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Chrysler recalls more than 247,000 cars, SUVs to fix gas tank, drive shaft

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DETROIT - Chrysler Group LLC is recalling more than 247,000 SUVs and cars for several problems, including faulty gas tank hoses, broken drive shafts and air bag warning lights that illuminate when there's no problem.

The largest of the recalls, posted Tuesday on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, covers about 139,000 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger sedans from the 2011 and 2012 model years. The automaker says that faulty wiring can cause the air bag warning lights to illuminate.

Cars made from April 11, 2011 to Dec. 14, 2011 are included. Chrysler says it will fix the vehicles for free and will start notifying owners about the problem this month.

The recall includes 119,000 cars in the U.S., with the rest in Canada, Mexico and other countries.

Chrysler also is recalling 78,500 two-wheel-drive Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro midsize SUVs because the drive shafts can break.

The SUVs are from the 2007 and 2008 model years. Chrysler says in documents filed with NHTSA that a heat shield can drop and rub against the drive shaft, causing it to wear and break. If the shaft breaks, the SUVs will lose power and the side air bags may inflate. Chrysler says it doesn't know of any crashes or injuries from the problem.

Dealers will install a bracket to hold the shield in place at no cost to customers.

The recall affects 61,400 vehicles in the U.S., 13,700 in Mexico, 1,000 in Canada and 2,300 elsewhere. Also included is a sister vehicle to the Liberty that is sold outside North America, the company said.

Chrysler says it has received less than 40 complaints about broken drive shafts in the vehicles.

Also, the automaker is recalling about 30,000 small SUVs because a faulty hose inside the gas tank can cause them to run out of fuel.

The recall affects Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass four-wheel-drive vehicles from the 2012 model year. If they run out of gas, the engines can stall.

Chrysler says it's aware of one crash but no injuries or fires due to the problem.

The company says the SUVs have saddle-style gas tanks that go around the rear drive shaft. Fuel is pumped from one side of the tank to the other through a hose. But Chrysler says some of the hoses weren't formed right in manufacturing, and they can stop the flow of gas.

The problem stems from a worldwide shortage of a nylon resin called PA-12. The shortage sent automakers scrambling for substitutes, one of which was used in the Compass and Patriot fuel tank hoses.

Chrysler says the hoses were made with a new material, which required a higher manufacturing temperature than PA-12. Some malformed tubes were shipped to the tank maker before the problem was found by Chrysler engineers. The manufacturing process was changed and the tubes now work properly, Chrysler said.

Dealers will replace the hoses free of charge. Owners will be notified starting next month.

The recall affects about 20,500 SUVs in the U.S. and 2,300 in Canada. The rest are in Mexico and outside North America. They were made from Oct. 18, 2011 to May 7, 2012.

Spokesman Eric Mayne said it's rare that this many recalls are made public in one day. Chrysler constantly tests its vehicles to find problems and fix them before customers have any trouble, he said.

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