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FCA rolls out fix for Jeep Wrangler 'death wobble'

The phenomenon is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is rolling out another fix for the Jeep Wrangler's so-called "death wobble."

The Wrangler's solid front axle design is prone to harmonic oscillation in certain scenarios, particularly after hitting bumps while traveling at highway speed.

The phenomenon has prompted numerous complaints and a lawsuit that argues the company should have handled the matter as a safety recall, though it has not been blamed for any accidents.

"if you bang it with that frequency it'll just sit there and keep going forever. It won't slow down, it won't dissipate, and that's essentially what we're talking about here with the vibration in the new Wrangler," FCA compliance chief Mark Chernoby told the Detroit Free Press. "When you hit a bump in the road, if everything is just right, this suspension can set off that resonance and what we started seeing is as soon as it got cold this past fall, early winter, we started seeing complaints."

The new Wrangler already integrates a damper to prevent such oscillations. Chernoby suggests the latest damper may have trouble with air bubbles in the hydraulic fluid when viscosity increases in cold temperatures.

The company is now installing a revised damper to address the cold-weather issues with the initial production part.

FCA has argued that the solid front axle "affords unique capability that is valued by our customers, and the market," referring to a preference among many off-road enthusiasts.

"This rarely occurring phenomenon is not peculiar to any one vehicle and is not a safety issue. FCA US strongly objects to any insinuation otherwise," the company said in a statement. "There is no loss of steering or braking -- two key functions that help ensure vehicle safety."

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