Originally created 05/27/98

Business briefs



Government eyes car, van failures

WASHINGTON -- The government's highway safety agency is investigating the failure of headlights on some Dodge Ram pickups and a potential brake problem with some Ford Windstar minivans.

In the Chrysler case, there are 249 complaints of headlights, parking lights or tail lights failing on some Ram pickups from model years 1994 and 1995, according to a monthly report released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In some cases, there were reports of burning headlight wires and fires.

There are more than 450,000 of the popular pickups from those model years on the road.

In the case of the Ford Windstar minivan, the report said one or both of the two bolts that hold the front brake caliper anchor plate can loosen and fall out. If the upper bolt falls out, the caliper can pivot and hit the inside of the wheel rim, resulting in wheel lockup, the report said.

There have been only about a dozen complaints of wheel lockup, but there are more than 160 warranty claims by customers indicating loose or missing mounting bolts. There are about 174,000 of the Windstars on the road.

Caterpillar plant contract given

Lockwood Greene has been awarded a $40 million contract by Caterpillar to process layout, design and construction of a power systems assembly plant in Griffin, Ga.

The 300,000-square-foot plant, scheduled to open in the summer of 1999, will relocate the power systems operations of Caterpillar's Lafayette, Ind., plant and will produce several products, including commercial, backup electricity generators.

Lockwood Greene, an engineering and manufacturing design consulting company, has offices in Augusta.