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GM Issues Recall For Underhood Fire Danger

As if General Motors didn't have enough troubles, today it has issued a "voluntary" recall for 1.6 million Chevys, Pontiacs and Buicks made between 1996 and 2003 to address the "extremely rare" possibility of a fire under the vehicle hood.

GM says there have been no reported injuries attributed to the problem. Of the 1.6 million vehicles covered in the recall, GM estimates that 1.3 million of them are still on the road. GM spokesman Greg Martin said the company is not reporting the cost, but "the fix is inexpensive and quick."

The models include:

- Some 1997 – 2003 Pontiac Grand Prixs.
- The 1997-2003 Buick Regal.
- The 1998-1999 Chevrolet Lumina.
- The 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue.
- The 1998-2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
- The 2000-2003 Chevrolet Impala with the naturally aspirated 3.8 liter V6 (L36) engine.

The problem: Hard braking can cause drops of engine oil to fall onto the very hot engine exhaust manifold and start a fire.

The fix: Well, the fix such as it is. Quoting directly from the GM release: "GM is proactively issuing a safety recall in which the dealer will remove the nylon spark plug wire retainer and replace with an alternative spark plug wire retainer in order to prevent propagation of the fire to other underhood components, should a fire occur."

Read this carefully: GM is not saying it will fix the condition that may cause the fire. It is saying it will fix the condition that could cause the fire to spread.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  April 14, 2009; 11:38 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: GM, recalls  
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