Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 11, 2019 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. recently issued a recall for more than 107,000 Ram pickup trucks produced between 2013 and 2019 for concerns that their exhaust gas recirculation coolers could pose a fire risk.
Specifically, the 107,979 vehicles in the recall could see their EGR coolers experience thermal fatigue, which would cause that component to crack internally over time.
The vehicles are in the 2014 through 2019 model years, and many are either Ram 1500 or 1500 Classic pickups with 3.0-liter Eco Diesel engines. Some of these trucks do not have the Eco Diesel engines but were built in the same production periods for these vehicles – ranging from June 12, 2013, to Oct. 23, 2019.
If the EGR coolers in these trucks experience long-term thermal fatigue, they can crack internally, which would potentially introduced heated, vaporized coolant into its system while the engine is running. That mixture could interact with other hydrocarbons and air in the coolers and combust in the intake manifold, which in turn could result in an engine fire that could injure people in or near the vehicle, and otherwise damage the vehicle and property around it.
Drivers in affected vehicles may be able to identify such a defect if they find they are unexpectedly running low on coolant, their in-vehicle heater isn’t working or if a warning light on the dashboard becomes illuminated.
Timeline of Events
Fiat Chrysler first opened an investigation into this issue on May 22, 2019, after receiving multiple reports of fires in affected vehicles. In all cases, it was found that these originated in the general vicinity of the engine. Throughout July, the company met with engineers to understand what could possibly be happening under the hood of these vehicles to start the fires, and in the following two months held weekly meetings to review more information, including failed parts collected from the field.
Throughout the remainder of September, multiple vehicles were inspected, along with warranty reports. Then on Oct. 11, the company found that more than 8,900 EGR cooler replacements had been ordered, with dozens more field reports related to failure of that component. While no accidents had happened, these fires resulted in four minor injuries.
The company decided to initiate the recall Oct. 17.
While the company does not yet have an official remedy for this issue, FCA plans to reimburse owners for the cost of repairing or replacing the components in such cases. Affected owners who already paid for repairs will be asked to keep the original receipt for these repairs or otherwise provide proof of payment so they can be properly reimbursed.
Affected owners and dealers will be receive full notification of the recall on or around Dec. 13.
For additional details about this recall, consumers can contact FCA U.S. by phone at 1-800-853-1403, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.