Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has issued a safety recall for certain Ram Heavy Duty pickup trucks going back to 2020. Leaking transmission fluid under the hood could cause a fire for nearly a quarter-million 2500 and 3500 models.
The recall covers Ram 2500 pickups from 2020 through 2023, and 3500 models from 2020 through 2022. According to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), trucks equipped with the 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel and 68RFE transmission could experience heat and pressure buildup in the transmission. This could cause trans fluid to leak from the dipstick tube in the engine bay. If the fluid contacts an ignition source, it could cause a fire. There is no mention of this problem on Ram trucks equipped with other engines or transmissions.
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Ram 2500 models are the bulk of the recall, with 199,317 units built from September 4, 2019, through November 4 of this year potentially affected. 48,965 Ram 3500 trucks from generally the same period (starting September 19, 2019) are part of the recall, totaling 248,342 vehicles. There is no fix for the issue at this time; a solution is being developed by FCA. The recall states that a Malfunction Indicator Lamp on the instrument cluster may come on prior to any event.
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FCA launched an investigation into 2020-2023 Ram Heavy Duty trucks in June, after learning of engine compartment fires that could indicate a potential trend. The automaker is aware of 16 field reports and 16 warranty claims that could be related to the transmission leak. FCA is also aware of a potential minor injury resulting from this issue. There are no known fatalities.
This appears unrelated to an NHTSA investigation in 2021 on 600,000 Ram pickups with the Cummins diesel. The focus there was on a high-pressure fuel pump that could cause the engine to stall.
FCA will begin notifying Ram owners affected by this recall via mail at the end of December. Owners can also call FCA customer service at 1-800-853-1403 and reference recall number ZA3.