The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500
Patrick Rall's picture

Dodge Ram 1500 under investigation for rear differential failures

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation into select Dodge Ram 1500 pickups over a concern that the rear differential may fail, causing the rear wheels to lock up while moving and vastly decreasing the driver’s ability to control the vehicle.

This new Dodge Ram 1500 rear differential investigation pertains specifically to 2009 and 2010 model year pickups but with little detail as to which configurations of the Ram 1500 are affected (2WD, 4WD, etc), it is hard to estimate right now exactly how many trucks are potentially included in the probe but sources indicate that it could be as many as 230,000 trucks. This is only a preliminary investigation right now but over the next few months, the NHTSA will look to see if there is indeed a problem with the design or manufacturing process that is causing. Should the federal agency find some problem with the rear differential design of the 2009 and 2010 Ram 1500, they could elevate the procedure to an engineering analysis which is often the final step before a recall. However, it should be noted that many of these investigations open without any further action to it could be some time before we know the severity of this issue in the eyes of the NHTSA.

The NHTSA opened the investigation of these Dodge Ram 1500 models after receiving 12 complaints of the rear differential failing and locking up – which then prevented the rear wheels from turning. During 8 of these incidences, the Ram 1500 in question was traveling at speeds over 35 miles per hour and 4 of those 8 rear end lockups results in a loss of vehicle control – either spinning out or skidding uncontrollably to a stop. Unfortunately, one of those resulted in an accident as the Ram 1500 skidded into a concrete barrier when the driver lost control but there was no mention of injury. The majority of the complaints also indicate that when the rear end locked up, the driveshaft was broken as a result and in one of those cases – the shattered driveshaft punctured the fuel tank.

These reports to the NHTSA indicate that the 2009 and 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 rear differential failures were the fault of the rear differential pinion nut. This component holds tight one of the major components of the rear differential with when the pinion nut comes off, the internal workings of the rear end are pretty much guaranteed to fail. In addition to the damage done to the internals of the rear differential, a locked rear end can cause all sorts of other mechanical issues - some of which are mentioned above and all of which can increase the likelihood of an accident.

This is the type of mechanical investigation that could be conducted quickly, not by the government but instead by the Chrysler Group. Should Chrysler engineers find that there is an common occurrence of the rear differential pinion nut coming loose, the company could issue a recall of their own before the NHTSA investigation goes any further. Considering that the basic design of the rear differential in the 2009-2010 Dodge Ram 1500 is fairly standard (and has been for decades), the fix could be something as simple as swapping out the pinion nut for something that is found to more reliably stay tight. The problem is that the Ram 1500 is one of the Chrysler Group’s bestselling models so a recall of two model years worth of trucks could be costly – not because of a costly repair or parts but rather because of the sheer volume of vehicles that could be included in a possible recall.

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.


