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753 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all! It's been about forever since I last posted anything. I've mostly been a reader-only for a while now. There’s honestly been nothing exciting to brag about or any changes to Lil’Red. I haven’t even lifted it yet, since none of the available kits for the Renny have really impressed me yet. I’ll likely mix a set of springs from Eibach with the ATP or the Teraflex kit...maybe...eventually...

So anyways... For about the last 3 or 4 months I’ve been dealing with an On/Off “Service Engine“ MIL. Not a “Check Engine” or a flashing “Service Engine” - which would apparently be ”more important” - according to the dealer. Each time the "Service Engine" light would come on, just before it would happen I would usually feel a tiny cough or stutter in the engine. For the most part though, things felt normal, drove normal, mileage was normal, etc.

Oh, let me make sure I don't forget to mention - each time the "Service Engine" light would come on, ALL my 4wd options would no longer be available. None of the drive modes would engage, nor would 4wd-Lock engage - "Drive mode unavailable". What programmer, in their right mind, decided it was a good idea to disable all your 4wd options just because the "Service Engine" light comes on? In a Jeep?? In any 4x4 vehicle, really!! Seriously??

So back to it - between October and the third week of December, I had Lil’Red at the dealers a couple times.

The first visit, middle of October. It took me 2 weeks just to get it in. By the time I did get to the appointment the “Service Engine” light had gone back out. They told me there was no history in the computer (Really? What good is the computer then?). While I had it there I had them check the brakes and rotate the tires, figure why not.

So a week later the “Service Engine” light went back on, still preceded by the little stutter.. I drove to the dealer after work and respectively requested they scan the code right then, and booked another appointment.

PCM: P219A - Bank 1 Air-to-Fuel Ratio Imbalance - which according to a fair amount of Googling can be one or more of a large number of possibilities - anything from something super simple to something expensively complicated.

Okay, so the next appointment they had available wasn’t until December 11. So about another 2-1/2 weeks out - Wow! - but whatever.

Eventually it came around to the appointment. In the mean time, the “Service Engine” light had gone back off again, my 4wd options were working again, and for the most part things felt normal.

They had the vehicle a few hours before finally calling me. They decided they would change out an O2 sensor and clear the code.

Okay, done. Two days later the flippin’ “Service Engine” light comes back on, again preceded by a little stutter. I drive down to the dealer on lunch, they scan the code, same exact error again. I book another appointment. This time it’s set for December 26th. Yes, I had to wait from December 13th until the 26th to drop it back off.

Now the real fun begins.

I drop Lil’Red off at the dealer at 7am on December 26th. They called me a few hours later, no update yet - still trying to collect data for Chrysler. They called me at the end of the day, stating they’d need to keep the vehicle over night. No prob, we were on vaca this week anyways, so no work, go ahead.

Next day - December 27th, they finally called me near the end of the day again. Needed to keep it again. Fine.

Next day - December 28th, they hadn’t called by about 5pm, so I gave them a call. Already closed for the day. Wonderful.

Next day - December 29th, no call by noon, so I called them. Apparently they’ve been “driving the vehicle with the computer hooked up, attempting to collect data for Chrysler, but have not been able to gather the necessary data” - they needed to continue to keep the vehicle, and of course they’re closed Sundays. I stopped in before they closed that Saturday to pick up a loaner, since Monday meant back to work. They give me a Dodge Journey... Seriously? An entire dealer-lot of Jeeps, and I get a Journey? Fine! At least it’s free.

Okay, so now it’s Monday - December 31st. Back to work I go. Of course, busy at work means I forget about the time. By the time I get out of the office, they’re closed - no phone call at all.

Next day - Tuesday, January 1st - closed because New Year.

Next day - Wednesday, January 2nd - officially a week now - I call them around lunch time. Same update - “still regularly driving the vehicle with the computer hooked up, attempting to collect data for Chrysler, but have not been able to gather the necessary data”. Really? Okay, keeping the vehicle.

