Details of GM's 3800 Model Engine Recall |

Details of GM's 3800 Model Engine Recall

Less Than 6 Percent of 25 Million Engines Under Recall


Sometimes the scope of automotive recalls can make it seem that every vehicle equipped with a particular part is suspect. But there might be no reason to panic if you're driving a car that carries a part affected by another car's recall.

The example of General Motors' 2009 recall of 1.4 million cars with 3.8-liter V6 engines also carried in millions of other GM cars is similar to many other examples from other car companies.

Ford issued a series of six recalls between 2000 and 2009 that cover more than 14 million cars and trucks equipped with a potentially faulty cruise control switch that can short out and cause a fire. In March 2012, BMW announced a recall of 1.3 million 2003-'10 BMW 5 Series and 6 Series cars because a malfunctioning electrical system could lead to a fire. And in 2014, a record year for recalls, Honda recalled 5.4 million cars for replacement of faulty airbags supplied by equipment manufacturer Takata Corp.

That adds up to a lot of cars. But it pales in comparison to the number of vehicles that automakers sell in the U.S., an average of more than 15 million a year since 2000, according to Edmunds data.

GM built and installed more than 25 million of the 3800 model V6 engines in its vehicles between 1975 and 2008. The V6 was one of the company's most popular engines for many years and is included on the WardsAuto's list of the best engines of the 20th century. Less than 6 percent are listed in the recall.

The vehicles covered by the GM engine recall were outfitted with the 3800 Series II design, manufactured between 1995 and 2004. They were identified in two phases. A 2008 recall of 207,000 vehicles applied only to turbocharged 1997-2003 Buick Regal and Pontiac Grand Prix models. The 2009 GM recall expanded the list to include more than 1.2 million normally aspirated versions of several GM models including the Grand Prix and Regal.

Here's the full list:

For both GM recalls, the danger comes from engine oil catching on fire after it has been spilled or leaked onto the hot surface of the exhaust manifold. If the oil catches fire, the flames can spread to plastic parts including the spark plug wiring channel and the upper intake manifolds and engine covers.

For more on the issue of recalled but unrepaired cars, please read:

Recalled but Unrepaired Cars Are a Safety Risk to Consumers

How NHTSA Gets Cars Recalled

Post-Recall Problems Pit Owners Against Carmakers

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  • bobg123 bobg123 Posts:

    This is my wife's 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix which burned last week, on Tuesday July 10, 2012, after she had turned the car off and removed the key. The recall work to supposedly fix this problem was done in May 2009 but this car still burned. The problem was on GM 3.8 V6 3800 engines of 1997-2003 on Grand Prix and other Chevy cars. My dad, a world war 11 vet used to talk of the Sherman Tanks being firetraps and with exploding shells coming at 2000 FPS fire was an expected risk. And this was a civilian vehicle!I wonder if the folks at GM or Behlmann where the recall work was done will be willing to work with my insurance company to cover the costs? Thank God this car was not parked in our garage when this happened. My facebook page for a link to the picture

  • pepedog pepedog Posts:

    While in TEXAS last October 2012, my grand-daughter called in complete PANIC. Told me her car was on fire 2001 grandprix under the hood. Got out of her car and within minutes car got totaled out. This vehicle had been supposedly fixed when recalled. Unfortunate this her first car handed down from my daughter who bought this car brand new in 2001. We never contacted GM, even worse we had just dropped insurance down to liability only. Poor KID left without a car, NOT FAIR TO HER...R.V. in Defiance, Ohio

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