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Dodge Nitro is not safe! Has anyone experienced torque problems from park to reverse? Chrysler denies responsibility. Read my story. :(:mad:

On February 18, 2008 we turned in our lease on a Dodge Grand Caravan and started a new lease on a 2008 Dodge Nitro at Crestwood Dodge in Garden City, MI. I have been very loyal to Chrysler. My father is retired from Chrysler and my brother works at a Dodge Plant. I’d say that I would be a Chrysler customer for life as long as I am treated as well as expected.

Since leasing this new Dodge Nitro, we had not noticed any problems. Then on Monday, March 31, 2008 at approx. 8:25am, my wife was ready to take my daughter to school. She routinely got into the car, started it, put her foot on the brake (and not the gas) and engaged the gear from Park to Reverse. Within a split second, the car made an unusually loud noise and the car bursted backward taking out the right side of our gate and a portion of the fence adjacent to the gate. This took her by surprise. She applied the brake but the brake was not able to engage as the transmission had torqued the engine so hard that it forced her into the side of the house and the rear bumper rammed into a brick pillar supporting the roof of the front porch. The impact of hitting the house and the pillar eventually stopped the momentum of the Nitro. Right away she went inside the house and called me while I was on my way to work.

We took the Nitro to Dearborn Collision and were helped immediately by collision who assessed the damage, verified that this incident was not an issue with the floor mat or any other obstacle that would have interfered with the accelerator pedal.

Also that morning I called Crestwood Dodge and spoke to the Crestwood service manager. I asked him if there are any known recalls on the transmission malfunctioning on the Nitro. He told me no. I asked him for advice on what to do; he immediately referred me to the 1.800 number for the Chrysler Customer Claims Resolution Group.

On the phone I filed a claim with the Chrysler Customer Claims Resolution Group. A few days later we received a form letter from the Chrysler Customer Claims Resolution Group stating that they will send an investigator to Dearborn Collision to see if there was an electrical problem with the Nitro. We called the 1.888.922.7329 number and talked to a representative. They informed us that an investigation was performed at Dearborn Collision and that we will receive an answer to what their decision will be. In our conversation with Chrysler, we were told that the contact person for this case is case manager. On Wednesday, April 9, 2008 we received this letter stating that the inspector found no indication of a malfunctioning defect. On the previous day I spoke briefly with Dearborn Collision and I asked about this investigation. They stated that the investigator hardly looked at anything. Never even started the car and that he were in and out within a few minutes. I am suspicious that this so called investigation was not very thorough. On Thursday, April 10th I spoke to the Chrysler case manager and discussed how we can just get out of this lease and simply into another one stating that I could never allow my family or myself to ever drive this Nitro ever again and that I would simple like to transfer to a new lease at Crestwood Dodge. I also learned that this investigator is not within the Chrysler Corporation, rather a company called EAA Inspections. The case manager advised me that if I want out of the lease I would have to go back to the dealership and arrange a meeting with the District Manager that governs Crestwood Dodge.

I talked to someone who worked at the Pocono Indiana Transmission plant who said that there is a computer chip located in the Transmission Control Panel could have easily malfunction by opening up the torque like it was on the highway.

Chrysler is denying all responsibility and no Lawyer wants to fight Chrysler. I am NOT putting my family's life in jeopardy with that car.

This had to have happened to someone else besides us. HELP!!!
 

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Only suggestion I have at the moment is to file a complaint starting with The Office of Defects Investigations and calling the Vehicle Safety Hotline toll free at (888) 327-4236 to report your safety defect. Maybe someone else has a better one, but at least you should make sure this issue is reported. Good Luck!

Office of Defects Investigation (ODI)
 

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This is just my $.02, but, I have personaly seen people drive their car into things thinking they were on the brake when they were actually pressing the throttle, and also I have personally pressed the gas and the brake at the same time with just my right foot while trying to hit just the brake. It seems hard to believe the throttle would stick open since the electronic throttle is desinged to fail closed. Plus, if there was a failure in the ETC the vehicle would have set a few codes, which the body shop would have checked. I am definetly the type of guy that would like to blame anyone else other than my wife if something like this happened, but, it just looks like it was an accident.
 

