280,000 Ram HD Trucks Recalled for Automatic Transmissions That Might Start Fires

The 68RFE six-speed can spring a fluid leak at the dipstick tube, spilling onto the engine.

byCaleb Jacobs|
RAM News photo

Owners of 2020-2023 Ram 2500 and 2020-2022 Ram 3500 trucks are being told to park outside while their pickups await a recall repair.

It all has to do with their automatic transmissions being at risk of leaking fluid in the engine compartment, which could cause a fire. It affects roughly 280,000 diesel-powered models with the 6.7-liter Cummins engine and 68RFE transmission, of which 248,342 are located in the United States. These statistics are quoted in Stellantis' official recall report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to the document, excessive pressure and heat can build up inside the six-speed automatic, causing it to spring a leak from the dipstick tube. That can spark obvious issues with a hot engine nearby. It's important to note that this is not a concern for trucks with the Aisin ASC69RC transmission.

Stellantis says it has received 16 reports of fires and 48 related complaints in total. One minor injury is believed to be tied to the defect.

The 68RFE transmission has been around in some way, shape, or form since the 2007.5 model year. It hasn't been the most reliable unit, as any online diesel truck pundit will tell you, but this potential fire risk wasn't an issue before Sept. 18, 2019. That's when the suspect period began, running until Nov. 4, 2022, when Ram started putting the vehicles under plant control.

Ram is still working on a fix but says drivers can continue using their pickups, though they should contact their dealer if they notice a warning light on the dash. More Ram 2500 models are affected by the recall; 199,377 to be exact. That's because the Stellantis-built 68RFE is the only available transmission on the 2500, whereas 3500 models with the high-output Cummins are equipped with the Aisin unit.

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