A module on the trucks could shut off the side airbags and seatbelt pretentioners because the system believes there is a sensor failure.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a recall for more than 1.25 million units of the 2013-2016 Ram 1500 and 2500 pickups, plus the 2014-2016 Ram 3500, over an electronic issue that could be potentially fatal in an accident. The campaign specifically affects 1,021,279 trucks in the United States, 216,007 vehicles in Canada; 21,668 in Mexico; and 21,530 outside the NAFTA region. The automaker reports one fatality, two injuries, and two accidents that have a potential link to this issue.
If the affected pickups sustain “a significant underbody impact,” a computer module could incorrectly believe there’s a sensor failure. The resulting error code would activate a warning lamp on the dashboard. It would also temporarily disable the side airbags and seatbelt pretensioners but only for as long as “that ignition cycle.” However, the safety devices also wouldn’t work if the vehicle is in a rollover crash during this period.
According to FCA, stopping the side airbags from deploying during a sensor fault “is a feature of restraint systems. It serves as a potential safeguard against inadvertent system activation, should a sensor failure actually occur.” Owners could re-activate the side airbags and seatbelt pretensioners by turning the ignition to off and restarting the pickup. This would also turn off the warning light.
Ram dealers will update the software for the occupant restraint control modules with code that will offer “more robust sensor performance.
According to the automaker’s chronology, FCA discovered this issue in December 2016 when there was a lawsuit over a 2014 Ram 1500 “involved in a single vehicle rollover accident with no airbag or pretensioner deployment.” The automaker and supplier Robert Bosch LLC analyzed the code for the Occupant Restraint Controller, and FCA began a deeper investigation in March 2017. The firm eventually decided that a recall was warranted for updated the software.