Major manufacturers Briggs & Stratton, Deere & Co. and American Honda Motor are all recalling products after hazards relating to potential fuel leaks were discovered.
Briggs & Stratton is recalling about 2,600 Vanguard V-twin gasoline engines that contain a type of fuel filter that could potentially leak gasoline. The Wisconsin-based engine maker said it has received six reports of engine fires, with one resulting in a minor burn injury.
The recalled units are Vanguard V-twin engines, available in red or black, with 9-quart fuel tanks and tags identifying them as models 294442, 294447, 303442, 303447, 350442 and 350447. The engines were manufactured between Feb. 15 and Nov. 17, 1999, for commercial and industrial applications.
Phil Cappitelli, vice president and general manager of the Vanguard business unit, said Briggs & Stratton took corrective actions when the problem surfaced last November.
"The scope of it was small, affecting a limited number of models," Cappitelli said.
"We've taken measures that correct the problem and have gone through the distribution channels."
Briggs is simultaneously replacing about 4,600 plastic fuel filters - identified with replacement number 808116 on the bottom of the part - that were sold separately for Vanguard engines with 9-quart fuel tanks. These filters were sold from March 1999 through November 1999 for use on Vanguard V-twin engines made on or after Aug. 23, 1995, engines with model number 290442 or 290447, and all six models mentioned above.
Briggs is advising equipment manufacturers, rental companies and distributors to stop using the engines and fuel filters in question even if no leaks are detected, and to contact their local dealers, who will provide a new filter free of charge.
American Honda Motor has recalled about 112,000 Harmony II walk-behind lawnmowers because their fuel tanks can leak and possibly cause fires, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is advising owners to stop using the mowers immediately and to contact a Honda power equipment dealer.
Honda, Alpharetta, Ga., initiated the mower recall after receiving 25 reports of leakage caused by split fuel tanks. The reports did not indicate there were fires or injuries resulting from the leaks.
The lawnmowers are dark gray with red fan covers and were sold nationwide at Honda power equipment dealers and Home Depot stores from May 1998 to January 2000.
Deere's Consumer Products division, Charlotte, N.C., is recalling about 200,000 of its Homelite handheld leaf blowers/vacuums because of a potential gas leak and fire hazard. The leak can be caused through excessive wear to the fuel line, which rubs against the unit's plastic engine cover. There have been two reports of leaks, but no fires or injuries, according to the commission.
The blowers, painted red and black, were sold for about $150 by Home Depot, Ace Hardware and Eagle Hardware stores between August 1998 and January 2000. Upon return, Homelite service dealers will make free inspection and repairs.
"The problem is absolutely fixable," said Ray Hornak, a Deere spokesman.