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NHTSA issues recall for prior recall

by Bill Cawthon on

Jeep Liberty-2003
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced yesterday that the NHTSA was recalling more than 753,000 previously recalled Dodge and Jeep vehicles for a defect in the Occupant Restraint Control (ORC) that may cause airbags to deploy inadvertently. This is the second time these vehicles have been recalled for the same problem: the first time was in 2012.

The recalls are to provide owners with a new remedy since the original fix, which was approved by the NHTSA, proved ineffective in some vehicles.

At issue is a TRW-manufactured electronic component with a defect that caused airbags to inflate without being involved in an accident. The original fix involved installing filters or wiring harnesses to protect a key circuit from electrical damage.

In a statement, FCA US said approximately 0.003% of the vehicles repaired under the original recall had post-repair inadvertent air-bag deployments that caused minor injuries from contact with the air bags. The company is aware of a single related accident.

The NHTSA Recall No. 15V-046 covers 753,176 Chrysler vehicles: 2003-2004 Dodge Vipers built from November 1, 2001 – June 30, 2004; 2002-2003 Jeep Libertys built from January 9, 2001 – March 28, 2003; and 2002-2004 Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees built from February 13, 2001 – May 23, 2003.

In addition to the vehicles covered under the NHTSA recall, 49,870 vehicles in Canada, 21,838 vehicles in Mexico and 103,633 vehicles outside the NAFTA region need the replacement, bringing the total number of affected vehicles to 928,497.

Chrysler isn’t alone: the total recall covers 2.12 million vehicles, including 374,177 Honda Odysseys and Acura MDXs as well as 1,006,849 Toyota-built vehicles including the Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, Corolla and Avalon made in the early 2000s. Honda’s and Toyota’s problems are magnified because the vehicles involved in this recall may also have the defective Takata airbags. None of the Chrysler vehicles were equipped with the Takata airbags.

FCA US says new ORC modules are being developed and adds that some vehicles also may need new front- and/or side-impact sensors to accommodate software compatibility.

At the moment, the NHTSA says that all that owners of the affected vehicles who haven’t had the original repair performed can do is to return the vehicle to their local dealership to have the original fix installed. FCA US will notify owners when the new ORC modules become available.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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