Fiat Chrysler’s 3.6 liter V-6 Pentastar engine is at the center of a proposed class action that alleges the automaker has unlawfully refused to honor its warranties and cover repairs stemming from an apparent design and manufacturing defect.
Filed in Montana, the 30-page lawsuit claims the Pentastar engine, found standard in certain 2012-2018 Chrysler Promaster van models, suffers from a defect that can cause excessive wear on the left side of the cylinder head, causing the component to develop a “ticking” noise and/or fail prematurely in the course of normal use. The suit alleges that although Fiat Chrysler “knew or should have known” of the alleged defect as early as 2011, the automaker has not disclosed the issue to consumers, even to those who brought their vehicles in for repairs, and has continued selling cars with faulty Pentastar engines. The plaintiff claims FCA US has refused to cover labor and repair costs under warranty, reasoning that the cylinder head problem was caused by “external factors” or owner “misuse,” or claiming a driver’s warranty period has elapsed.
According to the case, Chrysler discovered the left cylinder head defect in 2012 after receiving complaints from thousands of customers who said their vehicles were exhibiting a ticking sound and had an illuminated check engine light. Chrysler, the suit says, extended its warranty to 10 years or 150,000 miles for drivers whose Pentastar engine-equipped vehicles developed a ticking due to the defect, which supposedly allowed for drivers to have their engine’s left cylinder head replaced with a new part with a design modification. Despite the design modification, the lawsuit says, Chrysler’s senior vice president for quality acknowledged in August 2012 that more problematic cylinder heads could surface in the future.
The plaintiff claims he heard a ticking noise coming from his 2014 Ram Promaster 1500 van in 2019 that preceded a “significant oil and coolant leak.” After one attempt at a repair, the plaintiff took his van to an engine repair shop for closer inspection and was told his van was exhibiting the “Pentastar tick,” according to the suit. The man then took his van to a Chrysler dealership for repairs he believed would be covered under an extended warranty specific to the Pentastar ticking issue, the case says.
The lawsuit says a technician at Lithia Dodge informed the plaintiff his vehicle was not eligible for extended warranty coverage because the van’s VIN was not listed on the X85 warranty chart. The dealer’s technicians allegedly informed the plaintiff that the final cost for the necessary repairs would come close to $4,000.
After reaching out to Chrysler, the plaintiff was informed that the automaker would offer no additional support for the problem with his Pentastar engine, the case claims, adding that the serial numbers of the affected parts in the plaintiff’s van are the same as those in vehicles Chrysler has covered in its extended warranty program.
The lawsuit looks to cover all U.S. consumers who bought or leased a 2012-2018 Chrysler vehicle with a 3.6 liter V-6 Pentastar engine and were excluded from the automaker’s extended warranty of 10 years or 150,000 miles for repairs on the left cylinder head. Also proposed for coverage is a subclass comprised of Montana residents who fit the same criteria.
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