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Let a Tesla catch fire in a parking garage in Shanghai and the global news juggernaut goes into overdrive. But when 19 medium and heavy duty diesel powered pickup trucks manufactured by General Motors go up in flames, no one so much as raises an eyebrow.

Fossil Fuels

GM Recalls 368,000 Pickup Trucks Because Of Fire Risk

Let a Tesla catch fire in a parking garage in Shanghai and the global news juggernaut goes into overdrive. But when 19 medium and heavy duty diesel powered pickup trucks manufactured by General Motors go up in flames, no one so much as raises an eyebrow.

Let a Tesla catch fire in a parking garage in Shanghai and the global news juggernaut goes into overdrive. But when 19 medium and heavy duty diesel powered pickup trucks manufactured by General Motors go up in flames, no one so much as raises an eyebrow.

Chevy Silverado recall

General Motors announced last week it is recalling 368,000 of those trucks. Why? Because diesel engines are beastly hard to start in cold weather. Diesel fuel is not very volatile. In fact, you can drop a burning match into a tub of diesel and nothing happens. It also has a lot of wax in it, which tends to congeal when temperatures turn frigid.

The best way to deal with the cold weather starting problem is to install an electric engine heater to ward off the worst effects of the cold. Plug it in and all the internals of the engine will be toasty warm at oh-dark-hundred when it’s time to fire up your truck and head off to work.

The problem for GM is that a wiring defect in the engine heaters installed in some of those medium and heavy duty trucks can lead to fires under the hood. According to NBC News, the recall covers trucks equipped with the optional engine block heater.

Some 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 4500, 5500, and 6500 trucks and 2017-2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 and 3500 trucks equipped with Duramax 6.6-liter diesel engines are affected. GM has sold 324,000 of those vehicles in the U.S.

GM spokesperson Dan Flores says there are no reports of injuries, accidents, or fatalities associated with the fires. A company engineer first discovered the fire hazard issue while inspecting an engine block heater recovered from one of the fires. The company stopped building trucks with the engine block heater in April and is working with its supplier to fix the problem.

 
 
 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. 3000 years ago, Socrates said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." Perhaps it's time we heed his advice.

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