WASHINGTON - DaimlerChrysler is recalling a half-million trucks because of three separate safety defects. They are fuel tanks that break loose, brake lines that leak and brake rotors that deteriorate in wintry weather.
The fuel tank problem involves about 150,000 Dodge Durango sport-utilities from the 1998 and 1999 model years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in its monthly report on safety recalls, said fuel tank straps break from fatigue, which leaves the tank unsupported and increases the risk of gasoline spills.
The agency said dealers are to replace the straps with a redesigned version.
About 100,000 of the 1998 Durangos also are being recalled because of a rear brake line that chafes against an underbody cross member and develops leaks.
Dealers are to install rubber isolators on lines that have not been damaged and replace those that show signs of severe wear with lines already equipped with the rubber guards, NHTSA said.
The agency said front brake rotors need to be replaced on about 334,000 1995 Jeep Cherokees and 1994-95 Grand Cherokees in 15 cold-weather states and Washington, D.C.
NHTSA officials said the rotors corrode after being exposed to ice- and snow-melting chemicals, and the cast-iron surface that the brake pads contact can break away from the stamped-steel center hub.
The replacement version has a stainless steel center hub coated with protective material.
The recall affects vehicles in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
NHTSA reported two other smaller recalls by DaimlerChrysler.
The company is replacing passenger airbag modules in 350 vehicles from the 2000 model year because they do not have the right amounts of inflator chemicals.
The affected vehicles are Dodge Intrepid, Chrysler Concorde and 300M, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Company spokesman Mike Aberlich said an employee inadvertently switched the amounts of chemical charge in the cars' and trucks' airbags so that the cars wound up with too little and the Grand Cherokees with too much.
Seventy-six 2000 Dodge Ram pickups are being recalled so front axles can be replaced. NHTSA said the recalled vehicles have poor quality welds where the right lower control arm bracket attaches to the axle tube.
Here are other safety recalls reported by NHTSA:
1999 MERCURY VILLAGER, NISSAN QUEST; 1999-2000 NISSAN FRONTIER
Problem: Bulbs fall out of improperly molded taillight sockets.
Fix: Replace the sockets.
2000 SATURN L SERIES
Problem: A fuel tank pressure relief valve may stick open in a crash, allowing gasoline to spill and creating a fire hazard.
Fix: Seal the valve's outlet port.
2000 FORD FOCUS
Problem: Water seeps into speed control cable, damages servo assembly and increases risk of unexpected acceleration.
Fix: Replace cable and servo assembly, if it is damaged.
2000 HONDA S2000
Problem: Seat belts do not retract properly when top is down and seats are back.
Fix: Replace top cover.
2000 FORD CONTOUR, MERCURY MYSTIQUE
Problem: Left rear door has label with wrong instructions for childproof lock.
Fix: Provide owner with revised label and instructions.
2000 FORD WINDSTAR
Problem: Wrong bond was used for windshield and rear liftgate window, creating possibility that glass would not be sufficiently secure in a crash.
Fix: Replace windshield and rear liftgate window.
1996-97 SUZUKI SIDEKICK
Problem: Front strut mounting bolts break away at upper attachment to the vehicle body.
Fix: Add reinforcement between top of strut and vehicle body.
1994 MAZDA 626, MX-6
Problem: Headlight wire from turn signal lever breaks at headlight switch.
Fix: Replace headlight switch.
1999-2000 AM GENERAL HUMMER
Problem: Brake lines from master cylinder to ABS modulator leak.
Fix: Replace the lines.
2000 ASTON MARTIN DB7
Problem: Poor welds allow front damper mounting bracket to break free and interfere with steering.
Fix: Replace bracket.
2000 BMW X5
Problem: Misplaced plastic collar allows steering input shaft to separate from steering rack.
Fix: Reposition plastic collar.