Home » McLaren’s V6 Artura Already Recalled For Fire-Causing Loose Nuts

McLaren’s V6 Artura Already Recalled For Fire-Causing Loose Nuts

Tmd Mcc

On this Christmas Eve Eve news dump we’ve got CEOs toasting, McLarens for roasting, and Stellantis’ hydrogen plans on the go. We’ve got scary quiet hybrid stories and tales of dumps long, long ago.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

The McLaren Artura Is Barely On Sale And Now It’s Being Recalled

Mcca

I’m cautiously excited about the McLaren Artura, which is the supercar company’s attempt at hybridizing its volume-selling, entry-point supercar. The Artura pairs McLaren’s brand new twin-turbo V6 with an also-new electric motor to create a 671 horsepower beast. The problem McLaren’s been having with the car is that it’s been turning into roast beast.

During the June launch of the car this summer there were some “thermal incidents” that resulted in auto journalists around the world begging their friends for photos. Road & Track refers to at least one fire from the launch, as well as technical glitches, in a wrap-up of the event.

Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced a recall for the Artura. Here’s the meat of the recall report:

“The cold formed nuts of the high-pressure fuel pipes can potentially loosen from the male threaded outlet connection of the gasoline direct injection fuel pump when subjected to vehicle loads, in particular during dynamic driving manoeuvres commonly associated with track running.

[…]

If the nut becomes loose, the seal between the end flare of the fuel pipe and the sealing cone of the pump outlet may be disrupted, leading to the release of fuel. The end flare of the fuel pipe is situated close to engine components which have a high operating temperature. If fuel is released in proximity to these components, it could result in thermal activity.”

How did this happen? Also from the report:

The specification for the fuel injection system on the vehicle originally called for a fully machined nut to be used. However, during March 2021, the nut supplier notified McLaren of an imminent stock shortage of fully machined nuts and proposed a switch to cold formed nuts, which were already used widely by their other customers. The cold formed nuts had been successfully validated by the nut supplier and in durability testing performed by McLaren.

Let this be a lesson, kids, never trust a nut supplier who insists on a cold-formed nut when you’d already planned to use a machined nut. When in doubt, always used machined nuts.

Boy howdy, this sounds a lot like the incident that occurred at the launch in Spain. Let’s see what McLaren said at the time, from a Road & Track correspondent who was there:

McLaren said a supplier’s fuel-pipe nut had been torqued incorrectly, a one-off issue that was quickly identified and corrected.

Well, perhaps it was not quite a one-off. Let’s go back to the NHTSA report:

In June 2022, a vehicle with approximately 1000km of road use was driven on a race circuit, and a fuel leak occurred. Upon inspection, it was found that the cold formed nut of the left-hand high-pressure fuel pipe had loosened at the pump outlet connection. McLaren immediately commenced an investigation.

Either two cars caught on fire in June with this issue or NHTSA is describing the incident with journalists. But wait, there’s more! McLaren updated torquing procedures and, in September, the machined nuts came back into stock so McLaren switched back. Then the issue occurred again…

At the beginning of November 2022, a different vehicle with approximately 2800km of road use was driven on a race circuit by a McLaren professional driver, and a fuel leak occurred. Upon inspection, it was found that the cold formed nut of the left-hand high-pressure fuel pipe had loosened at the pump outlet connection.

What’s McLaren got to say about all this? They talked to Automotive News and said what you’d basically expect:

“McLaren takes safety and quality very seriously and has, therefore, chosen to launch a safety recall to replace a fuel-line nut on the McLaren Artura,” the automaker said in an emailed statement. “While the number of affected vehicles in customer ownership is relatively small, McLaren has acted in an abundance of caution in order to immediately eliminate any potential safety risk associated with this issue.”

There are very few Arturas in the hands of customers and, given the amount of testing abuse these cars go through, it doesn’t seem like a common issue. Ultimately, it’s great that the company intervened early and solved the problem before it became an issue for a customer.

It must be extra crappy given that McLaren’s been perpetually cash-starved over the last few years and dogged by some quality issues on earlier products. Clearly, McLaren needs the Artura to work.

Stellantis Is Serious About This Hydrogen Thing

Symbio

I’ve already described hydrogen-powered cars as the industry trying to make fetch happen, but fetch seems to have momentum.