Next day - Thursday, January 3rd. Never called me, but I called them a bit before the end of the day. Finally they captured some type of data that was useful - Chrysler instructed them to remove the Intake Manifold and inspect things.

Next day - Friday, January 4th - had things apart, still investigating things.

Nothing Saturday.

Monday, January 7th - called me with an update. Ordered an Intake Manifold from a dealer in NYC (I'm in Rochester, NY). Expected to receive it Wednesday or Thursday.

Nothing from them Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday - which I wasn’t entirely surprised about based on the update from Monday, but a phone call would have been appreciated.

Called them on Friday, January 11th. The Manifold they ordered apparently had a scratch, so need to order another Manifold.

Nothing Saturday.

Spoke to them Monday, January 14th - hadn’t received the 2nd Intake Manifold yet - apparently back-ordered.

Nothing Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 16th - received a call; working on things.

Thursday, January 17th - received a call; Lil’Red is done. OMG! It’s done! It's finally done! Haven't driven Lil'Red since the morning of December 26th - when I dropped it off! Picked it up that night on the way home from work. No charge, since I bought the lifetime warranty when I originally purchased Lil’Red in 2015, but the total bill would have been large - over $1000.

On the way home I could feel Lil’Red was idling higher than usual, and felt a tad of choking now and again while on the expressway. Basically it felt better before the work.

The next morning - Friday, January 18th - I could still feel the higher-than normal idling. Thought maybe the computer needed time to adjust to the new part? I dunno...

Okay, so now it’s the afternoon of Friday, January 18th. I’m returning to the office from lunch. And..

The “Service Engine” light comes on. OMG, I’m not happy.

I called the dealer as soon as I got back to the office. Told them I’d be bringing it back before 4pm.

Got to the dealer that evening and they took it right in and grabbed the code.

DTCM: C2502-64 - STATUS_ECM.TCFailSts or TRANSM2.TransmissionFailSts or BRAKE8.DSTFailSts or BRAKE8.ESCFailSts or STATUS_ECM.EMSFailSts or GE.ElectricSteeringFailSts - Signal plausibility failure.

Apparently the sky is falling?? WTF?!?!

The technician states they’ve never seen this error before. However, and coincidentally, just two days prior Chrysler had released a flash update for the PCM, so they’re going to flash the PCM. Okay fine, go ahead. An hour later I’m heading home.

The idle felt normal again. No stutter or choking at all now. Pick-up felt completely normal again. Things felt right.

I drive the vehicle as usual for the next week. Lots of snow, lots of driving, basketball games, visits to the gym, work, shopping, things feel great.

Up until the afternoon of Saturday, January 26th - the “Service Engine” light comes back yet again. No stutter or cough, no hesitation, no nothing - the vehicle has been driving totally fine.

Now I’m fuming - to the point where I can’t get myself to call them right away ‘cuz I’m afraid I’ll get myself banned from the dealer.

Instead, I borrow my buddy’s BlueDriver Bluetooth ODB-II scanner on Monday, January 28th, when I get to the office. This little bugger rocks btw, ordered myself one.

Anyways, I do a scan and guess what code I get?

PCM: P219A - Bank 1 Air-to-Fuel Ratio Imbalance

Are you freaking kidding me?? Back to the original code they originally found? After all that? After basically a month with my vehicle at the dealer??

Okay, so I save the report and clear the code. Today on the way home from work, I stopped at the auto-parts store. Bought a few cans of intake-cleaner and a new washable K&N intake filter. I already use a washable K&N intake filter, but it's so damned cold this time of year, that washing it and letting it dry isn't really a viable option. I'll wash it and let it dry in the basement, and I'll keep it as a spare now. But I figured back in the day, before computers and cars were married together, you’d start simple and work up.

