— A 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee clock spring recall may be needed, according to consumer groups that wrote to Chrysler about a recall of 1998-2001 Dodge Grand Caravans.
The minivans had been recalled years ago to repair problems related to the clock springs that prevented the airbags from deploying in a crash.
According to Consumer Watchdog, the Center for Auto Safety and Ralph Nader at the Center for Responsive Law, the same clock springs used in the minivans are the same or similar design as the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee clock springs.'
In May 2010, Mr. Scott Finnerman was involved in a crash where the driver-side airbag should have deployed in the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. However, the airbag failed and Finnerman sued Chrysler claiming the airbag system failed to protect him.
According to the lawsuit, Finnerman suffered life-threatening injuries that required more than four years of surgeries. Mr. Finnerman says although he was permanently disfigured, his passenger in the Grand Cherokee was unharmed because the passenger-side airbag deployed properly.
Through the course of the lawsuit, evidence allegedly shows the clock spring didn't conduct electrical continuity in the Jeep, the same problem that caused the recall of the Dodge Grand Caravans.
The consumer groups claim Chrysler tested the clock spring in Finnerman's Jeep and found that in addition to rendering the driver-side airbag unable to operate, the faulty clock spring interfered with the airbag warning system.
Chrysler documents indicate the lack of electrical continuity causes failures of the warning lights in the instrument panels, leaving drivers in the dark about the deactivated airbags.
According to the groups, they wrote Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley on October 23, 2018, informing Manley of what has come to light in the Finnerman lawsuit. The letter seeks answers as to why the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee hasn't been recalled even though the clock springs are the same design as the components used in 1998-2001 Grand Caravans.
The consumer groups said they would be referring details to the government if Chrysler didn't respond to the letter, a letter that was sent more than two weeks ago without a response from Chrysler.