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I may be a little new with cars, but, what the hell is the torque and how the heck do you open it. I cant believe chrysler would put a chip in the transmission computer that could open this thing up and make the brakes useless. I think I am going to take mine back to the stealer-ship and have it checked out. You have to have a few hundred dollars worth of body repair that you are now being told you have to pay for yourself.... I should have got the CRV I was looking at first. Thanks for the heads-up...
 

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I may be a little new with cars, but, what the hell is the torque and how the heck do you open it. I cant believe chrysler would put a chip in the transmission computer that could open this thing up and make the brakes useless. I think I am going to take mine back to the stealer-ship and have it checked out. You have to have a few thousand dollars worth of body repair that you are now being told you have to pay for yourself.... I should have got the CRV I was looking at first. Thanks for the heads-up...
fixed for you...its a grand for the front bumper of a caliber, and that was after a brush with an ice pile...

btw how does somebody consider a CRV and a Nitro? they are completely different vehicles...
 

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I vote for an accident, things happen fast and sometimes people dont realize what they are doing, plus it just doesnt seem possible for a mechanical failure like that. I was at the dealership yesterday to talk to my service guy about it and even let him read your story, he seemed fairly sure that the car could not do that, plus my uncle is a transmission tech for a GMC dealer and he said it is impossible for a car to do that, he also said that the tech who told you about "the torque" opening obviously has never really seen a transmission because there is no such part. Plus he told me the transmission has absolutely no way of changing the engine rpm.
 

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it does happen

After reading this post I believe it may have happened. I know that when I start up my Nitro after its been sitting over night and I get right in and put it in gear it surges and tries to lurch. The revs will rise and the car will lurch. I've learned to keep my foot on the brake.
 

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I agree that it possible for the cold start/high idle lurch, but thats different than not being able to stop the car. All vehicles with fuel injection have a higher idle when cold, not nearly enough to take off out of control, plus it clearly states in the owners manual that the vehicle should not be started cold and immediatly be thrown into gear. Once again, not trying to offend anyone, just trying to put a stop to the panic people will start with stories like this..
 

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Shit happens...

unfortunately americans always tend to blame someone else, rather than themselves and sue, hence the litigious nature of current american society.
 

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For all those that were slamming Johnny and critisizing. Look whats up with VW!!!

Volkswagen is recalling 4,000 2008 Passats and 2009 Tiguans for an "engine surging" issue. The problem is an engine control module that may not control engine idle when the air conditioning is turned on. In rare cases, the ECM can trigger an unexpected jump in engine RPM, which could obviously lead to an accident. NHTSA has informed VW that since the recall is a safety concern, dealers cannot sell the vehicles until the problem has been fixed. Owners of potentially affected vehicles are being told not to operate the air conditioning until a VW dealer has serviced the ECM, which is less than terrific news considering it's June and temperatures are around 90 degrees in many parts of the country. While it's disheartening that the brand new Tiguan is already getting its first recall, at least the problem was discovered early and there's a fix readily available.
 

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There is a problem

Feel better today!!! There is a problem with the way this car moves. I have a 2007 Dodge Nitro RT and I have asked the dealer to look at this already. The same response each time is nothing is Wrong. When you first place the car in gear you have to wait about 5-10 seconds before letting off the brake, and don’t think about touching the gas. I don’t drive this car often because its my wives, but each time I do I lurch forward, slam the brake, look over at her and say “I know, I know, wait for it”. Because this was the only thing I could tell her after not being able to fix it. We have not hit anything, but I am sure the day is coming.
 

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My wife went from a 2001 Grand Caravan to an 08 Nitro, our other car is an 07 Charger R/T for refernece.

The Nitro takes some getting used to the Brake is a little mushy - you have to exert more force then youdo with the Caravan or my Charger.

We haven't had any problems with the Nitro but every time I get in to drive the first Stop sign reminds me I need to push harder on the brakes to get it to stop.

For your story my bet is your wife hit the gas and it was an accident or started with the brake and slipped to the gas when it started moving forward on her.Yeah its pure conjecture but a problem like you have reported is a pretty big deal, if it has happened to others there would be a recall or at least other reports.

