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Mercedes, BMW recall sports cars; Chrysler recalls trucks

October 08, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Mercedes-Benz will recall some of its SL sports cars because a problem with the air conditioning could start a fire.
Mercedes-Benz will recall some of its SL sports cars because a problem with… (Mercedes-Benz )

Mercedes-Benz is recalling one of its fanciest cars because the air conditioning refrigerant could explode under certain crash conditions.

The German luxury automaker will recall 432 of its 2013 model year SL-Class cars to fix the problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday. The sticker price of the SL, a two-door sports car, starts at more than $100,000 and ranges up to nearly $150,000 depending on options and equipment.

Mercedes isn't the only German automaker with a problem in some high-end cars.

Arch rival BMW will recall 696 M5 and M6 coupe and M6 convertible sports cars from the 2013 model year to replace a faulty oil pump. The pump could fail and cause the car to stall and potentially crash, the NHTSA said. BMW plans to replace the pumps.

In a larger action, Chrysler is recalling 44,300 model-year 2009-2010 Ram 1500 and Dodge Dakota trucks because a rear axle pinion nut may loosen due to a lack of adhesive. If the rear axle pinion nut loosens, the axle can lock up and cause a loss of vehicle control and a crash. Chrysler plans to replace the nut on those vehicles.

With the Mercedes SL recall, the German automaker said it learned of the problem while testing a different vehicle that it did not name because it is not sold in the U.S. However, that car uses the same refrigerant as the SLs.

The testing was designed to replicate worst-case conditions in a severe frontal crash that would cause a rupture of the air conditioner refrigerant line. The automaker found that a rupture of a refrigerant line could result in a gaseous mixture of refrigerant being released into the engine compartment and igniting, causing the vehicle to burn.

Mercedes said it will fix the problem by using a different refrigerant and new hose lines.

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