The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has cleared the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee after an investigation into possible engine fires.
NHTSA began checking 107,000 of the SUVs in July after getting complaints about power steering hoses coming loose and leaking fluid onto the engine.
The success of the Grand Cherokee has been critical to Chrysler’s turnaround over the last three years and there was concern a major recall could slow the momentum of the big Jeep after it went through a complete redesign for the 2011 model-year.
NHTSA did find 24 cases of loose hoses. The problem was traced to a defect inside the hose that was fixed at the factory by Chrysler’s supplier shortly after the SUVs went into production. The agency says none of the leaks caused crashes or fires, and it’s unlikely that leaking fluid would reach any ignition sources.
The Office of Defects Investigation analyzed complaint data provided by Chrysler as well as complaints submitted to ODI from consumers. Chrysler and its power steering cooler supplier, Dana, modified the cooler assembly process to address factors that may contribute to hose blow-offs.
The investigation also found that 88% of the conditions occurred with less than 4 months in service. Over 50 percent of the blow-off complaints occurred on vehicles with build dates between November 22, 2011 and December 23, 2011.
None of the conditions occurred with more than 12,000 miles or 7 months in service, NHTSA said in its report.
ODI will continue to monitor field experience in Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles equipped with that engine. There have been no reports of loss of steering control, crashes or injuries as result of this condition, NHTSA said.
The investigation found five reports of engine fires, but NHTSA determined that other factors contributed to the fires.
In addition, all affected vehicles that may have experienced a hose blow-off condition were repaired under Chrysler’s 3 year/36,000 mile manufacturer’s warranty at no cost to the owner. Meanwhile, changes in the factory processes put in place by Dana have eliminated the likelihood of power steering hose blow offs, NHTSA said.
“There is no indication of loss of motive power or unreasonable safety risk associated with the alleged defect in the subject vehicles. This preliminary evaluation is closed,” NHTSA noted in documents posted on its web site.
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