Investigators for the National Highway Traffic safety Administration are taking a closer look at 2007 Chrysler Pacificas equipped with the 4.0-liter V6. There is a concern that the vehicles could be prone to engine bay fires. A cross-threaded power steering fitting that prevents proper sealing of the hydraulic system could be the root cause. Chrysler has received 166 warranty claims and 25 complaints reporting smoke and fire breaking out. NHTSA has also received three complaints, and the fires seem to be localized to the front of the vehicle, indicating that a power steering leak could indeed be to blame.
Chrysler is aware of the problem, which is specific to the 4.0-liter equipped Pacificas, and traced it to a tube nut on the high pressure power steering line. The nut was found to have been cross threaded when attached to the steering gear, which prevents the o-ring from sealing. Chrysler has put extra quality assurance and assembly processes in place to solve the problem. The automaker also explained that owners should monitor the level of power steering fluid and listen for a noisy pump; both telltale signs that offer a degree of early warning before the Pacifica goes up in smoke. If NHTSA continues to see a problem, a recall of the 2007 Pacifica could be imminent.
Thanks to Autoblog reader Thedevil (we don't make this stuff up) for the tip.