The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just announced a major recall covering nearly 1.5 million General Motors passenger cars from the late 90's and early 2000s. The recall affects various Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac models equipped with normally aspirated versions of GM's much-utilized 3800 3.8-liter V6.
Apparently, some of these engines can drop oil onto the exhaust manifold during hard braking. If that manifold has gotten hot enough and the oil dribbles below the heat shield, it can start a small fire. The flames can then engulf the plastic spark plug wire channel, potentially resulting in a full-on engine compartment fire.
The fix? Dealer service departments will be asked to remove said spark plug wire retention channel from the front of the engine bay, and then retrofit two new retainers.
The recall is slated to begin in May.
Top 20 Selling Vehicles
Sales data shown is of top 20 selling cars and trucks as compiled by Autodata Corporation.
Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):
BUICK / REGAL 1997-2003
CHEVROLET / IMPALA 2000-2003
CHEVROLET / LUMINA 1998-1999
CHEVROLET / MONTE CARLO 1998-2003
OLDSMOBILE / INTRIGUE 1998-1999
PONTIAC / GRAND PRIX 1997-2003
Manufacturer: GENERAL MOTORS CORP. Mfr's Report Date: APR 08, 2009
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09V116000
Component: ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1497516
GENERAL MOTORS IS RECALLING 1,497,516 MY 1997-2003 BUICK REGAL, MY 1998-2003 CHEVROLET LUMINA, MONTE CARLO AND IMPALA, MY 1998-1999 OLDSMOBILE INTRIGUE, MY 1997-2003 PONTIAC GRAND PRIX VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A 3.8L V6 NATURALLY ASPIRATED ENGINE. SOME OF THESE VEHICLES HAVE A CONDITION IN WHICH DROPS OF ENGINE OIL MAY BE DEPOSITED ON THE EXHAUST MANIFOLD THROUGH HARD BRAKING.
IF THE MANIFOLD IS HOT ENOUGH AND THE OIL RUNS BELOW THE HEAT SHIELD, IT MAY IGNITE INTO A SMALL FLAME AND MAY SPREAD TO THE PLASTIC SPARK PLUG WIRE CHANNEL AND BEYOND INCREASING THE RISK OF AN ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE.
DEALERS WILL REMOVE THE SPARK PLUG WIRE RETENTION CHANNEL AT THE FRONT OF ENGINE AND INSTALL TWO NEW SPARK PLUG WIRE RETAINERS FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING MAY 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT CHEVROLET AT 1-800-630-2438, OLDSMOBILE AT 1-800-630-6537, AND PONTIAC AT 1-800-620-7668 OR HTTP://WWW.PONTIAC.COM OR HTTP:WWW.GMOWNERCENTER.COM.
GM RECALL NO. 90047. OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV .