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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up my brand new commander yesterday afternoon. Today the check engine light came on in a store parking lot, and the car felt very sluggish. Then I noticed that the display indicated that it was in 3rd gear. Won't go up or down, just stays in third. I was able to drive it home, but had a hard time starting up from stop signs with any incline. I called the dealer, and of course their service dep't is closed until Monday.

Does anybody have any idea what could be causing this? Anyone else have similar problems???
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tried that, and also tried engaging 4Lo, but it stays in 3rd...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Exactly. Dropped it at the dealer this morning - they say it's probably minor and should be fixed in a few hours. We'll see...
 

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You probably engaged that 3rd manual without being aware of it. Make sure you know when the lever is next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I didn't engage anything accidentally - the check engine light doesn't come on when you do that.

So the dealer claimed that there was a loose plug in the side of the transmission housing with some pins that weren't making contact. They reconnected it, it reset the codes, and was working fine. I picked it up this afternoon and went home from work. After dinner I went out, and I'm sitting at a traffic light and the check engine light comes on again, display says "3" and I had to drive home stuck in third gear again. UUUGGHHH!!!!

I'm going back to the dealer first thing tomorrow morning to see what they say this time. All of my excitement from buying the new vehicle has been replaced with frustration. I just bought it 3 days ago, and it's been sitting in my garage or the dealer's garage most of that time.

The kicker is that the sales manager asked me today if I would still give them a perfect rating on the DC satifaction survey...
 

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Tell them, if you fix the problem it won't be as bad! Did you special order your Commander, or was it off the lot? Tell them to get you another!
 

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I agree, I would say that they should get you another one. A transmission problem in the first 24 hours is not a good thing and doesn't bode well for that particular vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The dealer located the car for me down in VA, which is about 150 miles from where I live. I was asked if I wanted to order it, but because I have no patience I asked them to try and locate one for me and do a dealer-swap. They get two more tries to fix it (including today) and then I'll have to talk to them about getting a different car.

One of my concerns is that driving in 3rd gear might be really bad for the engine, especially since it is still breaking-in. Because I've been driving it home and then to the dealer with this problem, I've probably put about 50 miles on the car when it's stuck in 3rd. Does anyone know what effect this could have on the engine, if any?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just got the car back. They claim to have fixed it for real this time> They did a full diagnostic test of the electrical system and found that there was a cut wire that was contacting something (strut bar???) and causing a short.

Hopefully it's fixed for good, and I'll be able to resume enjoying my new car smell...
 

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good luck, I was a german auto mechanic for 15 yrs and I've always said if there is any magic in the world it happens with electricity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another update in case anyone is interested...

I picked up my commander last night after the 2nd fix and drove home with no problem. This morning, I didn't even make it out of the driveway and the light comes back on and I only have 3rd gear again. I went straight to the dealer and they fixed it while I waited. They also better explained the issue for me. This is what they told me, but I'd like to get some of your opinions...

There is a wire harness that connects to it's fuses at the driver's side of the support bar above the engine. The harness goes over the bar and joins with some other wires before traveling down toward the transmission. The first time I had the problem, the harness was loose at the transmission-end. The second time, there was a cut wire right at the support bar by the fuse connection that was making contact with the bar and causing a short and blown fuse. The third time they fixed it (this morning), they said that there was a loose connection in the same harness, but this time at the fuse-end, not the transmission end. It appears that all three of these had the same cause - the harness is pulled too tight. Apparently it is the same harness (and same engine compartment set-up) as the Grand Cherokee, but in the GC the harness goes under the support. For some reason, they used the same harness in the commander but routed it over the support instead of under it. I asked if they could just re-route the harness under the support, but they said they didn't want to do that without finding out first from DC engineers if there is a reason for it being routed over the support instead of under it. They checked several other commanders, and they all have the same set-up.

So according to the dealer, this is the first time they've seen this problem, but they anticipate that they will have more like it because they think it's a design issue, not just something wrong with my commander. They said if it happens again, they'll replace the harness and see if that works. Since this is the third time they've fixed it, I wonder if they are telling me it's a commander design flaw only to disuade me from requesting another car. I'm a skeptic.... hopefully that's not the case.
 

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I am a tech for a Mercedes Dealer here in California. It sounds to me like they have no clue on your vehicle. Them telling you ïf it happens again"tells me they are not sure they fixed it this time either. 3rd time same promblem....Lemon Law.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
They've "fixed" it three times (I've only owned the thing for 5 days!), so if it stays fixed for the next 12 months then lemon law won't apply. In PA, anyway, the problem must still exist after the third attempt to fix it. If it happens again, I'll talk to the dealer about my options. The problem has surfaced every time about 20-30 miles after I leave the dealer. So tomorrow morning we'll see if it the same problem.

Here's a question... Would I talk to the dealer first about getting a different car, or should I go directly to DC customer service? Also, I'm assuming I won't need a lemon law attorney since this seems to be a pretty obvious defect and well within lemon law limits. Does anyone have experience with this???
 

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Dude I hope this goes away for you. That is the most bizzare thing i've heard yet.
 

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I would give the dealer a chance first. I just have afunny feeling they didnt repair it. Almost sounds like a software issue in the control unit. Please keep us updated
 

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Document all attempts to fix it. It does not matter if it is a design flaw or not as far as lemon law. DO NOT ASK FOR A NEW CAR IN PERSON!! Send a certified letter (called a demand letter) to both the dealer and DC, stating the facts and asking for them to replace the car. they will then have to address it. If not, they will not even try to start the process.
If this was a simple design issue, we would all be limping around. I've been offroad and flexed this thing as much as IFS will and had no problems. If they claim that the harness was stretched, why did they not replace it in the first place? Are they just putting it back on or are they modifying it? Not good. what if the wires were weakened by the stretching? It could cause a fire or other issues with the ECU at a later date. That is what the lemon law is for!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the advice, Jangy. I will certainly follow it if I come to that point.

I drove home from the dealer and into work this morning with no problems. Hopefully it stays that way.
 
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