By on December 20, 2017

2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles secured permission to sell 2017 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel models in late July, but it could be nearly a year from that date before owners of 2014-2016 models can breathe easier.

In its bid to satisfy a very angry Environmental Protection Agency, FCA agreed to remove undeclared auxiliary emission control devices from its 2017 3.0-liter diesel vehicles and offer a fix for the 104,000 already on the road. Satisfied that nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels would stay within legal limits, the EPA gave the automaker the green light. With certification in hand, new EcoDiesels began appearing on dealer lots by the end of September.

The story doesn’t end there, however. Numerous Ram and Jeep EcoDiesel owners want FCA to pay up, and it’ll be many months before FCA fixes any of their vehicles.

According to Reuters, lawyers for FCA and EcoDiesel owners have now entered into settlement talks. Documents pertaining to a proposed settlement have already exchanged hands, stated court settlement master Ken Feinberg in a Tuesday court hearing held in San Francisco.

Ornery EcoDiesel owners aren’t the only party suing FCA. The U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the automaker in May, accusing FCA of illegally circumventing emissions laws. Supplier Robert Bosch, which helped develop the engine, is also the target of lawsuits.

Representatives from the Justice Department and Bosch were present at Tuesday’s hearing. In the hopes of reaching a settlement, Feinberg claims there’s two meetings planned for January — one between FCA and the feds, and another between the automaker, Bosch, and the owners.

“Everybody in good faith is certainly trying to figure out how we might achieve a comprehensive settlement,” Feinberg said. He feels a settlement could be reached as early as March.

As for the vehicles, owners will have to wait out the winter before receiving a fix. Justice Department lawyer Leigh Rende said FCA began testing the fix on December 17th. Ensuring that the repair can bring the older models into compliance is expected to take three months, which takes us to the middle of March. After that, the government has 30 days to review the test results. A determination is expected by the end of April.

If it’s a go, the automaker would then have to inform dealers of the work needed and mail out notices to owners.

Though FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne called last January’s accusation of emissions cheating “hogwash,” the subsequent lawsuit from the Justice Department was worthy of fear. Under federal rules, FCA could be on the hook for $4.6 billion in fines if found guilty of Clean Air Act violations.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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12 Comments on “Older Jeep and Ram EcoDiesel Owners Won’t See an Engine Fix Until at Least May...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hey, TTAC: you might want to rethink that headline. Sounds like Jeep and Ram owners who are older might have to wait on an engine fix.

    How about: “Owners of older Jeep and Ram EcoDiesels won’t see an engine fix…”

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Not sure of why such a big deal on waiting for the fix? It wasn’t like the ‘original’ set up with the additional emissions controls affected performance. Or that there will be a big improvement when the fix is implemented.

    I owned a 2015 RAM EcoDiesel until right before all this crap went down. I traded the EcoD to downsize (Honda Ridgeline) but the EcoD was a great truck. No issues other than taking it in for a couple software flashes. Great mpg, great highway cruiser, great torque…

    I’d be worried about if I was keeping a VW TDI and what a fix would do to performance…but it’s not like the 3.0 VM Motori diesels are going to be a lot better AFTER the fix…There aren’t enough on the road to do any real damage to the environment even if they are emitting more NoX that specified.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The expectation is that the performance, reliability and fluid efficiency will suffer after the fix. So yeah most owners will not want the fix or at least draw it out as long as possible. I bet the fix approval will have a condition that they repair a minimum percentage just like on the TDIs.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yeah, I don’t get it either. I also don’t understand why current owners would want to sue, unless they just really, really care about air quality (so, why would such a person buy a diesel truck to begin with?) or are just seeing this as a cash-grab after witnessing the VW payouts (which I’m betting is far more likely).

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        What if you really, really don’t care about air quality, but you do care about performance, reliability, and urea cost? Would you want recompense if FCA’s fix made those metrics worse? I’m also sure there’s some cash-grabbing going on, but for FCA, that’s the price of cheating.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          So, then, you, um, I dunno, don’t have the recall done?

          There are already lawsuits in play, and i have not seen anything confirming worse performance after the fix. I’m not saying there won’t be, but it seems kinda early to be lawyering up and going ahead with lawsuits if you’re a current owner. That, sir, was my point.

          Also, the case with these “undeclared devices” and VW’s actions are not one in the same.

  • avatar
    gtem

    If I were a EcoDiesel owner, I’d be more worried about some of these engines that have been jumping timing and failing catastrophically at low mileage more than the emissions stuff. Awesome idea/performance, poor implementation. Classic Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Dtex

    I have a 2016 Ram Eco Diesel. The absolute last thing I want is a software patch. I have what I bought, they can not change it now.


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