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NHTSA investigating power modules on Chrysler Group SUVs and minivans

Mon, 29 Sep 2014

The Center for Auto Safety is officially petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to begin scrutinizing alleged problems with the totally integrated power module (TIPM) on about 24 Chrysler Group SUVs and minivans. The advocacy group claims that the part's failure can cause affected vehicles to stall or not start at all. NHTSA is still looking into the accusations and deciding whether a full investigation is actually warranted.

The CAS petition claims at least 70 TIPM failures, but according to NHTSA, six of the complaints are for models that don't have the modules. In 34 of the reported cases, the vehicles refused to start, and in 17 of them the engine stalled. There were also two allegations of smoke and one of a fire. However, none of these affected airbag deployment or resulted in a crash.

This petition isn't the first TIPM-related problem for Chrysler Group. A recent report in the New York Times alleged that it found 240 complaints potentially related to the issue on NHTSA's website alone. In September, the automaker also recalled 230,760 examples worldwide (188,723 in the US) of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango replace the fuel pump relay circuit inside of the TIPM-7 with one external to the unit. The original part could allegedly cause the models to stall without warning. Even earlier, the company also recalled about 80,000 examples of the Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Nitro in 2007 to have the module reprogrammed.

Autoblog spoke to Chrysler Group about the defect petition and was sent the following statement by email:

"In keeping with sound engineering practice and Chrysler Group's longstanding policy of cooperation with NHTSA, the Company is actively investigating customer complaints and retrieving components from the field for closer analysis. Every Chrysler Group vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable safety standards."

Scroll down to read NHTSA's full explanation of the defect petition with the models CAS wants investigated, the recall notice for Chrysler's fuel pump recall and the automaker's statement about it.

INVESTIGATION Subject : Totally Integrated Power Module Failure
Date Investigation Opened: SEP 25, 2014
Date Investigation Closed: Open
NHTSA Action Number: DP14004
All Products Associated with this Investigation
Vehicle Make Mode lModel Year(s)
DODGE NITRO 2007-2012
DODGE NITRO 4X2 2007,2009
DODGE NITRO 4X4 2007,2009
DODGE RAM 1500 2009-2012
DODGE RAM 2500 2010-2012
DODGE RAM 3500 2010-2012
DODGEvRAM 4500 2011-2012
DODGE RAM 5500 2011-2012
JEEP LIBERTY 2007-2012
JEEP WRANGLER 2-DR 4X4 2007-2009
JEEP WRANGLER 2-DR 4X4 RHD 2007-2009
JEEP WRANGLER 4-DR 4X2 2007-2009
JEEP WRANGLER 4-DR 4X4 2007-2009

Manufacturer: Chrysler Group LLC

In a letter dated August 21, 2014, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to initiate a defect investigation into failures associated with the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) installed in Chrysler SUVs, trucks, and vans beginning in the 2007 model year. The CAS alleges that TIPM failures have resulted in incidents of engine stall; airbag non-deployment; random horn, headlight, taillight, door lock, instrument panel and windshield wiper activity; failure of fuel pump shutoff resulting in unintended acceleration; and fires. The petition includes a list of 70 complaints received by CAS that are allegedly related to Chrysler TIPM failures. The petition references a class action lawsuit regarding TIPM7 module failure and 63 of the CAS complaints relate to vehicles equipped with TIPM7 body control modules (1 complaint involves a vehicle equipped with a TIPM6 module and 6 complaints involve vehicles that were not equipped with TIPM modules). This defect petition review will focus on vehicles equipped with TIPM7 modules. Preliminary analysis of the 63 CAS complaints related to TIPM7 equipped vehicles identified 51 reports alleging incidents of engine stall (17) or no-start (34). Three complaints reported incidents of smoke (2) or fire (1). None of the reports provided alleged TIPM failures resulting in airbag non-deployment or unintended acceleration and none of the complaints alleged a crash. In a supplement to the petition, CAS identified 24 crashes from NHTSA's Early Warning Reporting (EWR) database that it believes may be related to TIPM failure and requested that NHTSA review these as part of its petition evaluation. In a September 3, 2014 letter, Chrysler Group LLC notified NHTSA of a safety defect in the Totally Integrated Power Module-7 (TIPM 7) in approximately 188,723 MY 2011 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles equipped with 3.6L and 5.7L engines (Recall 14V-530). According to Chrysler, some Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles may experience a failure in the fuel pump relay within the TIPM which can result in a no-start or stall condition. Thirty-six (36) of the complaints submitted with the petition involve MY 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango vehicles equipped with 3.6L and 5.7L engines. The petition will be evaluated for a grant or deny decision. A copy of the petition will be placed in the public file (NHTSA Ref. No. 10637920).

RECALL Subject : Fuel Pump Relay may Fail Resulting in Stall
Report Receipt Date: SEP 04, 2014
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V530000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 188,723
All Products Associated with this Recall
Vehicle Make Model Model Year(s)

Manufacturer: Chrysler Group LLC

SUMMARY: Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2011 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured January 5, 2010, to July 20, 2011, and equipped with either a 3.6L or 5.7L engine. In the affected vehicles, the fuel pump relay inside the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM-7) may fail, causing the vehicle to stall without warning.

CONSEQUENCE: A vehicle stall increases the risk of a crash.

REMEDY: Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel pump relay with one external to the TIPM, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on October 24, 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is P54.

NOTES: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to

Statement: Fuel-Pump Relay
September 20, 2014

Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group is voluntarily recalling an estimated 230,760 SUVs to install new a relay circuit that improves fuel-pump relay durability.

A routine internal data review discovered a pattern of repairs involving fuel-pump relays in certain 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs. Further investigation revealed some relays are susceptible to deformation, which may affect fuel-pump function. Such a condition may prevent a vehicle from starting or lead to engine stall.

Chrysler Group is unaware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition.

The fuel-pump relay is located inside the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM), which also helps manage other vehicle functions. None of these other functions, including airbag deployment, is affected by the fuel-pump relay.

The recall covers an estimated 188,723 vehicles in the U.S.; 15,898 in Canada; 7,126 in Mexico and 19,013 outside the NAFTA region.

Chrysler Group will advise affected customers when they may schedule service, which will be performed at no cost.

Owners with questions may call Chrysler Group's Customer Information Center at 1-800-853-1403.

By Chris Bruce

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