Fiat Chrysler Recalls 4.8 Million Vehicles

Fiat Chrysler has recalled approximately 4,800,000 vehicles because of a problem with the cruise control.  If the control short circuits, the driver might not be able to deactivate the control in order to reduce speed.  Use of the malfunctioning cruise control increases the driver’s risk of a crash.   The following vehicles are involved in this recall: 2014-2018 Chrysler 300 sedans, Dodge Charger sedans, Journey and Durango SUVs, Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks, Ram 3500 trucks (greater than 10,000 pounds), 4500 and 5500 cab-chassis trucks, Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SUVs; 2014-2019 Ram 1500 trucks, 2015-2018 Dodge Challenger sedans, 2015-2017 Chrysler 200 sedans, 2016-2018 Ram 3500 (less than 10,000 pounds) cab-chassis trucks, 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica minivans, and 2018 Jeep Wrangler SUVs.  The recall applies to those vehicles with automatic transmissions and gasoline engines.  Fiat Chrysler is advising drivers to stop using the cruise control.  If the driver cannot disengage the cruise control once engaged, the driver should press firmly on the brake pedal and shift the transmission lever from drive to neutral.  Let the vehicle coast to a stop while steering safely to the side of the road and then placing the shift lever in park once the vehicle has come to a complete stop.  Owner notification will begin on or about July 6, 2018.  Owners should then take their vehicles to their local dealer for a free repair.  For additional information, owners can contact Fiat Chrysler by calling 1-800-853-1403.

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It’s Not Always the Contractor’s Fault.

Although the time has come when warmer weather is upon us, the effects of this past winter are still being felt.  Recently, we were involved in an investigation that focused on the cause of damage to a water cooling coil located inside of a cooling tower (see photo below).  This might seem strange to some but, it is possible to require the cooling of a building during the winter.  In the investigation we were performing, the system was comprised of a water cooled water chiller.  This might not mean anything to most people but to those familiar with chiller operation, water was the fluid used to both cool the air and remove the heat absorbed by the refrigerant.  On the condenser side, water was circulated through a shell and tube heat exchanger and then pumped to another coil type heat exchanger located inside the cooling tower.  The problem arose when the local air temperature began to drop below freezing.  As the water temperature dropped below 40 F, water flow between the condenser and water coil was stopped (as part of the automatic control sequence).  As the air temperature continued to drop, the water temperature also dropped until the water froze inside the coil and caused it to burst in several places.  Since this was new construction, it was the engineer’s position that the mechanical contractor had erred and was negligent in their responsibility to protect the equipment.  However, it was later determined that the building had been turned over to the building owner under the substantial completion part of the contract.  As a result, the building owner was responsible for the protection of the building as well as the building’s mechanical systems.  Regardless of the positions taken by the various parties, the design of the HVAC system including the incorporation of freeze protection, was the responsibility of the mechanical engineer.  This responsibility is not an arbitrary assignment.  It has been long recognized by engineers and specifically, those engineers that are involved in HVAC design.  Although freeze protection had been designed into other parts of the system, no provision for freeze protection was made for the cooling coil located inside the cooling tower.  When all was said and done, the engineer failed to incorporate an adequate way to protect the coil and blamed the contractor in order to avoid the appearance of failure on their part.

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Ford Recalls Trucks and SUVs

The Ford Motor Company has recalled approximately 350,000 vehicles due to a problem with the transmission.  The vehicles involved are: 2018 Ford F 150 built in Dearborn between January 5, 2017 and February 6, 2018; 2018 Ford F 150 built in Kansas City between January 25, 2017 and February 16, 2018; 2018 Ford Expedition built in Kentucky between April 3, 2017 and January 30, 2018; and 2018 Ford F650 and 750 trucks built in Ohio between April 25, 2017 and March 9, 2018.  All of these vehicles contain an automatic transmission gear shift cable locking clip that was not properly seated.  As a result, the transmission might NOT be in “Park” after the driver has shifted into “Park” and could possibly roll away after the driver has left the vehicle.  Dealers will inspect vehicles free of charge and make adjustments accordingly.  For additional information, consumers can contact Ford by calling 1-800-392-3673.

