Chrysler Recalls Millions of Ram Pickups over Rollaway Concerns

 

Auburn Hills, Michigan – Jan. 9, 2018 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recently announced a recall of more than 1.48 million of its Dodge Ram pickup trucks, from model years 2009 to 2017, over concerns about the vehicles’ potential to roll away in certain situations, according to a filing made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Specifically, this recall affects Ram trucks of various types, but all of which were equipped with a column shifter, rather than a floor shifter. In certain situations, the shifter can move the transmission out of “park” without a key in the ignition or the brake pedal being applied, which can lead to rollaways and, potentially, vehicle crashes or injuries.

The recall affects nearly 1.483 million Ram trucks, though only 3 percent are expected to carry this defect. The first vehicle group includes model year 2016 and 2017 Rams 3500 cab chassis with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 pounds. These vehicles were produced from April 22, 2015.

The second group is model years 2011 to 2017 Ram 4500 and 5500 cab chassis, produced starting on Feb. 3, 2010. The third includes Ram 1500s from the model years 2009 to 2017, produced beginning on May 28, 2008. The fourth includes model years 2010 to 2017 Ram 2500s produced starting Aug. 31, 2009. The fifth includes Ram 3500s from model years 2010 to 2017, produced beginning Sept. 1, 2009. The sixth and final group includes Ram 3500 cab chassis from model years 2011 to 2017, manufactured starting on Feb. 3, 2010.

All affected vehicles had production end dates of Dec. 31, 2016, but there is a lack of field input beyond that date.

The Defect

The issue arises when the vehicle is running and in park, and the brake pedal is depressed. This energizes the vehicle’s brake transmission shift interlock. When the BTSI is energized for too long, it can overheat, causing its housing plastic to grow in size and the grease around it to degrade. That, in turn, could lead to the system’s locking pin to be stuck in the on position. When that happens, the vehicle can be shifted out of park without the brake pedal being depressed again or a key in the ignition.

Unfortunately, this defect would not be in any way detectable for consumers.

Timeline of Events

Beginning March 3, 2017, FCA’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization opened an investigation into the defect stemming from a 2016 model year Ram with a column shifter being involved in a rollaway incident that led to driver injury.

A few months later, in May, the organization began searching for customer complaints related to the column shifters in Ram trucks and began further reviewing warranty part return data in June. It was then that the potential cause of the defect – the BTSI locking pin – was first suspected.

On June 22, the VSRC was made aware of a test fleet of 240 Ram trucks, in which 72 were able to move the shifter out of park upon replicating the above conditions. Over the next several months – from June to December – the organization visited with suppliers, tested parts and conducted field surveys to determine the scope of the issue.

Finally, on Dec. 18, 2017, FCA determined that it would need to conduct a voluntary safety recall of all affected vehicles.

The Solution

The fix for the defect is currently being developed by FCA, but the company will reimburse owners for the cost of repairing the issue when applicable. It asks that owners provide the receipts for the service so they can be reimbursed in full.

FCA will begin contacting both Ram owners and dealers about the recall Feb. 8, 2018.

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Chrysler recalls vans with noncompliant tire placards

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Oct. 13, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 11,000 vehicles potentially equipped with noncompliant tire placards, according to a recall acknowledgment document from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2015-2017 RAM ProMaster City cargo vans.

The Defect

The vehicles referenced in this recall could come with tire information placards that list incorrect information, including capacity weight, optimal tire pressure and spare tire placement data. As a result, these placards are considered noncompliant under current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 110, which states that vehicle tires must adhere to “placard requirements relating to load distribution as well as rim performance requirements under conditions of rapid tire deflation,” according to the NHTSA.

The inaccurate placards also pose a safety threat to occupants, as tire overinflation can inhibit vehicle handling and diminish braking capability, increasing the likelihood of an accident, according to an FCA press release. However, the automaker has yet to receive field reports linking the defect to any injuries or accidents.

Timeline of Events

FCA has not released details into the internal investigation that uncovered the defective tire placards.