Everything feels fine, mileage is good, power is good, sounds clean, drives the way I expect it to. Actually the new washable K&N filter feels and sounds different than the one I took out, so who knows. Tomorrow I should receive the BlueDriver I ordered from Amazon, and I plan on using it to capture live-data on a daily basis so I can compare the numbers. I assume if there’s something really wrong the “Service Engine” light will return, and at that point I’ll call the dealer again and move things forward.

So there's my update. Not exactly happy news. But since buying Lil'Red in April of 2015, this is the first time I've had any type of problems with it - so almost 4yrs of trouble-free experience.

I'll update with more news as I have it.

Cheers all!

121 Posts
Just a heads up, the biggest most common cause for that code is usually a vacuum leak. The leak can be as simple as the air cleaner cover not being on all the way, but is usually a vacuum hose.

190 Posts
Air to fuel mix is monitored a couple ways.
For the computer to have a clue, it has to know how much air and how much fuel are entering engine.
How much fuel is easy; it know exactly how much fuel (clean) injectors squirt in X amount of time, and since the computer controls how long an injector is squirting, it obviously know how much fuel is entering.
To determine volume of air entering engine, the computer monitors airflow using the Mass Airflow Sensor, which is sticking in the airstream not far after the air filter.
One of the most common issues people have with K&N filters is putting too much oil on them.
Is yours oilable, or just washable?
Too much oil means the Airflow Sensor can become contaminated and give incorrect readings.
After combustion, the O2 sensor gives the computer some information about oxygen content of the exhaust.
some arithmetic here by the computer, and it adjusts (constantly) the air/fuel mix going in while it monitors O2 out, seeking the perfect balance.

Long story short, a set of values that just don't add up will throw an error.
Set of values that don't add up would include more O2 in the exhaust stream than entered the engine. This can't actually happen, but if the sensors are returning invalid information....

An intake manifold?
They may have not seated it properly, maybe an air leak.
An air leak downstream of the MAF allows air into combustion that the MAF doesn't know about, now it'll run lean.
Until the next O2 sensor data comes back a few milliseconds later, and the computer richens up the mix to compensate.
There are limits to how far it can compensate.

Hook up your OBD box and monitor the O2 sensor data.
It should bounce up and down, rich to lean, up down up down, constantly.
Look at the Long Term Fuel Trim(don't recall exact name, but something like that), if it's all the way to rich, there's more air entering engine than the MAF knows about, the computer is adding fuel to compensate for additional air.

MAF maybe bad.
Or maybe an air leak. :)
Hope for air leak, hoses are generally cheaper than MAF Sensors.

Super Moderator
3,337 Posts
OK, a few things.

If you don't get a MIL lit up, you probably won't have a retrievable code.

The Renegade will light up tons of the DID warnings without setting a code if you have a bad ground.

If it is disabling AWD, it likely means it is getting garbage on the can bus.

Bad grounds can cause garbage on the can bus. However "DTCM: C2502-64 - STATUS_ECM.TCFailSts or TRANSM2.TransmissionFailSts or BRAKE8.DSTFailSts or BRAKE8.ESCFailSts or STATUS_ECM.EMSFailSts or GE.ElectricSteeringFailSts - Signal plausibility failure." Anything like that that tells you a signal is implausible means you either have bad code, a bad sensor or something else flooding the can bus with crap data that makes no sense.

A bad O2 sensor can trigger the fuel air imblance code. However so can a bad ground on the sensor, or the car.

Check the negative terminal on your battery. make sure it is tight and clean. Could also be a corroded or otherwise bad or poorly connected grounding strap. Not sure where they all are on the renegade, but if you are getting this triggered after a stretch of rough road... might be a dodgy ground. The fact you get a brief stutter is also possibly a bad ground.

Other thing that can cause it as mentioned are leaks or a bad maf. The air sensor on the renegade is not right after the filter which reduces the risk, but a fairly common source of bad MAF signals and thus bad fuel air ratio measurement, are oiled filters. you can get aerosolized oil droplets collecting on the maf sensor and essentially ruining it.

