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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:23 pm 
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Hi there. Longtime lurker.
I thought I'd chime in with my experience with KK Split 30s.
I came home early today, my second day on my Karakorams. I lost one of the bolts that hold the toe ladder in place, which I discovered during my first changeover of the day.

Here is my experience. I work in a shop that is a Karakoram and Spark dealer. I set up my KKs on Sunday, and used blue loctite on all mounting bolts. I didn't dismantle my bindings and apply loctite to all of the binding bolts, but I did go through all of the bolts with one of our techs to be sure they were tight.
I did have some concern while setting up my bindings, as some of the threads in the binding plates still had residual metal left behind from the machining process. Fabrication didn't appear to be perfect, though some of the tolerances were amazingly tight.
On Monday we traveled about 30min into a nearby area, and did two runs, totalling just 450m of vertical. Tuesday afternoon, I demonstrated the bindings to my roommate (who rides Sparks), made some small adjustments, and tightened all bolts again.
This morning, we were about 45min along when we decided to posthole up the remaining pitch of our first face. While strapping my board (in ski mode) to my backpack, I noticed one of my toe ladders in the snow. I inspected my bindings only to discover that ALL of the allen bolts around my baseplate were far less than hand-tight, and one was missing. Of course, I was carrying a tool, but this was frightening! My bindings were very close to falling completely apart, after a total of 1h30m of approach skiing, 800m vertical of ascending, and 450m of descending. And that included having been inspected and tightened in the middle of all that.

After tightening everything, I made my descent with just one bolt holding the toe-ladder plate in place.

My review isn't complete without stating that these bindings are the most comfortable I have tried, and I am completely impressed by how well my board (Lib T.Rice 161.5) performs on the Karakoram system. However, the fabrication appeared a little suspect to my untrained eyes, and I did experience a failure after logging fewer hours than most people will put in in a single day.

Perhaps I should have dismantled my bindings and applied loctite to all bolts (I did have to apply a lubricant to the riveted mechanical bits to make them engage smoothly and properly), but I don't think that the security of touring bindings should rest on that much on the consumer's due diligence, particularly on the second day of use. I am very careful with all of my gear, and haven't had a significant failure since I broke a Nitro binding disc in 1995.

My suggestion is that all Karakoram users inspect their bolts frequently (twice a day or more), and/or apply loctite to all bolts.

I'll be in touch with the Karakoram guys about my experience once I've taken some photographs, and I'm confident that it will be handled professionally. It's a rad product that may still have some details to be attended to.


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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:02 pm
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^^^Oh, and an extra item of note. I tightened all of my bolts upon finding them loose. However, when I carried on and attempted to mount my KKs in riding mode, I discovered that the loose bolts had allowed the toe plates to slide, which in turn meant that my binding wouldn't attach, and I had to adjust my bindings to match my interface halfway up a mountain at -15C or so.
A loose bolt can result in a lot of fuss.
Yuck.


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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:47 pm 
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Location: Kodiak, AK
lemouvement wrote:
Perhaps I should have dismantled my bindings and applied loctite to all bolts...

Loctite is a single application agent in many critical situations, and I would consider binding adjustment critical. Once you break the bond by turning the bolt, you need a fresh application. Apply a new coat of blue everywhere, give it 24 hours to cure, and you should be set.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:22 pm 
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Location: Colorado
Bryce:

Thank you for responding directly to this thread, and explaining the cause of Irishgav's failure. I am re-assured to hear that you have not experienced a series of similar failures, and that Karakoram has put in place extra checks to make sure that a similar manufacturing defect does not make it out to a customer.
I would like to emphasize your point on binding inspection. I think it is advisable that all riders inspect all their equipment regularly, especially bindings, for small cracks which could lead to failure.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:31 pm 
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philip.ak wrote:
lemouvement wrote:
Perhaps I should have dismantled my bindings and applied loctite to all bolts...

Loctite is a single application agent in many critical situations, and I would consider binding adjustment critical. Once you break the bond by turning the bolt, you need a fresh application. Apply a new coat of blue everywhere, give it 24 hours to cure, and you should be set.

Agreed. I used blue on all mounting hardware, but in hindsight I wish I had applied it to everything upon initial setup. On my earlier inspections, I checked the bolts and everything felt tight...no more than maybe 1/16 of a turn was possible...exactly what you would expect when checking over a newly fabricated product.
Looking over my bindings again, I can see a few things. First, I can see the residue of red loctite on the bolts. Second, I've discovered that as soon as a bolt becomes the slightest bit loose, the pieces it fastens are immediately able to rattle, and the bolt can be loosened by hand. Looking closer, the inside of the slots through which the bolts pass are completely scored by the threads of the bolts.
I'll post photos after dinner.


