A solution for better offroading
In order to have better offroading capabilities, the engineers behind some Dodge, Jeep, and Ram models introduced the posibility of disengaging and reengaging their vehicles’ sway bars from inside the cabin. Disconnecting the sway bar allows for greater suspension articulation over rough terrain, enhancing off-road capabilities, while reconnecting the sway bar improves on-road handling and stability.
In theory, electronic sway bar offers drivers the best of off and on-road, but according to a lawsuit filled in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the system’s “stunningly bad” design puts it at risk of premature failure, even on late-model vehicles. The suit’s plaintiffs describe the issue as follows.
“[…] the electronic circuit board for the sway bar disconnect is in a housing with seals that are prone to failure and is located in an area that is likely to get wet or sprayed under ordinary or expected conditions, such as driving over puddles or in the rain. Failure of the circuit board occurs when liquid or contaminants breach a seal of the housing, resulting in a disconnected or malfunctioning sway bar. In some instances, the electronic sway bar disconnect will fail and not reconnect, forcing the driver to drive on roads and highways without a sway-bar.” Flores et al v. FCA US LLC, reads.
Vehicles with “death wobble” underneath
The problem was reported even on a 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, and the owner claims to have visited dealers “several times” to have his nonfunctional sway bar disconnect serviced after failing. He rounded up other owners of FCA products with similar malfunctions to organize the suit, which implicates the following vehicles:
- 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (“JK”)
- 2007-2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (“JKU”)
- 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (“JL”)
- 2018-2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (“JLU”)
- 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
- 2005-2010 Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon
- 2011-2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon
He is also acussing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of nowingly selling vehicles with “dangerous” sway bar disconnect mechanisms that are putting the passengers in danger.
For a better understanding of the “death wobble”, here is a video example: