Chrysler recalls vehicles with noncompliant tire placards

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – March 9, 2018 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 3,400 vehicles potentially equipped with noncompliant tire placards, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The actions affects 2018 Dodge Ram Pro Master cargo vans produced between June 29, 2017, and Dec. 18, 2017. FCA estimates that all of the vehicles referenced in the recall contain the problematic parts.

The Defect

Affected models are fitted with tires that feature incorrect informational placards. These components display inaccurate “vehicle capacity weight” and “designated seated capacity” numbers. Consequently, the defective placard poses a serious threat to occupants as they could unintentionally overload their vehicles, cause tire failure and wreck. In addition to constituting a driving hazard, the parts violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 110, which states that “each vehicle, except for a trailer or incomplete vehicle,” must have tire information placards that include entries for vehicle capacity weight, designated seated capacity, “recommended cold tire inflation” and “tire size,” according to the Government Publishing Office.

Timeline of Events

The FCA Corporate Audit team on Dec. 18, 2018, reached out to the FCA Vendor Management group about an incorrect seating capacity figure displayed on tire placard affixed to a 2018 Dodge Ram Pro Master cargo van. The FCA VM connected with the engineering team to verify the error. Engineering personnel verified the inaccurate tire placard and launched an investigation, which revealed that incorrectly calibrated production software caused the issue.

FCA corporate leaders on Dec. 22, 2017, brought the problem to the Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance group via email. VSRC leaders received the message Jan. 2, 2018, and initiated another investigation. On the following day, the FCA VSRC group placed a hold on 2018 Dodge Ram Pro Master cargo vans and hosted a meeting with cross-functional stakeholders to review the issue, identify the root cause and develop actionable corrective action. The VSRC also requested that engineering look into the seemingly incorrect placard, confirm its inaccuracy for a second time and judge its compliance with FMVSS.

On Jan. 12, 2018, the VSRC team officially designated the root cause, the overall scope of the issue and its impact to customers. With this data in hand, FCA decided on Feb. 15, 2018, to conduct a voluntary safety recall. The automaker began notifying dealers of the impending action Feb. 22, 2018.

The Solution

FCA has directed dealers to inspect and, if necessary, amend the tire placards installed on the recalled vehicles, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The car manufacturer intends to notify owners through first-class mail April 13, 2018. Those in need of more immediate assistance prior to the start of the recall can contact FCA customer service representatives via telephone at (800) 853-1403. Callers should use internal recall identification code U17. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using the agency’s toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesChrysler recalls vehicles with noncompliant tire placards

Chrysler recalls vehicles with defective braking system

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Feb. 20, 2018 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 180,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective brake transmission shift interlock modules, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple vehicles, including:

  • 2017-2018 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks produced between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 13, 2018.
  • 2017-2018 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup trucks produced between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 10, 2018.
  • 2017-2018 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup trucks produced between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 24, 2018.

FCA suspects 3 percent of the models referenced in the recall actually contain the defective components.

The Defect

Affected vehicles, all of which feature column gear shifting assemblies, come with BTSI systems that prone to dysfunction after long periods of use. Specifically, the plastic housing surrounding the BTSI components swells in high temperatures and causes the locking pin to remain in open position. When this occurs, drivers are free to shift the vehicle transmission out of park without depressing the brake pedal or even switching on the car. This defect poses increases the likelihood of unintended rollaway and therefore poses a serious threat to occupants. However, FCA has not received reports linking the defect to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

The FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee on Dec. 8, 2017, requested an internal investigation into vehicles produced after Dec. 31, 2016, suspecting that some may suffer from mechanical flaws. Roughly one month later, engineering personnel tested a BTSI solenoid by heating in an oven set to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The component reached 250 degrees Fahrenheit within five minutes, indicating that problems could development in real-world operational environments. Soon after, members of the VRC requested insight into the production processes behind the development of the BTSI housing and pin components. FCA engineers looked into the matter and found that the fabrication process had remained consistent prior to and following Dec. 31, 2016.

