Wave of Recalls Continues: Buses Recalled for Window Issue
August 30, 2010

Bus manufacturer Micro-Bird has issued a recall for several G5 mini-buses, citing an issue with the vehicle's t-slider or panoramic type push-out windows. According to information provided to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) by the manufacturer, the windows fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 217, which addresses bus emergency exits and window retention and release.

"The vehicles are equipped with t-slider or panoramic type push-out windows with 2 release mechanisms (one on each side)," writes NHTSA in its report about the recall. "The window handle base spacer plate can tear due to the rotation of the exterior window frame."

In the event of a crash, the emergency exit may "not sufficiently restrain the occupants or [could] become inoperable," according to NHTSA.

According to the report, the vehicles were manufactured between June 1, 2006, and August 12, 2010, and are known as the Girardin and Micro Bird by Girardin.

"The design of [the] window's latching mechanism and the design and the stiffness of [the] window's frame and a potential insufficient retention of the window to the vehicle structure [causes] too much bending of the frame," writes Micro-Bird in its August 12 letter notifying NHTSA of the problem.

The company says the potential number of vehicles that might be affected currently is undetermined, but that 100 percent of the vehicles are estimated to contain the defect. The windows were manufactured by Industries Spectal Inc. in Granby, Quebec, according to Micro-Bird, which is based in Drummondville, Quebec. Micro-Bird officials say they learned of the problem from Spectal on August 6, and a test conducted on August 10 confirmed the problem.

The company plans to reimburse owners for the repairs to the windows, according to the report, but has not yet filed an official plan for remedy with NHTSA.

This is the latest in a string of recent recalls involving vehicle windows. In early August, Volvo Trucks North America announced it would recall several 2009-2010 VN 670 and 780 trucks manufactured from March 1, 2008, through February 6, 2009, for a possible de-bonding issue with the vehicles' rear sidelites. Just last week, Webasto Product North America Inc. issued a recall of potentially 292,867 sunroofs sold as aftermarket equipment for a variety of passenger vehicles, citing a possible adhesive bonding issue between the glass and metal frame, and Motor Coach Industries Inc. issued a recall for several of its motor coaches equipped with SE-GI passenger windows saying that the adhesive bond between the glass in the windows and the aluminum window frame on the affected vehicles may degrade over time and the windows may become partially or completely detached from the vehicle's frame.

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