Ozone Machines

Ozone Machines

We have been investigating water damage claims due to overflowing or leaking washing machines for a number years. An investigation was recently performed on a washing machine that was connected to an ozone machine. The use of ozone in the laundry process is not a new concept but, the machines are beginning to appear in residences connected to household washing machines. In the case that was investigated, the claim was that the ozone machine leaked or somehow caused the washing machine to leak water. The machine that was examined is shown in the photo below. Upon examination, it was determined that the machine injected ozone into the water as it flowed through the machine and into the washer. It was further determined that when the flow stopped, the production of ozone also stopped. Lastly, it was also discovered that the control of the water flow remained with the washing machine and had nothing to do with the ozone machine. Since there was no evidence of water leakage from the ozone machine, it was concluded that the source of water had to have been the washing machine and was also declared a defective product.

Ozone machine used with washing machine

Ford Recalls Escape, Others for Roll-Away Problem

The Ford Motor company is recalling approximately 2.9 million vehicles as a result of a problem with the transmission shift cable. This recall applies to the following vehicles: 2013 to 2019 Escape, 2013-2018 C Max, 2013 to 2016 Fusion, 2013 to 2021 Transit Connect, and 2015 to 2018 Edge. The problem with these vehicles is that the transmission shift cable uses a bushing to connect the cable to the transmission, which can fail. Once the cable has detached, there is no communication link between the transmission and the vehicle. Consequently, the vehicle can roll, in an unexpected direction, and crash. Ford intends to replace the bushing and add a protective cap at no cost to the vehicle owner. Ford also intends to begin notifying owners beginning on June 27. For additional information, owners can contact ford by calling toll free 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s identification number for this recall is 22S43.

Boiler/Steam System Design

We have recently completed a review course in Boiler/Steam Systems Design. Steam systems are used in everything from air conditioning to manufacturing to power generation. For those involved in adjusting commercial claims, the implications for possible claims include faulty work, either in installation or maintenance; defective products, and defective system design. Those potentially liable for their errors include contractors, manufacturers, engineers, and codes inspectors. For additional information or for posing additional inquiries, please feel free to contact us by sending email to rjhill@rjhill.com or by calling 615-727-3601.

Who Owns the Evidence?

Recently, we conducted the examination of a 2013 Kia Soul, the purpose of which was to determine the cause of a fire. The vehicle had developed a problem with the antilock braking system and was taken to a local shop for repair. While on the shop’s lot and after an overnight, the vehicle was destroyed by fire the following day. During the examination of the vehicle, it was later confirmed that the fire had occurred on the repair shop’s property. It was also confirmed that the vehicle was owned by a third party. As a result, since the vehicle was evidence in the investigation, and since the vehicle was owned by the third party, the right of evidence ownership belonged to the third party. The implication being that any disassembly, or more importantly, any destruction of the evidence could be regarded as an act of “spoliation”. Spoliation of evidence refers to evidence that has been violated to the extent that one party to a lawsuit cannot use the evidence to prove its case. The party that causes the spoliation can usually be held liable by means of litigation. In these types of cases where the owner of the evidence is not the investigating expert’s client, care must be taken not to handle, remove, or otherwise examine something that can be altered by handling, broken, or replaced in its original position or state. It is advisable to photograph and document the condition of evidence and then conduct a joint examination with all interested parties at a later time.

Hyundai and Kia Latest Engine Fire Updates

Hyundai and Kia are still having problems with engine fires.  The manufacturers are now telling owners to park their vehicles outside of their garages and carports because their vehicles can suddenly ignite even if the vehicles have not been driven.  The warning applies to approximately 485,000 vehicles in the U.S.  The problem is with the antilock braking system module which can leak fluid and cause an internal short circuit that leads to a fire.  This recall now includes 2014 – 2016 Kia Sportage, 2016 – 2019 K900 Sedans, 2016 – 2018 Santa Fe SUVs, 2017 – 2018 Santa Fe Sports, 2019 Santa Fe XL, and 2014 – 2015 Tucson SUVs.  Dealers are supposed to replace a fuse and if necessary the anti-lock brake control module.  Kia is expected to begin notifying owners beginning on March 31st and Hyundai owners will be notified beginning on April 5th.  We have previously reported on this issue and the articles are still available for review.  The articles are in the following posting sates: Feb 2020, Sept 2020, Jan 2021, May 2021, and Dec 2021.  The articles can be accessed by clicking on the month and year located on the right side margin and scrolling through the page after it loads.  For additional information, about the recalls, owners can contact Hyundai or Kia by phone or email as listed in the articles.   

