WASHINGTON (Aug. 4, 2000)—Some 666,000 Nissan Quest and Mercury Villager minivans, model years 1993-98, may have a problem with cracking in their fuel tank vent hoses.
Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Nissan Motor Corp. are investigating the alleged defect in 389,963 Villagers and 276,181 Quests. The vehicles are engineered by Nissan and built by Ford Motor Co. in a plant in Ohio, according to NHTSA.
So far, 41 motorists have complained of fuel leakage from their Quests and Villagers. Nissan, though contending the leakage problem is very rare, stated in one of its own Engineering Notes that the crack can occur through one or both layers of the hose, NHTSA said. Either a visible fuel leak or a noticeable fuel odor heralds the problem, it added.
Beginning in model year 1998 for vehicles sold in California and 1999 for vans sold elsewhere, the hoses were changed from nitrile rubber with chloroprene rubber covers to fluorocarbon rubber with a nitrile/polyvinyl chloride blend as a cover.
NHTSA said the new hoses are "interchangeable with the subject hoses and are currently available as replacement parts for the subject vehicles."