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The Chrysler corporation released the Chrysler ZA3 Safety Recall for the 2020-2023 Ram 2500/3500 trucks. This safety recall potentially affects 248,342 units.For this Ram recall, a build-up of pressure and heat inside the transmission may result in a transmission fluid leak from the dipstick tube. Leaking transmission fluid may contact an ignition source within the engine compartment, greatly increasing the risk of a catastrophic fire.

Chrysler just released their fix on what they are doing to remedy the situation with the overheating transmissions and fluid coming out of the dipstick tube. Chrysler has stated that they are including a Locking Dip Stick as well as a separate vent tube in efforts to divert fluid away from the engine compartment. We at ATS Diesel Performance see this as a "band aid" for when the transmission over pressurizes causing fluid to be pushed up the filler tube.
We do not see this as a proper fix or a volatile solution. The reason for ATS Diesel Performance creating our Patent Pending Doomsday Device is to redirect the fluid at the initial problem point immediately so that you can eliminate the concern of fluid being sprayed on your turbo and or manifold potentially causing a fire in your engine compartment which could result in damage if not a total loss of your vehicle.

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The first concern that we have with the new locking dipstick is that the locking dipstick is more like a plug that is there to try to block the fluid from coming out of the dipstick tube. The problem we see with this is that there is an extreme amount of pressure created inside the transmission when this condition exists. The fluid being forced up the transmission filler tube does not have anywhere to go and with enough pressure, it can still force the new locking dipstick out of the tube and allow the fluid to still go into the engine compartment. We believe that the new Chrysler Dipstick locking cap is more of a blocker and will cause the rapidly expanding pressure to be forced back into the transmission causing more pressure and it will be forced to come out of the vent tube of the transmission. This is similar to if you were to sneeze and cover up your mouth to try to block the sneeze and not allow the pressure to release from your lungs. This is a lot of fluid that is being redirected and causing additional pressure within the transmission which we do not recommend. This is why we have developed our Patent Pending Doomsday Device to redirect the rapidly expanding fluid immediately away from any hot ignition source and down and away from the engine compartment.

The second part of Chrysler’s fix is to add an extended vent tube to the existing vent located on top of the transmission. The new vent tube is the same size as the old vent tube however it has a 90° bend at the end instead of a regular vent along with an additional 3 inches of tube with a vent to help redirect the fluid on to the side of the transmission or away from the transmission which will still release the fluid partially on the transmission itself. With the vent tube being as small as it is, to us it seems that the amount of fluid under that amount of pressure will hit the vent stopper and spray all over the top or side of transmission and or potentially the exhaust causing the same issue but underneath the truck.

With our Patent Pending Doomsday Device, we allow the hot fluid a path to come out of the tube and be directed immediately to the ground instead of being blown onto a hot ignition source potentially causing a fire. The Doomsday Device is fully secured by 3 set screws and sealed to the top of the filler tube. The latch we provide on the Doomsday Device locks the factory dipstick to the filler tube and redirects the hot transmission fluid immediately through our 90° bend and down a tube to the ground away from any components relieving any pressure and stress on the transmission. We initially created this device several years ago due to the fact that we were noticing this issue in the 68RFE transmission. This product, however, could also be used in a variety of different applications for trucks as most vehicles use the same size filler tube. Not to mention, with the new updated Chrysler dipstick, it is only 15 inches long. You do not get to keep your old dipstick with you to check your fluid levels. With our device, you can still use your factory dipstick, but you will read the full level slightly differently and we include instructions on how to do that.

We understand the concern that our customers and truck owners are experiencing, and we are right there with you and we can appreciate what Chrysler is trying to do to mitigate the issue but we have designed our product with our customers in mind.

Keep in mind also, that these conditions exist on the 68RFE transmission because the factory torque converter clutch is undersized and is overpowered by the engine. The slow slip of the converter clutch super heats the fluid that is sealed between the converter cover and the converter clutch due to the slip, this slow slip super heats the fluid in the converter. There is no oxygen in the converter during this time so the fluid just continues to churn getting hotter and hotter and will not catch fire because there is no oxygen in the converter to support a fire.

Generally, you will also not see excessive transmission temperatures because the heat is sealed in the converter so there is often little to no warning. The moment the converter clutch is unlocked or released, the excessively hot transmission fluid from the converter is dumped into the sump of the transmission. The sump of the 68RFE transmission is exposed to the atmosphere which is oxygen rich. This immediately causes a flash expansion of the fluid in the sump and a massive expansion of the fluid as it is air-aided. This causes the air-aided hot transmission fluid to pressurize the transmission sump forcing the fluid out of the dipstick tube and the tiny transmission case vent.

The Doomsday Device provides a safe place for the pressure and fluid to “blow-off” to that is not by a hot ignition source. We deemed this as a Solid Insurance Policy to help protect your vehicle if this worst case scenario actually did happen to your vehicle. We do however recommend that you still get the recall done to not only maintain your warranty with Chrysler but for insurance purposes as well. We have noticed from others that if you continue to drive your vehicle and the Recall work has not been completed and this situation occurs, most insurance companies will not cover your vehicle due to this reason specifically.

ATS President Clint Cannon discusses the fire hazard outlined in the TSB from Ram for the recall and stop sale of the new 68RFE trucks.

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