Posts Tagged ‘Jim Federico’

FXDL Dyna Low Rider Recall Letter

FXDL Dyna Low Rider Recall Letter

It’s surely just a coincident that two months ago GM icon Jim Federico was hired on as the Harley-Davidson VP of Engineering and now the motor company has issued an ignition switch recall on more than 3,300 FXDL Dyna Low Rider bikes.

You might recall that ignition switch problems have plagued General Motors and have now turned up in the motorcycle business.

It turns out that engine vibration can turn the switches from ‘on’ to the ‘accessory’ position.  If the switch goes to “accessory,” the engine can shut off while being driven and potentially cause a crash, however, there have been no crashes or injuries reported from this problem.

This recall involves 3,361 motorcycles shipped in the U.S, which represents certain model year 2014.5 FXDL models built 1/6/2014 through 6/9/2014.

Some of these motorcycles may have been assembled with a top engine mount bracket assembly (P/N 16400026) that has a resonant frequency equivalent to 5800 RPM engine speed. When the engine is operated at that speed, it causes excessive vibration in the ignition switch, which mount to that bracket. The excessive vibration can cause the switch to move from the “IGN” (ignition on) position to the “ACC”(accessory only) position, shutting the engine off. The production Electronic Control Module (ECM) calibration will not allow engine speed to exceed 5600 RPM, but Harley-Davidson offers street-legal performance calibrations which will allow the engine to operate above 5600 RPM. If a performance calibration has been installed which permits the engine to exceed 5600 rpm, it could allow a condition that may potentially cause the engine to stall unexpectedly. A stall while riding in traffic could lead to a crash.

The chronology of recall events are:  On 3/31/14, Harley-Davidson’s Customer Service department notified the Harley-Davidson Recall Investigation Committee (RIC) that the ignition switch on an FXDL motorcycle fitted with a non-Harley-Davidson exhaust system moved on its own from the “IGN” (ignition on) position to the “ACC” (accessory only) position during operation on a chassis dynamometer for tuning purposes.

The RIC initiated an investigation and analysis of this issue. A search of existing warranty data in April, 2014 disclosed no warranty events, but a search of customer complaints disclosed one complaint, which referenced an event similar to the initial report, i.e., an FXDL model motorcycle fitted with a non-Harley-Davidson exhaust system, operated on a chassis dynamometer.

During May, testing was initiated to attempt to re-create this condition.

During May and June, the RIC met to review test and field data information. The testing indicated that this condition could potentially occur both on the road as well as on the dynamometer, that a non-Harley-Davidson exhaust system was not necessary to create the condition, but could enhance it, and that the production Electronic Control Module calibration was not able to create the condition, as an engine speed of 5800 rpm or greater (production calibration includes a 5600 rpm rev limiter), was required to create the condition.

Another review of the warranty and complaint databases in June revealed a total of four events, all of which occurred on motorcycles believed to be fitted with non-Harley-Davidson exhaust systems and ECMs with higher than production engine speed rev limit calibrations.

There were no reported crashes or injuries.

On 6/19/14, the RIC completed its review and analysis, and referred the issue to executive management.

On 6/27/14, upon review of the results of the RIC’s investigation and analysis, Harley-Davidson’s executive management made its determination that a safety related defect existed in the subject population and declared a recall to remedy the issue.

Authorized Harley-Davidson dealers will replace the engine mount bracket assembly and ignition switch knob on the affected motorcycles with the components provided in the recall kit which is covered by the warranty.

Photo courtesy of H-D.

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Jim Federico - Harley-Davidson VP Engineering

Jim Federico – Harley-Davidson VP Engineering

I’m intrigued by appearances and a hound for information, for your story. I want to hear everybody’s story, from the homeless person to the billionaire, because that’s what life’s about, the victories, the defeats, and within said stories is wisdom. And the older I get the smarter I become. But, I also know the older you get in America the more irrelevant you become.

And speaking of appearances…

On May 6th, General Motors Co. announced that Jim Federico, 56, an executive involved in the investigation of faulty ignition switches, had decided to retire, effective the day before.  “After a 36-year career with General Motors, Jim Federico has decided to retire from the company to pursue other opportunities,” said Greg Martin, a GM spokesman.  From the tone of this announcement GM must have been heartbroken!

Then today,  Harley Davidson announced Jim Federico, who “just retired,” would start as vice president of engineering on June 2, working at the company’s Milwaukee headquarters.  I’m not sure what conclusions can be gleaned from this other than the institution of a versatile employee wanting to return to work to maintain a desired lifestyle after retirement is still respected in Milwaukee.

Federico holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University).  In his 30+ year career at GM, Federico oversaw the development of a number of global vehicle programs for markets around the world, including the Opel Insignia, the Chevrolet Silverado, and he also served as vehicle chief engineer for Cadillac, working on the CTS, STS and SRX.

Federico was one of the executives involved in looking into why GM cars were stalling in 2012, according to GM records released by a House panel last month. Federico, held different jobs during the period related to small- and compact-car development. For a time, he oversaw the company’s in-house investigator who failed to unravel the source of the defect or its poorly documented fix.

The automaker has recalled 2.59 million small cars with faulty switches that have been linked to at least 13 deaths. Congress, federal regulators and the U.S. Justice Department are all investigating why it took GM more than a decade to recall cars with switches that allowed the key to slip out of the “on” position, shutting off the engine and disabling air bags.

GM stated that Federico’s retirement was his choice and had nothing to do with the switch recall.

Photo courtesy of automobilemag.com

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