The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has formally announced the recall of 14,575 units of the Honda CBR500R and CB500F in the U.S. from model years 2013 to 2015 because of a faulty fuel level sensor. As we previously reported, the recall had previously been announced by respective government bodies in Australia and Canada for both models. The CB500X is not affected as it does not share the same fuel tank as its 500-series siblings.
According to documents released by NHTSA, the fuel level sensor float arm holder may deform after exposure to a combination of environmental and roadway conditions. A deformed float arm may separate completely from the fuel sensor body, providing an inaccurate fuel level reading. In some cases, the disembodied float arm may come in contact with both the positive and negative terminals at the base of the fuel pump, causing a short circuit that may blow a fuse and cause an engine stall.
American Honda first became aware of a potential problem in June 2013 after a dealer reported a faulty fuel meter and detected an unusual noise in the fuel tank. American Honda forwarded the data to Honda’s Thai manufacturing subsidiary which produces the 500-series models. Thai Honda Manufacturing (THM) conducted an investigation but could not recreate the problem.
By August 2013, American Honda provided THM with 17 more incident reports, four of which were from customers reporting engines shutting off or failing to start. THM escalated its investigation and in the ensuing months received more reports. Honda’s Japanese head office was called in to help and it took until Dec. 2014 before Honda Japan’s R&D team was able to recreate the problem.
By June 25, 2015, THM had received a total of 67 reports including 59 from the U.S. Two customers had reported three separate failures. Honda also received 78 total warranty claims. No crashes, injuries or deaths were connected to any of the incident reports.
Honda dealers will replace the fuel level sensor assembly on affected motorcycles at no cost. Owners who had previously paid for repairs to address this problem will be reimbursed.