The VRC continued to investigate the matter throughout January 2018, opening a nationwide field review and repair order search. The latter effort yielded three reports that referenced vehicles that suffered BTSI failure and were produced after Dec. 31, 2016. Owners reported being able to shift out of park without pressing the brake pedal or turning the ignition. On Jan. 26, 2018, the VRC found two additional field reports outlining the same issue.

On Feb. 1, 2018, the VRC decided that a voluntary safety recall was required.

The Solution

FCA is currently working on a mechanical remedy, which it will offer free of charge through an owner reimbursement program. The automaker intends to notify both dealers and owners March 30, 2018. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can reach out to the NHTSA directly using its vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesChrysler recalls vehicles with defective braking system

Chrysler recalls vehicles with defective braking system

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Feb. 20, 2018 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 180,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective brake transmission shift interlock modules, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple vehicles, including:

  • 2017-2018 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks produced between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 13, 2018.
  • 2017-2018 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup trucks produced between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 10, 2018.
  • 2017-2018 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup trucks produced between Jan. 1, 2017, and Jan. 24, 2018.

FCA suspects 3 percent of the models referenced in the recall actually contain the defective components.

The Defect

Affected vehicles, all of which feature column gear shifting assemblies, come with BTSI systems that prone to dysfunction after long periods of use. Specifically, the plastic housing surrounding the BTSI components swells in high temperatures and causes the locking pin to remain in open position. When this occurs, drivers are free to shift the vehicle transmission out of park without depressing the brake pedal or even switching on the car. This defect poses increases the likelihood of unintended rollaway and therefore poses a serious threat to occupants. However, FCA has not received reports linking the defect to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

The FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee on Dec. 8, 2017, requested an internal investigation into vehicles produced after Dec. 31, 2016, suspecting that some may suffer from mechanical flaws. Roughly one month later, engineering personnel tested a BTSI solenoid by heating in an oven set to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The component reached 250 degrees Fahrenheit within five minutes, indicating that problems could development in real-world operational environments. Soon after, members of the VRC requested insight into the production processes behind the development of the BTSI housing and pin components. FCA engineers looked into the matter and found that the fabrication process had remained consistent prior to and following Dec. 31, 2016.

The VRC continued to investigate the matter throughout January 2018, opening a nationwide field review and repair order search. The latter effort yielded three reports that referenced vehicles that suffered BTSI failure and were produced after Dec. 31, 2016. Owners reported being able to shift out of park without pressing the brake pedal or turning the ignition. On Jan. 26, 2018, the VRC found two additional field reports outlining the same issue.

On Feb. 1, 2018, the VRC decided that a voluntary safety recall was required.

The Solution

FCA is currently working on a mechanical remedy, which it will offer free of charge through an owner reimbursement program. The automaker intends to notify both dealers and owners March 30, 2018. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can reach out to the NHTSA directly using its vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

adminChrysler recalls vehicles with defective braking system

Chrysler recalls vehicles with defective brake pedal switches

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Feb. 16, 2018 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 39,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective brake pedal switches, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple vehicles across two brands, including:

  • 2017 Jeep Wrangler sport utility vehicles produced between Aug. 7, 2017, and Sept. 20, 2017.
  • 2017 Dodge Caravan minivans produced between Aug. 7, 2017, and Sept. 18, 2017.

FCA suspects just 1 percent of the models referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

Affected vehicles could contain brake pedal switches prone to malfunction. In the event that these fixtures fail, shifting out of park without depressing the brake pedal becomes possible. This poses a serious safety hazard to occupants. However, FCA has yet to receive reports connecting any accidents or injuries to the defect.

Owners operating vehicles equipped with the defective brake pedal switches have noticed that rear brake lights and interior malfunction indicator lamps illuminate continuously when failure has occurred.