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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:47 pm 
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i had the same loosening problem on one of my bolts. i applied some teflon tape which seems to have fixed the problem. i've done 3 relatively long day trips since i applied the tape and haven't seen any loosening since. i think teflon tape is a nice alternative because it will prevent loosening but isn't permanent if you actually ever want to loosen a bolt for adjustment/repair.


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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:43 pm 
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Location: Salida, Flagstaff
brycek wrote:
Each of these parts is bent by hand on a break press. It appears that this part was over bent which caused what is called Orange Peeling (stress fractures caused by bending). Each part is inspected for this as it comes off the break press, but this one slipped through. This is 100% our mistake and we have added a step to our inspection process to make sure this does not happen again. We have offered to replace the bad parts or give Gavan a full refund. With that said this is one failure in thousands of parts. It is unacceptable to us, but mistakes do happen in all companies. This part as designed can withstand 4604 lbs in tension and 560 lbs in bending before yield even higher for breakage. We test our bindings to the ASTM standard F2546 and ISO standards 14573 and 15344. We've ridden this part for five years and this is the first time we've ever seen this part break. If any of our current users have concerns you can inspect the bend of the heel loop to see if there is any sign of orange peeling. We will replace the heel attachment loops for you at no cost.


Thanks for this thorough explanation, Bryce. Totally professional and dead-on. I have been eye-balling a switch to a K set up; coupled with the above-described rigorous standards, the fact that this was a one-time problem allays my reservations about making that switch.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:57 am 
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I had both my touring brackets almost come off my first tour due to loose bolts. Luckily I had an allen wrench with me or my day would have been ruined. ALWAYS have a K allen wrench in your pack. It weighs nothing.
Maybe B and T should give instructions to carry an allen wrench and to lock tight your shit.
Overall this is the responsibility of the customer to make sure his bolts are tight. All new technical gear in all sports usually requires attention by the consumer coming off the production line.

Loose bolts is NOT a 'failure' however. Very misleading word. Your product did not 'fail' you. You failed to keep your bolts tight. Just want to clarify that. All bindings split or solid have bolts come loose at inopportune times.

CARRY AN ALLEN WRENCH (MAYBE A SPARE BOLT OR TWO) AND LOCTITE YOUR BOLTS!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:35 am 
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If you adjust the bolt (and break the thread lock bond) then you assume responsibility. If, however, it is a bolt installed at the factory and you do not touch it you should have every expectation that the manufacturer cares enough about their customers to properly torque fasteners.

Don't forget that if you "check" a bolt, and in the process you torque it enough to cause it to turn even a fraction, you no longer have the full strength of the thread locker.

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Venture Zephyr 164/260
Never Summer SL 163X
Burton Spliff 148
Voile Mojo RX 166
BD, G3, and Gecko skins
Sparks!


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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:07 am 
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I will chime in to say that I have about 50 days on my orginal split 30's with zero issues. The rubber bumpers have fallen off the base, but they aren't necessary. I inspect the bolts frequently and have only tightened them once.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:38 pm
Posts: 345
Location: Fairhaven
I don't remember if I've already posted in this thread with my first day experience with a lost bolt but I would echo what has already been said. My experience is almost exactly the same, first day out I lost one of the bolts that holds the toe piece of the base plate onto the heel loop. Once the first bolt was lost then the others loosened up quickly. I'd walk about 50 feet, bend down to tighten the remaining bolts and then go another 50 feet.

I've already talked to the brothers about this and frequently inspect my hardware. I put loctite on all of my hardware that night and toured 2 more days that weekend and ~15 days since then with no further problems with hardware. I have lost about half of my black dots and would say that they are critical to a tight fit and prevent "disco foot". I tried replacing them with another dot that was slightly harder and taller and found that I had interface issues in ride mode and also with the crampons so I've removed those dots.

Again, if you have new Karakorams, loctite all of your hardware before final mounting.

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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:27 pm 
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Location: Kodiak, AK
Does anyone know the recommended torque value for the K binding bolts?

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Never Summer SL 163X
Burton Spliff 148
Voile Mojo RX 166
BD, G3, and Gecko skins
Sparks!


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 Post subject: Re: Karakoram breaking after couple of days
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:38 pm 
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Location: Fairhaven
I did mine by hand with a 4mm allen key not a ratchet. I'm not sure what it works out to but my biggest concern with steel hardware threaded into aluminum is that the aluminum will strip so I didn't go too fart with it. Just be careful with the one bolt that holds on the delrin bushing, too tight and it will squish/crack the bushing.

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