The Problem: A fault in the air bag control module used on 2002-2003 Liberty and 2002-2004 Grand Cherokee models may not only trigger a warning lamp in the instrument cluster, but potentially inadvertently deploy the front and side curtain airbags and activate the seatbelt pre-tensioners.
According to Chrysler’s notification submitted to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, Chrysler’s investigation – spurred in part by a NHTSA investigation opened in October of 2011 — found 126 deployments in 2002-2003 Liberty models, resulting in 59 minor injuries. At the same time, it uncovered 89 deployments in 2002-2004 Grand Cherokees, which led to 22 minor injuries. Chrysler says it is unaware of any accidents stemming from these deployments.
The root cause? A supplier briefly altered the metals used in capacitors found within the occupant restraint module, which increased their electrical resistance. This allowed normal voltage fluctuations in the car’s electrical system to trigger an airbag and/or pre-tensioner deployment.
The Fix: Chrysler will install an in-line jumper harness that essentially serves as a replacement for the aforementioned capacitors, allowing the module to function properly.
Vehicles Affected: Chrysler’s recall spans an estimated 744,822 vehicles, split between the 2002-2003 Liberty and 2002-2004 Grand Cherokee. According to Chrysler, it estimates roughly 0.03 percent of that volume – or some 22,344 vehicles – will be affected.
Source: Chrysler, NHTSA ODI