I don't know you or your wife from Adam, but with what you have posted of your actions I am betting it was far easier for your wife to tell you the car jumped uncontrollably versus telling you she ran into the house because she wasn't paying attention and her foot slipped from the brake to the Gas pedal

But thats just my 2 cents
 

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I think that it sucks that people are ASSUMING his wife is at fault. I wonder if it were a man driving if it would be the same consensus. Either way I have stated that my Nitro especially after sitting long hours or days will lurch. I don't drive it a lot anymore since its riding season but the other day I got in (the Nitro sat for 3 days) and started her up. Ithen took a few minutes to load up what I needed to carry. I got in put her in "D" and kept my foot on the brake because I knew and SURE enough the engine revved and she jumped. Had I not kept my foot on the brake I definitely would have jumped forward. This is NOT driver error it is something that is wrong with at least 2 Nitro's!!
 

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My wife went from a 2001 Grand Caravan to an 08 Nitro, our other car is an 07 Charger R/T for refernece.

The Nitro takes some getting used to the Brake is a little mushy - you have to exert more force then youdo with the Caravan or my Charger.

We haven't had any problems with the Nitro but every time I get in to drive the first Stop sign reminds me I need to push harder on the brakes to get it to stop.

But thats just my 2 cents
Funny you say that because I have owned many Chrysler vehicles and YES the brakes on this truck are mush and suck!! You can get the pedal to flex so much that you need to put all your leg power into stoping this thing. I asked the dealer to explain this to me and all they could say is " It works to manufacturers spec" BS!
 

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Where do I start.I was driving my wifes 2007 Dodge Nitro and it did the same thing to me in Sept 2008, I was on the highway and went to pass a car, when I accelerated, the Nitro took off like I floored it, as was not the case, and it wouldn't stop accelerating even when I took my foot off the pedal. I kicked that pedal about 10x till it stopped. after that i said what the F, I checked the floor mat and it was no where near the gas pedal. So I tried it again, and sure enough it did it again. It accelerated to over 90 mph and my foot wasn't even on the gas,cruise wasn't on either. We took it in for an oil change at the dealer and told them what had happened,I told them I think the throttle cable was sticking, they said it doesn't have one and said they'd check it out. After the service was done, they said no codes came up in the computer and nothing was wrong. I figured it may have been a fluke,no big deal, and told my wife what to do if it happened to her. Well, guess what, On Oct 21st, my wife was driving in a 30mph zone at 35mph coming upon an intersection, light was red and she hit the brake, the truck took off, wouldn't even stop, resulting in a rear end collision with another car, causing $3500 damage to the Nitro, she told me the engine had pegged and she did what she could to avoid the accident. Yeah yeah , I said the same thing, dumb bitch must of hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, nope, not the case, my wife is a super safe driver, thank god my 1 yr old son wasn't in the vehicle. Even the driver in the other car heard the engine revving super loud. So after the police come and wrote the report up, she stated that the Nitro had revved up, and the brakes would not work, my brother in law drove the nitro to our home. I asked him wasn't he worried about the car taking off on him, he said no. I said i preferred to have it towed, he drove it anyway. the next morning after dealing with the police and insurance co. we decided to take it the collision shop, After starting the Nitro up, I wanted to see if it would happen again,I tapped the pedal, It redlined in neutral,I shut it down,waited a few minutes and started it up again, tapped the gas pedal, , it red lined again. I shut it off, checked the floor mat, pulled it out(mat) and tried again, The nitro took off down my driveway, I kicked the pedal a few times and it stopped. Needless to say, I have no confidence in this vehicle. We got it to the collision shop, and told them to be careful.

We called the dealer where we bought it from, West Herr Dodge of WNY, they said that we'd have to put a claim in with head quarters. Claim is in and they said that there would have to be a neutral party to check the Event data recorder, if it shows what we said had happened that they would take care of everything.If not then its our problem. We have gotten nothing but the run around with these people, One person says this, one person says that. At 1st they said someone will be down in 5 to 10 days to look at it, now its when they can get to it. I have to pay for a rental car until they do this, which sucks, I am not made of money, It won't be a matter of time before the collision shop starts to charge us a storage fee. Even if this issue is resolved, I don't want this vehicle anymore, I have no cofidence in its safety, let alone have my child in that vehicle. I am pretty much rambling on here, but you get he point. I believe what happened to your wife is genuine, I'm sure Chrysler will do something when someone gets killed and the lawsuits start getting filed. Yeah you bet , I am pissed off, should of bought the Ford Escape instead.
 
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