Death by Driverless Car

A number of news outlets are already reporting the first pedestrian death that occurred when an autonomous vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe Arizona.  According to the news reports, the vehicle was operated by Uber with a human driver for safety.  The woman was crossing a street, at a point other than a crosswalk, with her bicycle.  It should be pointed out that, jaywalking is not recommended nor is it legal in most municipalities.   The vehicle, a Volvo XC90, failed to detect her presence, struck and killed her.  First and foremost, this is a prime example of the fact that we as a society are a long way from having autonomous vehicles take us where we want to go.  Second, there was a human being in the vehicle when the accident occurred, supposedly for safety purposes.  So, why didn’t he take the wheel and try to avoid hitting the woman?  Did the event present itself so suddenly that there wasn’t time for him to react?  Or was he so surprised by the woman’s appearance that he was stunned and couldn’t move?  It is possible that the woman walked into traffic in front of the Volvo with no thought about what she doing.  In that case, she was most likely at fault.  However, we are constantly being told that autonomous vehicles will be much safer and that the accident rate will go down when these vehicles are in common use.  But, what about when the car’s computer has to make an ethical decision?  What does the vehicle do when it has to decide whether to kill a pedestrian or crash into another vehicle and risk killing some or all of its occupants?  Speaking from a forensic standpoint, remember, the movements of the vehicle will be preprogrammed at the manufacturer’s factory based on various scenarios that drivers face everyday.  Are you ready to forfeit your life on the basis of what some programmer thinks is the right thing to do?

Ford Recalls Fusion and Lincoln MKZ Vehicles

The Ford Motor Company has announced that it is recalling approximately 1.3 million Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles for a steering wheel problem.  Specifically, the steering wheel in these vehicles is loosening and could possibly detach from the steering column.  This recall applies to

2014 – 2017 Fusion vehicles built at the Flat Rock plant between August 6, 2013 and February 29, 2016;

2014 – 2018 Fusion vehicles built at the Hermosillo Mexico plant between July 25, 2013 and March 5, 2018; and

2014 – 2018 Lincoln MKZ vehicles built at the Hermosillo Mexico plant between July 25, 2013 and March5, 2018.

Dealers will replace the steering bolt at no cost to customers.  For additional information, customers can contact Ford by calling 1-800-392-3673 or on-line by visiting www.ford.com and searching recalls.  You have your vehicle identification number to do a search.

Fire Hazards and Recalls

Infant Seats:

The U.S. consumer Product Safety Commission has announced that Fisher Price is recalling 63,000 infant motion seats.  The products are sold under the Soothing Motions Seats and Smart Connect Motions Seats brand names.  The model numbers involved are CMR35, CMMR36, CMR37, DYH22 and CMR39.  The motors in these infant seats have a tendency to overheat resulting in a fire hazard.  These products were sold by such stores as BuyBuyBaby, Target, Toys R Us, and Walmart. The seats were also sold on line by Amazon.com and other websites from November 2015 through October 2017.  Consumers should stop using these products and contact Fisher Price for a full refund.  Consumers can contact Fisher Price by calling 1-800-432-5437 or go on line to www.service.mattel.com and click on “Recalls and Safety Alerts” for additional information.  The recall number for this campaign is 18-015.  A photo of the seat is shown below.

Dishwashers:

On October 1, 2015 BSH Home Appliances recalled 149,000 dishwashers due to a faulty line cord that could overheat and ignite.  This recall has been recently expanded to included another 408,000 units.  The dishwashers were sold under the Bosch, Gaggenau, Jenn-Air, and Thermador brands.  The model and serial numbers for each brand included in the recall are shown below.

