Auburn Hills, Mich. – Aug. 24, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 1,200 sports cars with defective oil cooler lines, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 Dodge Charger and Challenger sports cars equipped with eight-cylinder Hellcat performance engines. FCA suspects 10 percent of the total number of vehicles referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.
The models involved in this recall are equipped with engines whose engine oil cooler lines are not properly joined. Specifically, on the section of the EOC lines where chlorinated polyethylene hose meets aluminum tubing, the joints are not suitably crimped. This can lead to line separation and engine oil spillage, resulting in engine seizure and the risk of fire. Additionally, drivers may lose visibility due to oil spray covering the windshield. All of these outcomes pose serious safety hazards to drivers and increase the risk of an accident. However, FCA has not received any reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries thus far.
Timeline of Events
On May 13, 2017, engineers at the FCA assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, initiated a product recall after receiving three warranty claims mentioning EOC line separation, according to a chronology document submitted to the NHTSA. The FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance division immediately launched an investigation to better understand the consequences of the issue. On May 15, the parts supplier, Hutchings Automotive Products, performed production tests to determine if increasing the adhesive temperature during assembly would improve the structural integrity of the EOC line connections. These trials failed. Fifteen days later, FCA tested EOC line joints from aftermarket Mopar stock. These fixtures showed no signs of failure.
Over the week of June 12, FCA conducted more in-house tests to pinpoint the root cause of the EOC line separation. More than two weeks later, dealers in the U.S. market inspected approximately 50 vehicles to determine if they were equipped with the defective parts and needed repair.
On July 12, Hutchinson sent FCA results from an internal evaluation of the EOC hose material. The parts provider concluded that the material used to make the defective lines was out of specification. Two days later, FCA US Master Black Belt performed a parallel materials test and determined with 95 percent certainty that Hutchinson engineers were correct in their examination of the hose material.
With this information in hand, the FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee called for an official voluntary safety recall Aug. 1. As of that date, the car manufacturer had received a total of eight customer assistance and information requests, zero vehicle owner’s questionnaires and zero field reports related to the defective EOC line.
FCA will direct dealers to replace the EOC lines in affected vehicles free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgment document sent to the NHTSA. The automaker plans to notify both owners and dealers on or around Sept. 22. However, owners in need of more immediate assistance can contact Chrysler customer service personnel at (800) 853-1403 or call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.