Is There a Ghost in the Machine?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reviewing Chrysler models which include Totally Integrated Power Modules (TIPM) after the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the government to open a defect investigation into the matter. NHTSA and CAS have received complaints from Chrysler owners alleging incidents of engine stall or non-start, random windshield wiper activity and power window movement and more.

Once the review is complete, NHTSA will decide whether to open a defect investigation.

“Horn blares, wipers start running while [vehicle is] off, [it] won’t shift out of first gear, air conditioning blower stops working, engine cooling fan stops running, brake, reverse and parking light flicker, locks lock and unlock on their own and [the key] fob won’t work on them. The power steering goes out and gauges go out. It ruined my battery last time it happened. This happens regularly about every two to three weeks and I have found it is a faulty TIPM that is always on backorder or has been since October 2012 when I first had the problem occur,” according to an owner complaint reported to CAS.

“Not only do Chrysler’s faulty TIPMs result in vehicle stalling, they have also been implicated in airbag non-deployment, random horn, headlight, taillight, door lock, instrument panel and windshield wiper activity, power windows going up and down on their own, failure of fuel pump shut off, resulting in unintended acceleration and fires,” writes Michael Brooks, a CAS staff attorney, in a letter to NHTSA.

“[T]he Center for Auto Safety has petitioned the NHTSA to initiate a defect investigation into failures associated with the TIPMs  installed in Chrysler SUVs, trucks and vans beginning in the 2007 model-year,” according to NHTSA. “[T]he petition includes a list of 70 complaints received by CAS that are allegedly related to Chrysler TIPM failures.”

CAS has identified 24 crashes from NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting (EWR) database that could be related to potential TIPM failure, according to officials. The group has asked NHTSA to review these reports as part of the petition evaluation.

CAS also supplemented its letter to NHTSA by including a list of additional owner complaints.

“On multiple times the windshield wipers began going and warning lights flashed inside the car and windows went down without being powered and doors opened and shut by themselves,” an owner complained, according to CAS.

“The petition will be evaluated for a grant or deny decision,” according to NHTSA.

The models NHTSA are reviewing include:

CHRYSLER TOWN AND COUNTRY: 2008-2014

DODGE CARAVAN: 2008-2012

DODGE DURANGO: 2011-2013

DODGE GRAND CARAVAN: 2008-2014

DODGE JOURNEY: 2008-2010

DODGE JOURNEY AWD: 2009-2010

DODGE NITRO: 2007-2012

DODGE NITRO 4X2: 2007-2009

DODGE NITRO 4X4: 2007-2009

DODGE RAM 1500: 2009-2012

DODGE RAM 2500: 2010-2012

DODGE RAM 350: 2010-2012

DODGE RAM 4500: 2011-2012

DODGE RAM 5500: 2011-2012

JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE: 2011-2013

JEEP LIBERTY: 2007-2012

JEEP WRANGLER: 2007-2014

JEEP WRANGLER 2-DR 4X4: 2007-2009

JEEP WRANGLER 2-DR 4X4 RHD: 2007-2009

JEEP WRANGLER 4-DR 4X2: 2007-2009

JEEP WRANGLER 4-DR 4X4: 2007-2009

JEEP WRANGLER 4-DR 4X4 RHD: 2009

JEEP WRANGLER SAHARA: 2007

JEEP WRANGLER X RHD 4X4: 2007

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5 Responses to Is There a Ghost in the Machine?

  1. Gayle Anderson says:

    On January 4th, while pulling into a neighbor’s driveway, I tapped the brakes to stop (I was going less than 5mph, so I didn’t need to press hard) the engine suddenly accelerated hard. I immediately slammed on the brakes harder to stop the acceleration, and my van ended up five to ten feet in my neighbor’s yard.

    Two weeks later, I was pulling into a parking space at my son’s work. I was moving slow and straightening the wheel approximately two to three feet from the sidewalk curb, when the engine acceleration surged and my van lurched forward. I again slammed on the brakes in order to not slam into the building wall just past the sidewalk, The van stopped on top of the sidewalk after hitting the the car parked next to my van (as my wheels were still turned from turning into the parking space. The damage to my van and the car hit by my van totaled over $10,000. If a pedestrian had been on the sidewalk in front of my van, they would have been seriously injured or killed.
    Both times the engine unexpectedly surged, my foot was on the brake, and the van was traveling less than 2 to 3 miles per hour. When the acceleration surged the van forward, it was extremely hard and fast as if the accelerator had been pounded to the floorboard. I have checked with my local Dodge dealer, who states there is no problem with this van and they have had absolutely no complaints about unexpected and powerful acceleration on the Dodge Grand Caravan. I find this hard to believe as there are many other reports on Dodge Forum Boards stating this exact unexpected and dangerous acceleration. I am afraid to drive my 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.

    My 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan is a little over two years old and has 32,000 miles. I took my van to the Freehold Dodge Dealer in my town, but the service manager says they have absolutely no complaints of this nature on the Dodge Grand Caravan, and after checking my van for “computer codes”, he finds nothing wrong with the vehicle. Until now I loved my Grand Caravan — now I am afraid to drive it. I want to know what accelerator sensor or computer module needs to be replaced in order to correct this dangerous defect.

  2. David Schofield says:

    This just started happening to us today. Returning to my car I found the emergency flashers sporadically engaging, and the rear hatch/door latching and unlatching. When I pulled into my driveway the front windows spontaneously went down. I put them up again, and about five seconds later they spontaneously went down again!
    Reading the various reports on the inter-webs we are now nervous about the safety of our vehicle and those will be traveling around.

  3. Paul Dudley says:

    I have a 2008 Chrysler Town and Country mini van. I’ve been having the same problems. The dealership wants 100 for a diagnostic and I say they should know what it is because it’s a common problem. Wipers, horn ,gages , and it won’t start after an episode. It’s time Chrysler takes care of this problem before someone dies.

  4. Meredith E Wayward says:

    Just bought an 08 Town and Country Touring. It has 131000 miles. Power doors and locks do not work and now it randomly starts going crazy. Dash lights all flash,rpm and speedo go to 0,wipers come on. Why is there not a recal on this if dealers are saying it is a common problem.

  5. Brett Rose says:

    My 2008 T&C with 192,000 miles just started the “weird stuff”. Windshield wipers come on by themselves, no signal lights, no horn, can’t use steering wheel buttons, no compass, and heated seats won’t work. When the wipers stop, everything goes back to normal. It’s been doing it about two weeks. I’d like to know what will fix it.

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