safety

safety

Mercedes Benz SL-Class

Mercedes USA has announced a voluntary recall for 432 units of the 2013 SL-Class roadsters due to an air-conditioner refrigerant line that can tear in a severe frontal crash. The vehicles affected were built from from December 19th, 2011 through May 31st, 2012 and are use the R1234yf refrigerant.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if the refrigerant escapes from the hose, the gas mixture could be released into the engine compartment and cause a fire.

"Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, conducted product testing of a vehicle not sold in the U.S., but equipped with the same refrigerant. According to Mercedes-Benz, the testing was designed to replicate worst-case conditions expected in a severe frontal crash that would cause a rupture of the air-conditioner refrigerant line. A rupture of a refrigerant line will result in a gaseous mixture of refrigerant being released into the engine compartment. The testing determined that the escaping R1234yf refrigerant may ignite under specific conditions. The resulting fire could spread to additional combustible materials."

Mercedes announced that if someone is driving an affected model, they should address their local dealer who will replace the R1234yf refrigerant with a new, R134a refrigerant.

BMW M6 Coupe

While most people are still waiting to receive their BMW M5 or M6 , BMW North America has just issued a recall for these exact model, at least the ones produced between July 2012 and September 2012. According to BMW officials, a total of 696 vehicles in the US are potentially affected.

According to the official statement, the issue "involves the engine oil pump. The pump driveshaft can separate from the pump rotor. If this were to occur, the engine could experience a sudden loss of oil pressure which could cause severe engine damage."

However, it is very easy for the driver to become aware of the problem. "If the vehicle experiences a sudden loss of oil pressure, a low oil pressure warning indicator is displayed in the instrument cluster, along with a warning message in the control display."

BMW is advising its clients not to drive the M5 or the M6 until the recall is completed. Customers who discover an engine loss to their car are advised to carefully pull over to the side of the road and shut off the engine. In this case, contact BMW Roadside Assistance at 1-800-332-4269. During the recall, deliveries of these models will be stopped.

Source: F10 M5 Post

TOPCAR has popped back into the TopSpeed offices, straight out of Russia, with an all-new bespoke vehicle. Last time we caught up with our Russian custom car friends they were getting their Panamera Stingray 9/25 ready for the 2012 Moscow International Automobile Salon. Now they have delivered us a little more comfort and loads of safety with their Guard upgrade kit for the 2005 through 2013 Mercedes-Benz S600 .

TOPCAR began by stripping this S600 down and adding in bullet-proof glass and paneling to keep its occupants safe. While the armoring is cool and likely costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, we are interested mostly in what the armor is protecting. No, not the occupants, we are talking about that gorgeous interior!

The entire interior covering has been removed and replaced from headliner to floor – yeah, we said the floor too – with an elegant blend of lozenge-textured crocodile, Nappa, and Alcantara leather. Sure, using crocodile leather isn’t the most PETA-friendly thing in the world, but when you have the roughly $100K that TOPCAR put into the interior, you can tell PETA to go save a squirrel. Plus, we’re pretty sure their presence in Russia is nearly non-existent.

The crocodile leather wraps up the seats, doors, dashboard, and floor. Gracing the luggage compartment is diamond-quilted Nappa leather, making a comfortable ride for your golf clubs or whatever else you like to stick in your trunk. With our contact at TOPCAR volunteering that sometimes the term “crazy Russian” is justified, we will leave the other trunk-dwelling objects to your imagination.

You also get a huge amount of custom Karelian birch wood trim to set off all of this beautifully crafted leather. To wrap up the package, TOPCAR replaced all of the Benz’s lowly chrome trim with gold-covered pieces. I mean, you can never rock crocodile leather with chrome trim after Labor Day, right?

“Wow” just about sums up this car. When it comes to tiptoeing the line between fantastically gorgeous and horrendously overdone, TOPCAR toed that line with the expertise we expected. Awesome job!

After upgrading the SLS AMG with a new name and better specs, Mercedes has also opted to replace its Safety Car version with the new Mercedes SLS AMG GT . The new SLS AMG GT Safety Car will be used during the 2012 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix on September 21st, 2nd, and 23rd.