April 27 2020 . I was doing about 60kms in traffic and the rear end lock almost cause a major accident.
In process of having 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 rear end replaced due to failure in rear end due to adjuster cross threaded in housing during manufacturing of unit
My rear needs new bearings now ring and pinion Ilhad a transmission issue I’m never buying another dodge truck I need my truck to make money working now it’s been on ramps for a week
2001 ram 1500 4x4, rear end locked up at 70mph when decelerating, nearly taking out 2 other vehicles . Dodge /Chrysler needs to grow a pair and fix this shit before someone is hurt or killed...On second thought , maybe the rioters should go tip over all their bullshit vehicles, before someone dies, from their neglect to fix this expect people to by your vehicles? Then make something worth [email protected]
I purchased a 2010 1500 Ram Big Horn Edition. It has 335,000+ miles. Serviced every 6000 miles. I’ve had the differential rebuilt once on a recall and it did have damage. I’ve also had the bearings replaced 3 times. Had was serviced on 7/20/20, tech found large piece of metal in the differential. Looks like half a thrust washer or perhaps a spacer. Now Dodge tell me these parts are discontinued. Dodge rear ends are horrible. I’m lucky this didn’t lock-up on the freeway. Love the truck. Rear end has always been an issue. Will be looking for better solution. Dodge needs to set up and accept they made an inferior rear end. Bill
2000 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 113000 miles on it! Same thing happened two weeks ago to me! On the highway and no warning signs my drivetrain dropped my pinion nut came loose I tightened it back up got it home and now it’s leaking again this is such crap DODGE
I have a 2009 Dodge Ram Crew Cab the rear end has started making a lot of noise. After reading this i'm afraid to continue driving it, I guess i need to bring to dealership i have 192,000 miles on my truck.
This just happened to my truck Friday, 10/23/2020. Luckily I was able to get it off the road. I am looking at a $2500 repair bill.
I guess I am one of the lucky ones, because I was in my way home from Macon when my 09 Dodge started making a scrubbing sound. I pinpointed back to the diff. I got to looking for how much it will cost to fix it, when I came across this feed. I bought this truck 3 & a 1/2 months ago. Now I am wondering what I got myself into. It has less than 140,000 miles on it.
My wife just got 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 fully loaded nice truck we loved it it hit just over 100 thousand and rear diff pinion seal leaks loads of water got outer pinion bearings right gone
I have an 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 my issue was the nut kept backing off which kept blowing out the seal and throwing rear end fluid everywhere it happened numerous times even after torqueing it to spec the third time I said screw it because I cant afford a new/used rear end so I just threw some thread lock on it and has been fine so far I just have to check driveshaft and make sure that it doesn't wiggle.
My 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 started lurching and clunking while turning. I parked it at home and had it towed to a local mechanic. When they ooened the rear axle, found many shavings and gears including pinion with rather significant gear damage (chunks missing). They tild me I was fortunate it didn't lock up completely. Since I bought it used it was not covered under Dodge lifetime warranty after market warranty was out. Bummer. Could not find a new replacement axle. Out of production. Double bummer. Had to have it rebuilt to the tune of $2,300. I am pretty sure Dodge is fully aware of the issue from what I read, and is dodging the bullet. They do this with many failures in thier production and I would never purchase another Dodge. Snap to 6 months later. Less than 5,000 miles on the rebuilt axle and I decided to replace the fluid and check for shavings. Fluid was very dark and though I didn't drop the pan, i found a 1 " x 1/8" chunk of metal out of the pumkin with a magnet. Very disappointed. More money wasted on this P.O.S.
I own a 2004 dodge ram 1500 club cab 4x4 after I bought the truck I started noticing a kinda shaking feeling when starting out from a stop took it back to Dealer but every time they would say problem not found but to this day it still does it a few days ago I was on a hill making a right turn and the rear shook bad good luck getting them to fix any problems same thing goes for valve springs braking just happened and cost me 3000 to have it fixed
Well my 2005 1500lost it pioion nut in a dirt road at 25 miles an hour my son lost control because the rear end fell out killing his best friends and he now has brain damage so I would like someone to tell me because I had mine in the shop and the shop said they replace the nut but engineer who done the accident said otherwise
count me in also...i have a 2008 ,1500 4x4 and i thought my rear end was about to blow up it became so noisy,didnt think i could make it home from a camping trip ,,when i took it to the shop they said it was all worn out and needed a replacement,first thing i thought was ,REALLY i only have 100000 miles on it,,so 2200 later im get a used one put in,,,uggg
2003 Dodge ram 1500 with the 5.7 hemi. Driving down the road yesterday. Started growling when slowing down. All of a sudden I hear a loud bang and the back wheels locked up. Could have killed someone. The drive shaft had dropped off and the rear differential was smoking. That thing is toast. Never in my life have i had a vehicles drive shaft just fall off like that. Dangerous to say the least.
I can tell you this is still happening. My 2020 Ram 1500 has a pinion bearing fail. Locked up completely and stopped while exiting the freeway. I had no control. The entire back axle has to be replaced. Going on 30 days no truck and no parts.
This happened to me also, 2008 Dodge Ram 1500. Talked to Canmore Dodge and they say no recall. I was only going 30k, rear wheels locked up, pinion nut came off and driveshaft dropped onto road. No other damage besides one chipped gear tooth. Had mech put it back together, retorqued, now make noise and can't drive it. Come on Dodge and do the right thing. Recall all Rams that this has happened to.
In April 2017 our 2014 Dodge Ram wheels locked On Interstate 30 The Ram veered to the Left from right lane went in 3 circles hitting the concrete barrier before we came to a stop. Road conditions were a bit wet And braking put us into a larger skid of a circle. The Ram was totaled 1C6RR6KPXES312756 I have injuries that will continue to my death.
I have a 2010 and having problems with my differential!
This is the first time around, the pins that hold the clutches in place disintegrated and did much damage. Over $700 in parts, repaired it myself, but the design is faulty, and it will happen again, no matter who repairs it. I've been an auto repair technician. Over 40 years until I retired. This is 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 2 WD 65,000 miles. No hauling just a daily driver, driven about 4,000 miles a year.
This is the first time around, the pins that hold the clutches in place disintegrated and did much damage. Over $700 in parts, repaired it myself, but the design is faulty, and it will happen again, no matter who repairs it. I've been an auto repair technician. Over 40 years until I retired. This is 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie 2 WD 65,000 miles. No hauling just a daily driver, driven about 4,000 miles a year.
Bought ‘10 Dakota 4x4 from Fla. Came off shipping truck, big loud whine in rear end, went 10 miles to local Dealership. Catastrophic failure of 3.92 rear end differential. Somehow my Guardian Angel had me pull off the highway into an auto parts store and towed to Dealership. Complete $4000 rebuild and dealer says my truck, with 64000 miles is not covered. I called to Dodge main office and she said hang onto the receipts as a more expansive recall may be coming. RAISE UP, call Dodge, call National Safety, demand answers! Demand action, people are being hurt, evidently even killed. NOT OK!!
I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, it started off with me hearing a whining noise coming from the rear end. That went to a hesitation when going 45 to 55 mph. Until it finally locked down on me and pulled my drive shafted out of the rear end,bolts and all. Had to get it towed home. Dragged on the tow truck and sled it off to his final destination....
i bought a 2010 ram 1500 4x2 . the so called fix for the pinion nut obviously does not fix the problem. i have 85000 miles on my truck and its been properly taken care of. no abuse. i was driving on the expressway and i felt a jerk then it started to howl and i thought i threw a belt but i pulled over and checked and the belts were ok. i went to the next ramp turn around and went home. my son checked it out and the pinion was loose. he removed the driveshaft and was able to move the pinion yoke up and down and in and out, so there is obviously more to the problem and i think Chrysler should be held responsible because they know they made a bad product, even with the retainer it still came loose. has to be faulty parts there is no way a rear differential should go out at 85000 miles .
I had the same problem on my 2010 dodge ram 1500 trx4 it all start when it was driving slow you can heard some noise on the rear differential until the tires lock luckily I wasn’t driving more then 30 miles per hr when i open the differential the disks inside the differential called clutch pack was destroyed now to fix it i am looking on 45 hundreds dollars or more
A wrecker just delivered my 04 that has 314.000 + but I have had it since 1700 my daughter used it for highschool and 4 years of college. Great truck have had no problems . It's the hemi sport 4 door red with cowl hood. My differential started making noise a month ago loosing fluid now rear end almost caused me to be killed. Don't know what to think. My Ford has 360000 on it .no problems with it. ?????????