by Patrick Rall
The folks at Chrysler have announced through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they will be recalling 243,000 Ram trucks, starting with pickups from the 2003, running all the way through 2011 model year trucks.
This new Ram Truck recall includes 2008-2011 Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks
manufactured between February 14th, 2008 and March 28th, 2011; 2008-2011
Ram 3500 Chassis Cab two wheel drive trucks manufactured between
February 14th, 2008 and March 28th, 2011; and 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4
models built between February 14th, 2008 and August 15th, 2008.
Unfortunately, in addition to those trucks above which were equipped
with the problematic component from the factory, 2003-2008 Ram trucks
serviced for tie rod end problems may have had these problematic items
added – extending the reach of this Ram recall.
In the trucks affected by the new Ram recall, the driver’s side tie rod
ball stud may fracture due to everyday wear and tear. When the tie rod
ball stud fractures, it allows the tie rod end to separate from the rest
of the front wheel assembly. When that happens, the driver will lose
the ability to control the direction of that wheel.
Losing the ability to steer with one of the front wheels clearly
increases the chances of an accident, but there is some good news for
the owners of these 243,000 Ram pickups: Chrysler has only seen these
tie rod end ball studs break at low speed when the steering wheel is
turned hard to one side…similar to what someone would be doing when
trying to move through a tight parking lot. Because of that, having one
wheel decide on its own which way to point is not as big of an issue as
it would be when traveling at 70mph on the highway, but since a tie rod
failure could cause serious issues, Chrysler is getting these trucks
back to the dealerships for inspection.
In the long run, this recall is to address something that could
potentially be dangerous, but more realistically, it would just be a
massive pain in the back to have one of your front tires pick its own
path – especially if you are towing something. Also, for those who
off-road their Ram trucks, while the recall doesn’t address issues of
failure during things like roaring through the woods, you would have to
think that those tight, low speed turns could happen when in the woods.
And when that happens, it can make for a long tow with one wheel that
won’t turn properly.
The Chrysler Group has not announced when this recall would officially
begin but when they do, owners will be asked to return to their local
Chrysler branded dealership where a technician will inspect the tie rod
ends – making any changes as needed. All of these services will be
provided free of charge to the owner.