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July 23, 2007 – Recall on blow-off valves likely

July 23, 2007
Filed under Features

Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Boondocker sent out an unusual letter to its dealers and customers in early July.
The letter announced a potential safety recall on a valve used on its products — prior to an announcement by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Cliff Seusy, an engineer for Boondocker who is working on the recall, said he felt the danger was so serious the company couldn’t wait until an official recall to warn its customers.
The recall affects safety blow-off valves, which are used on several brands of nitrous cylinder assemblies — including those made by Boondocker. This part is made by San Antonio, Texas-based Rehvac Manufacturing.
The blow-off valve defect was uncovered through Boondocker’s testing, Seusy said, and the company brought the problem to the attention of the manufacturer and the CPSC.
The Problem
Seusy said there are two main ways to compromise a nitrous oxide system: by overfilling the bottle or heating it above 130 degrees. If either one of those conditions are violated, a safety blow-off valve (also called a burst disc) will properly vent the gas and will not damage the bottle.
In the case of the recalled part, the valve does not vent properly, which can cause the bottle to explode.
“It can hurt or even kill someone,” Seusy said.
Seusy would not say if or how many Boondocker products exploded or if there were resulting injuries. That information will be made public through a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report.
In the meantime, Seusy said that customers should not use the product.
Affected Boondocker units are those with a valve serial number of 132349 or greater. Riders with affected units are advised not to use or refill the cylinder. Riders also are advised to empty the nitrous gas immediately in a well-ventilated area.
If used, the affected cylinders could burst unexpectedly and cause injury or death.
Reaching The Users
Boondocker has been canvassing for its customers through its own records, through dealers and the media.
“We are contacting [dealers] by mail and by fax, and following up by phone,” Seusy said. He wants dealers to contact nitrous-using customers to warn them of the danger and explain the interim solution.
Boondocker nitrous systems are made for motorcycles and ATVs, but its primary customers are snowmobilers.
Current products being shipped from Boondocker do not have this defect.
The corrected blow-off valve has a “K” stamped on the head along with the burst pressure rating of “3000.”
The make-good on the defective part will be handled, primarily, by Rehvac.
Henry Pearson, who’s handling the recall for Rehvac, said the company will issue a toll-free number for users. The company will send the user a replacement valve and instruction on how to change it. “If they’re scared to do it themselves, they can send it in and we’ll replace it for them,” Pearson said.
Boondocker will announce its own plan, based on the Rehvac program, Seusy said. “I fully expect that we will want to do more for our customers,” he said. “Our reputation is important, and we want our customers to be safe.”
The recall might affect other nitrous system makers, but those details are not yet public.
Second Recall
This isn’t the only recent recall regarding nitrous, according to CPSC records.
In January, the company Nitrous Oxide Systems of Bowling Green, Ky., recalled its NOS kits for snowmobile and ATVs because of an incorrect burst disc.
The recall only affected 16 units, and no incidents or injuries were reported. It is unrelated to the Rehvac recall. PSB

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