Timeline of Events

Engineers conducting end-of-line production testing on Sept. 11, 2017, at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada encountered a vehicle with an out-of-position brake pedal, according to an NHTSA chronology document. The FCA engineering team immediately notified Multicraft International, the U.S.-based vendor responsible for manufacturing brake switch components. The firm immediately quarantined the potentially defective parts. FCA initiated containment protocol, requesting the staff at the Ontario facility and Toledo South Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio to set aside all brake switch parts that arrived from Multicraft.

The vendor inspected its production processes between Sept. 13, 2017, and Sept. 15, 2017, and ultimately found that the brake switches manufactured at its space in Pelahatchie, Mississippi were not properly ratcheted at the minimum required standard of seven pounds. The error occurred due to gas buildup in a plunger mold tool core and resulted in the production of between 90,000 and 180,000 out-of-specification parts.

FCA filed a Product Related Issue report for the defective brake pedal switches Oct. 8, 2017. And, on Oct. 24, 2017, the FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance took up the issue.

The American automaker conducted an extensive read-across investigation throughout the remainder of October and November. The inquiry revealed that the brake switch had been used across multiple models but that it did not pose a serious issue for some due to production quirks or the presence of brake system redundancies. On Dec. 8, 2017, engineering personnel conducted an internal test evaluate the impact of the defective brake switch and determined that drivers with manual vehicles could shift out of park without depressing the brake pedal. A similar test involving a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission was conducted Dec. 19, 2017, and yielded identical results.

On Feb. 1, 2018, the FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee reviewed the matter opted to launch a voluntary safety recall. As of Jan. 26, 2018, FCA has received two customer assistance inquiry records and five field reports related to the defective brake pedal switches.

The Solution

FCA intends to direct dealers to replace the brake pedal switches in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The company will notify both dealers and owners March 30, 2018. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can contact FCA customer service at (800) 853-1403. They should use the internal recall reference code U09 when calling. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

adminChrysler recalls vehicles with defective brake pedal switches

Chrysler recalls vehicles with defective brake pedal switches

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Feb. 16, 2018 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 39,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective brake pedal switches, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple vehicles across two brands, including:

  • 2017 Jeep Wrangler sport utility vehicles produced between Aug. 7, 2017, and Sept. 20, 2017.
  • 2017 Dodge Caravan minivans produced between Aug. 7, 2017, and Sept. 18, 2017.

FCA suspects just 1 percent of the models referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

Affected vehicles could contain brake pedal switches prone to malfunction. In the event that these fixtures fail, shifting out of park without depressing the brake pedal becomes possible. This poses a serious safety hazard to occupants. However, FCA has yet to receive reports connecting any accidents or injuries to the defect.

Owners operating vehicles equipped with the defective brake pedal switches have noticed that rear brake lights and interior malfunction indicator lamps illuminate continuously when failure has occurred.

Timeline of Events

Engineers conducting end-of-line production testing on Sept. 11, 2017, at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada encountered a vehicle with an out-of-position brake pedal, according to an NHTSA chronology document. The FCA engineering team immediately notified Multicraft International, the U.S.-based vendor responsible for manufacturing brake switch components. The firm immediately quarantined the potentially defective parts. FCA initiated containment protocol, requesting the staff at the Ontario facility and Toledo South Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio to set aside all brake switch parts that arrived from Multicraft.

The vendor inspected its production processes between Sept. 13, 2017, and Sept. 15, 2017, and ultimately found that the brake switches manufactured at its space in Pelahatchie, Mississippi were not properly ratcheted at the minimum required standard of seven pounds. The error occurred due to gas buildup in a plunger mold tool core and resulted in the production of between 90,000 and 180,000 out-of-specification parts.

FCA filed a Product Related Issue report for the defective brake pedal switches Oct. 8, 2017. And, on Oct. 24, 2017, the FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance took up the issue.

