Very concerned about my transmission/4WD system - Jeep Compass Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Very concerned about my transmission/4WD system

So...I know there are a couple posts about this, but I can't seem to find anyone with a solution. Every morning I start up my 2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk, I live on a hill so I basically coast down the hill to the first stop sign (about 3/4 mile). Then I do a quick left/right jog...coming out of the jog, I get a significant clunk coming from the rear end. Then I come to a stop in about 1/4 mile. Starting up again, I get a slight clunk. Then I coast down another hill to another stop sign (maybe 3/4 mile) to the next stop sign. I turn right...and clunk again, seems to be as it is going from 1st gear to 2nd. This happens for the next couple turns...and then I basically drive about 9 miles to work and I don't have to stop again. This doesn't seem to happen at all the rest of the day. I brought my Jeep to the dealer 2 days ago for an oil change and asked them to look at this issue. They said they drove it, checked all levels, didn't find a thing.

@JeepCares I am not sure what to do at this point...I am pretty darn concerned that this thing is going to go down and I am going to be without a vehicle for a long time. I honestly can't have that...

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance,
Frank

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post #2 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 12:13 PM
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Does it do it every single time, or only after it's sat for a while?

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post #3 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 02:50 PM
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The noise your hearing is the vehicle transferring back and forth from 4wd to 2wd it is normal. I was told by a FCA engineer that the vehicle always takes off in 4wd mode and reverts to 2wd after it covers a certain distance. I believe it make reference to this also someplace in the owners manual.
Mine has done the same thing since I owned it. It is even more noticeable the colder the outside temps get.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-17-2019, 03:06 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it too much. Mine makes a few clunks and pops and pings now and then under different scenarios and everything works fine, and I work this thing like a dirty half ton work truck, so I am asserting that it is simply not that smooth and quiet of an AWD system. They brag it up like "its seamless" and "it can go between 2WD and AWD instantly without the driver ever noticing"... this is simply not true. An example of typical marketing team running away with things.

They get away with it because they mean "the average driver" won't notice, and the average driver is, lets be honest, a total moron who wouldn't notice a low tire with only 11 PSI left in it were it not for the government mandated TPMS senor system.

Now you can safely say it is a hell of a lot smoother than similar systems of the 90s in trucks with auto 4x4, but this ain't no land rover. Truly, this thing was produced on a tight budget with the simplest components they could use to get the job done. We know the system employs at least one dog clutch which is strong and simple but very difficult to engage smoothly on-the-fly, even for a computer. There is also some funky ju-ju going on in the RDM that we know very little about for certain, other than that the intent is to reduce extra rotating mass as much as possible when in 2WD and very likely there are some parts in there that take a moderate jolt when the ECU decides to prep for or flip back to AWD.

The thing is, you don't realize it but when conditions are right the ECU can be flipping back and forth between 2WD and AWD a lot, and it has an extremely complicated algorithm for trying to decide when its safe to go to 2WD for some fuel savings, its based on speed and temp and driver behavior and even the tilt of the vehicle. My bet is that your hills near your home are the main reason you experience this more than the rest of us. I only have one hill near my home but when I do hear the PING or the POP, it is often when I am coming down that hill and decelerating due to a speed change on the road.

From my experience, it seems the car mostly prefers to switch to 2WD when the weather is warmer and cruising relatively steady. When its really nice, it will start out in 2WD even (or part 2WD), but the second I encounter a hill or begin to drive more aggressively it rapidly starts engaging the various components front and back to get ready or get back into AWD. I suspect it often spends a lot of time at low speed in what I'll call a 2WD-ready-state, where the dog clutch is probably pre-engaged but the variable clutch in the RDM is barely or not at all engaged, waiting to see if the front tires spin or slip when you take off.

The ECU is constantly playing a game with us, but most don't realize it. The game is called "how much can I sneak into 2WD without the driver catching me in a situation where I should have been in AWD?" At low speeds and low temps, it tries to be in AWD. When dropping down from highway speed, it wants to be in AWD. When driving over rough terrain or on a hill, it wants to be in AWD. It never wants to be caught in 2WD in a situation where it could provide a better driving experience by being in AWD, but it has to try to sneak into 2WD as much as it can to deliver on its promise of increased fuel economy that they brag of this system.

I say the pings and pops are evidence of the game being played. If you put it in 4x4 for a few mornings I bet you will not hear a peep out of it, because putting it in 4x4 lock = no game. People are needlessly squeamish about driving around in "4x4", but its really just AWD so as an experiment you won't hurt anything if you want to try that out a couple mornings. If you have AlfaOBD, you could also enable the "2WD dyno mode" before taking off in the morning and again, I'm sure you won't hear any clunks for your entire drive because locking it into 2WD is opting out of the ECU's little game.

I wish there were a button to lock in the 2WD drive mode, I'd use that a lot personally but the idea is that the ECU can do it for you and go back and forth as needed. It can, but its just no where near as smooth as marketing and sales would have us believe. At least, not those of us who pay attention to our car when driving.

