NHTSA Investigating Ram 1500 Over Faulty Rear Differential, Jeep Grand Cherokee for Fires

By Trevor Dorchies | July 23, 2012
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has called more than 335,000 Chrysler vehicles to the carpet for an investigation into some reported complaints.  In total, 106,803 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 230,000 Ram 1500s assembled for the 2009 and 2010 model year are being investigated. The NHTSA is looking at select Grand Cherokee models after receiving two reports concerning fires, and a complaint of losing power steering.  Certain Ram 1500 models are being prodded after the NHTSA received 12 complaints total concerning the rear differential locking up unintentionally while in motion. It's believed that the reported fires in the Grand Cherokee originated from leaky power steering fluid hoses. When the steering fluid comes in contact with a hot surface it can quickly escalate into something serious, such as a fire. As for the Ram 1500 models, it's believed that the rear differential pinion nut loosens, which in turn can lock the wheels up unintentionally. The NHTSA received 12 complaints of rear differential failures that locked the wheels up, and eight of those incidents occurred while traveling 35 mph or more. The remaining four complaints involved even higher speeds, and resulted of the truck spinning or skidding out of control. One of those incidents ended with a truck going into a barrier. Majority of the complaints allege that the drive shaft, which was a casualty of the incident, detached and punched a hole in the fuel tank. These complaints come on the heels of the Grand Cherokee's June sales, which were the best in the United States since 2005. Both vehicles called into question are currently Chrysler's top two best sellers. As it stands now, the Grand Cherokee has sold 75,117 units so far in 2012 while the Ram 1500 tops Chrysler's sales chart with 138,581 units moved. Grand Cherokee sales are up 38 percent for the year while Ram sales are up 24 percent, respectively.
It typically takes the NHTSA six months to a year to decide whether or not to advance the investigation into the latter stages, which may involve a recall. As always, stay tuned as more details become available. Source: Detroit News