The new Safety Car will be present with an aluminum spaceframe construction that helps keep its total weight down to just 3571 lbs. It will be powered by the same V8 engine found in the standard model, which delivers a total of 591 HP and is mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission with optimized shift times. Next to this impressive engine, the SLS AMG GT Safety Car also received a high-performance ceramic composite brake system and weight-reduced AMG 10-spoke forged light-alloy wheels painted in matte black with a high-sheen finish.

As if all of this wasn’t enough to get the fans’ attention, Mercedes has also allowed the Mercedes SLS AMG GT Safety Car to stand out with a number of LED lights and a specially developed rear silencer that provides an even more sensational V8 soundtrack.

Lamborghini is currently working on the successor for the Gallardo - rumored to be called the Cabrera - but the "old" Gallardo just isn’t ready to step out of the spotlight. Lamborghini has just issued a recall for the 2004, 2005, and 2006 model years, stating that some of the power steering hoses are defective which could lead to potential fluid leak. From all the units sold during that period, a total of 1,491 were delivered to the US.

Lamborghini explains that the high pressure hoses for the hydraulically-assisted power steering system may leak in certain driving situations and when this gets in contact with a fluid, a fire could occur.

Each client that is driving a model that is from these model year should contact the closest Lamborghini dealer for a free safety update of the steering system. For more details contact National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 or Lamborghini at 1-703-364-7042.

Source: NHTSA

On August 31st, the sun spewed a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) that dwarfed the Earth and on September 3rd, it came close enough to Earth to connect with our magnetosphere and cause an Aurora to appear. So what in the world does this have to do with cars? Well, let’s have a look.

In 1859, a huge CME – the last one since, by the way – caused a geomagnetic storm that then caused telegraph systems to fail, shock their operators, and even work while unplugged. Fortunately in those days, they didn’t rely on all of the high-tech things that we do.

Autonomous cars are all the rage lately, as we continue to cover the advances that Google and Cadillac are making in this area. Autonomous cars actually use one of the technologies that Mike Hapgood, a pace weather scientist near Oxford England, says will be hugely affected by a geomagnetic storm of large proportion – GPS.

Imagine if a moderate portion of the cars on the road are using autonomous technology using GPS in some way, like the Google car. People by nature become complacent and comfortable, therefore leading to many of these drivers not paying attention to the road, but instead playing video games, reading the paper, or eating lunch.

If a CME-caused geomagnetic storm should take place and knock out GPS satellites, imagine the massive traffic it would cause, at best. Even worse, it could result in major accidents, should these cars veer off of the road and out of control. That’s a scary possibility that this recent solar flare close call should bring to the forefront. The engineers must devise a backup plan that overrides the GPS part of autonomous driving, should the signal be lost.

This additional engineering process may ultimately delay the public release of these automated cars. If this simply goes by the wayside without any safety measure, besides human intervention, it could cause a serious issue.

Just a little food for thought...

Click past the jump to see two videos of the CME.

This weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, a unique pink Chevrolet Camaro SS will serve as the official pace car for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500. While the race itself will be something worth paying attention to, the pink Camaro pace car also holds a story unto itself, not because of its color, but because of what that color represents.

See, the car has been dressed in a two-tone pink and white color scene, which is similar to last year’s pink pace car , a clear and distinct nod to Chevrolet’s support of the American Cancer Society and the latter’s "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" initiative.

“For our 100th birthday in 2011, Chevrolet began its support of the American Cancer Society, and the generous response from our dealers, employees and customers told us we needed to help the Society fight for more birthdays,” said Don Johnson, vice president of Chevrolet Sales and Service.

“At Chevy, we believe everyday heroes can accomplish extraordinary things, and it is in this spirit that we work to achieve a world without breast cancer.”

As part of Chevrolet’s efforts this weekend, the automaker has promised to pledge $200 for every lap the Camaro SS "Breast Cancer Fight" Pace Car leads under the caution flag. A year ago, a similar set-up was arranged by Chevrolet, and when the race ran under 64 caution laps, the BowTie happily sent $12,800 in donations to the American Cancer Society.

