Jeep RSA & service experience: The compass breaks during a drive

My SUV stalled, the steering locked up and error messages for every part started popping up.

BHPian rockfish recently shared this with fellow enthusiasts.

Went through an experience during Diwali weekend (October 21-22 to October 25-22). Although FCA service levels were certainly better this time around.

Wifey and I were on a south coast trip on our 24 month Compass (Diesel BS6 Longitude AT 22,000 km) starting last Friday and making the first stop at Madurai. On Saturday morning we headed to Varkala in Kerala and left NH44 after Kovilpatti to take SH75 which goes to Kerala via Tenkasi.

At 11 o’clock, 30 km before Tenkasi, the car’s a/c suddenly started blowing hot air. After a few seconds other indicators started flashing and error messages for each part started popping up. I was puzzled for a moment when the car was serviced for 30k just two days ago at Yashwanthpur ASC! My first thought was that the ECM was acting up and I carefully steered the vehicle to the left of the road.

After another couple of seconds, the car stopped and even the steering wheel locked. The only message we got was to service the VPS. I called RSA and they were quite efficient in getting the necessary details. I was informed that a mechanic was dispatched within 60 minutes. A mechanic turned up within an hour and after preliminary checks suggested a dead battery. I wasn’t very sure because a bad battery shouldn’t cause a running car to stop. As a matter of practice, I also checked both the voltage and DEF levels before starting the car in the morning. It had shown 14V that morning.

The local mechanic didn’t need to jump as the battery had recovered enough juice by then to start on its own and suggested towing the car to his own garage. I declined and sent him away. Anyway, the engine died within a couple of minutes again.

I called RSA again and they offered to tow the car back to the nearest ASC. My car was almost equidistant from Tirunelveli, Trivandrum and Madurai. But finally settled for Tirunelveli which was 80 km away. The flatbed arrived after a painful 4 hours and then I flagged down a passing taxi and asked him to jump my battery with my own jumper cables. This was needed because I had put the auto stick in Park in those dying moments of battery charge in the morning. But to winch the car onto the flatbed, the lever must be moved to neutral.

Luckily the taxi went along and in no time I was able to jump over the battery for a minute enough to move the lever.

Meanwhile, my Bangalore ASC was in constant touch with their Tirunelveli counterparts. Between both service teams it was almost concluded that the problem was with the Alternator. Tirunelveli ASC confirmed that they have the necessary spare parts in stock if indeed that was the problem.

RSA also offered a taxi drop to move us and our luggage for a max price of 2k/- They couldn’t arrange one immediately and asked us to book one locally and sent us the refund form by mail. We got a local taxi and continued for our balance weekend.

On Tuesday, after the Tirunelveli workshop opened after a couple of holidays, they immediately looked at the car. As expected, the alternator pulley was found to be corroded. Being under an extended warranty, they replaced the part, worked with the Bangalore team for the necessary paperwork and called me around 1pm to inform me that the car was test driven and ready for delivery.

I came down from Kanyakumari and collected the car at 4 pm. Drove down to Bangalore on Wednesday and kept an eye on the console. We reached back without any more problems. On Thursday, Yashwanthpur ASC called up and offered to collect the car for another round of inspection at the end. I will send the car to them on Monday now.

Apart from the hassles faced by the equipment failure, the ASCs/FCAs cannot really blame much on the measures taken.

Just a few lingering questions:

  1. Isn’t it possible for ASC to check the electrical components more carefully since these cars are so heavily reliant on technology?
  2. The flak took 4 hours to reach us while the RSA estimate was 90 min!

But I also realized that we have to be well prepared when we go. A few things are certainly required:

  1. Starter kit for battery jumping, preferably with your own cell.
  2. Your own portable power bank to keep your mobile phones charged during this period. You will be constantly on call.
  3. Your own tool kit to match some of the bolts and nuts in the engine compartment.
  4. If you are driving, stay in neutral. Keep the car the old fashioned way of putting rocks as wheel chokes.
  5. A strong tow cable rated to match the car’s weight.

Here’s what BHPian UD17 had to say on the matter:

Sorry to hear about your breakdown experience. It is certainly a holiday spoiler to have in the back of your mind, that you have to take care of a breakdown after the rewarding holiday.

Coming to your question, the part shown in your pictures is a disconnect pulley. My friend experienced a similar type of low battery warning in his compass, although the Odo was much higher, I understood this to be a problem with the compass in general. We discussed this with the Sky Moto technician at the time in detail regarding this battery charging issue.

My understanding is that decouplers are extremely reliable. The biggest cause of a failed disengagement can be the engine resonance, specifically the idle resonant vibrations (the cause of resonance can be many, most predictable are calibration and driving behavior).

To answer your first question – If the parts (generator set) work fine at ASC during service, ASC can’t do anything about it. No checking helps as the part works correctly anyway. The part later failed due to the prolonged resonance (or fatigue) it experiences.

Do you have more pictures of the part? These parts come with a cover attached to them to protect the cover from the outside environment, I couldn’t see the cover so I’m guessing if the cover is installed or not.

Regarding your last comments: No tools can help unless equipped with knowledge of parts, basic function, practicality, etc. So having a different variety of tools (aside from some basics like air pump, puncture repair, jumper cable, a basic toolbox for changing tires etc.) is not feasible nor very practical.

Check out BHPian’s comments for more insight and information.

Leave a Comment