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Dodge Durango Investigated for Possible Defect That May Have Led Some Drivers to Lose Control

WASHINGTON July 21, 2003; The AP reported that the government is investigating an alleged defect on the Dodge Durango that has led some drivers to lose control of their vehicles, according to documents released Monday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says four drivers have reported the failure of an upper ball joint on the Durango's front suspension. In two of those cases, the front wheels separated from the Durango. In the other two cases, the front suspension collapsed. All four drivers lost control of their vehicles, although no injuries were reported.

NHTSA also said it has received 81 complaints alleging that the front suspension ball joints are wearing out prematurely.

NHTSA is investigating Durangos from model years 1998 through 2003. There are 450,000 Durangos on the road from those years.

The agency will seek more information from DaimlerChrysler AG before deciding whether to upgrade the investigation. A spokeswoman for DaimlerChrysler didn't immediately return a telephone message left Monday.