Bosch:

SHE33T   SHP53T   SHV53T   SHX53T

SHE53T   SHP65T   SHV68T   SHX65T

SHE65T   SHP7PT   SHV7PT   SHX68T

SHE68T             SHV8PT   SHX7PT

SHE7PT                       SHX8PT

SHE8PT

All of the above models fall in the serial number range FD 9209 – 9403

 

SGE53U   SHE9PT   SPE5ES   SPV5ES

SGE63E   SHV9PT   SPE53U   SPX5ES

SGE68U   SHX53R   SPE68U

SGV63E   SHX7ER            SPX68U

SGX68U   SHX9PT

All of the above models fall in the serial number range FD 9401- 9501

 

Gaggenau:

DF2417    DF2607    DF 2617

All of the above models fall in the serial number range FD 9401 – 9501

 

Jenn-Air:

JDB9600CWS   JDB9600CWP    JDB9600CWX

All of the above models fall in the serial number range FD 9404 – 9501

 

Thermador:

DWHD44   Serial number range FD 9209 – 9403

DWHD64 & DWHD65  Serial number range FD 9401 – 9501

Consumers are requested to stop using the recalled units and contact BSH Home Appliances for a free inspection and repair.  Consumers can call 1-888-965-5813 or go line at the brand websites www.bosch-home.com/us, www.gaggenau.com/us, www.jennair.com, or www.thermador.com and request additional information.  The recall number for this campaign is 18-013  The dishwashers are shown below.

 

 

 

Portable Power Banks:

Amazon has recalled 260,000 portable power banks due to fire and chemical burn hazards.  The unit’s battery can overheat and ignite.  This recall applies to six different versions of AmazonBasics’ portable lithium ion battery chargers/power banks.  The power banks can be identified by the black case imprinted with the AmazonBasics’ logo on the front.  In addition, the recalled units have one of the following product identification numbers: B00LRK8EV0, B00LRK8HJ8, B00LRK8170, B00LRK81V0, B00LRK8JDC, and B00ZQ4JQAA.  Consumers are requested to stop using the power bank units and contact Amazon for instructions on how to return the unit and receive a full refund.  Amazon can be contacted by calling 1-855-215-5134 or visiting https://amazonpowerbank.expertinquiry.com .  The recall number for this campaign is 18-728. A photo of the power banks is shown below.

 

 

Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners:

Goodman Company has announced the recall of 534,000 packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs) because the outdoor fan motor can overheat.  Overheating of the motor can pose burn and fire hazards.  This recall applies to units with the Goodman, Amana, York International, and Energy Knight brand names.  The unit models that are included in this recall begin with the following prefixes: EKTC15, EKTH15, PMC15, PMH12, PMH15, PTC15, PTH12, PTH15, UCBY15, and UCYH15.  The first four digits of the serial numbers are in the range between 1001 and 1709.  The units were installed in such places as motels, schools, hotels, and apartment buildings.  Consumers should contact Goodman for a free repair kit and installation by an authorized technician.  Goodman can be contacted by calling 1-888-803-0512 or on line at https://www.amana-ptac.com.  The recall number for this campaign is 18-113.  A photo of the unit is shown below.

 

Sink Top Garbage Disposal Switch:

Insinkerator has recalled its sink top accessory switch for garbage disposals due to a problem with water getting into the power module.  When this happens, the power module can overheat and ignite.  The models that are involved in this recall are 76703, STS-SOSN, 78251 and 74300.  1,400,000 units are affected.  Garbage disposals activated by a wall switch are not included in this recall.  Consumers should stop using the switch and contact Insinkerator for a free replacement.  Insinkerator can be contacted by calling 1-855-215-5695 or on line at www.insinkerator.com.  The recall number for this campaign is 18-116. A photo of the switch is shown below.

 

All of the above information was obtained from the website of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission at http://www.cpcs.gov

 

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Hyundai Santa Fe Recall

The National Highway Traffic Administration has announced that Hyundai Motor America is recalling approximately 43,941 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport vehicles.  All of the vehicles involved in the recall are for model year 2018.  The problem with the vehicles is that the steering wheel can break and separate from the steering column resulting in a loss of control and possibly a crash.  Hyundai is planning to notify owners and will replace the steering wheel assembly free of charge if necessary.  The recall is expected to begin on March 16, 2018.  Hyundai’s recall number for this campaign is 173.  For additional information, consumers can contact Hyundai be calling customer service at 1-855-371-9460.

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