By: Nicole Halavi
A class action lawsuit alleges Fiat Chrysler (FCA) sold hundreds of thousands of Ram 1500 trucks equipped with defective exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers between June 12, 2013 to October 23, 2019. The suit claims that the EGR coolers are prone to thermal fatigue, which makes the coolers more prone to internal cracks over time. An internal crack will then introduce preheated, vaporized coolant to the EGR system while the engine is running. This is a potentially dangerous situation as the intake manifold may combust and result in a vehicle fire if the mixture interacts with other hydrocarbons and air in the system. One of the plaintiffs in the class experienced just this: her truck suddenly lost power and caught fire.
In October 2019, a Ram 1500 EGR cooler recall was announced for 107,898 trucks built between 2014-2019 in the U.S. FCA announced that a remedy for the EGR cooler issue was not yet available; but that the automaker was making every effort to find one as soon as possible. An EGR cooler is a component used to lower the temperature of the exhaust gases that are recirculated by the EGR system. The EGR system recirculates exhaust gases back into the engine in order to decrease cylinder temperatures and NOx emissions. The gas circulated by the EGR system can be considerably hot, however, especially in vehicles equipped with diesel engines. For this reason, many diesel engines are equipped with EGR coolers to lower the temperature of the exhaust gases before they enter the engine. Customers were told that they would be notified as soon as a fix was available, which created the expectation that a solution was underway. FCA also told customers to simply continue to monitor their coolant levels and contact dealers if the levels were consistently low.
Unavailable Replacement Parts
After the recall was issued, several plaintiffs claim that they took their trucks in for repairs, but dealers consistently informed them that the required repair parts were not available. Dealers were apparently told that replacement parts were very limited and as such, EGR coolers should be replaced only if the part has failed.
One plaintiff purchased a used 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel for his construction business in August 2019. He then received the recall notice a few months later. Months after the dealer was unable to replace his cooler, the plaintiff’s vehicle filled with smoke and lost all power while he was driving. Fortunately, the five occupants of the vehicle were able to exit before the truck exploded and was engulfed in flames. When the plaintiff notified the dealership of this horrific event, he was told the technicians could only repair one cooler per week and his truck was 20th on the waiting list.
What Can I Do if My Ram 1500 is Exhibiting EGR Cooler Issues?
If you are experiencing any of the above issues, California’s lemon laws are here to protect you and prevent any further complications. The attorneys at CCA are very knowledgeable about the defective EGR coolers in Ram trucks discussed above and will work with you to fight back against the automaker.
Please do not hesitate to call CCA today for a free consultation: (833) LEMON-FIRM. We’ll get you the compensation you deserve – and at no cost to you!