Recall/Investigations: BMW, Nissan, Dodge

recalls sign investigation fuel leak recalls alternator fuel pumps


The Basics: BMW has issued a broad recall for more than 136,000 vehicles to replace faulty fuel pump modules. The campaign affects certain powertrains used in the 2007-2011 X5, 2008-2011 X6, 2010-2012 5 Series and 2010-2012 6 Series.

The Issue: Botched wire crimps can cause an in-tank electrical connector to melt. This could allow fuel to leak after refueling or while cornering. Eventually, the connection can fail and disable the fuel pump.

The problem dates all the way back to 2011. That’s when BMW first reviewed customer complaints of the smell of fuel. The company decided against a recall, since a warning light linked to the fuel tank diagnostic system could alert drivers if it happened.   Now, documents submitted to the NHTSA suggest the automaker changed its mind because it’s received reports of stalling incidents while driving. But no accidents or injuries are reporte.d

The Fix: All affected vehicles will receive a new fuel delivery module with a revised electrical connection.


The Investigation: Despite receiving thousands of complaints, plus a petition over the matter, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will not demand a transmission recall for 2005-2010 Nissan Pathfinder, Frontier and Xterra vehicles.

Transmission failure is at the center of the complaints. Petitioners argued the vehicles are prone to transmission failure due to a breach in the radiator assembly, allowing engine coolant into the transmission. Drivers report loss of motive power, hard shifts, vibration and slipping.

The NHTSA does not dispute the basic allegations regarding the transmission problems one bit. But apparently it doesn’t feel the issue is an “unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety” as defined by federal law. Specifically, investigators found the failures to be progressive with many telltale signs of trouble before the degradation reached a level that interfered with the safe operation of the vehicle.

“The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) has opened many defect investigations into engine stalling and / or loss of motive power,” the NHTSA concluded. “Factors that support recalls to remedy these conditions include a lack of warning or precursor symptoms to the driver; stalling during power-demand situations such as accelerating or to maintain highway speeds / uphill grades; and an inability to immediately ‘restart’ or restore mobility to a stranded vehicle.”

Repair costs for this problem commonly exceeded $6,000. The report also included a buyer-beware observation, noting that the high cost “motivates some owners to sell un-repaired vehicles [without] disclosing [the] co-mingling problem.”


The Basics: An airbag wiring problem that poses a safety risk is prompting Fiat Chrysler to recall 14 Dodge Viper models.

The Issue: Factory workers recently noticed an airbag warning light lit up after finishing post-production electrical tests. The problem was traced to a misrouted wire, which caused misalignment of the inflator connectors. Airbag supplier Key Safety Systems quickly implemented a new vision system on their assembly line to ensure that additional inflators are all assembled with proper wiring and connection orientation. 

“If the driver’s air bag wires are pinched, the air bag may not deploy properly in the event of a crash necessitating air bag deployment, increasing the risk of injury,” regulatory filings warn.

The Fix: FCA will replace the driver’s frontal airbag and clock spring. The issue affects a small batch of just 14 vehicles sold in the US market.

Photo Copyright: argus/Shutterstock

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