Stellantis announced earlier today that it plans to buy hydrogen fuel cell company Symbio in an attempt to secure powertrain expertise for its upcoming large van program:

“Symbio’s technical roadmap perfectly matches with Stellantis’ hydrogen roll-out plans in Europe and in the U.S.,” said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares.  “This move will foster the speed of development to bring low emission products to our customers, beyond traditional electric vehicles. We’re grateful to the teams at Faurecia, Michelin and Symbio for their commitment to innovation, excellence, and collaboration as we all work to achieve decarbonized mobility.”

There are no details on the money involved or how much of the company will be left in the hands of French supplier Faurecia and tire company Michelin, which are Symbio’s current majority shareholders.

Canadian EVs Are Theoretically About To Get Louder

Both Europe and the United States require hybrids and electric cars to emit a noise to warn pedestrians of their presence in order to avoid a Dwight-v-Prius situation. You can read what NHTSA mandates here. Canada, for whatever reason, does not have the same mandate.

Now Canada is getting in on the action, according to this recent press release from the country’s Minister of Transport (the Honourable Omar Alghabra):

Under the new requirements, all hybrid and electric vehicles will now be required to have sound emitters that would produce noise at low speeds. Automakers can determine the type of sound the vehicle makes, but the volume and pitch must allow a road user to hear if a vehicle is speeding up or slowing down.

While many automakers have voluntarily added sound emitters to hybrid and electric vehicles, Transport Canada’s new requirement makes it mandatory equipment on all new light-duty passenger vehicles sold in Canada.

This makes sense, but I’m scratching my head trying to think of an electric vehicle for sale that does not already have this capability right out of the box.

Automotive CEOs With Two Years On The Job Saw A 90% Increase In Compensation

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A survey by Automotive News and corporate governance advisor company Equilar shows how delightfully remunerative it is to be a CEO in the automotive industry. Here’s the highlight that stands out to me:

For CEOs who have been in their positions for at least two years, median compensation rose 90 percent from 2020, said Courtney Yu, Equilar’s director of research.

Not bad. Not bad at all. The stock market is one of the biggest drivers of this growth, which makes sense when comparing 2022 and 2020:

In 2021, the economy was doing very well and the stock market was doing very well and that’s reflected in the gains that executives saw this past year,” Yu told Automotive News. “In the case of Elon Musk, if you decided to exercise stock options, to the tune of over $23 billion, it was definitely a good year for people owning equity.”

Musk is at the top with $23 billion (all stock), followed by NVIDIA’s Jen-Hsun Huang at $560 million. The most shocking one here is Lucid’s Peter Rawlinson but, again, a big chunk of his compensation bump this year came from stocks.

The Flush

Would you buy an Artura? If you had supercar money and were in that space is the McLaren on your list? Maybe a 911 GT3? What are you getting? Dream a little.

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Photos: Automotive News, McLaren, Symbio

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25 Responses

  1. It will be interesting to see this chart once 2022 is done and dusted. Peter Rowlinson of Lucid will presumably be quite a bit down, as the stock has been mauled (though I really, really hope Lucid can pull it together on volume). Total comp hopefully is down across the board. Spare a thought for these titans of industry, humble commentators.

  2. Of all the CEOs in the automotive world, I think Mary Barra deserved the raise the most. She really has done a great job turning GM into something that makes cars that people actually want, not have, to drive.

    1. Cadillac is on fire. I’ve never seen so many products I like. Sure, it has ironclad brand equity, but the turnaround from multiple decades of truly dismal cars is astounding and she deserves immense praise.

  3. Reading the reason the nuts are failing seems wrong.

    “when subjected to vehicle loads”

    That means the pump and/or fuel lines are not clamped properly and the fittings are being loaded and forcing the nuts, causing the failure.

    The nuts are there to hold the line tight on the fitting only, not prevent the line from moving.

    Hydraulic system design 101.

    The cold formed nuts are fine.

    1. Basic high tech solution apparently overlooked by this high tech company, lock wire, lock tabs, and various other nut locking methods are well known and used in the aerospace industry.

    2. So what you’re saying is that the line isn’t secure enough in the area of the fitting to prevent it from flexing to the point where it forces the joint apart regardless of how tight the nut is? I can see how that could happen, although of course neither of us has the actual car in front of us so who knows. What would the fix be for something like that? My assumption is that they would have to add a bracket near the fitting to provide additional support, or maybe install a rigid sleeve overtop of it. Or maybe just cut out that section of the fuel line entirely and replace it with a section of flexible tubing, so that it can flex without breaking?