The American automaker conducted an extensive read-across investigation throughout the remainder of October and November. The inquiry revealed that the brake switch had been used across multiple models but that it did not pose a serious issue for some due to production quirks or the presence of brake system redundancies. On Dec. 8, 2017, engineering personnel conducted an internal test evaluate the impact of the defective brake switch and determined that drivers with manual vehicles could shift out of park without depressing the brake pedal. A similar test involving a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission was conducted Dec. 19, 2017, and yielded identical results.

On Feb. 1, 2018, the FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee reviewed the matter opted to launch a voluntary safety recall. As of Jan. 26, 2018, FCA has received two customer assistance inquiry records and five field reports related to the defective brake pedal switches.

The Solution

FCA intends to direct dealers to replace the brake pedal switches in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The company will notify both dealers and owners March 30, 2018. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can contact FCA customer service at (800) 853-1403. They should use the internal recall reference code U09 when calling. Owners can also reach out to the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesChrysler recalls vehicles with defective brake pedal switches

FCA recalls vehicles with defective fire extinguishers

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Jan. 22, 2017 – Chrysler Fiat Automobiles has recalled more than 62,000 vehicles believed to contain defective fire extinguishers, according to documents submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Per an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document, the campaign affects numerous models across multiple brands, including:

  • 2018 Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
  • 2014-2016 Chrysler Town and Country minivans.
  • 2007 Dodge Caliber sedans.
  • 2009 Dodge Challenger sports cars.
  • 2017 Dodge Charger sports cars.
  • 2015-2016 Dodge Dart sedans.
  • 2004 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles.
  • 2014-2016 Dodge Caravan minivans.
  • 2014 Dodge Journey sport utility vehicles.
  • 2014-2016 Jeep Cherokee sport utility vehicles.
  • 2017 Jeep Compass sport utility vehicles.
  • 2011 Jeep Patriot sport utility vehicles.
  • 2012 and 2015 Ram 1500 pickup trucks.
  • 2013-2018 Ram 2500 pickup trucks.
  • 2012-2018 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 pickup trucks.
  • 2014-2017 Ram Promaster and Promaster City pickup trucks.

FCA believes 100 percent of the vehicles named in the action contain the defective parts.

The Defect

The models referenced in the action come equipped with miniature fire extinguishers prone to clogging or breakage due to defective lever and valve assemblies. These items pose a serious threat to owners, especially those involved in accidents where gasoline ignition is likely to occur. That said, FCA has yet to receive reports linking the defective components to any injuries.

Timeline of Events

On Nov. 3, 2017, the FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance group learned that fire extinguishers supplied by Walter Kidde Portable Equipment were defective. The FCA Global Regulatory Compliance compared the items to a roster of Kidde fire extinguishers involved in an earlier U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall and found multiple matches. The automotive conglomerate then retrieved samples of the defective products and sent them to specialists at FCA U.S. Engineering and Mopar, an FCA-owned autoparts organization.

Between Nov. 6 and Nov. 8, analysts at Mopar reviewed the parts and found that production teams were installing them in multiple models across a number of brands. At the same time, the VSRC group launched an investigation into the parts and began evaluating the vehicle populations containing them. On Nov. 10, FCA initiated a yard hold in an effort to stop the production and shipment of vehicles equipped with the Kidde fire extinguishers. Ten days later, an investigator with the VSRC group started combing through historical parts and production information with timestamps dating back to 1973.  Over the next three weeks, employees for FCA U.S. Engineering, Mopar and the VSRC group reviewed individual part identification codes and associated vehicle identification numbers to understand the breadth of the impact of the defect.

On Dec. 18, the FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall.

