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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05009

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: December 20, 2005
    • Date Closed: May 31, 2006
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Parking Brake
    Parking Brake:Conventional
    Parking Brake:Conventional:Mechanical

    Summary: ODI's review of complaint data received since the close of EA04-011 revealed no indication that the investigation should be re-opened.more details can be found in the federal register notice enclosed in the DP05-009 public file.ODI reserves the right to reopen the investigation in the future should conditions warrant.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Brake line corrosion failure

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA11001

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: January 05, 2011
    • Date Closed: April 08, 2015
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Foundation Components:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings

    Summary: On January 11, 2011, ODI opened EA11-001 to investigate allegations of premature brake line corrosion failure in model year (MY) 1999 through 2003 General Motors (GM) full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles sold or registered in the following region of the United States that NHTSA has viewed as salt states for investigations of corrosion related issues:Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.The subject vehicles represent the first five MY's of GM's GMT800 platform production, of which approximately 2,038,504 vehicles were sold in salt states (the subject vehicles).The GMT800 platform includes the following vehicles:1999-2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500 series pick-up trucks; 2000-2006 Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon sport utility vehicles; and 2002-2006 Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Avalanche sport-utility vehicles.General Motors produced a total of approximately 10,427,062 GMT800 vehicles for sales in the United States, including almost 5 million that were sold in salt states.Although there are over 60 different brake pipe routing configuration used in GMT800 vehicles, with the exception of the rear crossover pipes in MY 200x-2007 vehicles that changed from rear disc to drum brakes, all of the vehicles use brake pipes from the same supplier with a common double-wall, brazed steel pipe design with a combination of hot dip Zinc-Aluminum corrosion protection coating and Aluminum paint outer layer known in the industry as AlGal (ASTM-B750). ODI analysis of field data regarding GMT800 vehicles identified a total of 3,645 complaints of brake pipe corrosion failures, including 107 alleging crashes, and 40 injuries.Though only 20% of total GMT800 production, due to age and region the subject vehicles account for a disproportionate share of the failure experience; with 2,702 of the complaints (75%), 88 of the crashes (82%) and 20 of the injuries (50%) reported in those vehicles.Analysis of the complaints showed strong correlations to vehicle age and region.For vehicles with less than 8 years of service, the complaint rates were minimal for all regions.In the salt states the failure rates begin to climb as the vehicles advance in age, particularly in the Northeast corner of the United States.The complaint rates in the salt states go from less than 0.1 incident per thousand vehicles (IPTV) at 7 years in service to over 1.0 IPTV after the 12th year of service for the subject pickup trucks and utility vehicles.Most of the failures reported to ODI occurred in vehicles with more than 10 years in service.ODI-s investigation did not identify any specific defect conditions that were causing or contributing to the brake pipe failures.Nor did the analysis isolate the problem to any subject vehicle sub-populations when analyzed by vehicle type or production range.The investigation found that vehicles experiencing brake pipe corrosion failures were likely to have general patterns of excessive corrosion on the majority of the brake pipe assembly and appear to be occurring due to expected wear out for the brake pipe coating material used in the subject vehicles and the environmental conditions in severe corrosion states.A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time.Accordingly, this investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.The agency will monitor this issue and reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.For additional information, see the closing report in the investigation document file.

  3. INVESTIGATION: Brake line corrosion failure

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE10010

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: March 30, 2010
    • Date Closed: January 05, 2011
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic
    Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Power Assist:Hydraulic:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings

    Summary: The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received Defect Petition DP10-003 on March 2, 2010, requesting the investigation of model year (MY) 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD pickup trucks for corrosion failures of the vehicle brake lines.DP10-003 was granted and on March 30, 2010, Preliminary Evaluation PE10-010 was opened on more than six million model year 1999 through 2003 light trucks and sport utility vehicles manufactured and sold by General Motors Corporation (GM).On July 2, 2010, ODI received GM's response to an information request, which included GM's assessment of the frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect. GM stated that:(1) the brake system of the subject vehicles is split front/rear and should a brake pipe suddenly fail for any reason, the affected vehicle would be capable of stopping with the pressure supplied by the remaining circuit; (2) the subject vehicles were designed to meet the hydraulic circuit partial failure requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 105 and 135, Light Vehicle Brake Systems; and (3) should a brake fluid leak occur for any reason, the brake system malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) would illuminate and warn the driver before the brake fluid level was low enough to cause a loss of line pressure.ODI's and GM's analysis indicates that 85 percent of the complaints occurred on vehicles used primarily in States that use salt on the roads during Winter months (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin).Overall the complaint rates per 100,000 vehicles for Salt Belt States is 43.0 and Non-Salt Belt is 3.0.In approximately 25 percent of the complaints the brake pipe failure occurred suddenly, with no warning (i.e., no MIL, Brake Fluid Loss Warning), and resulted in extended stopping distances.In 30 of these the increase in stopping distance that resulted was a factor in the crash and in 10 others the vehicle was intentionally steered off the road or into another lane of travel in order to avoid a crash.This investigation has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis (EA11-001) for subject vehicles sold or currently registered in Salt Belt States to further assess the scope, frequency and safety risks associated with sudden failures of corroded brake pipes that can result in decreased brake effectiveness. ODI will continue to gather information on subject vehicles outside the Salt Belt as well.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA04012

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Power Assist
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist System

    Summary: GM is conducting a recall on all subject vehicles build between May 1999 and October 14, 1999.significant changes were incorporated into production in early October 1999, and vehicles built after that date have lower warranty failure rates.the complaint and warranty data appear to support the effectiveness of these changes. GM made additional changes in November 1999, February 2000, May 2001, and February 2004.ODI will continue to monitor this problem and will take further action, if warranted, in the future.for further technical details see the attached engineering analysis report.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA04005

    Component(s): Latches/Locks/Linkages:Tailgate:Latch
    Structure:Body:Tailgate:Hinge And Attachments

    Summary: General Motors filed a defect notice 04V-129 on March 17, 2004, which outlines a program to replace the tailgate cables installed in affected model year 2000-2004 vehicles.refer to ODI's closing report for EA04-005 for additional information.ODI is aware of reports of tailgate cable breakage occurring in model year 1999 and earlier vehicles.these vehicles were equipped with similar tailgate cables as addressed by 04V-129, but are not being addressed by campaign O4V-129.ODI is initiating a separate investigation to address these vehicles.the complaint-injury-fatality statistics summarized above pertain to model year 2000-2004 vehicles. The complaint-injury statistics for model year 1999 and earlier vehicles are summarized on the opening resume for that investigation.

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