Hyundai Recalls Vehicles Due to Fire Risk

Hyundai Motor America has recalled approximately one half million vehicles as a result of engine problems that pose a fire risk.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that approximately 380,000 Kia Soul and Sportage vehicles will be recalled by Hyundai.  The Kia Soul vehicles are equipped with 1.6 liter engines and can operate at higher than normal exhaust gas temperatures due to abnormal combustion.  The elevated exhaust temperatures can damage the catalytic converter as well as ignite combustible material such as oil, fuel and plastic.  The affected year models are 2012 through 2016.  NHTSA has also announced that Hyundai is recalling approximately 120,000 Tucson vehicles for a potential oil pan leak.  The Kia Sportage is also being recalled for this same problem.  Oil leakage in the presence of an ignition source, such as a hot engine, can pose a fire hazard risk.  The affected year models are 2011 through 2012 for the Sportage and 2011 through 2013 for Tucson vehicles.

For additional information, owners can contact Hyundai Motor America at 855-671-3059 or visiting https://hyundaiengineinfo.com.

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Wet Weather and Engine Damage

The recent rain storms in the southeast have been causing drivers a lot of trouble.  In addition to the flooding, the rain has been causing vehicle engines to stall.  It’s easy to see how water might be getting into engines and causing damage to pistons, rods, crankshafts, and bearings.  When such a claim is encountered, one of the first things to be done is to obtain an oil sample.  When water mixes with oil, the tendency is for the water to separate from the oil.  Water is naturally heavier.  Its density is 62.4 pounds per cubic foot.  Motor oil, on the other hand, has a density of approximately 55 pounds per cubic foot (depending on the weight of the oil).  After the sample has been obtained, if the oil appears to fill the entire occupied space, then no water most likely entered the engine.  However, if the oil appears to be “floating”, then water has most likely entered the engine.  Examples of oil in both states are shown below.

Uncontaminated motor oil sample

 

Motor oil suspended in water

WARNING:  if you know that your engine is about to fail and you are going to have to pay for a new engine, don’t try pouring water into the engine and claiming to your insurance carrier that it was flooded.  First, a wear metals analysis will indicate the condition of your engine.  Second, the vehicle better have been in a flood and even then, the entry point of the water into the engine will have to be established.  Third, the damage to the engine has to be consistent with that caused by water.

Haier Recalls Freezer Refrigerators

Haier Appliances in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Comission, has recalled 137,000 combination freezer/refrigerators due to a fire Hazard.  The units contain an electric component that can short circuit resulting in a fire.  The company has not identified the component but, recommends that consumers unplug and stop using the affected units.  The units involved in this recall are 10.1 cubic feet models, sold at Lowe’s and independent retailers.  The units were sold between September 2014 and September 2018.  Three models have been identified: HA10TG31SB, HA10TG31SS, and HA10TG31SW.  Consumers will also have to check their unit’s serial number in order to make sure it is part of the recall.  Both Haier and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have set up web pages with the applicable model and serial number information.  For Haier: go to www.haierappliances.com click on recalls at the bottom of the page.  The next page that appears will prompt the user to enter model and serial number information.   The page will then tell the user whether the recall is applicable to their appliance.  For the CPSC: go to www.cpsc.gov, enter Haier recalls in the search box at the top of the page.  The next page will show the recall for this unit.  It is currently the first recall listed.  Click on the title of the recall and the specifics will then appear.  Scroll down until the page shows the applicable model and serial numbers.

Currently, Haier is providing free repairs or offering a $150 rebate toward the purchase of a new Haier refrigerator.  To schedule a repair, owners can call 1-888-364-2989.  A photograph of one affected model is shown below.

2019 AHR Expo

Just returned from attending the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Expo held in Atlanta Georgia.  Some of the biggest names in the HVAC industry, such as Carrier, Trane, and York, were in attendance.  Along with cooling and heating equipment, those manufacturers that make specialty items such as boilers, compressors, piping, controls, motors and refrigerants were also in attendance.  Visitors, as well as vendors, came from all over the world to see new product lines as well as to showcase their products.  The trend, as has been the case for several years now, is to make machines more energy efficient.  Incorporating electronics to measure different parameters such as temperature and pressure, is now routinely done.  Depending on the type of equipment, manufacturers are also offering options on how the equipment is monitored.  Some owners prefer to let their on-site personnel keep up with the operation of their equipment while others are connected by internet to a servicing agency.

