NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2003 Dodge Ram 2500

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 2003 Dodge Ram 2500, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. Air Bag Inflator Rupture NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA15001

    • Status:
      OPEN
    • Date Opened: February 24, 2015
    • Date Closed: Pending
    • Recall: possible recall

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE14-016 in June 2014 based on six inflator rupture incidents involving consumer owned vehicles produced by five vehicle manufacturers.All six vehicles were operated in Florida or Puerto Rico at the time of the rupture and for the majority of their service life, and were equipped with inflators produced by Takata, a tier-one supplier of automotive air bag systems.During the course of PE14-016, ODI determined that five additional vehicle manufacturers used inflators of a similar design and vintage also supplied by Takata. No evidence of field failures was found in vehicles produced by these five additional manufacturers.Nonetheless, at ODI's insistence, all 10 vehicle manufacturers initiated a regional recall within approximately two weeks of the opening of the investigation.The regions recalled initially included Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, areas with high absolute humidity and climatic conditions believed to be a significant factor in the inflator ruptures.As part of the recall actions, inflators removed from remedied vehicles are to be returned to Takata for testing.Takata's initial test results on passenger inflators from remedied vehicles indicated a much higher than anticipated rupture frequency for inflators returned from Florida.Accordingly ODI requested all 10 manufacturers expand the regional recalls for passenger inflators to include other geographic areas where high absolute humidity conditions exist, including the Gulf States and other coastal areas.Takata's testing of the passenger inflators to date continues to indicate this geographic area as having the highest risk, with no ruptures occurring from inflators returned from outside the expanded recall regions.During PE14-016 four additional passenger inflator field events occurred, all in vehicles from the same expanded geographic region.Also during PE14-016 four additional driver inflator field events occurred including two in vehicles from regions not known for high absolute humidity, specifically California and North Carolina.Accordingly, ODI requested all five of the affected vehicle manufacturers currently using the subject Takata driver inflators expand to nationwide recalls.Significantly, neither of the affected vehicle manufacturers or Takata provided any explanation to account for these two driver air bag inflator ruptures outside the area of high absolute humidity.Takata testing of returned driver inflators indicates a lower rupture frequency as compared to passenger inflator testing.All test ruptures reported by Takata to date have occurred on inflators returned from high absolute humidity areas.The investigation now includes all manufacturers and vehicles known to be affected at this time.ODI's investigation will focus on, among other things, root cause analysis, other potential defect consequences, identification of affected vehicles scope, and adequacy of the remedy.The five ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification numbers: 10537899, 10568848, 10585224, 10605877, 10651492

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA15001 »

  2. Air Bag Inflator Rupture NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE14016

    Component(s): Air Bags
    Air Bags:Frontal

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE14-016 in June 2014 based on six inflator rupture incidents involving consumer owned vehicles produced by five vehicle manufacturers.All six vehicles were operated in Florida or Puerto Rico at the time of the rupture and for the majority of their service life, and were equipped with inflators produced by Takata, a tier-one supplier of automotive air bag systems.During the course of PE14-016, ODI determined that five additional vehicle manufacturers used inflators of a similar design and vintage also supplied by Takata. No evidence of field failures was found in vehicles produced by these five additional manufacturers.Nonetheless, at ODI's insistence, all 10 vehicle manufacturers initiated a regional recall within approximately two weeks of the opening of the investigation.The regions recalled initially included Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, areas with consistently high absolute humidity and climatic conditions believed to be a significant factor in the inflator ruptures.As part of the recall actions, inflators removed from remedied vehicles are to be returned to Takata for testing.Takata's initial test results on passenger inflators from remedied vehicles indicated a much higher than anticipated rupture frequency for inflators returned from Florida.Accordingly, ODI requested all 10 manufacturers expand the regional recalls for passenger inflators to include other geographic areas where high absolute humidity conditions exist, including the Gulf States and other coastal areas.Takata's testing of the passenger inflators to date continues to indicate this geographic area as having the highest risk, with no ruptures occurring from inflators returned from outside the expanded recall regions.During PE14-016, four additional passenger inflator field events occurred, all in vehicles from the same expanded geographic region.Also during PE14-016, four additional driver inflator field events occurred including two in vehicles from regions not known for high absolute humidity, specifically California and North Carolina.Accordingly, ODI requested all five of the affected vehicle manufacturers currently using the subject Takata driver inflators expand to nationwide recalls.Significantly, neither of the affected vehicle manufacturers or Takata provided any explanation to account for these two driver air bag inflator ruptures outside the area of high absolute humidity.Takata testing of returned driver inflators indicates a lower rupture frequency as compared to passenger inflator testing.All test ruptures reported by Takata to date have occurred on inflators returned from high absolute humidity areas.The PE is now closed/upgraded to an Engineering Evaluation (EA15-001) to include all manufacturersand vehicles known to be affected at this time.ODI's EA investigation will focus on, among other things, root cause analysis, other potential defect consequences, identification of affected vehicles scope, and adequacy of the remedy.The recalls related to this PE are: 14V343, 14V344, 14V348, 14V351, 14V353, 14V655, 14V700, 14V701, 14V752, 14V763, 14V770, 14V773, 14V787, 14V802 and 14V817.The number of vehicles affected are an estimate since some vehicles may have both the driver and passenger side inflators recalled. The five ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification numbers: 10537899, 10568848, 10585224, 10605877, 10651492

