OMB Solenoid Connectors May Pose Fire Risk in 2011-2013 Vehicles
In a move that may well have further reverberations, Impco Automotive is recalling nearly 1,800 model year 2011-2013 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans converted to dedicated-compressed natural gas operation, because of a potential fire hazard.
“Specifically, Impco determined that shut-off solenoids manufactured by an outside vendor and located in the underbody fuel system are susceptible to corrosion, which can lead to a short circuit and overheating, increasing the risk of a fire,” states a Tuesday release.
“A joint Impco-GM quality investigation was prompted by an initial fleet report that an underbody solenoid overheated and melted,” Impco said. “GM and Impco engineering personnel performed field surveys and component testing to determine the root cause.
No Accidents Nor Injuries
“Based upon the findings from this investigation, Impco decided to take this action. No accidents or injuries have been reported.”
“Repairs will be performed at no cost to owners.”
“The shut-off solenoid,” Impco told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month, “electrically actuates to open the CNG fuel flow to supply the engine during operation and to close the flow of gas when the engine is off. This solenoid is found on each storage cylinder and on the high pressure regulator.”
“The underbody shut-off solenoid connector to a CNG fuel tank may corrode and could form a high-resistance short in the connector, potentially causing overheating or, in rare circumstances, a self-extinguishing flame,” Impco said. “If there is a fuel leak or other combustible material in the vicinity, there is a risk of ignition.”
‘This Announcement Is Really Important’
Impco further told the agency that there is no way to determine how many of the converted vans have the defect, so all will be recalled. “Only the underbody fuel systems/shut-off solenoids in this vehicle application are covered by this notice. A total of 1,791 fuel systems/vehicles are involved. Each fuel system utilizes four shut-off solenoids underbody,” the company said.
The vans in question were converted to CNG from February 14, 2011 through February 20 of this year. The defective shut-off solenoids were supplied by Italy’s OMB Saleri, Impco said in its May 14 notice to NHTSA.
“The OMB valves are used all over the industry,” a knowledgable source told F&F via email on Tuesday, “with Quantum, Luxfer, Lincoln et al installing them when the customer wants a solenoid valve with manual override.”
“This announcement is really important for NGV safety,” the source said.
GM’s NHTSA number for the recall is 13139. The Impco number is FA13GM001.
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Source: Impco Automotive with Fleets & Fuels follow-up