Land Rover recalls vehicles with defective fuel rails

 

Mahwah, N.J. – Feb. 21, 2018 – Jaguar Land Rover North America has recalled more than 8,200 vehicles potentially equipped with defective fuel rail assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models, including:

  • 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport sport utility vehicles produced between June 19, 2018, and Dec. 28, 2017.
  • 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque sport utility vehicles produced between July 21, 2017, and Dec. 19, 2017.
  • 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar sport utility vehicles produced between April 26, 2017, and Dec. 19, 2017.

Jaguar Land Rover suspects all of the models referenced in the recall contain the defective parts.

The Defect

Affected vehicles contain 2-liter gasoline engines featuring fuel rails with end caps that do not seal properly. Consequently, gasoline and fuel vapor can leak from the fuel rails into the engine bay, increasing the likelihood of an engine fire. This poses a serious hazard to occupants. However, Jaguar Land Rover has yet to receive reports connecting the defective fuel rail assemblies to any accidents or injuries.

Owners in possession of recalled vehicles have reported smelling gas fumes during operation.

Timeline of Events

In November 2017, Jaguar Land Rover received three electronic quality reports from U.S. dealers detailing instances in which owners reported smelling fuel while operating their vehicles, according to an NHTSA chronology document. One EQR included comments from an engineer who had inspected an owner’s vehicle and found gasoline leaking from the fuel rail. The British automaker’s Product Safety and Compliance Committee opened an official investigation into the matter Nov. 21, 2017.

Members of the Jaguar Land Rover engineering and Supplier Technical Assistance groups reviewed the issue and determined that a vendor evaluation was required. The Winkelmann Group, the company that provided the fuel rail assemblies, assessed its manufacturing processes and components throughout November and December 2017, and determined that the end caps used on the installed fixtures were not properly brazed. This production fault inhibited their sealing power and led to fuel leakage.

Both parties continued to evaluate the defect throughout December 2017 and January 2018. This additional inquiry involved reviews of the fuel rail pipe stock and returned fixtures from the vehicles involved in the initial reports. These assemblies showed signs of inconsistent and ineffective brazing on the internal surface area of end caps. During this time, investigators also discovered that the Winkelmann Group maintained an “uncontrolled” fuel rail annealing workflow, which resulted in variation in interior rail surfaces and affected the sealing power of the end caps. Engineers found that the parts supplier’s fuel rail leak test was not reliable, as well.

Officials from the PSCC reviewed investigation reports Jan. 9, 2018 and determined that the problematic end caps were the root cause of the fuel leakage. They also determined that end cap breakdown did not necessarily correlate to mileage or vehicle age. PSCC personnel evaluated engineering test results that showed the pressurized environment of the fuel rail exacerbated the end cap sealing issue. The PSCC eventually moved the issue to the Recall Determination Committee, which reviewed all of the data related to the investigation Jan. 12, 2018, and requested further information related to mechanics of the fuel rail end cap failure. The PSCC fulfilled this request Jan. 23, 2018.

On Jan. 25, the RDC reviewed the latest data from the PSCC and launched a voluntary safety recall. Jaguar Land Rover notified dealers of the action Feb. 7, 2018.

The Solution

The car manufacturer has directed dealers to replace the fuel rails in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. Jaguar Land Rover intends to notify owners via first-class mail March 23, 2018. Those in need of more immediate assistance can reach out to Jaguar Land Rover customer service personnel at (800) 637-6837. Callers should use the internal recall identification code N138. Owners can also connect with the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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