Anyways, don't worry about it until there is actually a problem. Its under warranty. Buy extra extended warranty if you like. Cars are only built to last a limited quality and lifetime anymore to sell more cars and compete with the competition who are likewise cutting corners to cut their costs. They don't have much choice. To get Land Rover or Audi or BMW smoothness you are gonna have to fork over Land Rover or Audi or BMW amounts of money. We get what we pay for.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-18-2019, 12:38 PM
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Mine has the clunk too. Also shifting to manual will engage all wheel drive and the clunk will go away after the initial clunk when you switch the lever over to manual. Mine is more pronounced after going over a rough RR crossing in town and then accelerating. It's annoying.

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post #6 of 17 Old 04-18-2019, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjroman2 View Post
So...I know there are a couple posts about this, but I can't seem to find anyone with a solution. Every morning I start up my 2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk, I live on a hill so I basically coast down the hill to the first stop sign (about 3/4 mile). Then I do a quick left/right jog...coming out of the jog, I get a significant clunk coming from the rear end. Then I come to a stop in about 1/4 mile. Starting up again, I get a slight clunk. Then I coast down another hill to another stop sign (maybe 3/4 mile) to the next stop sign. I turn right...and clunk again, seems to be as it is going from 1st gear to 2nd. This happens for the next couple turns...and then I basically drive about 9 miles to work and I don't have to stop again. This doesn't seem to happen at all the rest of the day. I brought my Jeep to the dealer 2 days ago for an oil change and asked them to look at this issue. They said they drove it, checked all levels, didn't find a thing.

@JeepCares I am not sure what to do at this point...I am pretty darn concerned that this thing is going to go down and I am going to be without a vehicle for a long time. I honestly can't have that...

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance,
Frank
Hi fjroman2,
It looks like you have received some great advice from other forum members! However, if this issue is still concerning to you, please send our team a private message and we would be happy to look into this!
Alex
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-18-2019, 05:45 PM
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Its is strange that some people get the humming/clunking noise from the AWD system. I never had any such noises from the start. I am extremely sensitive to noises I get inside the car, so I am certain I would have notice it if it was there.

One thing is, mine is also a late 2018 built and I also never had the software update, the dealer said software installed from the factory is already the latest version released. I wonder if they change something else as well, since some people still get the noise after the update and I get no noise.
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-18-2019, 08:02 PM
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I'm guessing it mainly boils down to how you drive and in what environment. fjroman2 is in a place where the conditions are right for it to happen often. I get it intermittently like most others.

I can make it happen on demand very easily, actually. Just have to be cruising steady on level ground for a while at fair speed, then suddenly slap that autostick into the manual mode position and you are just about guaranteed... first a fraction of a second of humm (I suppose the clutch in the RDM is spinning up the driveshaft) and then CLUNK as that dog clutch pops in. You definitely have to have the radio off and be listening for it, but thats how you know if you are talking about the same sound we are mostly talking about.

I also get pings and pops under other circumstances, but we gotta focus on one noise at a time because its hard enough trying to write about it and be sure we are all talking about the same thing
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-27-2019, 02:14 AM
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Ah, the clunks and 4wd noises of the Compass. I hated having to explain these noises to my passengers. I can't say that I miss it at all.
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-27-2019, 01:04 PM
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Seems there are two schools of thought on funny noises. Some of us panic at every sound we haven't heard before, others ignore warning sounds and wait for a crisis. For those in the first category, I'd ask, Were you paying attention on your test drive? I'd ask furthermore, Did you drive more than one vehicle of the same make/model? Back in '94 my Wife and I were looking for a new Jeep and we test drove several. One in particular had a very noisy drive-train while the others were quiet. Guess which one we didn't buy. We would have preferred green, but we got a blue one. If we were totally infatuated with the color we would have bought a vehicle with potential trouble; as it was we got 100,000 trouble free miles out of it.

On the other hand, some people will ignore everything. As a teenager I remember a friend came to visit my father. I was outside mowing the lawn and as I went by her car I noticed it parked with the front wheels turned toward me revealing outrageous one-sided wear on her tire -- clearly the lower ball-joint was close to failing. Pop gave her the heads up. Early in my career I worked with a guy who didn't believe idiot lights -- if the generator light came on, there must be something wrong with the light. So-o-o . . . he had the light disabled. When it wouldn't start, he replaced the battery, then the starter, then finally a new mechanic said, "Hey, your generator has failed and your warning light's not working." Golly gee. And yes, that is a true story -- he was that stupid. Nice man, but had no common sense when it came to cars. (People don't wear their signs.)

Is my Compass perfect? No, I add a quart or two of oil between changes; I'm not pleased, but I can cope with that. My only complaint is that since its a known issue, they should have a oil level warning light and not rely on the owner to pull the dipstick, especially on a car with less than 200,000 miles on it. Yes, mine makes funny noises. I brought it to my dealer and got the software update. Now that my snow tires are off I still hear the noise at 50+MPH and I've chosen to live with it. I also have a good enough relationship with my dealer that if I had a premature problem they'd find a way to take care of me.

