The EcoDiesel's EGR Cooler Leaks Coolant and Sparks Fires

Key Points

  • The 2014-2019 Ram 1500 has a leaky EGR cooler that can start fires in the 3.0L EcoDiesel engine.
  • The coolers crack under thermal fatigue and were recalled after a number of fires were reported.
  • A long awaited fix and international parts shortage forced many owners to park their trucks over fire fears.
A red Ram 1500 truck with a coolant logo super-imposed over the top
Posted on
Author
Scott McCracken
Tagged
#engine

The 3.0L EcoDiesel engine's exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler is known to form microcracks that allow coolant to leak and start a fire. Ram recalled the issue in 2019 but a series of delays and backordered parts left many owners in vulnerable positions.

What is an EGR Cooler?

One way to reduce an engine's emissions is to recirculate exhaust gases back into the engine by using an EGR, or exhaust gas recirculation, system.

To prevent the extremely hot exhaust gases from overheating the engine, they're sent through an EGR cooler which often uses airflow and coolant to lower their temperature.

The dangers of the 4th generation Ram's leaky EGR Cooler

The 3.0L EcoDiesel's EGR coolers are too fragile and can crack due to thermal fatigue. This sends pre-heated vaporized coolant into the EGR system which can cause combustion with the intake manifold creating engine fires.

At least 4 people have been injured trying to put out the flames before their trucks became a total loss.

Ram Recalls the 3.0L EcoBoost to Prevent EGR Coolant leaks

Ram announced they would recall 160,000 trucks in October of 2019 to prevent EGR cooler leaks after what they called a "small" number of fires. The recalled trucks include the 2014-2019 1500 with the 3.0L EcoDiesel engine.

But the news was tempered by the automaker admitting a remedy for this condition is not currently available but that they were making every effort to finalize the remedy as quickly as possible....

Affected owners were told they'd be notified when a fix was available and to monitor their coolant levels in the meantime.

Delays and unmet expectations

Despite the expectation that a fix would soon be available, owners waited for months all the while wondering if their trucks were safe to drive.

And by the time recall notifications were shipped there was already a large backorder of replacement parts. The international shortage became so bad that dealerships were advised to tell customers they should only replace the part if it had already failed ... which defeats the whole "I don't want my engine to catch on fire" thing.

A series of lawsuits

Within a year after the recall was announced, Ram was hit with multiple class-action lawsuits. One plaintiffs said they had been waiting seven months for a replacement cooler when their truck filled with smoke and lost all power.

Five occupants were able to exit the truck before several explosions occurred and the Ram 1500 was engulfed in flames until the fire was extinguished by the fire department.

Two days later the plaintiff went back to the dealership and let them know about the fire. The Ram 1500 owner was allegedly told technicians could only fix one EGR cooler per week and his truck was number 20 on the waiting list.

A couple of similar lawsuits followed suit in Canada.

Lawsuits Regarding This Problem

Lawsuits about this problem have already been filed in court. Many times these are class-action suits that look to cover a group of owners in a particular area. Click on the lawsuit for more information and to see if you're eligible to receive any potential settlements.

  • A.S. v. FCA CANADA Inc., et al.

    Case Filed
    1. Case Filed

      The class action lawsuit includes all Quebec current and former owners and lessees of 2014-2019 Ram 1500 and Ram 1500 Classic trucks equipped with 3-liter EcoDiesel engines.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2014–2019 Ram 1500 with 3.0L EcoDiesel
    • 2014–2019 Ram 1500 Classic with 3.0L EcoDiesel
    Class Members
    Quebec Residents
    Location
    Quebec
  • Jacquard v. FCA Canada Inc., et al.

    Case Filed
    1. Case Filed

      A Ram 1500 EGR cooler class action lawsuit filed in Canada alleges the 3-liter EcoDiesel trucks are at risk of fires because the exhaust gas recirculation coolers may crack and leak coolant. The coolant may leak into the intake manifolds and send the trucks up in flames.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2014–2019 Ram 1500 with 3.0L EcoDiesel
    • 2014–2019 Ram 1500 Classic with 3.0L EcoDiesel
    Class Members
    Canadian Citizens
    Location
    British Columbia
  • Anderson, et al., v. FCA US LLC

    Case Filed
    1. Case Filed

      A Ram 1500 EGR cooler recall allegedly failed to help customers of 2014–2019 Ram 1500 and Ram 1500 Classic trucks equipped with 3.0L EcoDiesel engines and built between June 12, 2013, to October 23, 2019.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2014–2019 Ram 1500 with 3.0L EcoDiesel
    • 2014–2019 Ram 1500 Classic with 3.0L EcoDiesel
    Location
    Wisconsin
  • Crawford, et al., v. FCA US LLC

    Case Filed
    1. Case Filed

      A Ram 1500 exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler class action lawsuit alleges coolant leaks cause fires, and a Fiat Chrysler (FCA US) recall has allegedly been practically worthless.

    Class Vehicles
    • 2014–2019 Ram 1500 with 3.0L EcoDiesel
    Location
    Michigan

Generations Where This Problem Has Been Reported

This problem has popped up in the following Ram generations.

Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.

  1. 4th Generation 1500

    Years
    2012–2018
    Reliability
    11th of 11
    PainRank
    46.72
    Complaints
    934
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a 1500
  2. 5th Generation 1500

    Years
    2019–2020
    Reliability
    10th of 11
    PainRank
    14.2
    Complaints
    64
    Continue Front 3/4 view of a 1500

OK, Now What?

Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.

  1. File Your Complaint

    CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.

    Add a Complaint
  2. Notify CAS

    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits.

    Notify The CAS
  3. Report a Safety Concern

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues.

    Report to NHTSA