The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 1996 Dodge Ram Conversion Van, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA99027

    Component(s): Power Train

    Summary: ODI has received 33 complaints alleging excessive heat in the ignition switch and related circuitry in 1994-1996 Dodge Ram trucks.The root cause is an excessive current draw through the ignition switch result in fire, smoke, melting of surrounding plastics, stalling and the illumination of air bag and anti-lock brake system (ABS) warnig lights. DaimlerChrsler has been aware of the potential for this failure and implemented a design change to reduce the current draw through the switch.This design change involved the installation of a relay in the blower motor circuitry for all Ram trucks built after March 15,1996.DaimlerChrysler also made available an ignition switch repair package (PN 4874996) which includes the necessary components to upgrade vehicles built prior to the implementation date.DaimleChrysler also issued a correspondence to its zones instructing technicians to replace failed ignition switches in the subject population with the sevice kit only.An Engineering Analysis is necessary to determine if a safety defect trend exists.ODI will focus its investigation on fires in the steering column area as well as the effects of switch failure on the ABS and air bag system.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE99031

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: May 05, 1999
    • Date Closed: September 10, 1999
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Power Train

    Summary: Complainants allege fires, melting, smoke or excessive heat in the vicinity of the ignition switch


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE96070

    Component(s): Power Train

    Summary: TRANSMISSION FLUID LEAKAGE AT COOLER TUBE DISCONNECTS IS ALLEGED TO HAVE RESULTED IN VEHICLE FIRES.(this resume was revises on 12/3/96 to include the 1996 model year truck equipped with the subject equipment)


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ98002

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: March 10, 1998
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Cooling Unit And Lines

    Summary: On April 17, 1997, the Chrysler corporation filed a defect information report concerning approximately 800,000 1994 through 1997 Dodge Ram pickups equipped with V6 or V8 engines and automatic transmissions, 1995 through 1997dodge Ram pickups equipped with the V10 engine and automatic transmission, and the 1995 and 1996 Dodge Ram van/wagon equipped with automatic transmission.ODI has received eleven reports concerning transmission leakages from the quick connector joints resulting in eight fires.the reported vehicles included are the 1994 and 1995 Jeep Wrangler, 1995 and 1996 Cherokee, 1993 through 1996 Grand Cherokee, and 1994 and 1995 Dodge Dakota.the purpose of this investigation is to examine the scope of recall 97V-084.closing summary: Further investigation of consumer reports revealed that some of the transmission leakage was due to other connections along the cooling the fire incidents, there were indications that some of these vehicles were either used beyond the vehicle's towing capability or had improper transmission addition, the recalled Ram pickup trucks, 98V-084, have an exhaust manifold near the plastic quick connector joints which effectively presents a heat source to ignite the hot transmission fluid in the event of a leakage.the subject vehicles' quick connector joints are either too far, or positioned completely away, from a heat source or exhaust components.consequently, the fire reports of the subject vehicles are significantly less than those of the Dodge Ram pickup trucks.based on the available information, a safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by future circumstances.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP03006

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: September 23, 2003
    • Date Closed: April 08, 2004
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Seats
    Seats:Front Assembly:Recliner

    Summary: ODI has identified 30 incidents where it is alleged the seat back collapsed in a rear impact crash.these incidents are alleged to have contributed to 23 injuries and two deaths.the data presented to ODI show that the seat back strength of the front seats comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard no. 207. "seating system."according to daimlerchrylser the front seats were designed to collapse rearward in rear impact crashes as part of the energy absorptioncapabilities of the seating system to reduce the chance of serious injury to the occupant.rates of occurance were compared to peer vehicles, and it was shown that the performace of the subject vehicle was comparable to those view of the forgoing, it is unlikely that NHTSA would issue an order for the notification remedy of a safety defect in the subject vehicles as defined by the petitioner at the conclusion of the investigation requested in the petition.therfore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize the NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the Agency's mission, the petition is denied.for further details, refer to ODI's response to the petition published in the federal register vol.69, no. 60, dated March 29, 2004.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA98005

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: February 27, 1998
    • Date Closed: May 24, 1999
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic

    Summary: Alleged plastic clutch tube may fail from exposure to exhaust heat, resulting in loss of clutch function and possible vehicle fire.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE97043

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic

    Summary: Alleged clutch line may melt and leak hydraulic fluid in the vicinity of the exhaust manifold.leaked hydraulic fluid could ignite and cause a vehicle fire.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP00002

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: January 20, 2000
    • Date Closed: April 24, 2000
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Steering

    Summary: Alleges that the poor design of the ignition switch assembly and//or the key cylinder assembly in the model year 1991-2000 vehicles may cause the steering column to catch fire


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ00012

    Component(s): Structure

    Summary: Onmarch 20, 1995, DaimlerChrysler filed a defect report for 181,008 1994 and 1995 Dodge Ram trucks manufacturedc from January 21, 1994 - October 25, 1994 at the Dodge city assembly plant and from March 26, 1994 - December 8, 1994 at the Lago Alberto assembly plant.the secondary hood latch rod could bind on the guide bracket and prevent engagement of the secondary latch.if this occurs when the primary latch is not engaged, the hood could fly up when the vehicle is being driven and obstruct the drier's vision increasing the potential for a crash.the recall remedy was to replace the sedcondary hood latch.owners were notified in August of 1995.this recall rate as of 2/97 was 68%