BMW Recalls Nearly 51,000 Motorcycles for Fuel Leaks
BMW is recalling nearly 51,000 motorcycles because of a possible fuel leak, reports Christopher Jensen for The New York Times. The recall affects mostly 2005-11 R and K series models and was announced almost 14 months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating consumer complaints about fuel leaks, Jensen writes. The complete list of recalled models can be found here.
BMW agreed to a voluntary recall while saying that the leaks “do not pose ‘an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety,’ ” Jensen writes. BMW told NHTSA it was not aware of any motorcycle accidents, injuries or fires related to the issue. According to NHTSA’s notice, “in the affected motorcycles, the fuel pump flange (and the auxiliary fuel pump flange if equipped) could develop cracks and leak fuel,” writes Byron Wilson for MotorcycleUSA.com.
Wilson goes on to write:
In a letter dated December 12, 2013 to the NHTSA, BMW North America Safety Engineering and Intelligent Transportation Systems Department Head, Sam Campbell, outlined the issue further: ‘due to excessive loads on the fuel pump flange in the area of the quick connector during motorcycle servicing, ductile cracks may develop in the plastic flange. Excessive loads can be generated during improper removal and insertion of the quick connector, or by removing the fuel tank prior to disconnecting the fuel line. Further damage can be caused by corrosive material/fluids.’
BMW received its first warranty claim in February 2006, followed by two more claims in 2007, all of them describing fuel leaks, Wilson writes. Consumer complaints began arriving in late 2009, and BMW conducted tests between November 2009 and February 2010 to find the cause of the leaks. Wilson notes that later in 2010, BMW started evaluating improvements to the fuel pump flange, which included a torque reduction during assembly, and the introduction of a reinforcing sleeve over the flange neck.
This is not the first time BMW K- and R-series motorcycles have been subject to a recall of this nature. The NHTSA cites a related investigation for owners of early 2000’s model year motorcycles where fuel leaks occurred ‘due to cracks in the pump’s housing at the output quick connector.’ Unfortunately for those affected by that recall, ‘many times owners first became aware of the problem when fuel soaks their pant legs or puddles under their parked motorcycle.’
The New York Times says that in one of the complaints, gasoline began gushing from the front of the bike onto the engine a few seconds after the owner turned on the ignition. The owner wrote to NHTSA, “Before I knew it, I was in a puddle of gasoline.” The owner immediately shut off the engine and “mopped up the gasoline off of the floor to eliminate the fire danger.” Other owners told NHTSA that they found one of their pant legs soaked in gasoline after riding their cycle, Jensen writes.
Owners can call BMW customer relations at 1-800-525-7417 or write to CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com. There is also information at NHTSA’s website, www.safecar.gov, and via its vehicle safety hotline, 1-888-327-4236. The campaign ID number for the BMW flange pump recall is 13V617000, Wilson writes. The recalled motorcycles will have their fuel pump flange inspected and parts replaced if necessary, at no cost to owners.