The National Highway Safety Administration is looking into FCA’s handling of a recall addressing a steering issue in the Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks.
This past January Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a recall of around 660,000 pickup trucks in response to an earlier NHTSA investigation. That recall addressed a problem with a link connecting the right front steering knuckle and the pitman arm on the steering box output shaft. There have been 48 reported incidents in which it was reported that steering was lost completely when the link separated. 13 accidents and one injury have been linked to the problem.
An NHTSA inquiry into the issue had looked at 4x2 as well as 4x4 models, but as part of its January recall, FCA chose to call back only the latter configurations. In its view, while loosening of the jam nuts was occurring in some 4x2 models, in those trucks drivers would get ample warning before reaching the stage of losing steering control.
Now the NHTSA says it will be analyzing in depth whether the drag link in 4x2 models is susceptible to the same failures as in the reported cases involving 4x4 models. At the same time, it will seek to determine whether the fix developed by FCA is appropriate. The January recall directed service centres to weld the nuts to the adjuster sleeve.