GM recalling 1.5 million cars over fire fears

The recall involves certain GM vehicles in which oil apparently can leak and ignite.
The possibility of engine fires has prompted General Motors to recall nearly 1.5 million passenger sedans manufactured between 1997 and 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday.

The recall covers certain mid- and full-size passenger sedans under GM’s Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac brands. The affected vehicles have naturally aspirated 3.8 liter V6 engines — that is, engines that use atmospheric pressure rather than a mechanical blower to bring in air for combustion — according to documents that GM filed with federal regulators last week. On Friday, the federal government acknowledged the filing and agreed to the plan. The problem involves a potential for oil to leak on the exhaust manifold during hard braking. When a car operates under normal conditions, the manifold can get very hot. Oil that runs below the manifold’s heat shield could ignite and spread to plastic channels that hold spark plug wires. As a solution, the company recommends a change in the bracket that holds spark plug wires, which will be done free of charge. Owners and dealers affected by the recall will be notified by letter next month with details.

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The vehicles involved are: • 1997-2003 Buick Regals. • 1998-2003 Chevrolet Luminas, Monte Carlos and Impalas. • 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigues. • 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix. GM issued a recall on a similar engine in 2008, according to the company’s filing with the government. That problem was traced to a faulty gasket on the engine rocker cover.