Chrysler recalls Dodge Ram trucks

Dodge Ram trucks are being recalled due to a small nut that can fall out of the drive shaft and cause serious problems.
January 27, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
It was only a little nut, but that little nut broke off a Dodge Ram truck, setting off a chain of events.

That nut has been the target of a federal investigation since February. What happened to Dondrell Cooper of Oakley was further proof something needed to be done.

Cooper recalls the day he was driving and his 2011 Dodge Ram truck began to get sluggish.

"Then a couple of seconds later it just boom, screech, and the car kind of skid into an abrupt stop," said Cooper.

Fortunately, Cooper was barely traveling 10 miles an hour when the mishap happened. He had just exited the freeway. He was uninjured.

"I'm a real good driver, but I would guess I probably would have crashed on the freeway," said Cooper.

Dondrell showed us the problem underneath the truck. A pinion nut at the back end of the drive shaft came loose and Dondrell says the shaft fell off. The drive shaft is what gives the truck power and torque to turn the rear wheels.

"So when it falls out everything locks up. Car won't go," said Cooper.

The incident happened in September. It was right before then that Dondrell said he received a notification from Chrysler informing him the nut might need to be replaced. Dondrell phoned his dealership, Antioch Dodge, and he says its service department told him the new pinion nut was not yet available. Two weeks later, the nut came loose, but Antioch Dodge still didn't have the part.

"They really couldn't do anything besides that I guess except for putting the same kind of malfunctioning screw back in there," said Cooper.

An investigation posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website says, "Undersized pinion splines were found as the likely factor contributing to the loosening of the pinion nut."

The vehicles involved were the 2009 -2012 Ram 1500 truck, the 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota truck, the 2009 Chrysler aspen truck or the 2009 Dodge Durango truck. The investigation was announced after reports of at least 15 non-injury accidents associated with the defect. A formal recall followed on Nov. 7 2013 and Cooper continued to wait for a permanent fix.

"I kept going to the dealer talking to him saying, 'Hey, when you going to fix it? When you going to fix it?'" said Cooper.

He finally decided to call 7 On Your Side. It was after that, that everything moved forward.

"Seems like once I called 7 On Your Side, things for some reason just started going in my favor, a little quicker," said Cooper.

The new part became available a week after we called Antioch Dodge. We reached out to Antioch Dodge several times, but they did not get back to us with a comment.

Chrysler told us by email, "Customer safety is paramount at Chrysler Group. Accordingly sufficient time was needed for engineers to design and validate the appropriate replacement parts. Not all vehicles affected by recalls will experience problems. Nevertheless, all vehicles that may be susceptible will be repaired at no cost to customers. Chrysler Group sincerely regrets any inconvenience by this delay."

If you have one of those trucks mentioned in the recall, call your Dodge dealership or click here for more information about the exact manufacturing dates covered by the recall.


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