A Case of Déjà vu for Chrysler Dodge Ram Recall Victims

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Washington, DCIt may be a different issue and a different recall, but a problem that has besieged some 435,000 owners of various models of Chrysler vehicles is reminiscent of previous Chrysler Dodge Ram Recalls relating to the lack of available parts.

Thousands of owners of the venerable Dodge Ram truck - a hallmark brand in the Dodge stable - were left reeling when their otherwise rough-and-ready steeds became saddled with what has popularly been dubbed the “death wobble.” At higher speeds, the front end of the truck would often dissolve into an uncontrollable shake that could only be minimized by slowing and/or pulling over to the side of the road, coming to a complete stop. Owners found it difficult, if not impossible, to control their vehicles safely. In some cases, people are alleged to have died.

The problem was traced to defective steering-system tie rods. Chrysler issued a recall, only to have trouble sourcing the needed parts in a timely fashion in order to facilitate the repairs. A score of lawsuits ensued over the defective products, amidst a litany of complaints that included the defective steering-system tie rods recall, the lack of parts, delays in repairs and a perceived drop in value of their vehicles.

Now, it seems, the issue has returned - this time with faulty alternators.

According to court records associated with a defective products lawsuit, a score of defective 160 amp alternators prompted Chrysler to issue a defective products recall back in October. The troublesome alternators, when they fail, cause vehicle systems to rapidly cycle down before shutting down completely while the vehicle is in motion. This can have a devastating effect on a busy highway, for example.

The alternators can also catch fire when the vehicles are parked and left unattended.

Chrysler issued a defective products recall of some 434,581 Dodge Challenger, Charger, Durango, Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokees equipped with the defective parts. But here’s the rub: Chrysler also announced that it would take some six months for the manufacturer to acquire the needed parts to undertake the repairs.

What’s more, Chrysler urged vehicle owners not to use the affected vehicles until they were repaired. It was recommended that vehicle owners avoid parking their vehicles near structures that could be impacted were the vehicles to suddenly catch fire.

The lawsuit notes that while urging vehicle owners to avoid using recalled vehicles until repaired, Chrysler did not offer to pay for replacement vehicles, or rentals, over the interim.

Lead plaintiff in the defective products class-action lawsuit, Robert Madatyan, is crying foul over that one. “Chrysler should, among other things, be required to furnish or pay for replacement vehicles until Chrysler fixes the defective vehicles and should pay damages and restitution to the owners and lessees of the vehicles for loss of use, loss of market value and other financial losses,” the complaint said. “Yet Chrysler refuses to furnish or pay for rental or replacement vehicles to be used by owners and lessees until Chrysler fixes the defect,” the complaint said.

The lawsuit notes that hundreds of complaints have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For Chrysler owners already having been through the Chrysler Dodge Ram Recalls, this is a nasty case of déjà vu.

The case is Madatyan et al v. Chrysler Group LLC, Case No. BC571830, in the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles.

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