The Solution

FCA intends to swap the defective fire extinguishers installed in affected vehicles for new models with metal valves that prevent clogging. The automotive company plans to notify both dealers and owners Feb. 2, 2018. individuals in need of more immediate assistance can contact Chrysler customer service at (855) 271-0773. Callers should use the internal recall identification code T82. Owners can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

adminFCA recalls vehicles with defective fire extinguishers

Dodge Recalls Dakota Pickups With Faulty Seat Warmers

 

Auburn Hills, Michigan – Jan. 8, 2018 – Chrysler recently issued a recall of 16,900 Dodge Dakota pickup trucks from the 2005 model year, citing concerns that the driver or passenger seat warmers installed in some trucks may overheat, according to a defect filing made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Specifically, the overheating issue could present itself in both front seats of the vehicle, in either the seat cushion itself, or the seat back. The risk presents itself because of “fatigue failure” – that is, long-term regular use of the warmers – within the carbon elements of the seat warmers themselves. These can lead to specific spots where the warmers overheat and potentially burn holes in the seat cushions or even result in open flames within the vehicle.

All vehicles in the recall were manufactured between May 17, 2004, and June 24, 2005. Only about 10 percent of the trucks being recalled are expected to carry this defect.

The Defect

If the “hot spots” present themselves in a seat cushion’s heating element, it could lead to a high resistance electrical connection that generates heat beyond what would normally be expected. Unfortunately, the seat cushion control system in the Dakota pickups would not be able to detect the hot spots and therefore cannot automatically shut down the heating component.

Because of the risk of burning through the seats and starting fires, owners will likely notice extreme heat or burning smells as a result of the defect, as well as potential holes in the seat cushions or seat backs themselves. This risk can result in injury or fire in the vehicles.

Timeline of Events

On Sept. 13, 2017, reports of issues with seat heaters in the 2005 Dakotas led Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to convene its U.S. Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance organization to open an investigation into the problem.

In the week of Sept. 25, the organization reviewed designs with the company’s engineering team. About a month later, the two FCA groups met with the supplier of the heated seat carbon element pad to go over the design parameters of the parts in question.

Then from October to November, FCA conducted a test of the heated seat systems in question, to compare with other such systems, and determined that in the affected Dakotas, the system used to operate the seat heaters was unique from similar systems.

In late November, the VSRC and engineering teams did a more thorough design review of the heating system in affected trucks and found that they do not have automatic-off settings after the seat heaters have been used for a certain amount of time, potentially allowing them to stay on indefinitely. In early December, the teams were able to reproduce failures in laboratory settings.

The voluntary safety recall order was finally made Dec. 18, 2017.

The Solution

Chrysler’s recall plan will ask owners to bring in their 2005 Dakotas for repair, to enhance the seating systems with updated control features.

In addition, the company will also reimburse owners who have paid out of pocket to have these issues addressed on their own, as long as they can provide proof of payment to confirm the amount they paid.

FCA dealers were first notified of the recall Dec. 20, 2017, while owners will receive their notifications beginning on Feb. 8, 2018.

adminDodge Recalls Dakota Pickups With Faulty Seat Warmers

Chrysler recalling thousands of vans over impact sensors

 

Auburn Hills, Michigan – Dec. 12, 2017 – Chrysler recently issued a recall order for more than 3,500 of its 2018 Ram ProMaster cargo vans, citing an issue with the vehicles’ front door impact pressure sensors, according to a letter submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The affected ProMaster vans have a new pressure sensor, but use the same fastening rivets as the vehicles with the older sensors, potentially leading to the driver’s side door airbags to unexpectedly deploy in certain situations. These vehicles were produced from late July to late August of 2017. Only about 13 percent of the 2018 ProMasters are estimated to have this defect.

The Defect

The existing fastening rivets in question were incorrectly fastened to the new sensors, which are designed to expand within a plastic attachment. Due to the incorrect installation, those sensor housings could fracture and potentially affect either sensor retention overall or the gasket seal-to-door area. If that happens, it could trigger the deployment of the driver’s door airbags in some crashes. That, in turn, could lead to additional injury risk for drivers.

