Auburn Hills, Mich. – Sept. 21, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled multiple vehicles likely equipped with defective driveshafts, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles with production dates ranging from May 25, 2017 to June 2, 2017. FCA suspects all of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.
Affected models contain overly shortened halfshafts that could disengage from differentials during operation. Should this occur, vehicles will unexpectedly lose motive power and the ability to shift gears. This increases the likelihood of high-speed collisions and therefore poses a serious risk to occupants. That said, FCA has not received reports linking the defective drivetrain features to any accidents or injuries. Drivers may hear noise coming from the underside of the vehicle prior to halfshaft disconnect.
Timeline of Events
On July 20, 2017, FCA engineers notified the company’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance department that the halfshaft in one experimental model had disconnected during operation. From July 20 to Aug. 4, personnel from the automaker’s Supplier Quality Engineering group reached out to parts providers and worked with these firms to identify the structural issues that might have caused the instance of disengagement. On Aug. 4, the SQE group confirmed that GKN Driveline North America, based in Mexico, had shipped a total of eight driveshafts with incorrect lengths, five of which were installed in production vehicles. Four days later, the FCA VSRC department opened an investigation into the SQE group’s findings. FCA also determined that the shortened driveshafts had been used in 2011-2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles, but they did not cause technical issues.
On Aug. 24, members of the FCA VRC group decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall.
FCA will direct dealers to replace the halfshafts in affected vehicles free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgment document from the NHTSA. The automaker plans to notify dealers and owners of the action Oct. 20. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can contact Chrysler customer service representatives at (800) 853-1403. Callers should use the internal recall identification code T55. Owners can also connect with the NHTSA directly via the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.