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GM recalls 5,000 vans over engine fire risk

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GM recalls 5,000 vans over engine fire risk

David Shepardson / The Detroit News

Washington -- General Motors Co. recalled 5,000 heavy duty vans late Friday, warning of a risk of engine fires -- and stopped selling the vehicles.

The company took the unusual step of urging customers to stop driving the vans immediately. GM spokesman Alan Adler said there were no injuries or accidents reported in connection with the issue.

GM said it was recalling about 5,000 heavy-duty 2010 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana passenger and cargo vans and halting production and sale of the vehicles until a fix for a suspected faulty alternator can be determined.

The company warned customers who purchased these vans, which were built in February and this month, to stop driving them, park them outside away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

Relatively few of the affected vans are in retail customer possession, the company said. About 1,300 are in rental and other fleets, and a stop sale order was issued Friday, preventing the fleet-owned vans from being rented or those on dealer lots from being sold. Others are being held at dealerships or in ports before being exported, GM said.

Only the 2500, three-quarter ton, and 3500, one-ton, Series vans are affected. Light-duty (half-ton) Express and Savana vans use a different alternator. The light-duty vans still are being built and shipped from the plant in Wentzville, Mo. Typical production at the plant is about 60 percent heavy-duty models.

Adler said three fires have occurred after the vans left the assembly plant. He also said there have been two fires at the Wentzville facility. One of the fires was at a railhead and included property damage.

"The stop sale and production halt are measures being taken to assure customer safety until we have a repair procedure," said Jeff Boyer, GM executive director of Safety and Interiors.

Separately, GM said about 1,400 AC Delco aftermarket parts also are affected by the recall. The affected part numbers are: 15200110; 15288861; 15263859 and 15847291.

Customers who had a heavy duty alternator replaced in February or March in a 2005-2010 heavy-duty Express or Savana van or other 2005-2009 GM truck or SUV are being urged to check their repair order receipts to determine if a suspect part was involved, GM said.

If it was, or the part used is unknown, customers are urged to stop driving their vehicles, park them away from buildings and other vehicles and, if possible, disconnect both battery cables.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Since Toyota Motor Corp. issued a stop sale for about 60 percent of its inventory of U.S. sales in January, other automakers have been following suit, including Hyundai Motor Corp., which briefly halted sales of its 2011 Sonata SE last month.

Automakers are halting sales of vehicles if they have a problem and the solution hasn't been identified -- as required by law.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100327/AUTO01/3270352/1148/auto01/GM-recalls-5-000-vans-over-engine-fire-risk#ixzz0jR0u4WPt

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