Dodge Lawsuit: Differential Failure in Hellcats, Demons Caused by Defect
Last Updated on January 13, 2023
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who owns or leases a V8-equipped (5.7L, 6.2L or 6.4L) 2015-2022 Dodge Charger or Challenger (including Scat Pack, 1320, Super Stock Hellcat, Red Eye or Jail Break) or a 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon who has had problems with the rear differential.
- What’s Going On?
- A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed alleging that certain model years of the cars suffer from a major defect that causes the rear differential to fail, the car to suddenly become inoperable and riders to be at risk for injury. Attorneys need help to keep their case moving forward and want to speak with drivers who’ve experienced problems with the rear differential in their cars.
- What Are Signs of a Failing Differential?
- Howling, whining and whirling noises and vibration in the backseat, all of which can become more noticeable at high speeds and upon turning.
Attorneys would like to speak to anyone who owns or leases any of the following vehicles and has experienced problems with the rear differential:
- 2015-2022 Charger with 5.7L, 6.2L or 6.4L V8, including R/T, Hellcat, Red Eye and Jail Break
- 2015-2022 Challenger with 5.7L, 6.2L or 6.4L V8, including R/T, Scat Pack, 1320, Super Stock, Hellcat, Red Eye and Jail Break
- 2018 Challenger Demon
A proposed class action lawsuit alleges that a defect in certain model years of the cars can cause “catastrophic failure” of the rear differential, which presents a serious safety risk and makes the cars unfit for their intended use.
Making matters worse, Chrysler knew (or should have known) about the issue from pre-production testing, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) complaints and warranty data yet has not taken adequate steps to remedy the problem or warn customers, the suit says.
What’s the Problem, Exactly?
The lawsuit claims that the rear differential in certain model years of the cars was not adequately designed and manufactured to handle the high horsepower and torque loads placed upon it during acceleration. Allegedly, this can cause the differential and its internal components to degrade and fail. When this happens, the vehicle cannot transfer engine power to the rear wheels, and the driver may lose control of the vehicle without any prior warning, according to the suit.
Failure of the differential can also result in an explosion that sends shrapnel flying into the undercarriage of the car – a problem that’s particularly dangerous when the cars are being driven at high speeds, the lawsuit says.
Ultimately, the case claims the cars are not appropriate or safe for track racing or everyday use and that consumers have been forced to pay for “escalating repairs” for an issue Chrysler knows about and continues to conceal.
What Are Symptoms of a Failing Differential?
Symptoms of a failing rear differential may include:
- Whining, howling or whirling sounds
- Vibrations in the rear of the car
These noises and vibrations may increase when the car is speeding up or turning.
Consumer Complaints: Dodge Rear Differential Problems
The following is a sampling of complaints that have been posted online and submitted to the NHTSA regarding the rear differentials in Hellcat and Demon models [sic throughout, emphasis ours]:
I have a 2019 challenger scat pack with 3750 miles that I bought pre owned with 3500 miles, car runs and drives great other than I have a very annoying whine coming from the differential while driving on the highway at light throttle the sound becomes more pronounced at 80 and above. The sound will go away anytime I left off the gas but comes right back as soon as I’m back on the throttle. From what I hear it seems to be a common issue with these cars...”
— Moparman19, 2019 Challenger driver, ChallengerTalk.com
I kept enjoying the hellcat as its meant to be driven and then it happened, the entire rear end ripped off of the unibody of the car, the case split right down the middle at 11k miles…I suspect that the case cracked from the DS banging around from the diff failure and then when the tech fixed it and went to give it the beans it failed catastrophically like this. Chrysler put a stop on the warranty and said they were sending someone to inspect the car prior to repair. They cited ‘abuse’.”
— Dirtyace, Hellcat driver, Reddit.com
[T]he rear diff appears to be a safety issue if you race your car. See below which was sent to an SRT caseworker by an owner.
‘I have been at the dragstrip as a spectator and have seen a stock Demon on stock Nittos destroy the aluminum center carrier on the differential causing the ring and pinion gears as well as aluminum particles and metal bolts from the differential destroy the exhaust and the underside of the car. Moreover, the same flying shrapnel came in close proximity to spectators near the vehicle. The Demon owner I observed whose differential failed didn’t do anything improper. Instead, they were trying to enjoy their $100,000 Demon at the Dragstrip as Dodge marketed it.’”
— SRTSR, Challenger Hellcat driver, Hellcat.org
The contact owns a 2018 dodge challenger. While the contact's son was driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was unable to restart and was towed...The dealer diagnosed that the transmission and rear differential needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. After leaving the dealer, while driving, several warning indicators illuminated on the instrument panel. The contact returned the vehicle to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the axle, ignition coil, spark plugs, anti-lock brakes, and stabilizer bar needed to be replaced. The dealer repaired the vehicle, but the failure continued…The approximate failure mileage was 24,000.”
— 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon driver, NHTSA ID 11255061
Noise from the rear differential area. When going speeds of 65+ mph there is a howling/whining noise that is constant. When I let off the gas it goes away. When I get back on the gas it comes back. I have had the rear diff replaced and have had it in multiple times for diagnostics/fluid changes with no fix in site. FCA told me, to bad, that is a normal noise and there is nothing else we can do to fix the issue. A brand new car with an old car noise? Unacceptable.”
— 2017 Dodge Charger driver, NHTSA ID 11088904
How Can a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
A successful class action lawsuit could allow drivers to recover money for repair costs, loss of vehicle value and some of the purchase price as the cars allegedly do not operate as they should. Further, Chrysler could be forced to recall the cars and offer a free fix.
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