Vehicle Recalls by Ford, GM, and Chrysler

 

The Ford Motor Company has recalled 2013 -2014 F-150 pick up trucks due to a problem with the brakes.  The trucks involved in this recall were manufactured Between August 1, 2013 and August 31, 2014 and equipped with 3.5L engines.  The problem with the brakes is that the master cylinder rear cup seal can leak brake fluid from the reservoir into the brake booster.  The loss of brake fluid results in the loss of braking power to the front brakes and increases the likelihood of a crash.  The recall was expected to begin on July 11, 2016.  Owners of the recalled vehicles should take their trucks to an authorized Ford Dealership where dealers will replace the master cylinder and if necessary, the brake booster, free of charge.  For additional information, owners can contact Ford customer service by calling 1-800436-7332 and referencing recall # 16S24.

 

General Motors has recalled certain 2016 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles due to a problem with the memory chip located in the electronic brake control module (EBCM).  The recalled vehicles were manufactured between March 7 and March 12, 2016.  The failure of the memory chip can cause the loss of the anti lock braking system and electronic stability control.  According to GM, if the EBCM fails, the primary braking function will still operate but, the vehicle will be harder to stop increasing the risk of a crash.  GM has already begun notifying owners and replacing the EBCMs as of June 17, 2016.  For additional information, owners can contact GM by calling Chevrolet customer service at 1800-222-1020 and referencing recall # 39440.

 

Chrysler has recalled 2009-2016 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured between July 31, 2007 and November 12, 2016 for a problem with a defective power steering return hose.  The hose can rupture at engine start-up after being exposed to cold temperatures.  The rupture can cause a loss of power steering which can also increase the risk of a crash.  Chrysler dealers will replace the power steering return hoses, steel tubes and oil cooler free of charge.  The recall is currently in progress and owners should take their vehicles to their Chrysler dealer for the free repair.  For additional information, owners can contact Chrysler by calling 1-800-853-1403 and referencing recall # S08.

 

Chrysler has also recalled certain 2016 Jeep Cherokee Vehicles manufactured between September 30, 2015 and October 2, 2015.  These vehicles were manufactured with left side halfshafts that can fracture without warning.  A fractured halfshaft can disconnect from the drive axle increasing the risk of a crash.  This recall was begun on June 30th and has been assigned recall # S38.  Chrysler has also discovered that the problem extends to the right side halfshaft.  As a result, Chrysler has extended the manufacturing period of the recalled vehicles to include October 3, 2015 to March 22, 2016.  Chrysler has also assigned the recall number of S39 to address problems with the right side halfshafts.  For additional information, owners can contact Chrysler by calling 1-800-853-1403 and referencing the appropriate recall number.

Scholarship Awarded to Aaron Schneider

This year we have awarded our $500 scholarship to Mr. Aaron Schneider of Murfreesboro Tennessee. Aaron is a 2016 honors graduate of Central Magnet School.  While at Central, Aaron excelled in honors courses like Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, Biology and Computers.  Aaron will be attending the University of Tennessee Knoxville in the fall of 2016 and major in Mechanical Engineering.  Lastly, Aaron’s interests are in the aerospace industry, specifically in jet engine design, navigational systems, and space travel.  Congratulations and best of luck at UT.

 

Toro Lawn Mower Defective Carburetor

Toro brand lawn mowers have recently come under attack by consumers for producing bad products.  Usually I am on the other end of a defective product but, this time I happen to be one of those consumers.  I purchased a Toro “Personal Pace” lawn mower last year and used it with good results all spring and summer.  This year, however, we started having problems. Although I could get the mower started, it would visibly shake and shortly thereafter, cut out.  If it kept going long enough for me to start cutting grass, no more than a minute into cutting and the engine would die.  It just would not continue to run.  The mower was taken to a Toro dealer, Southern Lawn and Equipment, where they supposedly cleaned the carburetor and it ran fine for them.  Once back home and in the grass, it didn’t take long before it started idling roughly and cutting out again.  The mower was returned to the dealer and this time they noticed that the choke was sticking.  The choke was adjusted and the mower returned.  Once again, after attempting to cut grass, the engine started cutting out again.  The third time that the mower was taken to the dealer, the dealer decided that the carburetor had to be replaced and that it would NOT be repaired under warranty.  It should be noted that Briggs and Stratton warranties the engine for three years and Toro would NOT stand behind the warranty.  The mower in question is shown in the photographs below. So, now we have a useless mower. Buyer Beware!

