Lawsuit Over Dodge Ram Pickup Truck Death Wobble, Steering Problems
Last Updated on June 26, 2017
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At A Glance
- This Alert Affects
- Anyone who owns or leases a 2010-2015 Dodge Ram pickup truck.
- What's Going On?
- It has been alleged that the tie rod ball studs in several Dodge Ram pickup trucks are defective and can break under normal use.
- What Are Tie Rods?
- Tie rods are attached to either end of a vehicle's steering rack and help turn the front tires in conjunction with the steering wheel. The parts in question, the ball studs, connect the tie rods to the tires.
- What Problems Have Been Reported?
- Broken tie rod ball studs can cause a driver to lose his or her ability to steer the vehicle, and in some cases, causing it to veer off the road. The defect can also cause the vehicle's front end to vibrate uncontrollably, a problem that drivers have called the "death wobble."
- Which Dodge Trucks Are Affected?
- Certain Dodge Ram 2500, 3500, 4500 and 5500 pickup trucks.
- Type of Case
- Class Action.
Chrysler is facing a class action lawsuit alleging that the tie rod ball studs in certain Dodge Ram pickup trucks are defective. According to the suit, the ball studs are too weak and can break prematurely, causing drivers to lose control of steering and/or veer off the road. It has also been alleged that the defect causes the vehicles’ front ends to shake violently, a problem consumers have called the “death wobble.” Typically, the “death wobble” begins when driving at highway speeds – between 40 and 50 mph – or after running over a bump, and often doesn’t stop until the car is stopped, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim that they spent thousands of dollars replacing the broken ball studs and, in some cases, problems persisted even after these repairs.
Is There a Problem with These Trucks?
The lawsuit alleges that the tie rod ball studs in certain Dodge Ram pickup trucks can break under normal driving conditions due to a defect in design. This problem is allegedly exacerbated by the vehicles’ steering system, known as a cross car steering linkage system, because it allows the ball stud and ball housing to make contact, which further weakens the studs.
The lawsuit claims that the following vehicles are defective:
- Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 model years 2008 to 2012
- Dodge Ram 3500 4x4 model years 2008 to 2012
- Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab 4x2 model years 2008 to 2012
- Dodge Ram 4500 4x4 model years 2008 to 2012
- Dodge Ram 5500 4x4 model years 2008 to 2012
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that tie rod ball studs in their Dodge Ram pickup trucks broke and caused a number of steering problems. In one case, the plaintiff alleges that he spent more than $1,000 to fix the tie rod ball stud in his truck after it suddenly broke and caused his tires to veer off in opposite directions. Furthermore, the plaintiff claims that the “death wobble” persisted even after having the part replaced.
In some cases, drivers have been forced to spend money repairing or replacing additional parts, as the tie rods largely affect vehicle suspension and alignment. The lawsuit alleges that, in at least one case, the faulty tie rod in the plaintiff’s truck caused excessive wear on his truck’s steering damper, drag link, steering box, pitman arms and tires.
What Do the Lawsuits Say Chrysler Did Wrong?
The lawsuit alleges that:
- Chrysler knew or should have known about the “death wobble” and other steering problems since at least 2008.
- Chrysler began studying the cause behind tie rod ball joint fractures in 2010 and issued a recall for certain 4500 and 5500 models with the affected parts in January 2011. Chrysler expanded its investigation to include the more widely sold 2500 and 3500 vehicles in 2011, but did not recall the affected 2500 and 3500 models until late June 2011. Despite these various recalls, tie rod ball stud fractures continued at high rates.
- Chrysler re-issued recalls for all the affected vehicles in 2013, but warned drivers that the company was unable to “provide a permanent remedy” for the problem at the time of the recall.
- In March 2014, Chrysler told its dealers that there was an order restriction on the parts needed for the recalls and that limited quantities of the parts wouldn’t be available until April 2014.
- A number of Dodge Ram drivers – including the plaintiffs – attempted to schedule multiple recall repairs for their trucks that, to this day, still haven’t been performed due to a backorder on these parts.
The lawsuit is seeking compensation on behalf of consumers nationwide who purchased or leased the affected Dodge Ram trucks after June 10, 2009 to reimburse them for the cost of any tie rod repairs and the decreased resale value of their vehicles.
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