It seems that the software problems with the nine-speed automatic gearbox in the Jeep Cherokee continue to mount. The programming already caused multiple development delays and even postponed the Cherokee's market launch by roughly two months. Now, Jeep has issued another recalibration to hopefully assuage unhappy drivers.
According to Automotive News, this reflash for the allegedly jerky transmission covers over 100,000 Cherokees built before May 5, but it's not technically a recall. If owners are having problems and complain to the dealer, they get the new software. Otherwise, they continue with the current version. New vehicles on dealer lots also receive the latest revision to the programming. It takes only around five minutes to install, but technicians need to take the Cherokee on a test drive to adapt the gearbox to the changes.
The Cherokee's transmission software has been problematic practically since the beginning. The Jeep plant in Toledo, OH, briefly idled its second-shift workers last year to take care of the issue. Since the launch issues for the crossover, demand has been strong. Jeep added another 1,000 temporary workers to the Toledo factory to keep up, and sales were on par with the Wrangler in just its first two months.
The ZF nine-speed is also found in the Chrysler 200, but it isn't affected by this recalibration. According to Chrysler spokesperson Kathy Graham about the upgrade, the 200 "already has it."