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Powdered Toast Man

Installed a hitch and now my whole car has gone looney tunes

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Ok, so the saga begins on Tuesday. I took my 2011 Journey R/T (AWD) to a local shop to have a trailer hitch installed. When I bought the vehicle it included the Mopar trailer wiring harness in a bag so I gave that to the shop and told them to use it for the trailer wiring. When they finished the install they told me I would have to take the vehicle to the dealer to have it re-flashed to activate the trailer wiring as there was no power to it.

I took the Journey to a local dealer and they proceeded to reflash it. That's where the trouble started. As soon as they flashed the vehicle the Driver Control Module went offline. That means the traction control and ABS were non functional. However the trailer wiring WAS working. I ended up having to leave the car there for the entire day. I got it back at the end of the day "fixed" with the explanation they had traced it down to a plug harness that had a loose ground pin. When they cleaned it and adjusted it the DCM came back online and all the codes ceased. I drove it home and parked it until morning.

Wednesday: I took the Journey out in the morning and upon the very first corner I made I noticed something felt wrong. Every time I took a corner I felt a tugging sensation and then a thud when I got going in a straight line again. I called the dealer and they said it couldn't possibly be related to the problem with the DCM. So I took it to my trusted local mechanic instead. He had the car for most of the day and he eventually told me that there is definitely something wrong in the rear differential and that his shop isn't equipped to fix it. He recommended an experienced local transmission shop.

Today: I took it to the transmission shop and they had it all day. They can't repair it. They told me they traced the issue down to the fact that the vehicle is supplying (electrical) power to the rear differential 100% of the time. Basically the vehicle is telling the AWD system to be engaged at all times. So when I take corners on dry pavement it's tugging and thumping because all the wheels are trying to drive. They were able to disengage the AWD by physically unplugging the wiring harness above the viscous coupling unit. They said it's fine to drive for now but it just doesn't have AWD.

It has to go back to the dealer and I have an appointment on Monday. I believe this has to be completely related to the problem with the reflash and the driver control module. It's way too much of a coincidence that they had issues with the electronics and now the AWD system won't disengage because the system is telling it to stay on.

Has anyone seen this before or have an recommendations on what could be going wrong here? I'm already anticipating the dealer is going to come back and say the DCM is faulty and needs to be replaced. The vehicle has LESS THAN 60,000 KM on it (37500 miles) but it's 7 years old and off warranty.

 

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I would almost guarantee you need the car re-flashed again. I have experienced two bad flashings (if that's what you would call it), one with my DJ and one with my daughter's Ford. The Ford had to be redone twice with the manager finally admitting the first one had not completed, and the second had produced errors while flashing. I didn't think it would of made such a difference, but they did. If I am not mistaken, they can generate a report to see if the flashing completed correctly, and even if it did I would have them do it again (at no cost). Makes me nervous because I am going in for my recall notice tomorrow, which is just a complete re-flash of the system...crossing my fingers.

On a side note, you may want to consider the CURT OEM wiring harness. I've yet heard of any issues with that harness, unlike the one you used.

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Armando know how you feel just had my recall done today, wasn't going to bother with it but the wife insisted on having it done, but no problems only took about 20-30 minutes.

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I'd really love to see a follow up from Powdered Toast Man since he posted here and in the Trailer section concerning this issue. Wonder if his issue ever got fixed?

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Here's the update:

 

The wiring was a coincidence and the problems had nothing to do with it.

 

I had a critical failure of the viscous coupler in the AWD system. It acts like a clutch before the rear differential and transfers power to the rear wheels.

 

The dealer quoted me $2500 for the repair and told me both the viscous coupler and the rear differential were "destroyed". I took the car to an independent transmission shop for a second opinion. They found me a used viscous coupler (salvaged with 20,000km on it). They found no evidence of damage to the rear diff. Total repair cost ended up at just over $1300.

 

So major powertrain failure on a vehicle with only 60,000 km on it. Beware of shopping for an AWD and get the extended warranty.

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Thanks for the update, really appreciate it. Glad it got resolved for you. I'm assuming that although the mileage was below the max, it wasn't covered under the powertrain warranty because it was past the 5 year limit?

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22 hours ago, Powdered Toast Man said:

Here's the update:

 

The wiring was a coincidence and the problems had nothing to do with it.

 

I had a critical failure of the viscous coupler in the AWD system. It acts like a clutch before the rear differential and transfers power to the rear wheels.

 

The dealer quoted me $2500 for the repair and told me both the viscous coupler and the rear differential were "destroyed". I took the car to an independent transmission shop for a second opinion. They found me a used viscous coupler (salvaged with 20,000km on it). They found no evidence of damage to the rear diff. Total repair cost ended up at just over $1300.

 

So major powertrain failure on a vehicle with only 60,000 km on it. Beware of shopping for an AWD and get the extended warranty.

Just another great reason i stay away from awd,fwd is all iv ever needed

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On 7/1/2018 at 1:18 AM, Armando G said:

Thanks for the update, really appreciate it. Glad it got resolved for you. I'm assuming that although the mileage was below the max, it wasn't covered under the powertrain warranty because it was past the 5 year limit?

 

Exactly. I even called FCA Canada to see if they would be willing to work with me on it since the KM's are so low. Nope. 

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