It's also possible it got broken while fixing it. Or replacing the air filter. Check all your hose connections to the main air intake. they are a bit more fragile than they should be, and a number of board members have cracked or completely broken off some of the small barb connectors leading to air metering problems.

753 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone for the feedback and suggestions. I wish I was more in-tune with cars-with-computers. I program all day long, and build 10's and sometimes 100's of systems at a time for the company I work for - all with automation and code. But I haven't really tinkered with the guts and internals of a Jeep since my '98-Cherokee. Things just seemed so much less complicated and intimidating back then.

I just noticed I left out a detail in-regards to why they decided to swap the Intake Manifold. Apparently once they tore things down, they discovered that the area between cylinder 1 and cylinder 2 had an imperfection. A slight curve to an area that should be completely flat, is how they explained it to me. From my days of tearing down and rebuilding engines - 20+ years ago was the last time I did work like that - I can understand where the underside of an Intake Manifold not-being flat would be a bad thing.

They explained that since the vehicle was purchased new, that I've probably gotten lucky all these years and that the gasket probably simply masked the problem. They even told me, they likely could've have resolved the problem by simply putting everything back together with fresh gaskets, but that since they felt this was a manufacturing defect that that obviously wasn't a permanent solution.

Anyways, back to the here and now, :)

The K&N I had in the vehicle, and the new one I purchased, is the washable and re-oil one. I've been using it for quite some time now. Likely the summer of 2015. It is completely possible that I used too much oil the last time I washed things out. I usually do it once a year, around the end of summer. My problems started around October. The roughly lines up. Roughly. I'll be the first to admit I'm not perfect, so...

Since Wednesday evening, when I replaced the filter with a fresh, new K&N (of the same type - wash-then-oil) things have been fine. I haven't had time to get back underneath the hood and check for things like loose ground, hoses, etc. It's been damn cold here (yesterday was -23 wind chill), and I don't have a garage to work in. The upcoming, later-half of the weekend and into Monday is supposed be unseasonably warm. Assuming the weather man gets it right, I'll have the opportunity to dig around. I'll also have the opportunity to use the cans of intake cleaner - which I didn't do Wednesday evening, because it was already into the negative wind-chills. Hell, the 5 minutes that it took me to do the filter was enough to freeze the living hell outa' my fingers, LOL!

I've been using my BlueDriver every day, to log live data. I selected the following items:
- Short Term Fuel Trim Bank 1 (%)
- Long Term Fuel Trim Bank 1 (%)
- Intake Manifold Absolute Pressure (inHg)
- O2 Bank 1 - Sensor 2 - Oxygen Sensor Voltage (V)
- O2 Bank 1 - Sensor 2 - Short Term Fuel Trim (%)
- Engine RPM (rpm)
- Vehicle Speed (MPH)

It generates CSV files just loaded with data, which I'm hoping would be useful to someone like an actual technician - but to me it's just fun to plot the graphs and look at the pretty colors, LOL!

The vehicle has felt completely normal, even in the epic-cold weather we've been having the past few days. No hesitation in performance, no coughing or stuttering, no error lights, etc. Just the Renny I've been driving and enjoying for the past almost-4yrs.

Chrysler/Jeep sent me a survey to fill out this afternoon, which I ended up spending almost 45-minutes on. Had to get my day-by-day story down to 5,000 characters _AND_ cleanup a bit so that it was more politically correct. I'll be surprised if it actually lands on someone's desk who cares.

If the "Service Engine" light does return, I will certainly be calling the dealer again. At the moment though, I'm basically in a drive-and-wait phase.

I'll be back with any new happenings!


92 Posts
As has been mentioned, likely issue very well could be oil from the K&N seeped into the MAF sensor.

Check for ways to clean the sensor and see if that helps.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk

169 Posts
Hopefully the K&N was the issue! There are cans of MAF cleaner you can pick up at the parts store and try cleaning it yourself. Be careful with it, as they can be fragile. K&N filters, as you know, do not need much oil after being cleaned. I've used them for decades in many vehicles.
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