NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2015 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 2015 Ram 2500, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Software security vulnerability

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ15004

    Component(s): Electrical System: Software

    Summary: On July 23, 2015, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) launched Safety Recall 15V-461 to remedy security vulnerabilities in approximately 1.4 million model year (MY) 2013 through 2015 vehicles equipped with Uconnect head units (HU) 8.4A (RA3 radio) and 8.4AN (RA4 radio) manufactured by Harman International.On July 24, 2015, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened Recall Query, RQ 15-004, to investigate HU security vulnerabilities and remedy effectiveness in the recalled population and to determine whether similar units have been supplied for use in other FCA vehicles.In an August 11, 2015 letter, FCA submitted a second Part 573 safety recall report expanding the scope of the Uconnect RA4 model radio to include additional 7,810 MY 2015 Jeep Renegade vehicles manufactured from September 18, 2014 through June 25, 2015 (Recall 15V-508).Scope analysis indicated that Uconnect radios installed in FCA vehicles not included in recalls 15V-461 or 15V-508 (subject recalls) are not equipped with built-in cellular access or short range wireless communication features and, thus, do not contain the security vulnerabilities addressed by the subject recalls. SUBJECT VEHICLES: MY2014 through 2015 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Cherokee sport utility vehicles; MY2013 through 2015 Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 and 4500/5500 pickup trucks; MY2013 through 2015 Dodge Viper vehicles; and MY2015 Chrysler 200, 300, Jeep Renegade, Dodge Charger and Challenger vehicles.According to FCA, long and short range wireless vulnerabilities identified in the recalled vehicles could allow unauthorized third-party access to, and manipulation of, networked vehicle control systems.Successful exploitation of the vulnerabilities, coupled with reverse engineering of networked microprocessor control modules, could result in unauthorized manipulation of vehicle control systems. This unauthorized manipulation of vehicle controls and systems could expose the driver, vehicle occupants or other highway users to an increased risk of injury.FCA and its network provider, Sprint, conducted a nationwide campaign to block access to a radio communications port that was unintentionally left open.On July 27, 2015, short range wireless vulnerabilities were also blocked.Finally, third party security evaluation and regression testing identified vulnerabilities that were either remedied by Sprint or through updates to the FCA Uconnect software.ODI identified a total of 30 complaints or field reports on unique vehicles submitted by FCA (29) or received by NHTSA (1) alleging incidents of theft from a vehicle or anomalous performance that the owner alleged were caused by, or may have been caused by, remote hacking.Twenty-six (87%) of these reports were submitted after a magazine article was published on July 21, 2015, describing the remote hacking of an FCA vehicle by researchers who were able to affect the operation of various vehicle control systems, including the service brakes, steering, throttle and ignition.Most of the complaints involved vehicle systems that were not safety critical (e.g., complaints related to radio, navigation system, or air-conditioning control) and did not affect vehicle control.Three complaints reported engine stalls.One owner reported sudden unintended acceleration allegedly related to hacking.None of the complaints or field reports reviewed involved the steering and braking vehicle control effects demonstrated by the research hackers prior to the recall.There were no confirmed incidents of hacking in any of the records reviewed by ODI.The remedies completed by Sprint and FCA appear to have eliminated vulnerabilities that might allow a remote actor to impact vehicle control systems.This recall query investigation is closed; this action does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. (Continued on attachment A)

  2. INVESTIGATION: Steering loss due to linkage separation

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE18016

    • Status:
      PENDING
    • Date Opened: December 17, 2018
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Steering:Linkages:Link:Drag:Connection

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has identified two complaints alleging the steering system failed on model year (MY) 2015 and 2016 Ram 2500s.Both vehicles were equipped with four wheel drive, and both failures occurred while the vehicle was in operation. The failures were allegedly due to the separation of the drag link, a steering linkage that connects between the right front steering knuckle and the pitman arm on the steering box output shaft. The separation occurred at a threaded coupler within the drag link intended to be used for adjusting the length of the linkage during maintenance (alignment) of the steering system. Once separation occurs, turning the steering wheel has no effect, and there is no way for the driver to control or maintain the direction of the vehicle.In one report, the complainant alleges the linkage separated while the vehicle was negotiating a left hand curve on a highway traveling at a speed of 65 to 70 MPH.As a result the vehicle departed the right side of the roadway and was brought to a stop in an unimproved shoulder area. An injury is alleged due to the vehicle encountering rough surfaces (ditches) on the shoulder.The second report involved a separation that, based on complainant interview occurred while the vehicle was being driven (reversed) out of a parking space. The drag link and coupler assembly had to be replaced to repair both vehicles.ODI is opening this investigation to evaluate the cause, consequence, scope and frequency of the alleged defect (drag link separation) in the subject Ram vehicles.The reports cited above can be reviewed at NHTSA.gov under the following reference numbers:11064516, 11083519 (which is also reported under 11053917).

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