HOLDEN will contact almost 3500 Commodore and Caprice owners and ask them to visit service centres after noticing performance problems and a potential fire risk in vehicles converted to run on LPG.
According to the car-maker, the hose feeding LPG gas to the engine in about 1100 vehicles, including a corporate taxi-friendly version of the Caprice long-wheelbase limousine, could develop a “durability condition” that results in a “very slow” leak towards the end of the vehicle’s lifetime.
“In this circumstance, fuel may leak at a very low rate of one or two millilitres per minute,” Holden said in a statement posted with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which handles vehicle recalls.
“If this defect occurs, it may pose a fire hazard to consumers. However, due to the slow rate of the leak, Holden believes the risk of combustion associated with this defect is very low.”
Holden’s figures show that if the line for the LPG tank does spring a slow leak, under worst conditions it could empty itself within a month at the rate of almost three litres of fuel a day.
In a separate problem identified for a wider number of LPG-powered Commodores and Caprices, and including those identified as at risk of the gas leak, Holden said it had noticed that the fuel system’s excess flow valve in almost 3500 vehicles “may restrict fuel supply to the engine, resulting in reduced engine performance”.
“In this circumstance, the driver will no longer be able to increase engine speed when commanded, potentially posing an accident hazard to the driver and other road users,” it said.
The latest pair of recalls brings the number of locally made Holden large cars brought back to workshops in the last two months to almost 87,000 vehicles, fixing problems including incorrectly lubricated wiper motors and fraying seatbelt harnesses.
However, Holden’s recall problems pale in contrast with its US parent, General Motors, which this week issued yet another recall covering 8.4 million vehicles, bringing its running total of pending fixes to 29 million vehicles this year alone – equivalent to two years of US new-car sales.
The latest recall for GM bumps up the amount of money it will need to spend on fixing the problems, which in some instances have been linked to a handful of deaths and injury, to $US1.2 billion ($A1.26 billion) for the second quarter alone.