Chrysler: Leaking Transmission Fluid Poses Fire Risk in Recalled RAM Trucks

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Laguna Hills, CA – Feb 6, 2020 – Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain 2019-2020 Ram 2500 and 3500 Pickup vehicles equipped with six-speed automatic (68RFE) transmissions. This recall involves power train components. These vehicles are equipped with six-speed automatic (68RFE) transmissions that are susceptible to wear and tear from thermal loading. Heat can cause transmission fluid to leak from the dipstick tube.

The potential number of units affected is estimated at 84,202.

The Defect:

The affected vehicles are equipped with defective transmission assemblies that are prone to being damaged due to thermal stressors. Chrysler has not specified what specific aspect of the transmission or vehicle itself makes this possible A buildup of heat and pressure inside of the transmission can cause transmission fluid to be expelled from the dipstick tube. Transmission fluid is flammable, and this loose liquid can come in contact with other ignition sources, such as the turbocharger, and start a fire in the engine compartment. The possibility of fire increases the risk of injury and death on part of the operators and also can result in costly damage to the vehicle’s internals. In addition, sufficient amounts of transmission fluid can damage mechanical or electronic components even if no fire is started. This defect is known to have resulted in engine compartment fires several times, and one minor injury was recorded, according to Chrysler. No warranty claims have been made in relation to this issue.

On December 4, 2019, Chrysler’s US Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance (VSRC) group opened an investigation following reports of 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks suffering from engine compartment fires. Believing a defective part was responsible, VRSC analyzed fire patterns, damaged components, witness statements and other aspects of each event in order to determine trends related to these incidents. Chrysler engineering soon conducted their own tests to duplicate the issue as it was reported in the field, and on Jan. 9, 2020, engineers believed they had found the root cause of the issue: the transmission in these vehicles was being overloaded due to temperature and pressure changes.

Upon receiving these test results, Chrysler manufacturing plants conducted a review of records to determine the size of the recall population. It was determined that only the transmissions in 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks were susceptible to leaking. With the risk confirmed and the size of the recall population determined, Chrysler began planning a process for the voluntary recall and replacement of parts, and on Jan. 24, 2020, they submitted a notice of recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). On Feb. 3, 2020, this notice of recall became public.

Solution:

Chrysler will notify owners of 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks of the recall and the danger associated with leaking transmission lines. The company will soon ship out replacement parts to authorized dealers and train them in the remedy process, which involves reprogramming the powertrain control system. Once the remedy process is available, dealers will replace the transmission valve body separator plates and reprogram the control module, free of charge. This is a voluntary recall, however, owners of the affected units are advised to exercise caution when operating their vehicles. The recall is expected to begin on March 14, 2020. This date is subject to change.

For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.

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MotorSafety.org is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to vehicle safety and assisting consumers with the identification and resolution of vehicle manufacturing recalls and defects. Through education, awareness, government relations, repair facility referrals and strategic partnerships, MotorSafety.org hopes to remove every unsafe vehicle from the road, facilitate its proper repair, and ensure its prompt return to the owner once the vehicle has met the required safety and performance standards. For more information about MotorSafety.org, please email support@motorsafety.org.

Marshall EarleyChrysler: Leaking Transmission Fluid Poses Fire Risk in Recalled RAM Trucks

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