Timeline of Events

While production with the existing fastening rivets began July 24, the investigation into the potential flaw did not begin until Aug. 18, initiated by Chrysler’s Manufacturing Quality organization. Two days later, the investigation determined that there was nothing materially wrong with either the rivets or sensors, so further information was sought. On Aug. 22, the rivet issue was discovered, prompting an effort to replace more than 1,300 affected vehicles built from Aug. 18 to 23 that were held back during the investigation.

Then, on Sept. 20, the full investigation was completed, and found that because of how random the causes behind any potential fractures were, it was advisable to recall all 2018 ProMasters built before Aug. 23. Through early November, Chrysler was unaware of any accidents or injuries that may have stemmed from this defect.

The Solution

Chrysler’s voluntary recall of the affected vehicles will replace both the front door impact pressure sensors, and fasten them with the proper rivets. The company will also ask in the letters it mails to affected owners that they include the receipts or other proof of payment for these repairs, so that it can reimburse customers for whatever expenses they incur.

Both owners and dealers will be notified on or about Jan. 3, 2018.

adminChrysler recalling thousands of vans over impact sensors

Chrysler recalls vehicles with defective occupant restraint features

 

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Nov. 3, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 414,000 vehicles potentially equipped with defective occupant restraint controllers, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects models across multiple brands, including:

  • 2012 Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicles manufactured between June 17, 2011 and Aug. 16, 2012.
  • 2012-2013 Chrysler 200 midsize sedans produced between June 25, 2011 and Jan. 15, 2012.
  • 2012-2013 Dodge Avenger midsize sedans produced between June 25, 2011 and Jan. 15, 2012.

FCA speculates that approximately 5 percent of the vehicles named in the recall contain defective parts.

The Defect

The models referenced in the action may come equipped with damaged ORC assemblies that are prone to jumper resistor failure, a condition that materializes following prolonged electrical overstress. ORC shutdown may cause the active headrests in affected vehicles to malfunction. This poses a serious risk to occupants involved in collisions, as the lack of AHR support may increase the likelihood of cranial concussion. That said, FCA has yet to receive field reports connecting the defective ORC assemblies to any accidents or injuries.

The air bag warning light normally illuminates in vehicles with defective ORC assemblies.

Timeline of Events

On July 2, 2013, FCA launched a voluntary safety recall for 2012 Jeep Liberties, 2012-2013 Chrysler 200s and 2012-2013 Dodge Avengers, after discovering that these vehicles contained integrated power modules that were causing ORC failure and inhibiting AHR operation, according to a chronology document. Dealers reprogrammed the TIPM units in these models to address both issues. Almost four years later on May 16, 2017, the NHTSA contacted FCA and notified the company of several driver complaints referencing the three models included in the 2013 recall. These reports described instances in which the air bag warning light turned on with no clear explanation, apparently indicating some safety feature malfunction. On May 19, the FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance group launched an investigation into the reports. One day later, the auto conglomerate ordered parts from the field for analysis. The NHTSA opened a concurrent inquiry June 1.

Throughout June and August, FCA received 13 ORC assemblies from the vehicles mentioned in the initial NHTSA reports. In July, the car company determined that at least two parts showed signs of jumper resistor failure due to electrical overstress. On Aug. 11, FCA engineers pinpointed a third part that ceased working following overstress and on Oct. 2, they encountered a fourth problematic component. Two days later, the FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee determined that a voluntary safety recall was necessary.

As of Sept. 29, FCA has received 122 vehicle owner questionnaires, 367 customer assistance inquiry requests and 2,453 warranty claims related to defective ORC equipment.

