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GM Recallng Nearly Half a Million 1982 Vehicles

August 1, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ General Motors Corp. has begun recalling 472,600 1982-model Chevrolets, Pontiacs and GMC vehicles because they put an excess of gasoline fumes into the air.

The models affected by the recall, which began Friday, are the 1982 Chevrolet Impala, Caprice Classic, Camaro, Malibu Classic, Monte Carlo and El Camino, the 1982 Pontiac Firebird and GMC Caballero light truck.

The vehicles are equipped with 3.8-, 4.4-, 5- and 5.7-liter engines, General Motors said.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the vehicles have a faulty thermal-vacuum switch, part of the emissions-control equipment required by federal regulations, which failed to open. The fumes are eventually released into the air, where they form terrestial ozone, a chemical that ″irritates the eyes, mucous membranes and the respiratory system,″ the EPA said.

″It impairs the normal functioning of the lungs and reduces the ability to perform physical exercise,″ the agency said.

Detroit-based GM said it began mailing letters to owners of the vehicles on Friday. The automaker said it would install ″new and improved″ switches on the vehicles, a procedure taking less than an hour. The company said the malfunctioning switch does not affect vehicle operation.

Donald Zinger, a special assistant to the director of the EPA, said the problem was discovered only recently because ″most times the defects don’t occur until the cars are a couple of years old.″

The standard for evaporated gasoline emissions is 2 grams in an EPA test, he said. One of the vehicles tested showed an emission level of 5.5 grams, and another showed a level of 6.2 grams, Zinger said.

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