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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 1995 GMC Suburban

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 1995 GMC Suburban, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE99073

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: December 03, 1999
    • Date Closed: May 02, 2000
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System

    Summary: ODI has received 21 complaints where owners allege that the standard GM factory supplied ac delco battery case failed, resulting in the leakage of sulfuric acid.of the 21 complaint vehicles, six Suburban, three Tahoe, and one Yukon owner(s) complained about a loss of brake fluid from deterioration of the right frontbrake line as a result of sulfuric acid contamination.the remaining 11 complaints pertain primarily to sulfuric acid leakage from the battery least one complainant stated that the replacement battery also failed.several of the complainants note that the leaking acid had come in contact with a wire harness at the frame in the vicinity of the steel brake line.a field inspection by ODI indicates that the described harness is the ABS connection to the right front wheel speed sensor.prior to the battery case failure, there is usually no warning (short of an underhood inspection), and the ensuring damage (sulfuric acid contamination) is progressive.of the known battery failures, there may be a temperature correlation, as 60% of the owner complaints came from four states; California, Florida, Georgia and Texas.there is also a product improvement program and engineering change notice to add 1% silver to the battery's positive side terminall, with the earliest implementation date for this being Feb 2, 1998.the effect of this design change is as yet unknown; further review is ea is being opened to gather further appropriate information, clarify any defect trends, and to assess the safety implications and risks concerning these failures.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP00001

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: January 31, 2000
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Equipment

    Summary: The petition alleges that cracks in the hitch receiver platform may lead to separation of the trailer and loss of steering control


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE00017

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: April 11, 2000
    • Date Closed: September 26, 2000
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Exterior Lighting

    Summary: Based on the reports received by ODI from consumers, failure of the headlight electrical circuit may occur in the subject vehicles, and may result from repeated adjustment ofthe tilt steering wheel in the subject vehicles.repeated adjustment of the steering wheel position may strain the wiring in the headlight circuit to the point of failure where they are attached to the multi-function switch, resulting in the unanticipated loss of headlights while the vehicle is in motion.ODI has concerns regarding the high rate of warranty repairs for problems potentially associated with the alleged defect in the subject vehicles, with the recognition the each incident of headlight failure represents a condition of vehicle addition, the manufacturer's evaluation of the alleged defect has not been received, and this office has interest in the details of the methodologies and results of that assessment.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA00008

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: March 16, 2000
    • Date Closed: August 31, 2001
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic

    Summary: There is no summary currently available


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA95026

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic

    Summary: Poor performance of ABS brakes


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE95052

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: October 25, 1995
    • Date Closed: March 22, 1996
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Steering:Wheel And Handle Bar

    Summary: ODI opened this PE on November 13, 1995 based on an owner complaint concerning a September 1995 accident involving a 1995 1/2 ton GM pickup truck.the vehicle owner alleged the bolt used to join the 2-piece steering shaft was missing.the shafts then separated and steering control was lost. During the course of this investigation, ODI has gathered information from staff at the following: Auto collision insurance companies, third-party products liability industry, independent repair shops, involved vehicle operators, General Motors corporation. According to GM, "the steering column and shafts were changed for the 1995 C/K models at the start of the 1995 model year.the change was made to incorporate driver air bag systems for the C/K10/20 with gvwr of less than 8500 lbs.however the change was made for all C/ks. For the 1995 model year, the steering column shaft was connected to the upper intermediate shaft with a bolt through the column shaft and the universal joint nut was required.this connection was made at the steering column assembly facility and the steering column is shipped to the vehicle assembly plant.this joint is located inside the vehicle cab.the upper intermediate shaft was connected to the lower intermediate shaft assembly is also connected to the steering gear at the vehicle assembly plant. The configuration of the upper intermediate shaft was changed at the start of the 1996 model year, with a small number of 1996 steering columns pulled ahead in the 1995 models assembled at the oshawa and ft. Wayne assembly plants.the universal joint of the upper intermediate shaft was replaced with a pot joint.this change was made to utilize a joint manufactured internally instead of externally supplied universal joint.the pot joint style connection to the steering column shaft was made with a through bolt and nut.this change was effective for 1995 vehicles assembled at ft. Wayne and oshawa in October 1995 and for all 1996 vehicles. ODI's analysis found that, of the 24 field reports, 14 involve vehicles produced at the ft. Wayne assembly plant.all 7 of the accidents involve trucks built there, as well.however, because the ft. Wayne assembly plant produces approximately the same number of vehicles as the other subject vehicle assembly plants, this finding can not be explained on the basis of vehicle population and exposure.ODI, with the information currently available, is unable to explain this phenomenon.ODI does have information indicating that the problem occurs infrequently and very early in the life of the vehicle.for the 24 field reports, including those reporting accidents, a failure occurred, on average, 129 days and 3900 miles after the truck was built.based on information from all sources, current through November 1995, ODI has found that one incident has occurred involving a subject vehicle built since July 8, 1995, - a period of 257 days.the data reviewed indicates accidents, allegedly due to the subject failure, occur even earlier in accidents, allegedly due to the subject failure, occur even earlier in the life of a subject truck, at an average of approximately 103 days. Finally, based on the 115 warranty and filed reports combined, the incident rate is 12/100,000 vehicles.of the 115 reports, 69 involve vehicles built at the janesville and ft. Wayne assembly plants (35 and 34 respectively).the janesville failure rate is 15/100,000 and the ft. Wayne rate is slightly lower at 14/100,000. A safety-related defect has not been indentified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear warranted.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 take further action if warranted by the circumstances.based on this information, ODI is closing the investigation because the data indicates no defect trend currently exists.


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA02006

    Component(s): Visibility:Windshield Wiper/Washer:Motor

    Summary: As a result of this, and the precedinginvestigation, RQ99-003, GM has expanded the population of safety recall 98V-150 (replacement of the windshield wiper control module) to include an additional 1.77 million vehicles.included are various 1994-1997 my M/L vans, S/T trucks and SUVS, & C/K trucks and SUVS.see attached technical report for details.

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