The Solution

FCA intends to direct dealers to replace the ORC assemblies in affected vehicles free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgment document submitted to the NHTSA. The vehicle manufacturer will notify both dealers and owners on or about Nov. 29. The latter should expect to receive word from FCA via first-class mail. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can contact FCA customer service at (800) 853-1403. Callers should use the internal recall identification code T56. Owners can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its vehicle safety hotline at (888) 327-4236.

adminChrysler recalls vehicles with defective occupant restraint features

Chrysler recalls vehicles with defective break booster shields

Auburn Hills, Mich. – Oct. 5, 2017 – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has recalled more than 646,000 vehicles potentially equipped with improperly installed brake booster shields, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2011-2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicles with production dates ranging from Jan. 5, 2010 to Sept. 8, 2013. FCA estimates that roughly 41 percent of the models referenced in the recall actually contain the defective parts.

The Defect

Affected vehicles may include incorrectly installed brake booster shields that do not effectively divert water away from the critical drivetrain features they are intended to protect. This increases the likelihood of brake booster corrosion and could lead to freezing in particularly cold environments. Both of these phenomena are capable of reducing vehicle stopping power, which poses a serious risk to occupants. FCA has not received reports connecting the defective fixtures to any injuries. However, the automaker has received one report correlating the defect to an accident.

Drivers encountering braking issues stemming from ineffective brake booster shields will see their dash warning lights illuminate and experience abnormal resistance when compressing the brake pedal. In some cases, the anti-lock brake system may activate.

Timeline of Events

On Jan. 18, 2017, the FCA Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance group launched an internal investigation into field reports detailing customer complaints surrounding brake booster shield assemblies installed as part of an earlier recall, according to NHTSA documents. In February, engineers began evaluating approximately 20 brake boosters returned for further inspection. Between Feb. 23 and March 14, the third-party parts supplier responsible for fabricating the fixtures performed its own tests. On March 14, the NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Test Center performed an independent evaluation and found that the returned brake boosters passed vacuum tests but failed to do so when brake assist was activated. The agency sent the results of this trial to FCA approximately seven days later.

FCA collaborated with the NHTSA and its supplier to conduct numerous other brake booster tests throughout April, May, June and early July. On July 6, NHTSA officials performed a road test with a vehicle equipped with returned brake boosters. The testers also adjusted brake leak rates to simulate different levels of corrosion. The vehicle used in the trial exceeded Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requirements. However, during a post-run physical evaluation, the NHTSA officials noticed that brake booster water shields had been installed incorrectly. Five days later, the agency contacted FCA and requested that it examine all of the returned parts to determine the frequency of these incorrectly installed features. The NHTSA also asked the car company to conduct an accompanying field investigation.

On July 18, FCA reported that 12 of the remaining returned brake boosters in its possession included incorrectly installed water shields. It also found that of the 117 vehicles used in its field study, 41 percent had these parts. On July 27, FCA conducted an additional test which involved incorrectly installing brake booster water shields on a production vehicle, spraying it with water and letting it sit in an enclosed chamber with a temperature of -20 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. During a post-spray drive, the vehicle displayed reduced pedal functionality, requiring 22 to 24 pounds-per-square-foot of power to depress. This reading was well outside of the FMVSS-approved range of 4-16 psf.

FCA reported the results of the cold-chamber test to the FCA Aug. 8 and three days later assembled an internal committee to discuss further evaluations. The automaker performed another cold-chamber trial Aug. 23 and saw results similar to those collected during the first test. It conducted another evaluation three days later and again saw similarly problematic results. The pedals in the vehicle used in the trial required 22 to 28 psf of compression power. FCA reviewed these and other test results over the course of late August and early September.

On Sept. 11, the FCA Vehicle Regulations Committee determined that the defect posed a serious safety hazard to owners and issued a voluntary safety recall.

The Solution

FCA will direct dealers to re-install the brake booster water shields in affected vehicles free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgement document. The car company plans to notify dealers and owners Nov. 7. Owners in need of more immediate assistance can reach out the Chrysler customer service personnel at (800) 853-1403. Callers should use the internal recall identification code T59. Owners can also contact the NHTSA via the agency’s 24-hour Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Recall MastersChrysler recalls vehicles with defective break booster shields