No matter how efficient or how well built a machine is, it will eventually fail.  Hopefully, when it does, there won’t be any property damage or personal injury.  But if there is,  the information collected during the Expo on various products will be invaluable in helping to determine the cause of failure and subsequent damage.  More specifically, the literature can be used to help identify a machine by model number, determine the pressure limitations, or establish the power requirements.

Beware of Acucraft Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Not many people know that Underwriters Laboratories certifies manufactured fireplaces.  Underwriters Laboratories is a testing organization that tests and certifies many products for use in residential, commercial and industrial applications.  The UL label is a consumer’s indication that a product has been tested and found safe for use by the consumer.  Specifically, manufactured fireplaces have to meet the requirements of UL 127 before certification is approved by Underwriters Laboratories.  In an effort to safeguard life and property, codes organizations, such as the International Mechanical Code, have incorporated the standard.  Municipalities that adopt the International Mechanical Code use the code as a means to determine if a mechanical installation is safe.

A situation was recently brought to our attention involving an Acucraft manufactured wood-burning fireplace.  The fireplace was purchased for $9000.00 for use in a renovated bonus room.  During the renovation, a structural issue arose that required a building inspector to visit the property.  Upon doing so, it was discovered that a permit for the installation of the fireplace had not been issued by the city.  Upon further inspection, the mechanical code inspector discovered that the fireplace did not meet the code requirement for the fireplace to have been certified according to UL 127.  As a result, work on the project was halted.  The useless fireplace is shown below.

 

Acucraft Uncertified Wood-Burning Fireplace

 

Acucraft was later contacted and verified that their wood-burning fireplaces were NOT subjected to any testing protocol such as UL standard 127.  As a result, the homeowners are left with an expensive fireplace that the local codes department will not approve and therefore cannot be used.  Acucraft wood-burning fireplaces can be seen on their website at www.acucraft.com.  It is understood that Acucraft does not sell its products through a retail network but instead, sells directly to the customer.  Before buying a product, be sure that the product meets applicable code requirements in the local area where it will be installed and that the installing contractor obtains the necessary permit for the installation.

Watch Those Connections!

Some appliances such as stoves and dryers, do not come with line cords when the appliances are purchased.  As a result, consumers have to make separate purchases in order to use their new machines.  When attaching the cords to the appliance, pay close attention to the way the manufacturer requires that the line cords are connected.  For many do-it-your-selfers, this is no big deal.  It shouldn’t be a big deal for a professional electrician either.  However, we are all human and subject to making mistakes.  Case-in-point: the following dryer fire.  Although minor as residential fires go, the damage could have been much worse.  The photographs shown below illustrate how the manufacturer called for the installation of the line cord and the subsequent way, the cord was connected.

The manufacturer’s schematic drawing shows how the “hot” (red and black wires) lines of the line cord were to be attached to the L1 and L2 terminal block terminals.  The common line or white wire was to be connected to the N terminal on the terminal block.  Lastly, the green wire or earth ground, was to be connected directly to the appliance housing.  The photograph below shows how the white and black wires were reversed on the terminal block.

 

 

Since the common and earth ground points are electrically the same point, the dryer was, in effect, energized through the housing.  Anything in contact with the dryer housing, such as the exhaust duct, will also become energized.  Dryer ventilation ducts are usually coils of steel wire wrapped with a thin layer of vinyl or aluminum material.  As current flows through the steel wire, the external covering is heated.  If not stopped, the heat will cause the covering to melt and possibly ignite.

Wheel Separation in 2016 Ford Taurus-Possible Recall?

One of our recent investigations involved the separation of the left front wheel and whether it was the cause of a two vehicle accident.  The scenario was such that the driver made a right hand turn and felt the vehicle pull to the left.  The driver also stated that he lost control and hit a parked car.  Typically, in these types of impacts, the wheel is pushed into the wheel well.  But, in this case the wheel separated from the car.  Upon examination, it was determined that the threaded connection holding the strut to the frame was broken as well as the clamping part of the lower steering knuckle.  The failed parts are shown below.

DSC01046

Failed strut threaded connection

DSC01042Clamping part of lower steering knuckle found broken

It should be noted that the steering arm tie rod was also bent and broken and that a stabilizing rod connected to the strut was separated from its knuckle joint.  If either of these connections is broken, then the wheel will become unstable.  Are there other instances where drivers have experienced similar situations?  Is this a condition that warrants a recall?

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