2012 Ram 3500
NHTSA Defect Investigations
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 2012 Ram 3500, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:
INVESTIGATION: Totally Integrated Power Module Failure
NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP14004
Component(s): Electrical System
Summary: In a letter dated August 21, 2014, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a defect investigation of alleged failures associated with the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) installed in Chrysler SUV-€™s, trucks, and vans beginning in the 2007 model year. The petitioner alleges that TIPM defects may result in engine stall, airbag non-deployment, failure of fuel pump shutoff resulting in unintended acceleration, fire, and other symptoms. On September 25, 2014, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened DP14-004 to evaluate the petition for a grant or deny decision. ODI analyzed complaint data provided by CAS as well as complaints submitted to ODI from consumers. In total, there were 296 complaints submitted by the petitioner in the original petition and five supplements, including 271 complaints related to the subject vehicles equipped with TIPM-7. Approximately 3 percent of CAS complaints are related to vehicles equipped with TIPM-6 and ODI-€™s review of these complaints did not identify any safety defect trends. ODI conducted a detailed review of complaints narratives submitted by CAS and consumers including careful analysis of vehicle repair histories, warranty claims obtained from the manufacturer and any available Customer Assistance Inquiry reports (CAIR). Analysis of the field data indicated that MY2011-2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles exhibited significantly higher complaint rates related to fuel pump relay (FPR) failures than other subject vehicles. In a September 3, 2014 letter to NHTSA, Chrysler submitted a Defect Information Report (DIR) identifying a defect in the FPR within the TIPM-7 which can result in a no start or stall condition in approximately 188,723 model year (MY) 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK) and Dodge Durango (WD) vehicles manufactured from January 5, 2010 through July 20, 2011 (14V-530).In a February 24, 2015 letter, Chrysler submitted a second DIR expanding the scope of the FPR defect condition to include an additional 338,216 MY 2012 through 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured from September 17, 2010 through August 19, 2013 and MY 2012 through 2013 Dodge Durango vehicles manufactured from January 18, 2011 through August 19, 2013 (15V-115).ODI analysis of the CAS allegations of TIPM defects resulting in stall while driving, airbag non-deployment, unintended acceleration, fire and other faults identified a single defect condition related to 1 of over 60 different circuits in the TIPM assembly. The most common effect of this defect condition, related to the fuel pump relay, was a no-start concern, but it could also result in stall while driving (76 complaints). No valid evidence was presented in support of claims related to airbag non-deployment, unintended acceleration or fire resulting from TIPM faults and these claims were found to be wholly without merit based on review of the field data and design of the relevant systems and components.Except insofar as the petitioner's contentions relate to the defect condition addressed by the Chrysler recalls, the factual bases of the petitioner's contentions that any further investigation is necessary are unsupported. In our view, additional investigation is unlikely to result in a finding that a defect related to motor vehicle safety exists or a NHTSA order for the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect as alleged by the petitioner at the conclusion of the requested investigation. Therefore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the agency's safety mission, the petition is denied. This action does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will take further action if warranted by future circumstances. Please see the Federal Register notice in DP14-004 file (www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/defects).
INVESTIGATION: Chrysler's execution of 13V-528 & 529
NHTSA Defect Investigation #AQ14003
Component(s): Steering:Linkages:Tie Rod Assembly
Summary: RMD opened this audit query (AQ) investigation in order to better understand and evaluate Chrysler's process(es) for timely and efficient execution of its safety recall campaigns, including its oversight and management of its parts division Mopar.Prior to opening this investigation, RMD had raised concerns with the company related to its execution of two safety recalls, 13V-528 and 13V-529, both of which involved safety defects that could cause the involved vehicles, FCA-€™s heavier Dodge Ram trucks, to lose steering control suddenly and without warning.Specifically, RMD inquired about the availability of parts for recall repairs, by email and phone on January 15, 2014 and February 19, 2014, due to the volume of complaints it was receiving from owners alleging parts scarcity and parts restrictions. FCA steadfastly denied it had placed parts restrictions on its dealers to manage issues of parts scarcity.FCA shared material showing it had uncommitted stock of parts available for its dealers. Nevertheless, consumer complaints of lack of parts continued.RMD made independent inquiries tosome dealers tobetter understand the conflicting claims between owners alleging lack of ability to repair their defective vehicles due to lack of parts, and FCA-€™s information showing availability of parts.Dealers informed and provided documentation to RMD on February 21, 2014 and February 25, 2014 showing FCA had, in fact, put into place parts restrictions and, further, had in some instances canceled dealerships-€™ back orders for parts.In addition, during the course of its dialogue with dealers, RMD discovered that FCA had notified their dealerships on February 27, 2014 to return the recall remedy parts over quality concerns, and had therefore effectively canceled its safety recall program without notification to NHTSA. RMD issued a request for information (IR) on October 21, 2014.The company failed to respond to a number of the questions RMD asked that required it to produce specifics surrounding the repairs and parts ordering process with the recalls, including a question about whether a dealer order for recall parts could be canceled and under what circumstances.