NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 1998 Dodge Durango

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 1998 Dodge Durango, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. SAFETY BELT CINCHING LATCH PLATE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE02082

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: November 06, 2002
    • Date Closed: April 23, 2003
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Seat Belts

    Summary: There are no injuries or fatalities associated with this alleged defect.while conducting this investigation, ODI found that the subject cinches meet the load bearing requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208, and that many of the reported failures were due to incorrect child safety seat installations. Additionally, the report rate is low (1.60/100K).the information available fails to establish the existence of a defect trend at this time.further allocation of Agency resources to this issue is unwarranted and the preliminary evaluation is being closed.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE02082 »

  2. UPPER BALL JOINT SEPARATION NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA03023

    Component(s): Suspension
    Suspension:Front
    Suspension:Front:Control Arm
    Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Arm
    Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Ball Joint

    Summary: DaimlerChrysler corporation (DCC) is recalling the target population of approximately 600,000 MY 2000 through 2003 Durango and Dakota vehicles with four-wheel drive to replace the front suspension upper ball joints with redesigned parts that do not have the joint integrity concerns and have substantially improved joint retention capacity (NHTSA recall no. 04V-596).though DCC does not admit to a safety-defect in the subject components, ODI believes that the facts in this investigation show otherwise.because of the low rates of separation incidents in the remaining subject vehicles, a safety-related defect has not been identified in those populations 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 no safety-related defect exists in those vehicles.the Agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.for additional information, see the attached closing report.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA03023 »

  3. FRONT SUSP. UPPER BALL JOINT FAILURE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE03032

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: July 16, 2003
    • Date Closed: November 19, 2003
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Suspension:Front
    Suspension:Front:Control Arm
    Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Arm
    Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Ball Joint

    Summary: In July 2003, ODI opened PE03-032 based on 4 consumer complaints alleging separation of an upper ball joint.complaints alleged an unexpected collapse in the front end and in some occasions the ball joint separation is alleged to have resulted in the wheel, brake rotor, and steering knuckle separating from the vehicle.since opening the PE, ODI has received 23 additional complaints related to ball joint separation. DaimlerChrysler has identified a wearout concern in the subject ball joints that is believed to occur after water intrusion evacuates the joint lubricant.DaimlerChrysler does not believe the condition poses an unreasonable risk to safety because the suspension design in the subject vehicles significantly reduces the likelihood of joint separation.over 99 percent of the failures are related to worn ball joints (e.g., noise complaints).DaimlerChrysler revised the repair procedure in August 2003 to allow the upper ball joints to be serviced separately from the upper control arm and reduce repair costs. DaimlerChrysler changed the supplier of the subject ball joints from TRW to new castle machining & forge for MY 2000 vehicles.MY 2000 Durango vehicles account for 25 of the 37 separation complaints.the upper ball joint was redesigned in MY 2003.this investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis to further assess the alleged defect in MY 2000-02 Durango vehicles.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE03032 »

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