Chrysler model year 2003 through 2007 minivans are under investigation after consumer complaints about engine stalling after refueling.
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened Defect Petition (DP14-002) to evaluate a consumer’s petition alleging incidents of engine stalling after refueling in a model year 2007 Dodge Caravan vehicle manufactured by Chrysler. The petition requests an investigation of engine stalls after refueling in 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan vehicles and similarly equipped model year 2003 through 2007 Chrysler minivans.
The petition alleges there is a defect in the fuel system that causes the vehicle to stall after refueling and cited 7 other complaints alleging stalling after refueling in 2003 through 2007 Chrysler minivans.
Below is an excerpt of a letter of complaint sent by one consumer:
I am the owner of a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan and there is a defect in the fuel system causing the vehicle to stall, without warning, after refueling. The defective part is located in the fuel tank, which is non-serviceable, and the dealer recommends tank replacement to remedy the defect. Stalling without warning represents an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety and the agency should open a Preliminary Evaluation to fully evaluate the defect.
The investigation will look at the fuel tank ventilation/vapor recovery systems used in the 2003 – 2007 Chrysler minivans. As part of the investigation, the investigation team will look at all valves which function to control fuel tank fill level during refueling and to prevent liquid fuel from entering the vapor recovery system.
Chrysler was ordered to provide the following information to ODI regarding its 2003-2007 minivans:
- The number of complaints received involving the vehicles and a description of the complaint;
- Accident reports involving a crash, injury or fatality;
- Property damage claims;
- A list of third-party arbitration proceedings where Chrysler is or was a party to the arbitration, and information about these arbitrations;
- Lawsuits, pending and resolved, in which Chrysler is or was a defendant or codefendant, and information about each lawsuit;
- A list of claims paid by Chrysler relating to any of the above;
- Copies of all service, warranty and other documents related to the alleged defect;
- A description of all assessments, analyses, tests, test results, stuyudies, surveys, simulations, investigations, inquiries and/or evaluations that relate to the alleged defect;
- A description of all modifications or changes made by, or on behalf of, Chrysler in the design, software, material composition, manufacture, quality control, supply or installation of the fuel tank ventilation/vapor recovery systems;
- A description of the operation of the fuel system and its components under normal fueling and post-refueling vehicle operating conditions and when the alleged malfunction occurs;
- A description of the material composition of the subject valves, including the design dimensions and tolerances for system float valves and float valve housings;
- Information regarding physical changes in the valves resulting from exposure to automotive fuels due to fuel chemistry, fuel temperature, ambient temperature, and valve composition;
- A description of the vapor purge strategy for the vehicles; and
- The company’s assessment of the alleged defect, including what it believes are the failure mechanisms and modes, the risk to motor vehicle safety posed by the alleged defect, and any warnings it would provide consumers about the alleged defect.
Eric Hageman is a national traffic safety lawyer who represents clients with personal injury and wrongful death claims. You can call 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) to contact him.