GM Pickup Trucks Recalled With Fuel Tanks That Can Expand and Become Punctured by Driveshaft

one of the vehicle's dual fuel tanks may overfill and expand due to a problem with a fuel level sensor

GM Pickup Trucks Recalled With Fuel Tanks That Can Expand and Become Punctured by Driveshaft
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March 21, 2019

General Motors (GM) is recalling certain 2016-2018 GMC Sierra 3500 and Chevrolet Silverado 3500 trucks equipped with gasoline engines and dual fuel tanks. The fuel level sensor in the front fuel tank may stick in a low-level position, allowing the rear tank to overfill the front tank. If the front tank is overfilled, it may expand and contact the driveshaft, causing a fuel leak that can lead to a fire.

What's the problem?

If the front tank fuel level sensor becomes stuck in such a way that the fuel level in the front tank always registers as low, the fuel transfer pump may continue to pump fuel from the rear tank to the front tank even after the front tank is full, causing an overpressure condition in the front tank. Overpressure may cause the front tank to expand and contact the moving drive shaft. This can puncture the fuel tank and cause a fuel leak. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source can cause a vehicle fire.

On October 12, 2017, GM recalled certain 2011-15 heavy duty (HD) trucks equipped with gas engines and dual fuel tanks for this condition. Although there was no evidence at that time that the condition existed in similar trucks built after the 2015 model year, GM began to monitor relevant field data for the later model years.

On November 28, 2018, GM reviewed potentially relevant new field reports identified through the monitoring process and decided to open an investigation into applicable 2016-18 HD trucks. The investigation found that the condition may be present in vehicles built before GM began using a new low pressure fuel pump in early October 2017, but there is no evidence that the condition is present in vehicles with the new low pressure fuel pump. Consequently, GM decided to conduct a new recall for these vehicles.

Customers may hear a grinding or knocking noise if an over-pressurized front fuel tank expands and contacts a moving drive shaft. Replacement fuel pump modules have a lower pressure limit than the recalled pumps, which have a part number of 23249060. GM implemented fuel pump modules with a lower pressure limit at its Fort Wayne assembly plant on October 4, 2017 and on October 6, 2017 at its Flint assembly plant.

What happens next?

Dealers will replace the rear-tank fuel-pump module. Dealers will also inspect the front tank and replace it if necessary. GM will provide reimbursement to owners who have paid to have this condition repaired.

Owners were mailed interim notices informing them of the safety risk on March 5, 2019. Owners will receive a second notice when the remedy becomes available. GM's number for this recall is N182204190.