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE14016 »

  3. FALSE PARK NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA04025

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Gear Position Indication (Prndl)
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Lever And Linkage:Column Shift

    Summary: The subject vehicles are heavy duty pickup trucks with diesel engines and automatic transmissions commonly used for commercial and work purposes.a column mounted shift lever is used for gear selection and an electronic prndl on the instrument panel provides gear position information to the driver.the subject vehicles are also equipped with a brake-transmission shift interlock that prevents the shift lever from being moved from the park position (when the engine is on) unless the brake pedal is depressed and an ignition-shift interlock that prevents key removal unless the transmission is in the park position.complainants generally report that the vehicle was being operated in a forward gear and brought to a stop through brake application on alevel surface, at which time the operator moved the shift lever to engage the park position.the operator then opened the driver side door and, without verifying park engagement (e.g., prndl gear indication), securing the park brake, or turning the engine off, exited the vehicle.initially, no vehicle movement was apparent, however, a short time later, typically reported as 10 to 30 seconds, the vehicle moved rearward under engine power.the incident often ended in a vehicle crash, and sometimes involved serious injury.two fatalities are alleged.ODI's analysis of test vehicles and some incident vehicles found no evidence to indicate that a shift lever properly placed in park could unintentionally (I.e., without driver input) disengage from that position.however, ODI did find that the shift lever could be inadvertently placed, and remain at rest, within an intermediate position between the park and reverse gear positions.when placed in such an intermediate position, the vehicle can experience a delayed pressurization of the reverse hydraulic circuit that is sufficient to cause the vehicle to roll rearward under power.the delay period allows sufficient time for operators to exit the stationary vehicle without perceiving that the shifter is not in park.the summary report discusses the technical analysis of this issue in greater detail and compares the frequency of these incidents in the subject vehicles to other peer vehicles that ODI examined.as described in their October 4, 2005 letter to NHTSA, DaimlerChrysler corporation (DCC) will conduct a safety recall (NHTSA recall no. 05V-462, DCC no. E17) to install an out-of-park alarm system in the subject vehicles.the alarm will provide audible and visual feedback to alert the driver, and others, if the driver attempts to exit the vehicle while the engine is running and the shift lever is not in the park position.the timing of DCC's action has yet to be determined.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA04025 »

  4. FALSE PARK NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE04039

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: April 13, 2004
    • Date Closed: August 26, 2004
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Gear Position Indication (Prndl)
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Lever And Linkage:Column Shift
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Lever And Linkage:Floor Shift
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Park/Neutral Start Switch

    Summary: There have been 50 complaints to ODI and DaimlerChrysler alleging incidents of reverse powered rollaway in subject vehicles that were parked with the engine running and the parking brake disengaged.the incidents are alleged to have resulted in 42 crashes and 3 injuries. According to DaimlerChrysler, incident vehicle inspections have not identified any misadjusted or broken parts.a typical incident is believed to involve the following set of conditions:(1) with the vehicle on a relatively level surface, an attempted shift into park inadvertently places the transmission in a position between the "reverse" and "park" gear detents; (2) the driver exits the vehicle with the key in the ignition, the engine running, and the parking brake disengaged; and (3) after some delay, the vehicle begins traveling rearward.in prior investigations of other DaimlerChrysler products, reverse motion was found to result from a gradual pressurization of the reverse circuit ("hydraulic reverse"). DaimlerChrysler attributes the incidents to operator error in using a system that functioned as designed.according to DaimlerChrysler, the alleged defect cannot occur if the driver:(1) shifts fully into park as indicated by end of shifter travel slam, the forward throw of the shift lever, and/or the illumination of the park indication in the "prndl" display; (2) removes the key from the ignition; (3) turns the engine "off;" or (4) engages the parking brake. The subject vehicles are equipped with:(1) DaimlerChrysler's "re"-specific transmissions that have been the subject of two previous ODI reverse powered rollaway investigations (EA96-006 & EA01-017); and (2) a column mounted shift mechanism with an electronic gear position indicator ("prndl") that is located in the dash display directly forward of the steering wheel.two peer populations of Dodge Ram pickup trucks were analyzed for comparison with the subject vehicles:(1) MY 2001-02 Ram 2500/3500 pickup trucks equipped with similar transmissions, but a different shifter with a mechanical "prndl;" and (2) MY 2003-04 Ram 1500 pickup trucks equipped with the same shifter as the subject vehicles but different transmissions.the complaint rate in the subject vehicles is significantly higher than in the two peer populations.this investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE04039 »

  5. Chrysler's execution of 13V-528 & 529 NHTSA Defect Investigation #AQ14003

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: October 20, 2014
    • Date Closed: May 16, 2016
    • Recall: no recall issued

    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.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #AQ14003 »

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