2003 Saturn Vue
2 Defect Investigations from the NHTSA
NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2003 Saturn Vue
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 Saturn Vue, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:
INVESTIGATION: TIMING CHAIN FAILURE
NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE06006
Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling
Summary: On December 12, 2005, ODI received a defect petition (DP05-008) requesting the investigation of timing chain failures that could cause stalling in Saturn vehicles equipped with the 2.2L (L61) engine. ODI opened PE06-006 on January 24, 2006, with 24 vehicle owner complaints that alleged a broken timing chain caused the vehicle to stop operating.on April 12, 2006, ODI received information from General Motors (GM) concerning timing chain failures in approximately 412,000 model year (MY) 2000 through 2003 Saturn L-series and ion vehicles with 2.2L engines. GM's response included 1,020 owner complaints and field reports concerning timing chain failure, including 228 that alleged the failure caused the vehicle to stall while driving.GM also provided warranty claim data that showed 1,902 subject vehicles receiving timing chain repairs, including 261 which indicated that a stall while driving resulted from the failure.the GM complaints, field reports and warranty claims that did not contain sufficient information to determine that a stall while driving occurred were provided in the category "other."GM stated that the majority of these incidents probably occurred while the vehicles were parked "since the timing chain is more likely to break during high chain load situations, such as engine startup."GM's data showed elevated failure rates in approximately 20,500 MY 2001 L-series vehicles produced during a four month period from November 2000 through February 2001.over one-third of GM's total complaints and field reports (34.3%) and warranty claims (38.2%) involved L-series vehicles built during the 4-month period, which are only about 5% of subject vehicle production.the timing chain failure rate in the vehicles built during this range is over 10 times greater than the remaining subject vehicle population. For the MY 2001 L-series vehicles built during the 4-month period, the 36-month failure rate for repairs involving stall while driving is slightly under one percent.however, if the incidents coded as "other" are added, the 36-month failure rate rises to nearly five percent for those vehicles.ODI and GM are continuing to assess the number of complaints and warranty claims coded by GM as "other" that involve incidents of stall while driving.GM's statistical modeling of the failure data initially concluded that the failure rates were declining with age and mileage for any set of warranty data analyzed (e.g., stall while driving, other or combined).however, subsequent analysis showed that the failure rates are increasing. Based on the high complaint and warranty rates for timing chain failure in the 4-month production period for the MY 2001 L-series vehicles, this investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis to further assess the frequency of stall incidents due to timing chain failures in those vehicles (EA06-009).
INVESTIGATION: REAR SUSPENSION TOE CONTROL LINK
NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE04052
Summary: The Office Of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened this preliminary evaluation to investigate allegations of rear suspension failure in the subject vehicles during certain severe driving maneuvers.the investigation was prompted by NHTSA-conducted NCAP dynamic rollover test incidents involving MY 2004 Saturn Vue vehicles and one consumer complaint that alleged when recovering from a road edge departure, the left-rear wheel of a MY 2003 Saturn Vue ¿bent underneath the vehicle, ¿ resulting in a rollover crash.ODI analysis indicates that rear suspension failure during the NCAP tests was the result of wheel rim-pavement contact transmitting significant compressive forces to the toe control link, thus causing it to buckle.this failure occurred at low speed during a severe test used to assess roll stability.the forces generated during this type of wheel-rim pavement contact are more than six times the greatest forces measured during GM's most severe vehicle development and validation testing.ODI inspection and analysis of consumer complaint vehicles showed that damage to the toe control link appeared to be the result of vehicle crashes and did not precipitate the crashes.to date, ODI is aware of no vehicle crashes or rollover incidents related to the alleged defect.additionally, the manufacturer has notified the Agency that it is conducting a voluntary customer satisfaction service campaign to strengthen the rear suspension of 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.see summary report attached for further detail.