We don't live in a perfect world, but I doubt all these Compasses are going to disintegrate in the first 50,000 miles. Mine is neither the best nor the worst car I've ever owned (about 2 dozen) but it gets me there. It goes through snow (why I bought it) and gets remarkable fuel economy (an unexpected benefit). I figure the improved fuel economy (compared to my '08 Patriot) about pays for the extra oil.
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post #11 of 17 Old 05-01-2019, 10:39 PM
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Question for Jeep Care (alex) and others why do you always tell people to pm you and you will help further if you can Why can,t you just help in general forums like everyone else does then everyone can benefit
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-01-2019, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BERNIE View Post
Question for Jeep Care (alex) and others why do you always tell people to pm you and you will help further if you can Why can,t you just help in general forums like everyone else does then everyone can benefit
Generally, they're gathering info and assisting with opening a case and escalating it through FCA's system. They aren't posting general info that everyone could benefit from, and they may be requesting some more personal info that you wouldn't want shared publicly.

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post #13 of 17 Old 05-02-2019, 10:46 PM
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Thks Road Racer I agree with your answer but I also believe there is a lot of info passed in pm,s that other members would benefit from and would love to know.. Sorry if I offended you.
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post #14 of 17 Old 05-03-2019, 01:12 AM
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It may be that the JeepCares staff doesn't have the technical knowledge even some of us may have. They might not even own a Compass. They are PR people who know the ropes and can cut through the red tape if someone is having a warranty problem. I suspect they investigate credible complaints of dealer abuse, rude behavior, or incompetence.

Hey @JeepCares:
Just thinking that it might be nice if there was an "Ask Mopar" site where we could get explanations, for example why some of us get a grinding noise or to explain the rationale behind the oil consumption. While many don't seem to have these problems, a significant minority of us do have them to varying degrees. If someone could give accurate answers to questions with some technical background info it would be a great help, as opposed to the experience and pooled ignorance of us owners. Such a site might silence the rants posted by the one-post thread-bombers.
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post #15 of 17 Old 05-03-2019, 03:22 PM
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It may be that the JeepCares staff doesn't have the technical knowledge even some of us may have. They might not even own a Compass. They are PR people who know the ropes and can cut through the red tape if someone is having a warranty problem. I suspect they investigate credible complaints of dealer abuse, rude behavior, or incompetence.

Hey @JeepCares:
Just thinking that it might be nice if there was an "Ask Mopar" site where we could get explanations, for example why some of us get a grinding noise or to explain the rationale behind the oil consumption. While many don't seem to have these problems, a significant minority of us do have them to varying degrees. If someone could give accurate answers to questions with some technical background info it would be a great help, as opposed to the experience and pooled ignorance of us owners. Such a site might silence the rants posted by the one-post thread-bombers.
Hi Jasmine,
Thanks for reaching out. We truly appreciate your suggestion for an "Ask Mopar" site. While something like this may help with some of your questions or concerns, a site like this would not have the ability to properly inspect your vehicle in order to give you the appropriate technical information or advice. That is why we always recommend visiting your dealer. Once again, we appreciate your ideas so we always welcome any suggestions you may have for us.
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post #16 of 17 Old 05-03-2019, 04:38 PM
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I for one would love to see an ask mopar site.. I would enjoy reading about other peoples probs and to compare them to mine.
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post #17 of 17 Old 05-03-2019, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepCares View Post
Hi Jasmine,
Thanks for reaching out. We truly appreciate your suggestion for an "Ask Mopar" site. While something like this may help with some of your questions or concerns, a site like this would not have the ability to properly inspect your vehicle in order to give you the appropriate technical information or advice. That is why we always recommend visiting your dealer. Once again, we appreciate your ideas so we always welcome any suggestions you may have for us.
Lydia
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Agreed, no mechanic or engineer could fully understand a problem without experiencing it first hand any more than a doctor can tell me why my back hurts in a phone conversation. However, an FCA engineer could make a cameo appearance on here to answer some of the most common questions of general interest. For example:
  • To explain the rather commonly experienced grinding noise in the drivetrain. An engineer could explain how the AWD system works and what the likely cause might be, particularly if its "normal." They must have run across this in their design and testing. When a dealer says its "normal" an owner's first thought is that they're dodging the problem. What the vehicle owner needs is an integrated answer for how that could be. (I'm one of those with that noise. Based on the track record a dozen Jeep/Chrysler/FCA vehicles I've owned, I trust you, but none ever sounded like this one.)
  • Same thing with the oil consumption. Its rumored on here that reduced tolerances and thinner oil are intended to reduce internal friction and improve fuel economy. In fact, I've repeated the rumor, but is it true? An engineer with a non-technical answer might do much to restore our faith in the integrity of the company.
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