WASHINGTON-Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A. has started a ``voluntary service campaign'' to replace fuel injectors and related hoses in 714,600 late-model Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. Involved in the campaign are 415,000 1985-88 Nissan Maximas; 274,000 1984-89 Nissan 300ZX sports coupes; 17,500 1990-92 Infiniti M30 convertibles; and 8,100 1987-88 Nissan 200SX-V6 sports coupes.
Because of age and wear, the ball valves and rubber connectors in these models' fuel injectors can crack, causing gasoline leaks and engine fires, Nissan said. The company estimates it will spend about $140 million to replace these parts free of charge.
``We are taking this step because we are concerned about the safety and satisfaction of Nissan and Infiniti customers, even though we do not believe these fuel leaks are due to any defect in these older vehicles,'' the company said.
The service campaign is not a recall, according to Nissan spokesman Bill Gartin. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated 590 engine fire complaints involving 590 Nissan cars made between 1984 and 1992. But it ended the probe last November, saying it found no defect trend.
``The whole issue is that these vehicles are old, and tend to have very high mileage and questionable maintenance,'' Mr. Gartin said.
``We're not pointing the finger with that last part. But as a car becomes older, main-tenance costs become very high, and most of these cars have changed hands two or three times.''
It is ``pretty unprecedented'' for any auto maker to spend so much to repair older cars, according to Mr. Gartin. ``But it's the right thing to do.''
He did not reveal the manufacturer of the rubber connectors.
Nissan will send out notification letters to affected motorists beginning the week of Feb. 19. Nissan owners may call 1-800-867-7669 for information about the repairs; Infiniti owners may call 1-800-662-6200.
Meanwhile, Nissan engineers recommend that owners of these vehicles get their fuel injection systems inspected every 30,000 miles.