Auto Transmission shuddering / rattle or crunching sound (when broken!) / not accelerating under throttle / stalling when stopped / Torque Converter failure
Since the 2005-on CRD was released the Automatic Transmission in some of them (maybe 10-15% (?) of the model - especially 2005 builds) has copped a bad reputation because of clunky operation, shuddering at freeway speeds, and the occasional one has had a catastrophic failure of the Torque Converter.
What has occurred in these vehicles is the result of two separate problems, the first being that a batch of the transmissions had an incorrectly manufactured internal filter installed from the factory which meant that fluid couldn't flow properly around the internals of the transmission, and components would fail if stressed. Most of these were caught early before damage occurred via the Technical Service Bulletin issued.
The TSB for the transmission filter replacement is for vehicles with VIN numbers between certain ranges only, as not all got the bad filters. The TSB is 21-007-06 which superceded 21-016-05 'TRANSMISSION FILTERS'.
The second problem is to do with the Torque Converter and the software programming released on the 2005 CRD. Essentially the TC installed at the factory wasn't up to the job of handling the immense torque put out by the 2005 and later CRD engine (400nm of torque) and those cars driven under high load (heavy throttle or towing for example) started experiencing failures.
The latest recall is to replace the Torque Converter with a more durable unit, and to reprogram the transmission with the latest software developments stemming from the development of the CRD engine/transmission for the new JK Wrangler.
This last recall is the F37 'Customer Satisfaction Recall' because of the relatively large numbers of CRD KJ owners in the USA getting together on the forums and venting their anger at DC to do something about the problem! It involves putting in a new TC that is upgraded over the original and reprogramming the transmission shift points.
A small decrease in torque (7% at WOT reportedly - but this is subject to some conjecture) is also incorporated to extend the life of the TC, but it is barely noticeable in real terms, so this will bring the max output back to 372nm. This is still more than the max output from a new Nissan Patrol 3.0L CRD or Mitsubishi 3.2L CRD to put it in perspective.
I can report that the Torque Converter recall for the KJ is well worth doing, and even though mine had not experienced any problems at 30000km, I had it done. The KJ drives much more smoothly afterwards, with smoother transmission changes, and I didn't notice a real difference in performance.
You can check if your KJ has any of these outstanding recalls not performed by typing in your VIN at this web site -
Choose 'Recall notices' and type in the last eight digits of your VIN.
Recall Details for the TC replacement
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION NOTIFICATION F37
REPLACE TORQUE CONVERTER AND REPROGRAM THE ECM AND TCM
Customer satisfaction is very important to DaimlerChrysler. Accordingly, we are recommending the following service on some 2005 and 2006 model year Jeep® Liberty vehicles equipped with a 2.8l diesel engine and an automatic transmission.
The problem is...
The transmission torque converter on your vehicle (VIN: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
may fail. This can cause a rattling sound in the neutral or park positions and/or illuminate the Malfunction Indicator Lamp. Continued operation can result in transmission damage.
What your dealer will do...
DaimlerChrysler will repair your vehicle free of charge (parts and labor). To do
this, your dealer will replace the torque converter and reprogram the engine and transmission control modules. The repair involves a small reduction in engine torque to enhance torque converter and transmission durability. The work will take about 5˝ hours to complete. If testing indicates the transmission has been damaged, another hour will be required. However, additional time may be necessary depending on how dealer appointments are scheduled and processed.
What you must do...
Simply contact your dealer right away to schedule a service appointment. Ask the dealer to hold the part for your vehicle or to order it before your appointment. Remember to bring this letter with you to your dealer.
If you need help...
If you have questions or concerns which your dealer is unable to resolve, please contact DaimlerChrysler at 1-800-853-1403.
Please help us update our records, by filling out the attached prepaid postcard, if any of the conditions listed on the card apply to you or your vehicle.
If you have already experienced this problem and have paid to have it repaired, you may send your original receipts and/or other adequate proof of payment to the following address for reimbursement: DaimlerChrysler
P.O. Box 4639 Oak Ridge, TN 37831, Attention: Reimbursement.
We're sorry for any inconvenience, but we believe that this service will help to ensure your continuing satisfaction with your vehicle. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Customer Services Field Operations
Notification Code F37