no one wants that to happen. If the other shop found nothing and you don't hear any grinding or popping from those areas you are sure to be fine.
 

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I never trust a Dealership any farther than I can pick up the Dealership and throw it. Its sad for the few good Dealerships out there, but just way to many are bad that it tarnishes all of them. There is a reason people call them Stealerships. While all franchises have problems, Chrysler's Dealerships seem to be the worst of the lot. The Dealerships are really dragging down the brand, and the big shake up with the Federal Gov taking over and closing half the Dealerships, on what appears to be political grounds, before FIAT bought the company likely only made it worse.

Did the Dealership perform the Recall/FDCM update? The FDCM software alone is responsible for the Service 4WD light in many cases, but NOT all, the latest software update is suppose to finally fix this problem. They should have performed it regardless if you elected their recommended service or NOT, and it should at least eliminate that as a possible cause.

Google search for what the codes they gave you mean. Find out what c1405, c1406, c140f and c1438 is telling you what is wrong. The shift motor failing is pretty common. As well, leaking oil can get into connectors and cause shorts that will cause codes. Just cleaning the connectors and fixing the oil leak can solve a problem like that.

I agree with Wingdog, based on what you told us, it sounds like the Dealership is trying to rip you off. The chances of the XFR case and Front Diff failing catastrophically, especially in a way to create a catastrophic accident (that is big leap in probabilities, although nothing is impossible) is pretty darn low if those components are NOT making any noise, aren't creating any very noticeable reactions in the drivetrain, aren't getting hot, etc.

So listen and observe if you can hear or notice any of those things, after a long drive, touching the differential carriers, XFR case and Transmission and assessing their temperature will help as well. If one is significantly hotter than the other, that would be a warning sign of something serious.

But find out what the 4 codes mean, they are telling you what the FDCM saw as malfunctions of the 4WD system. Keep in mind the FDCM deduces these things from the inputs it sees through sensors and wiring, so don't jump to conclusions that code means that particular definition is definitely happening and is catastrophic. Something as simple as a shorted or broken wire can or a dirty connector can make a electronic control module conclude a part has totally failed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses. Yes the dealership did perform 2 recalls while the Jeep was there. The recall for the final control drive must have fixed the warning light since it was off after I picked it up.
 

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Still find out what those 4 codes mean, usually a google search with the word "JEEP" will give you list of definitions. There may be problems those codes are telling you about.

At first the FDCM was failing in a way for them to uncommanded shift the XFR case into neutral and a few rolled away. The NHTSA took that seriously, Chrysler's fix was a software update that would disable shifting the XFR case if the FDCM failed a self-test. The first software update was too sensitive in the self-test, and it was failing just every FDCM even though there was nothing wrong with them (thus the 4wd service light and unable to shift the XFR case into 4LOW). This latest software update has seemed to fix the problem of perfectly good FDCM's failing the self-test.

BUT, a few people getting the latest software update have discovered they had problems with their shift motor or something else in 4WD system, and they were wrongly assuming the Service 4WD light was just the software erroneously failing the FDCM again. They soon learned there was a problem in their 4WD system they were ignoring, and needed to have fixed before the Service 4WD light would go out, despite having the latest software update.
 

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BUT, a few people getting the latest software update have discovered they had problems with their shift motor or something else in 4WD system, and they were wrongly assuming the Service 4WD light was just the software erroneously failing the FDCM again. They soon learned there was a problem in their 4WD system they were ignoring, and needed to have fixed before the Service 4WD light would go out, despite having the latest software update.
By shift motor I am assuming you mean the actuator motor on the transfer case?

Buckeye1199: You may want to read the thread below in detail.

http://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50641
 

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Yes, the actuator motor, that probably is the correct term. Since it shifts the XFR case from 4HI to 4LOW or to Neutral, I'd think shift motor is not incorrect.
I wasn't trying to imply your terminology was wrong Mongo, I just wanted to make sure I understood what you were talking about.
 
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