NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 1999 Chrysler Cirrus

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 1999 Chrysler Cirrus, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE05036

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline

    Summary: On June 29, 2005, ODI opened preliminary evaluation PE05-036 to investigate complaints of engine compartment fires in model year (MY) 1999-2000 Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge stratus and Plymouth breeze passenger cars ("JA cars"). the JA cars were introduced in MY 1995 and ended with MY 2000.they were produced with 2.0L, 2.4L and 2.5L engines.the incident data in the failure report summary of this resume are for subject vehicle engine compartment fires for all causes. According to DaimlerChrysler, evidence collected from field inspections of fire incident vehicles indicate that fluid leakage from the high pressure power steering hose is the most likely cause of the fires in the subject vehicles.the subject high pressure power steering hose is used in JA cars with both the 2.4L and 2.0L engines in MY 1995 through 2000.the fire incident rate in the MY 1999 through 2000 JA vehicles with 2.4L engines is significantly higher than in the prior model year vehicles using that engine and in any of the vehicles with the 2.0L or 2.5L engines.DaimlerChrysler is continuing its investigation of the issue and has provided periodic updates to ODI. An engineering analysis (EA05-019) has been opened to further assess the scope and frequency of the alleged defect in the subject vehicles.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA03011

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission
    Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Lever And Linkage:Floor Shift

    Summary: The manufacturer reports above are based on DaimlerChrysler's (DC) analysis of model year (MY) 1998 (population = 356,384) and 1999 (population = 486,948) JA, JX and LH family subject vehicle data (earlier MYs excluded).the population number includes all MYs.the precise number of duplicates between ODI and DC reports cannot be determined due to missing or incomplete information.the fatality incident involved an elderly person who attempted to stop a roll away vehicle and received fatal injuries.ODI also gathered information on MY 1997-99 Prowler vehicles in this investigation. The Prowler vehicles were manufactured with a different design shifter mechanism (the shift lever is shorter).there are no complaints of Prowler interlock failure in ODI's database, and DC has received no reports either.the Prowler is excluded from the recall scope.the investigation involved a condition where the interlock system could fail (or be made inoperative by the operator) during vehicle use, possibly inadvertently.the interlock system is required under FMVSS 114.with the transmission in the park position and the ignition key off, the combined action of pressing the shift button and pulling the shift lever rearward may result in the operator overcoming the interlock system and cause the mechanical linkage of the system to disconnect.when this occurs, there is no overt indication to an operator that the system is defeated, and an increased risk of vehicle roll-away exists.under recall 04V021, DC will replace damaged shift mechanisms, and will install on all vehicles a device which inhibits the operator's ability to overcome the interlock and defeat the system.beginning with MY 2000, DC incorporated a brake and transmission shifter interlock (BTSI) system into the subject vehicles.introduction of BTSI involved design changes to the shift mechanism, one of which resulted in reduced mechanical advantage (RMA) of the shift button.the RMA shifter requires increased forces to overcome the interlock system, making the shifter less susceptible to damage.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ03005

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: April 08, 2003
    • Date Closed: July 16, 2003
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Lever And Linkage:Floor Shift

    Summary: Three of the manfacturer complaints and two of the manufacturer crashes reported above were duplicates of ODI reports.the majority of crashes occurred after operators parked the vehicle without engaging park gear position; a non-functional ignition-park interlock system subsequently failed to prevent key removal before the operators exited the vehicle.most of the crashes were minor and involved minor property damage.four of the injury incidents occurred when unattended children moved the gearshift from the park position causing the vehicle to roll away, one injury occurred when the operator was struck by a roll-away vehicle after parking and exiting.all injuries were relatively minor.a significant number of interlock system failures appear to be related to disengagement of the interlock pin that rides in the interlock lever slot within the shift mechanism.an engineering analysis will be opened to further study interlock system failures.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA05019

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: November 07, 2005
    • Date Closed: January 12, 2006
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling
    Steering:Hydraulic Power Assist:Hose, Piping, And Connections

    Summary: ODI has received 29 reports of engine compartment fires that appear to be related to power steering hose leakage in model year (MY) 1999 and 2000 Chrysler Cirrus, Dodge stratus and Plymouth breeze vehicles (JA-cars) equipped with 2.4L engines.these reports indicate that the fire resulted from a power steering hose leak or that it occurred after an extended drive and shortly after being parked - conditions consistent with ignition of power steering fluid on a hot engine or exhaust surface during the vehicle hot soak period. On January 6, 2006, DaimlerChrysler corporation (DCC) notified NHTSA of a safety defect on MY 1999 and 2000 JA-cars built from July 1, 1998 to July 31, 2000 and equipped with 2.4L engines (recall 06V-001).the notification stated that ¿the high pressure power steering hose may prematurely heat, age and develop a leak. Power steering fluid leakage in the presence of an ignition source may result in an under hood fire."DCC indicated that it was aware of 94 complaints and field reports that may be related to this condition when it made the defect determination.to remedy the defect condition, DCC will replace the high pressure power steering hose on the affected vehicles with a new part made from a hose material with increased heat resistance capability. Consequently, this investigation is closed.ODI will monitor the effectiveness of the remedy and take further action if warranted.

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