DSC02949 DSC02954 DSC02951

Guards and Guy Wires

Did you know that the guy wires used to hold utility poles in place are supposed to be guarded? Those colored plastic covers that crack, break, and otherwise look terrible are required by code.  Specifically, the guy wire guards are required by the National Electrical Safety code (not to be confused with the National Electric Code).  It seems that someone years ago recognized that people would be walking around or working in close proximity to the guy wires.  Since contact with guy wires can cause severe injury, it was decided that guard covers would be required.  The surfaces of the steel wire strands are not intentionally smooth.  Instead, surface irregularities with sharp edges can occur during the wire drawing process.  If contacted, these surfaces can cause deep cuts.  Please note that although utility poles are generally owned by the electric companies, any other company that uses the poles does so by agreement with the owner.  This means that if cable or telephone companies have to use a pole, those companies are responsible for adding guy wires and the guards to secure the pole and protect the public.  If someone is injured on an unguarded guy wire, the company that owns the guy wire can be liable.

“Leave the Friggin Thing Alone!”

It still amazes me that whenever a fire occurs in a machine, like a car or a tractor, somebody who is NOT authorized, has to mess with it. There are still people out there that don’t realize that when they disassemble something they are tampering with evidence.  Even if the case has nothing to do with anything criminal, there is the possibility that a product defect or faulty workmanship might have been responsible for the fire.  But, if the machine (evidence) is disassembled, then evidence is compromised if not destroyed outright.  Disassembly and subsequent testing or examination cannot occur without all interested parties being placed on notice.  Once notified, all parties must be given the chance to participate in formulating a protocol for the disassembly, testing and examination.  After the protocol is formulated, the parties must agree on when and who will perform all necessary functions.  In short, all parties must have access to the same information at the same time.  If not, the potential for spoliation of evidence claims can become an avenue for additional lawsuits or defense, depending on your point of view.  Note that many property insurance policies have a subrogation clause which requires that the policyholder do everything it can to protect their carrier’s right which includes protecting evidence.

Soot Damage From Gas Logs

Although it has been several years since we’ve seen sooting damage from a set of gas logs, it still occurs. The main problem is that soot is created when a fuel such as natural gas or propane is burned incompletely.  That is, there is a lack of air mixed with the gas and as a result, carbon is not completely burned.  The excess carbon then appears as soot on solid surfaces.  Appliances, like gas logs units, that advertise the appearance of a realistic wood fire tend to burn with a yellow flame.  The yellow flame is an indication that the fuel is not burned completely.  Some older readers might remember when gas appliances, including log sets, were made to burn with a blue flame.  A blue flame indicated that your appliance was operating as efficiently as possible.  When the flame turned yellow, this was owner’s cue to have the appliance checked.  This is no longer true and hasn’t been true for at least 30 years.  As a result, homeowners don’t have any warning as to when their appliances need attention.  Many of the log sets made today come equipped with what is known as an oxygen depletion sensor.  The device is supposed to shut the log set off if the oxygen in the space drops to a point below what is required to operate the set.  In reality, soot can be produced before the oxygen level drops to an unacceptable level.  This is because the sensor does not sense oxygen, it senses heat from the pilot.  As long as the pilot is producing a flame and the sensor is detecting the heat, the main gas valve will remain open.

Scholarship Award Winners

2016 Scholarship Award Winner

Aaron Schneider

Mechanical Engineering

University of Tennessee

 

2015 Scholarship Award Winners

No Applicants

2014 Scholarship Award Winners

Autumn Douthitt

Chemical Engineering

Tennessee Technological University

 

Caitlin Richey

Civil Engineering

Tennessee Technological University

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