2006 Saab 9-3
3 Defect Investigations from the NHTSA
NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2006 Saab 9-3
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 2006 Saab 9-3, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:
INVESTIGATION: REDUCED BRAKE POWER-ASSIST
NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE08005
Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Power Assist:Vacuum
Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Power Assist:Vacuum:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings
Summary: Saab automobile ab, a subsidiary of General Motors Corp. (GM), manufactured 12,317 subject vehicles through February 15, 2008, equipped with the "high feature" V6 turbocharged engine identified by regular production option LP9.a tandem vacuum brake booster assembly provides brake power-assist.the engine is the primary vacuum source to the booster and its effect is amplified by a venturi.under certain conditions, such as a cold engine start or at high altitudes, an electric vacuum pump (evp) supplements engine vacuum.a pressure switch measures brake booster vacuum and commands the evp when to turn on/off.check valves are located at the intake manifold, venturi, and pressure switch. GM identified two issues that affect evp performance: Corrosion of electrical components inside the pump caused by moisture ingress through the air outlet when the evp shuts off and the vacuum in a section of piping between the evp and the pressure switch is released to the atmosphere; and silicone contamination of the electrical contacts inside the pressure switch resulting in a noisy or impeded electrical signal.GM addressed evp performance with two design changes.in November 2007, GM modified the rubber protective cap that covers the evp air outlet to improve sealing and in February 2008, GM added a check valve to the section of piping between the evp and the pressure switch as close as possible to the evp in an effort to reduce the back flow of moisture through the pump. In total, the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) is aware of 240 subject vehicles affected by the alleged defect.complainants report that symptoms occur immediately after a cold engine start and only for a short duration (30 to 60 seconds), during which period the amount of brake power-assist provided to the operator may be reduced due to an inoperative evp.the symptoms may be more pronounced the longer the vehicle has been parked as there is a natural tendency for the brake booster to slowly release the vacuum over time if it is not replenished.full brake power-assist capability resumes after this brief cold start period or immediately after a warm engine start.the three reported crashes all occurred at low speeds (< 5mph) while reversing from a garage or parking space and resulted in minimal to minor property damage. The subject issue differs from a previous safety recall (05V-236) affecting certain model year (MY) 2003-2005 Saab 9-3 vehicles equipped with a defective check valve that could become brittle and fracture, resulting in a lasting and total loss of brake power-assist at any time.the defective check valve did not meet lifetime durability requirements and GM predicted a 100% failure rate at less than 4 years of service.in comparison, GM predicts an evp failure rate of approximately 6.4% at 3 years in service for the subject vehicles resulting in reduced brake power-assist for a short duration.the subject issue also differs from a previous ODI influenced safety recall (03V-474) to address evp moisture ingress in certain MY 2000 Volvo S40 and V40 vehicles.the recalled Volvo vehicles utilized a steel vacuum pipe between the evp and the brake booster.moisture ingress and subsequent corrosion could compromise the vacuum pipe resulting in a lasting and total loss of brake power-assist.moisture does not appear to have a significant impact on the polyether-ester plastic vacuum pipe used in the subject vehicles. A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be 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.
INVESTIGATION: Front Suspension Coil Spring Fracture
NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA08026
Component(s): Suspension:Front:Springs:Coil Springs
Summary: To date, ODI is aware of 142 non-duplicative complaints related to the alleged defect.In addition, ODI is aware of 2,626 subject vehicles with one or more warranty claims related to the alleged defect.In total, ODI is aware of 2,714 unique subject vehicles that have experienced one or more front suspension coil spring fractures.ODI is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the alleged defect.The engineering design and testing data supplied by GM, along with the frequency of consumer complaints and warranty claims related to the alleged defect, tends to support the position that, in general, the coil springs that fractured on many subject vehicles did not achieve the expected service life.However, in regard to the subject vehicles, a front suspension coil spring fracture itself has little safety consequence, as evidenced by the minimal impact on vehicle ride and handling and by the number of drivers who were unaware of the failure condition for some time until alerted by service personnel.The ratio of tire punctures to coil spring fractures appears low and there are no reports of crashes, deaths or injuries related to the alleged defect. A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be 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 continue to monitor this issue and will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.See the EA08-026 Engineering Analysis Closing Report for more details.
INVESTIGATION: FRONT SUSPENSION COIL SPRING FRACTURE
NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE08051
Component(s): Suspension:Front:Springs:Coil Springs
Summary: On August 28, 2008, the Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened a preliminary evaluation (PE08-051) to investigate alleged front suspension coil spring fractures in certain model year (MY) 2003-2004 Saab 9-3 vehicles sold or registered in "salt belt" states.(note: For purposes of this investigation, the "salt belt" includes Connecticut, Delaware, the 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).subsequent analysis of data provided by General Motors Corp. (GM) has led the Agency to expand the scope of this investigation to include all MY 2003-2006 Saab 9-3 vehicles sold or registered in "salt belt" states. To date, ODI is aware of 53 non-duplicative complaints and/or field reports that allege coil spring fracture in the subject vehicles, including 23 alleging the fractured spring damaged a tire, with 16 of those involving a tire puncture.analysis of warranty data provided by GM identified 1,218 claims paid to repair subject vehicles that experienced the alleged defect, of which 138 vehicles also suffered damage to the adjacent tire and of those, 79 vehicles experienced a tire puncture.ODI is not aware of any crashes or injuries related to the alleged defect. GM made several design changes to the coil springs and/or mcpherson strut assemblies used in the subject vehicles in an apparent effort to address the alleged defect condition.however, GM maintains that the subject vehicles remain well controlled in the event of tire puncture, that the rate of tire puncture incidents related to coil spring fractures is low, and that the alleged defect does not pose an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.accordingly, this investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis (EA08-026) to further study the safety consequences of the alleged defect.