Voluntary Recall - Important Snowmobile Safety Update

For immediate release
April 4, 2008

Transport Canada would like to inform Canadians that Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) of Valcourt, Québec has issued a Notice of Defect, in accordance with the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. BRP is conducting a voluntary safety recall on the following Ski-Doo models:

  • Expedition TUV 600 HO SDI - 2005 (Model Number: FB5A & FB5B)
  • Skandic SWT V-800 Yellow - 2007 (Model Number: FP7B)
  • Skandic SWT V-800 Yellow - 2008 (Model Number: LS8B)
  • Skandic SUV 600HO SDI Black - 2008 (Model Number: B8H)

This voluntary recall is the result of an ongoing investigation conducted by Transport Canada and BRP regarding four incidents of explosions in Rigolet, Labrador.

Investigation:

Following reports of the first two explosions, which occurred on January 21 and 22, 2008, Transport Canada opened a defect investigation and arranged, in collaboration with BRP, to have two of the affected snowmobiles transported from Rigolet to Transport Canada's facilities in Ottawa. The vehicles were inspected by Transport Canada's Office of Defect Investigations, BRP engineering staff and an independent expert. In addition, numerous fuel analyses and other engineering tests were conducted, including consultations with experts in highly technical specialty fields.

After extensive investigative work, Transport Canada, in conjunction with BRP, has determined that under extremely cold and dry weather (temperature colder than -30ºC and less than 50% relative humidity), electrostatic charges can accumulate on components within the fuel tank when the engine is left idling. At a certain level of electrostatic build-up, a discharge can suddenly occur, sparking in the vapor space volume of the partially filled fuel tank, igniting a combustible mixture of gasoline and air and therefore, causing an explosion.

Normally the air/fuel ratio of the vapor space of a fuel tank is overly rich in fuel and does not support combustion. With a low level of fuel in the tank, the vapor space is much larger and richer in oxygen thereby creating improved conditions to support combustion.

In the above-mentioned cases, the fuel came from the same single bulk storage tank. The storage time between the moment it left the refinery and the time it was used, in the community of Rigolet, exceeded eight months. This lengthy storage period had the effect of lowering the Vapor Pressure of the fuel and, therefore, allowing the vapor space mixture in the fuel reservoir to reach the ignitable air/fuel ratio range.

Recommendation for Consumer Action:

Transport Canada urges owners of these snowmobiles to contact a BRP dealer and not use their snowmobile until the fuel filter assembly has been replaced with a new assembly in which the hoses and quick connectors feature components that have a higher electric conductivity.

For further information, contact BRP's toll free number at 1-888-638-5397 between 8:00 and 18:00 ET.

BRP is voluntarily sending a safety recall notice to dealers and owners of record advising that customers should contact their BRP dealer to have the fuel filter assembly replaced and should not use their snowmobile in the meantime. The same information is also available at: www.ski-doo.com/en-CA/Owner.Center/Recall.Information.htm

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