2012 Ram 5500
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 5500, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:
INVESTIGATION: Air Bag ACU Electrical Overstress
NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA19001
Component(s): Air Bags: Air Bag Control Module
Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is expanding the investigation to include the equipment supplier and vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) using this unit.The investigation focuses on ACUs manufactured by TRW, now ZF-TRW (ZF), the Tier-one supplier to Hyundai and Kia and the other affected OEMs.The ACU senses a vehicle crash to determine whether air bag deployment is required, and if so, deploys the appropriate air bags and other supplemental restraints.ZF supplied subject ACUs to six OEMs: FCA, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota.Internal to the ACU is an electronic component (an application specific integrated circuit, or ASIC) that monitors signals from crash sensors.A failure of the ASIC may prevent deployment of the required air bags and devices, or may otherwise affect the proper operation of the ACU.The ACU is located in the passenger compartment, and electrical wiring connects the ASIC to sensors located at the front of the vehicle.ODI-€™s current understanding is that a crash event may, in and of itself, produce harmful signals on the sensor wiring capable of damaging the ASIC, although the probability of this occurring appears to be low.While the ACU incorporates electrical circuitry intended to protect the ASIC from harmful signals, the level and effectiveness of the protective circuitry varies by OEM customer.During PE18-003, Hyundai and Kia filed recalls (18V-137 and 18V-363 respectively) to address a defect that could result in ACU disablement and non-deployments.According to the filings, the disablement occurs in certain types of frontal crash events.Both filings discussed a condition known as electrical overstress (EOS) that affected the subject ASIC and was likely caused by electrical signals that entered the ACU via sensor wiring.The recalled vehicles used ACUs that had the lowest levels of ASIC protection while non-recalled Hyundai and Kia products using subject ACUs had higher levels of protection.ODI has not identified any EOS failures in the non-recalled Kia and Hyundai populations.In September 2016, FCA filed recall 16V-668 for certain model year (MY) 2010 to 2014 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products also manufactured with the subject ACU.In that filing, FCA also discussed an EOS condition that resulted in a failure of the subject ASIC, which caused air bag non-deployment. FCA noted that the defect condition had only been observed in vehicles equipped with sensor harnessing routed across the front of the vehicle.Other FCA vehicles that also used the subject ACU, but not the cross-car harnessing, had not experienced EOS failures, despite similar time in service. The recalled FCA vehicles used a mid-level form of ASIC protection.Other FCA vehicles that did not use cross car wiring, or used higher levels of ASIC protection, have not been recalled.ODI has not identified any EOS failures in the non-recalled FCA population.Recently, ODI has identified two substantial frontal crash events (one fatal) involving Toyota products where EOS is suspected as the likely cause of the non-deployments.The crashes involved a MY 2018 and a MY 2019 Corolla equipped with the subject ACU that incorporated higher levels of ASIC protection.Additionally, both ACUs were found to be non-communicative (meaning the ACU could not be read with an Event Data Recorder) after the crash, a condition found in other cases where EOS occurred with other OEMs.No other EOS events have been identified for other Toyota products (including Corolla models that used the subject ACU since MY 2011), or for the Honda and Mitsubishi vehicles that use the subject ACU.ODI plans to evaluate the susceptibility of the subject ACU designs to electrical signals, as well as other vehicle factors that can either lead to, or reduce the likelihood of, an EOS event.Additionally, ODI will evaluate whether an unreasonable risk exists that requires further field action.
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).