2006 Dodge Viper SRT10 coupe
Patrick Rall's picture

NHTSA Decides that the Dodge Viper SRT10 is Plenty Safe

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed the investigation of the previous generation Dodge Viper SRT10 without requiring any further action required by the Chrysler Group – preventing the company from recalling almost 10,000 supercars for what a few people considered to be questionable rear suspension components.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the investigation into the 2003-2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 after receiving 8 complaints from owners who alleged that they crashed their Mopar supercar when the rear suspension knuckle failed at speed. When the rear suspension knuckle on any car fails, the rear wheel is no longer kept rolling as it should and when the knuckle breaks, you essentially lose control of that wheel. These 8 owners claimed that this had happened to their Vipers while driving them and as a result, they crashed. There were also 2 other complaints of the rear suspension knuckle breaking that did not result in crashes. All of these problems occurred on 2004, 2005 and 2006 model year Vipers but with similar components used throughout the entire generation that started in 2003 and ended with the end of the “Dodge” Viper in 2010, the investigation covered that entire generation with 9,670 sports cars possibly affected by the recall.

During the investigation, the NHTSA and the Chrysler Group looked into the rear suspension system of entire 4th generation of the Dodge Viper including the basic SRT10, the American Club Racer (ACR) package and the race-only Competition Coupe and ACR-X models. The investigation included a close look at 6 of the 8 Vipers that had wrecked to spur this probe as well as metallurgic evaluation to the steering knuckle of a wrecked 2004 Viper. The NHTSA investigators found that the rear suspension knuckle failed as a result of the impact of the crash and not before the crash. Since it did not break before the crash, a rear suspension failure was not the cause for the crash and based on these findings – there are no grounds for the NHTSA to request the company to recall these 9,670 Dodge Vipers.

"Analysis of the failure data indicated these are random events and do not show any clear patterns related to vehicle build range, vehicle age or mileage. Examination and testing of failed knuckles have not identified evidence of a manufacturing or design defect in the parts. Accordingly, this investigation is closed," NHTSA said in its report closing its investigation.

A recall is a pain in the rearend of any automaker but a recall of a vital component like a rear suspension knuckle in a high performance car like the Dodge Viper SRT10 would prove to be a huge black eye to the automaker. Fortunately for the Chrysler Group, the feds ruled that there was no risk of the suspension system failing without a hard impact so there is no need for a recall. Fortunately for owners of the 2003-2010 Dodge Viper, the Chrysler Group has issued a TSB for these vehicles, instructing dealership technicians to inspect the rear suspension if there is any concern of an issue and if the rear knuckle appears to be broken, they are to replace the problematic component but since there is no recall on the part – the work wont be done free of charge.

Source:The Detroit News

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