The Solution

The car company will direct dealers to replace the incorrect placards with updated versions, free of charge. Dealers and vehicle owners should expect to receive notification Nov. 15. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can contact Chrysler customer service at (800) 853-1403. Callers should use the internal recall identification code T62. Vehicle owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly via its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Recall MastersChrysler recalls vans with noncompliant tire placards

Chrysler recalls vehicles with defective water pumps

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Sept. 20, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 443,000 vehicles likely equipped with defective water pump bearings, according to a company press release. The campaign affects 2013-2017 Ram 2500 and 3500 medium-duty pickup trucks, as well as 3500, 4500 and 5500 heavy-duty pickup trucks.

The Defect

The vehicles referenced in the recall possibly contain water pumps with bearings that could overheat and catch fire under certain conditions. These fixtures increase the likelihood of engine fires and therefore pose a serious to occupants. However, FCA has not received reports connecting the defective water pump bearings to any accidents or injuries. Warning lights in affected vehicles may illuminate when water pump functionality has been compromised.

Timeline of Events

The automaker launched an investigation after receiving a customer complaint mentioning the defect. FCA engineers determined the root cause, finding that the issue existed only in Ram pickups with 6.7-liter engines.

The Solution

FCA has yet to release a timetable for owner notification or information on a workable remedy. Owners in need of immediate assistance can contact the FCA USA Recall Information Center at (800) 853-1403 or reach out to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration via the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesChrysler recalls vehicles with defective water pumps

Chrysler recalls trucks with software error

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – May 12, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 1.25 million trucks due to a serious software error, according to The New York Times. The recall affects Ram 1500 and 2500 pickups produced between 2013 and 2016, as well as Ram 3500 pickups assembled between 2014 and 2016. Ram pickup trucks are the company’s best-selling vehicles, accounting for roughly 25 percent of all of the company’s sales in the U.S.

More than 1 million of the affected trucks were sold in the U.S. Roughly 216,000 came from dealerships in Canada, while just over 21,000 originated from Mexican dealers.

The Defect
Models named in the recall are equipped with faulty software that switches off airbags and seatbelt tension assemblies, presenting serious risks to both drivers and passengers. In fact, multiple accidents involving Ram owners precipitated the recall, the Los Angeles Times reported. FCA has received reports of at least one fatality and two injuries directly linked the software error. In addition to this defect, FCA officials found that computer components could fail during accidents in which the undersides of the Ram trucks sustained impact.

Timeline of Events
FCA began investigating the issue in December 2015 following an owner lawsuit, The Times said. The plaintiff argued that both the air bags and seatbelts in his Ram truck had failed during a roll-over crash. The carmaker called for an official inquiry. Engineers eventually discovered that the vehicle was equipped with badly designed software that could malfunction in accidents involving underside impact. Specifically, such collisions disrupt normal CPU processing operations and generate errors that ultimately halt computerized air bag and seatbelt components. FCA has declined to say whether the problem is the result of internal or external production processes, according to SpeedLux.

The Solution
The vehicle manufacturer has yet release plans for addressing the issue but has advised owners to carefully monitor their pickups. In the event that the air bag and seatbelt systems fail during normal operation, warning lights on the dash illuminate. When this occurs, owners should turn off and restart their vehicles. FCA claims this action clears the error codes. In the meantime, FCA has agreed to review its production processes and mitigate the issue with the help of a third party, as well as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The recall is scheduled to begin next month. Owners are encouraged to contact the NHTSA should they have any pressing concerns prior to the recall start date.

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Chrysler Recalls Vans Over Airbag Defect

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Jan. 06, 2017 – Chrysler recently announced that it will be recalling certain model year 2017 RAM ProMaster cargo vans as a result of a defect that may affect the ability of the side air bags to function properly.

The Defect

Some vehicles appear to have been manufactured with faulty airbag inflator initiators, according to documents compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In the event of an accident, these inflators may fail to ignite when the car senses a collision, even if it sends the correct voltage. These inflators govern side air bags, and if those do not deploy properly, vehicle occupants could be at higher risk of injury or death during crashes.

Initial reports suggested that the affected vehicles were manufactured between June 6, 2016 and December 7, 2016. However, updated documents filed with the NHTSA have narrowed that gap to Oct. 1, 2016 and Dec. 7, 2016.

Timeline of Events

On Dec. 7, Autoliv Group, the makers of the inflator component, discovered a potential defect and informed Chrysler of the problem. Further investigation allowed the manufacturer to narrow down the specific serial numbers of the parts that were affected, allowing Chrysler to pinpoint the relevant manufacturing dates. The automaker then opted to conduct a recall.

