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Dutchmen recalls 171 for exterior furnace vent

(Aug. 29, 2011) -- Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. is recalling 171 model year 2011-2012 Rubicon travel trailers. These vehicles may have been manufactured with the exterior furnace vent not installed in the sidewall of the trailer.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. is recalling 171 model year 2011-2012 Rubicon travel trailers manufactured from Dec. 8, 2010 through July 15, 2011. These vehicles may have been manufactured with the exterior furnace vent not installed in the sidewall of the trailer. The furnace can run without the proper exhaust ventilation and release carbon monoxide to the interior of the unit.

This could result in asphyxiation or carbon monoxide poisoning. The heat build-up from the exhaust can also result in a fire.

Dealers will inspect the trailer to verify the furnace exhaust is present and install one if necessary free of charge. Owners may contact Dutchmen at 1.574.537.0700.

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1.888.327.4236 (TTY 1.800.424.9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

SOURCE: NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation

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About Kelly Cauthorn

One comment

  1. Manufacturers have made this mistake so many times, it is nauseating. This is so easily remedied with 2 and 3 checks/signoffs assuring it is there, there is no reason for units to make it out the door without the vent installed.

    1. Have the sidewall department make the holes (not the furnace installer).

    2. Furnace installer signs off that the specific vent was installed.

    3. Production Supervisor signs that vent is installed correctly (as part of safety inspection/function test of all appliances).

    4. Final unit buyoff QC person signs that vent is installed an appears correctly positioned (can see inner exhaust tubes of furnace when looking through vent).

    The fact that units continue (not just from Dutchmen) to make it out of our industry without these crucial safety conditions intact is an embarrassment to the industry, and speaks to a lax attitude towards safety and quality procedures.

    The problem is symptomatic of the overall problems:

    1. Units aren’t built to high enough precision in some facilities to allow the furnace holes to be pre-cut (sad, but true).

    2. Furnace installer signs off his installation when inside the coach, before going out to finish the vent install (or furnace is installed before sidewalls).

    3. Production line finishing is focused more on making sure they can pass final QC, than providing an objective test.

    4. Final unit buyoff is concerned more with fit/finish, visuals, cleanup – and is taking major safety items for granted.

    As an industry, we have to be better. Dutchmen knows better than this.

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