Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel face recall over stall risk

Apparently, part of the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel's crank position sensor can delaminate.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is voluntarily recalling select examples of its 2014 to 2018 Ram 1500 full-size pickup and 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV over a potential engine stall problem. The recall, which affects 58,016 trucks and SUVs with the company's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engines, centers on a crank position sensor part.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the VM Motori-designed EcoDiesel's crank position sensor tone wheel -- sometimes known as a relocutor ring -- can delaminate. That's bad news, as the part helps synchronize the engine's fuel-injector pulses and camshaft timing, which are continually optimized for maximum efficiency. If this hardware delaminates, the engine may stall, causing a safety risk.

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FCA's solution to the problem apparently doesn't involve replacing the crank position sensor tone wheel, which can be tough to access. Instead, the automaker is instructing authorized Ram and Jeep technicians to update the EcoDiesel's powertrain control module, forcing the powertrain to "maintain vehicle propulsion by reading the camshaft position signal in the event that the crankshaft position signal is lost." 

It's not immediately clear if this firmware patch, performed free of charge, will impede the engine's ability to detect misfires (another important function of the crank position sensor) or otherwise alter engine performance.

No crashes or injuries resulting from this potential defect are detailed in NHTSA's official recall announcement.

Affected Ram and Jeep owners will be notified by the automaker, with the recall campaign scheduled to commence on Oct. 2.