The heavy-duty versions of the Ram 1500 are great trucks for jobs that the regular Ram can’t handle. Each truck has significantly higher towing and hauling capacities, maxing out at 35,100 pounds. However, some older versions of the Ram 2500 and 3500 are notorious for steering problems.
Fiat Chrysler was first made aware of the problem last year when an investigation was opened by the NHTSA. A recall was released, but some drivers were still experiencing issues. Recently, the automaker has issued a new recall for more Ram trucks that may have a hazardous steering issue, according to PickupTrucks.com.
The latest Ram 2500/3500 recall
According to Car Complaints, multiple steering components may not have been assembled properly on heavy-duty Ram trucks. These include drag link inners, outers, assemblies, and adjusters, plus jam nuts. These parts were originally sold as replacements to fix the issues documented in the previous recall.
Last year’s recall was released to address a drag link separation. The steering linkage jam nuts were coming loose, which could cause the drag link to detach itself from the adjuster sleeves. The replacement parts were sold to owners to fix this issue, but now there is concern that the replacements weren’t welded correctly.
According to the automaker, no serious accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of this issue. 33,000 trucks are included in this recall, including the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 from model years 2013-2018.
Details about the last recall
Last year’s recall was issued due to reports that the steering-linkage components on the affected trucks would separate over time. Ram 2500 trucks from the model years 2014-2017 were affected as well as Ram 3500 trucks from 2013-2017. Altogether, exactly 574,000 trucks were affected by this issue.
Unlike the newest recall, several owners directly experienced the effects of the faulty steering linkage. Fiat Chrysler reported that eight accidents had been caused by the problem, plus one related injury. While the company didn’t elaborate on the injury, we can assume that it wasn’t fatal.
Drivers that didn’t report any accidents still had some scary experiences behind the wheel of the Ram 2500 and 3500. Many owners said that there was a jarring vibration from the steering wheel that hindered their ability to drive. Some reported that the steering wheel failed to move without any prior warning while the truck was in motion.
What current Ram truck owners should do
Ram dealers are offering to check the steering linkage and replace any failing components free of charge. If the jam nut has come loose from the adjuster sleeve, mechanics will weld it back into place. If you paid for a replacement part, the company will reimburse you for the full amount.
If your vehicle is affected, Fiat Chrysler will likely notify you by August 14. Ram owners can also call the customer service number or call a dealership in your area, according to Mopar. Be sure to mention your truck’s VIN number and the recall number W49.
Why a steering linkage failure is so dangerous
When steering link components separate from one another, it makes the steering wheel malfunction. Even if the driver tries to turn the steering wheel, it won’t move the truck in any direction. Drivers will subsequently lose control of the vehicle, which could lead to serious crashes or injuries.
Fortunately, there are a few prior warning signs that indicate a failing drag link on your Ram 2500 or 3500. The wheel itself may vibrate or drift to one side while you’re trying to drive. Bad drag links will also cause your truck’s tires to wear unevenly, which can lead to many other problems.