Trusty Column Shifter Can't Be Trusted in These Recalled Rams

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
trusty column shifter cant be trusted in these recalled rams

We have a particular fondness for the unintrusive, non-gimmicky column shifter here at TTAC. They’re satisfying to shift, pleasingly retro, and free up space between the front seats for any number of things, including a seat. Column shifters also keep your eyes pointed straight ahead, instead of having them wandering around the console or bottom of the center stack, searching for that newfangled dial shifter or push-button array.

Sadly, the column shifters in more than 228,000 Ram trucks are an invitation to danger. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced a recall of so-equipped models in the hopes of preventing rollaway accidents.

While FCA says while there’s no known accidents or injuries associated with the issue, the vehicles do pose a risk to occupants and bystanders.

“An FCA US investigation discovered the Brake Transmission Shift Interlock (BTSI) may overheat on certain vehicles equipped with steering column gear-shifters. This condition has been linked to protracted brake-pedal application while vehicles idle in ‘park,'” the automaker said in a statement.

“If overheating occurs, a vehicle’s shifter may be repositioned without brake-pedal application, or the presence of a key in the ignition.”

In this scenario, children left behind in the car (is that still legal?) or a rambunctious dog could knock the shifter out of park, sending the Ram on an unexpected journey. Applying the parking brake before exiting the vehicle is recommended. The issue affects some 228,508 vehicles sold in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Models with the sketchy shift interlock include 2017-2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups, certain 2017-2018 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs, and 2016-2017 Ram 3500 chassis cabs with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 lbs. A smaller number of 2017-2018 Ram 1500 pickups have the potential fault, as well.

The bulk of the recalled trucks exist in the U.S., though approximately 42,045 went to Canadian buyers, and 4,066 to the Mexican market. Another 1,422 made their way outside the continent.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • Scout_Number_4 Scout_Number_4 on Feb 16, 2018

    --Models with the sketchy shift interlock include 2017-2018 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups, certain 2017-2018 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs, and 2016-2017 Ram 3500 chassis cabs with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 lbs. A smaller number of 2017-2018 Ram 1500 pickups have the potential fault, as well.-- I have a 2016 Ram 2500 and received the recall notice.

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Feb 17, 2018

      Your 2016 was part of the earlier recall of the earlier vehicles with the exact same problem.

  • Thelastdriver Thelastdriver on Feb 16, 2018

    Also apparently a problem in the Dodge Sprinter series too. A friend who works for the local cable company was parked outside my work. While visible through store windows the entire time after about five minutes it popped out of park (not running, no keys) and rolled into another customer's vehicle.

  • EBFlex Recall number 13 for the 2020 Explorer and the 2020 MKExplorer.
  • CEastwood Every time something like this is mentioned it almost never happens because the auto maker is afraid of it taking sales away from an existing model - the Tacoma in this instance . It's why VW never brought the Scirrocco and Polo stateside fearful of losing Golf sales .
  • Bca65698966 V6 Accord owner here. The VTEC crossover is definitely a thing, especially after I got a performance tune for the car. The loss of VTEC will probably result in a slower vehicle overall for one reason: power under the curve. While the peak horsepower may remain the same, the amount of horsepower and torque up to that peak may be less overall. The beauty of variable cam lift is not only the ability to gain more power at upper rpm’s on the “big cam”, but the ability to gain torque down low on the “small cam”. Low rpm torque gets the vehicle moving and then big horsepower at upper rpm’s gains speed. Having only one cam profile is now introducing a compromise versus the VTEC setup. I guess it’s possible that with direct injection they are able to keep the low rpm torque there (I’ve read that DI helps with low rpm torque) but I’m skeptical it will match a well tuned variable lift setup.
  • FreedMike My prediction: the Audi team fails when the water pumps in their race cars give out after lap 20.
  • FreedMike "...they’re often helpful in seeing behind vehicles without much reward visibility ..."Might want to fix that typo...
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