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DaimlerChrysler minivans investigated for possible defect

WASHINGTON February 2, 2004;The AP reported that the government said Monday it is investigating DaimlerChrysler minivans after getting 109 complaints about failing air bags, horns and cruise control systems.

There have been no injuries reported, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. The agency is investigating Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Grand Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country minivans from model years 1998 and 1999. All the involved minivans were built after March 1998, NHTSA said.

The problem lies with the clockspring, which provides power to the steering wheel. If the clockspring fails, an air bag warning lamp may illuminate and the driver's air bag, horn or cruise control may stop working.

In 2002, DaimlerChrysler AG recalled 500,000 of the same minivans built between 1996 and February 1998. The automaker said newer vehicles had stronger clocksprings so there was no need to recall them.

DaimlerChrysler spokeswoman Angela Ford said Monday that the company is cooperating with the investigation. NHTSA investigations sometimes lead to vehicle recalls.