Resolution

Chrysler will begin notifying owners of affected vehicles Jan. 28, 2017. The airbags on these vehicles will be replaced, and owners will be reimbursed for any costs they have incurred as a result of the defect or the subsequent recall.

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Chrysler Recalls Ram Vehicles for Power Steering

Auburn Hills, MI — May 04, 2016 — Earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler announced a new recall centered around a series of Ram trucks. These vehicles were built between last January and September, and represent a possible threat to occupants due to power steering circuit contamination.

The investigations officially began in August 2015: A chronology document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that was when electronic power steering systems appeared in user complaints. It started tracking possibly affected parts January 11, 2016.

The contamination issues could impact a total of 442 Ram 1500 DS or DX vehicles. The affected circuit boards may have been constructed during a single day at the production plant. A Part 573 Report listed with the NHTSA cited the Nexteer Automotive Corporation, also based in Michigan, as the supplier involved in this case. They helped the manufacturer trace suspicious EPS units.

Drivers that see a lit up Malfunction Indicator Lamp may want to proceed with caution, the report added. If the control circuit components suffer a short, the power steering function may permanently and suddenly shut off. Alternately, the power steering could fail intermittently, or the steering wheel could simply become more difficult to use. The remedy involves fully replacing the affected EPS.

This voluntary recall comes after no official notice of accidents or damage, although the manufacturer did receive three field reports as of March 11, the chronology stated. This source also noted that the suspect production period varies slightly depending on the plant location: The Saltillo plant’s suspect period begins on January 22, 2015, but only extends just under a month to February 17. The longer period belongs to the Warren plant, which is under suspicion from January 23 to September 13.

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Chrysler Recalls New Rams for Improperly Treated Axle Shafts

Auburn Hills, MI — November 04, 2015 — Thousands of Ram 1500 trucks produced this year may be in danger thanks to axle shafts that could be vulnerable to breakage thanks to poor use of heat treatment. In a press release cited by Autoblog, manufacturer Chrysler noted the potential danger this could cause for owners, although the defect has only led to one possibly related accident so far.

According to the source, 65,760 trucks are included in the U.S. extension of the recall. Around the world, the same action has led to thousands of more vehicles being included, with the greatest number of these (16,647) in Canada. The relevant model years for this recall are 2015 and 2016.

While there was no notification schedule included with the initial recall statement, the manufacturer is alerting users to contact dealerships in the event of suspicious activity. It also explained the results of the negative conditions and how they can trigger problems in the trucks.

“An FCA US investigation discovered axle shafts produced by a supplier may not have been properly heat-treated,” the press statement said. “This may contribute to increased wear and overheating sufficient to illuminate a vehicle’s Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) warning light; if ignored, the condition may lead to component fracture and possible wheel separation.”

Reuters reports that the total number of trucks recalled includes more than 86,000. As this new outlet also reported, other Chrysler recalls are currently in effect for possible dangers. More than 75,360 Jeep Cherokees for a different issue, involving air conditioning lines close enough to exhaust manifolds to cause a possible fire, a condition that has not led to any reported accidents.

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Recalled Ram trucks could suffer suspension issues

Auburn Hills, MI — August 28, 2015 — Nearly 200 trucks are included in a new recall from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced this month. While there doesn't appear to be any information on this in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) recall database, TruckingInfo features information on this action and what it means for dealerships and users.

According to this source, the trucks are from the 2015 model year and include the Ram 4500 and 5000 model names. Though the recall itself isn't set to begin until next month, dealers are already instructed to replace the upper control arms to give the driver better reign over the vehicle and possibly keep a crash from occurring.

Even though this is just one recall for a relatively small number of trucks, it comes in the context of the greater scrutiny given to FCA and its recall practices. New England Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey have addressed the weak recall actions taken to address the vehicles, to which the government has taken new action. 

"This enforcement action is an improvement over the status quo, and it follows some of the measures that we have put forth in the Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act, as it requires [Fiat Chrysler] to automatically submit documents related to potentially-fatal defects," the two of them said in a letter to the head Administrator of the NHTSA, as the Hill reported.

During this same month, the manufacturer also held a Las Vegas meeting in which it announced new vehicles in development, including a new Dodge Charger and Jeep Wrangler SUV.

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