Ford Recalls Vehicles for Brakes and Driveshaft

The Ford Motor Company has recalled 2021-2022 Bronco Sport and Escape vehicles as a result of the faulty manufacture of the rear brake linings.  The linings do not meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 135 and as a result, vehicles require longer stopping distances.  The remedy for this particular recall is currently under development and Ford was expected to begin notifying owners on January 10, 2022.  The number of vehicles involved in this recall is approximately 114,996.  Ford’s identification number for this recall is 21C31.  For additional information, owners can contact Ford by calling 1-866-436-7332 and referring to Ford’ recall number. 

Ford has also announced the recall of 184,698 F 150 pickup trucks, year models 2021-2022.  The problem with these trucks is that heat and noise insulating shields can loosen and make contact with the driveshaft.  Contact with the driveshaft can cause damage to the driveshaft that could also lead to a fracture type failure.  Owners should take their vehicles to a Ford dealer for a free inspection.  If repair is necessary, then the dealer will repair the vehicle free of charge.  Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on January 31, 2022.  For additional information, owners can contact Ford by calling 1-866-436-7332 and referencing recall number 21S56.     

More About Hyundai and Kia Engine Fires

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that it is continuing its investigation of engine fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles.  NHTSA has reportedly opened a new engineering analysis that covers in excess of 3 million vehicles.  It should be noted that some of the vehicles have already been recalled.  The vehicles in question are 2011 through 2016 Hyundai Elantra, Santa Fe and Sonata; and, Kia Optima, Rio, Sorento, and Soul.  These are the same engine problems that were reported in September of 2020 and again in January and May of 2021 on our blog.  All of the vehicles involved in the investigation are equipped with one of the following engines: Theta II GDI, Theta II MPI, Theta II MPI Hybrid, NU GDI, and Gamma GDI. For additional information, owners can visit NHTSA’s website at www.nhtsa.gov or contact their Hyundai/Kia dealer.       

Happy Holidays Everyone!

We have had a very successful year despite battling the pandemic, bad news around the country and the world, and people’s frustration with everything in general. We are also very thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Our hope is for 2022 to be an even better year than 2021.

We would like to wish everyone a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

Applications of Investigative Mechanical Engineering

Although we have been practicing forensic engineering for over 30 years, it has come to our attention that many adjusters in the commercial and personal property lines markets may not know the extent of our services.  So, a list of services has been attached below.  Most of the applications are self explanatory.  However, every once in a while, someone will ask if the loss they are handling is within the scope of our expertise.  While it would be impossible for an adjuster to recognize every scenario, we welcome questions about our services as they pertain to the loss.  Recently, we were asked if a water loss involving a skid steer was something we could evaluate.  The loss involved determining whether engine damage was part of the loss and should have been covered.  This application was definitely within our experience and service capability.  In general, if the loss involves something mechanical or electro-mechanical, we can usually accept the assignment.  Please feel free to make contact by calling the office or emailing directly,  Our contact information can be found on the “About” page of our website located at www.rjhill.com.

Supco Surge Protector Warning

A warning has been discovered that was issued by Sealed Unit Parts Company (Supco) that alerts consumers to a potentially defective lightning surge protector.  The warning identifies two surge protectors, SCM 60 and SCM 150 that are intended for use with HVAC equipment.  The surge protectors can fail and cause a fire which can spread to a home.  The units are wired into the HVAC unit’s disconnect box and is supposed to shunt lightning away from the HVAC unit through its ground connection.  The disconnect box is that box located adjacent to the unit that controls power going to the unit. Supco recommends that the units be replaced or removed.  Supco has also identified the manufacturer of the surge protectors as Sycom Surge Inc. and could be out of business.  The company website lists a toll free telephone number that appears to be assigned to another party.  However, it is unknown if the address is still current.  Furthermore, Sycom managed to obtain Underwriter Laboratories (UL) seal of approval.  However, UL, has also issued a warning saying the surge protectors do meet UL safety standards.  It should be noted that the surge protectors have NOT been recalled.  The warnings are contained in the attachments shown below along with photos of the surge protectors. 

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