Less than a year after Jeep figured in a class-action lawsuit due to the infamous “death wobble” issue, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is once again facing a case, this time involving several of its products.
Owners of Jeep and Ram vehicles are accusing FCA of knowingly selling vehicles with “dangerous” sway bar disconnect mechanisms that are “prone to failure.” According to the plaintiffs, these put the occupants and the general public at risk.
The electronic sway bar disconnect is among the features offered in several Dodge, Jeep, and Ram models since 2005. It allows the driver to disengage and re-engage the vehicles’ sway bars from inside the cabin. If disconnected, the vehicle gets better suspension when being driven on rough terrain and off-road capabilities are enhanced. Reconnecting the sway bar, meanwhile, improves on-road handling and stability of the vehicles.
But instead of giving the vehicle owners both on-road and off-road capabilities, the “stunningly bad” design of the system is instead increasing the risk of premature failure for both the older and newer models.
The plaintiffs’ statement reads: “The electronic circuit board for the sway bar disconnect is in housing with seals that are prone to failure and is located in an area that is likely to get wet or sprayed under ordinary or expected conditions, such as driving over puddles or in the rain.
“Failure of the circuit board occurs when liquid or contaminants breach a seal of the housing, resulting in a disconnected or malfunctioning sway bar. In some instances, the electronic sway bar disconnect will fail and not reconnect, forcing the driver to drive on roads and highways without a sway bar.”
The defect, according to one of the plaintiffs, Joshua Flores, involves several FCA products, including the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (JK), Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (JKU), Wrangler Rubicon (JL), Wrangler Rubicon (JLU), Gladiator Rubicon, Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon, and Ram 2500 Power Wagon.
FCA has not released a statement regarding the legal complaint.