Heavy Duty RAM Trucks Under Investigation For Braking Performance Loss


The NHTSA has officially opened an investigation into heavy-duty RAM pickup trucks from 2017 and 2018. In total, it received 134 consumer reports about the condition. In each, the RAM is left with intermittent or permanent loss of braking performance. Should the investigation lead to a full-scale recall it could affect 390,077 trucks.

According to the summary information filed by the NHTSA, the condition occurs across both the RAM 2500 and 3500. It occurs at a steady rate among both 2017 and 2018 models, at different speeds, and has limited detectability. Many owners report that a complete replacement of the hydraulic control unit (HCU) and the anti-lock braking system (ABS) module appears to correct the issue.

The two components work together to manage braking forces during emergency stops. Sometimes the ABS seems to fail and throw a warning while other times, it’s the HCU. Sometimes, it’s both and owners say that it’s taking months to get parts.

Read: NHTSA Data Reveals 2 More Fatal Crashes Involving Tesla Cars

Evidently, the problem is so consistent that owners are reporting that dealers consider it a ‘known issue.’ One comment says that “HCU unit failing. Keeps throwing service abs, and service electronic brake controller. On off on off on off non stop constantly the whole time truck is almost undeliverable (assumedly they meant undrivable).”

The same commenter continued, “Part is unavailable due to supposedly back ordered. Been told part is known issue and that a recall should be done but it’s not. Hydraulic control unit. So driving a one-ton truck with failing abs, traction control with no delivery date of a part that is junk.” Another commenter mentioned that the HCU part number has changed since production.

They say that the original part was 68143491aa and now it’s 68143491ab. Failures have been documented between 6,000 miles and 150,000 miles. Many owners are reporting repair bills well over $1,000.

This isn’t the only active investigation into issues on the same RAM models either. Back in late 2019, it opened a preliminary evaluation into steering linkage separation. Those who have experienced either safety issue are encouraged to report their circumstances to the NHTSA.


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