“Last year, contributions of more than $900,000 supported the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures and by fighting back against this disease,” said Roshini George, national vice president of health promotions for the American Cancer Society.

"As we approach National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, we want thank the Chevrolet family for its support and remind everyone to take the steps that make a difference in our fight against breast cancer.”

Safety cars are usually reserved for BMW and Mercedes models with added sprinkles of muscle cars here and there. But now, Lexus is joining the fray with introduction of the GS 350 F Sport Safety Car .

Set to make its inaugural duties at the Muscle Car Masters at Sydney Motorsport Park, the GS 350 F Sport Safety Car will, from here on out, serve as the series’ official safety car. To serve in its new official capacity, the GS 350 Sport Safety Car was fitted with all standard equipment befitting its function. The exclusive exterior styling of the car comes with all the decals and an aggressive new body kit. Likewise, the interior was touched up with the same attention to its purpose. Then, the car was also fitted the Lexus Dynamic Handling System (LDHS), a system that features Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS) and Adaptive variable Suspension (AVS).

Under its hood, the GS 350 F Sport Safety Car gets a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 317 horsepower, generating a 0-62 mph time of just six seconds with an estimated top speed of 142 mph.

There are three types of accidents in the world of car racing: expected, freak, and “how in the [insert favorite expletive] did that happen?” Well, an accident involving an AMG racecar, air line, and four Mercedes DTM crew members falls into the latter of those three categories.

This is a clear example of a pit crew simply not following the most basic of pit rules: clean your crap off of pit lane after you’re done and secure your air hose properly until you are ready to use it. After a fairly quick pit stop by the AMG coupe during practice at Zandvoort on Friday, the coupe speeds away. The crew directly in front of the car apparently left their air hose dangling over the track in anticipation of a pit stop of their own and the car’s rear spoiler caught the hose.

Well, the hose turns into a massive bull whip with a crack that would make Indiana Jones feel inadequate. As it whips around, it catches four crew members and drops three to the tarmac. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, as Mercedes has released a statement that three of the four were released from the hospital and are back on the job, but one remains in the hospital with serious, but not life threatening, injuries.

From the 1:10 mark to the 1:15 mark, you can see the accident in slow motion and you can really get a look at how lazily wrapped the air hose is. The hose that the Mercedes hit was hanging halfway down, whereas the rest of the hoses in pit lane are tightly wrapped and well above the top of the spoiler.

We’re sure this team is in for a quick and harsh lesson on pit-lane maintenance and organization. Then again, getting bull whipped by an air hose may be lesson enough.

Source: AutoSport
Fisker Karma

The second Fisker fire fiasco has officially come to a close and the investigation turned up pretty much what we all expected: the batteries were not at fault. As we stated in our initial report, the fire was near the front of the vehicle, so failed batteries would have been a rather unlikely cause.

After a full investigation by Fisker’s engineers and an “independent fire expert” from Pacific Rim Investigative Services, it was discovered that the fire source was a faulty low-temperature cooling fan. In a fit of customer service, Fisker has decided to recall all affected Karma units.

In a press release regarding the findings, Fisker makes sure that everyone knows it’s not responsible by passing the blame torch to the fan manufacturer, calling it the “responsible supplier.” While that is technically a true statement, there is really no need to openly pass that blame. In all reality, your company installed the fan and performed the obligatory testing on it.

Surprisingly, the most directly affected person – the owner of the Fisker flambe – had the following to say: “I have been incredibly impressed with the way Fisker has handled this incident. I have personally started seven technology companies and know from direct experience that the US needs more innovative companies of this type, especially in the automobile sector. Fisker is a great company and one that I am personally planning to invest in. I look forward to getting behind the wheel of my next Fisker.”

Good for the customer for being so forgiving, but we would be hard pressed to get behind the wheel of a Fisker until there is plenty testing done without any incidents of fire.

We’re glad to see this fiasco come to an end and we truly hope that this is the last of Fisker’s issues, as we want to see this alternative fuel technology succeed and this success depends on the success or failure of both Tesla and Fisker.

Click past the jump to read Fisker’s full presser.


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