NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2001 Jeep Cherokee

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 2001 Jeep Cherokee, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. Crash Related Fuel Tank Fires NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA12005

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Delivery:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly:Filler Pipe And Cap

    Summary: ODI has completed an extensive analysis of rear crash fuel tank system integrity data for the subject Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Liberty vehicles (SVs).As of June 2013, ODI knew of 56 post-collision fatal fires, 28 non-fatal fires, and 6 fuel leak incidents (totaling 90 incidents, 75 fatalities and 58 injuries) involving the SVs.Based on this analysis, ODI issued a Recall Request Letter (RRL) on June 3, 2013 requesting that Chrysler recall the Grand Cherokee and Liberty vehicles due to the rate of fatal, non-fatal fire, and fuel leak incidents when compared to peer vehicles (compact and medium SUVs) built during the same time period.In the RRL, ODI described how the location of the aft-mounted fuel tank made the SVs vulnerable to rear impact crash fuel tank failures.During the analysis, besides the high speed/high severity crashes present in both the SV and peer vehicles, ODI observed a significant number of low and moderate speed rear impact crash related fires and leaks, particularly in the Liberty.The data also demonstrated that SVs originally equipped with towing hitch receivers (trailer hitches) appeared to be under-represented in rear-impact related fuel tank failures.In the RRL, ODI requested that Chrysler provide its response by June 18, 2013, otherwise NHTSA might proceed to an Initial Decision that the SVs contain a safety-related defect.Chrysler responded to the RRL on June 4, 2013 and vigorously disputed the tentative findings of the RRL.Among other things, Chrysler argued that the SVs had an overall safety record superior to their peers, met or exceeded all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) and only experienced fires in severe high energy rear impacts.Nonetheless, while continuing to maintain that the SVs did not contain a safety-related defect, Chrysler proposed a recall (13V-252) of approximately 2.5M (1.6M currently registered) model year (MY) 1993 - 1998 Grand Cherokee (ZJ) and MY 2002-2007 Liberty (KJ) vehicles on June 18, 2013.The recall remedy submitted by Chrysler would employ a hitch receiver assembly consisting of a steel cross-member behind the fuel tank with forward-projecting arms bolted to the frame rails on either side of the fuel tank.For the MY 1999 - 2004 Grand Cherokee, Chrysler indicated it would conduct a customer satisfaction campaign and inspect vehicles equipped with aftermarket tow hitch receivers, and if necessary, replace any such hitch receivers whose conditionmay increase the risk of fuel system failure in rear crashes.Examination of the available data established that the MY 1999 - 2004 Grand Cherokee did not pose the same magnitude of safety risk as the MY 1993 - 1998 Grand Cherokee and MY 2002-2007 Liberty, particularly in low and moderate speed rear impacts.Because the agency has concluded that the vehicles do not present an unreasonable risk to safety, ODI is closing its investigation of the MY 1999 - 2004 Grand Cherokee.Although it was not within the scope of the Petition initiating this investigation or the Preliminary Evaluation preceding this EA, ODI also examined the performance of the MY 1993 - 2001 Cherokee as part of this investigation.NHTSA's assessment of the available data for the Cherokee did not establish an unreasonable risk in comparison to peer vehicles.ODI does not approve proposed defect remedies.While offering to install hitch receiver assemblies on the MY 1993-1998 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Liberty, Chrysler did not, in ODI's view, provide enough evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed remedy in rear impacts.The Complete Summary for this Closing Resume (EA12-005) can be seen by opening the following document:www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/UCM466679/INCLA-EA12005-9765.PDF

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA12005 »

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