Some Dodge Ram trucks are experiencing violent front end vibrations at highway speeds after hitting a bump in the pavement. Have you traveled on a major highway recently? Let’s just say you have a better chance of not hitting traffic than a bump in the road.
The wobble has been called demonic. Others have called it the worst possible downside of having a coil-sprung front suspension on a truck with a track bar. Whatever it is, everyone has called it dangerous. Unlike a normal suspension, Dodge Ram trucks will continue to shake long after hitting the bump to the point that controlling the vehicle is nearly impossible until the driver slows down.
Ram Trucks with the Death Wobble
The phrase “death wobble” was originally used by Jeep Wrangler owners to describe a similar vibration problem.
For Dodge owners, the issue affects the:
It also affects the 2007-2012 Dodge Ram 3500 Cab Chassis, 2008-2012 Dodge Ram 4500, and the 2008 Dodge Ram 5500.
Death Wobble Class-Action Lawsuit
Richard Samuel, owner of a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500, filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Dodge trucks of wobbling out of control at highway speeds. The lawsuit makes a few arguments about the driver’s tie-rod:
- The ball stud is defective. The driver’s side tie-rod ball stud Chrysler used is too weak to and is known to fracture under normal driving conditions
- The tie rod is a “crucial link” in the vehicle’s steering system. A loose tie rod can cause any vehicle to have excess shimmy or, in cases like this, the dreaded death wobble.
- The tie rod can affect front-end alignment. When the vehicle’s alignment falls out of whack, it can cause the vehicle to suddenly pull to one side of the road. Knowing Dodge Ram owner’s luck, that’s probably the side of the road with all the bumps.
The lawsuit alleges that Chrysler has known about the defect for years, but did nothing about for years when they started issuing some recalls. Great, right? Well the lawsuit says the recalls were not only ineffective at fixing the issue, they also excluded trucks that had the problem.
The lawsuit also says Chrysler didn’t provide enough parts to dealers to fix the recalled trucks but that didn’t matter since the replacement parts were defective anyway.
FWIW, Chrysler Redesigned Their Steering System in 2013
Beginning in the 2013 model year Chrysler redesigned its trucks (and changed the brand name to just Ram) with a new reciprocating ball steering gear that provides greater durability and control. The trucks also have better steering knuckles, ball joints and more robust linkages.
Did I mention they haven’t had any death wobble issues? Hmm.