Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling approximately 64,590 of the company’s 2019 and 2020 Ram 2500 pickups and another 19,612 Ram 3500 pickups equipped with the 68RFE automatic transmission for potential risk of fire. According to the recall, FCA is speculating some of the 2019 to 2020 Ram Heavy Duty pickups with the 68RFE transmission may experience transmission fluid expelling from the dipstick tube, which may come in contact with the turbocharger, or other ignition sources within the engine compartment.
The suspect period began October 11th, 2018 (the production start for the 2019 model year) and ended on January 18th, 2020, when FCA stopped releasing the suspect vehicles from its Saltillo, Mexico assembly plant. The suspect period was determined by using field data and engineering change records. Some vehicles not included in the recall population were not released from the Saltillo plant with the defect or were not equipped with the 68RFE automatic transmission.
On December 4th, 2019, FCA’s Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance (“VSRC”) organization opened
an investigation into the 2019 model year Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks as a result of the detection of a potential trend of engine compartment fires. During the month of December 2019, VSRC analyzed fire patterns, witness statements, vehicle histories, and geographical data to confirm the events were trend-related. On December 17th, 2019, FCA US Powertrain Engineering conducted testing to duplicate the issue. On January 9th, 2020, FCA US Powertrain Engineering conducted a review of design changes and identified the potential root cause of the issue.
The company recorded that on January 15th, 2020, FCA was aware of 19 CAIRS, and 19 field reports potentially related to this issue. FCA was not aware of any warranty claims related to this issue at the time, however, they did sight that they were aware of one minor injury and no fatalities. This lead to the Vehicle Regulations Committee, to conduct a voluntary safety recall of the affected vehicles.
FCA will conduct a voluntary safety recall on all affected vehicles; the remedy is currently under development. FCA has a longstanding policy and practice of reimbursing owners who have incurred the cost of repairing a problem that subsequently becomes the subject of field action. To ensure consistency, FCA, as part of the owner letter, will request that customers send the original receipt and/or other adequate proof of payment to the company for confirmation of the expense.
The recall is expected to begin on March 14th, 2020. Owners may contact FCA customer service at 1-800-853-1403. FCA’s number for this recall is W03. Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.