      1. Pretty much yes. The best solution is to clamp the line near the fitting on a bracket that doesn’t move relative to the pump. No force at the fitting, any movement is absorbed by the flexibility of the fuel line.

        Adding a hose is second best, because you end adding another joint in your system with its leak risk. Hoses also need clamping as above or where you transition to rigid again.

        1. This would be why a lot of hydraulic fittings seem to have a sort of groove built into them so that the support bracket can cradle the actual fitting itself, then. Makes sense.

  4. Question: why don’t OEMs put threadlocker on important fasteners more often? I mean OK, a mass-market brand needs to control costs all over the place because little things add up, but McLaren? Is there a reason not to do this?

  5. What I think I would really do, if money were truly no object, is buy a classic supercar and have a top-notch shop bring it up to date with modern supercar performance. I’m thinking a Miura would make a nice base, they’re quite pretty. Bring Gandini and Dallara back on board for the restoration as design and engineering consultants respectively, to make sure we’re doing things right. With modern technology and a few million dollars’ worth of customization, it could be the car its original designers wished they could have built back in the day.

    Alternatively, maybe buy myself a Model J and do the same thing. Those things have presence, and if you could update one to where it wasn’t completely terrifying to drive, it’d be a hell of a grocery-getter.

    Think big, people. If you’re that rich, there’s no need to just buy something off the shelf.

    1. I think both Drew and Halftrack are on the right paths: Enclosed space to work on vehicles AND something older to restomod. I’d head in the sort of direction the TV series “Vintage Voltage” takes but electrify something unobtanium, such as an AMC AMX/3 a Bill Thomas Cheetah. Electrifying an early Avanti would be fun.

  6. McLaren already has a pretty lousy reputation when it comes to build quality. There are all sorts of videos, articles, etc out there highlighting similar issues to the ones Tesla is infamous for. It’s unfortunate, because I think their exterior design (outside of the Senna, good lord is that thing a train wreck) is about as good as it gets for supercars…and the performance/technology advances that the company has made over the years speak for themselves.

    But man…this type of stuff is just inexcusable on cars that cost as much as a house. I’ve always considered a McLaren to be an ultimate dream car of mine, but in the .0001% chance I ever wind up with enough money to buy one, I’d probably go in a different direction due to the QC issues as well as the fact that even if they’re attractive cars they’re just too shouty for me.

    I’m pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the conspicuous consumption crowd…so I’d likely wind up in the best 911 I could get. Whether that be a GT3, Turbo S (comes in a drop top), or something else, who knows. But I’d absolutely custom order it and spec it into oblivion. I’d also consider something like an AMG GT, the new Z06, or even a secondhand BMW Z8. Dear lord is that car incredible…so much so that they’re worth McLaren money at this stage.

    1. The McLaren issues are especially painful as reliability has gone up so much in the exotic-car area. You can buy a Huracan or a 911 and pound on it all day, every day, and you just don’t hear nightmare reliability stories. Again, this is where a larger company as a steward would really aid McLaren moving forward.

  7. The GT3 is my choice for anything short of 720S money. I’m not ready to give up on pure ICE and while the MC20 is tempting from a design perspective, the final product isn’t quite there – a “stradle” version could tempt me though!

  8. Regarding Stellantis and being ‘serious’ about hydrogen vehicles… is there any mention of also building out hydrogen infrastructure? No? Well then if that’s the case, this will just be another low-volume ‘green’ PR exercise.

    Also note in the press release they say ” This is what led Michelin to pioneer in this technology for more than 20 years.”

    So Michelin and Symbio have been ‘pioneering’ this tech for 20 years and still have little or nothing to show for it as far as I can tell. Just have a look at their Wiki page:
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbio_(entreprise)

    Note the compete absence of any mention of their tech available in any specific products. Lots of talk about ‘development’ though.

    By comparison, Tesla started working on BEVs around 2002 and had something on sale in 2008 and 20 years later, is producing BEVs *with related charging infrastructure* in high 6 figure volumes.

    And that difference in results is the difference between being ‘serious’ and something just being a PR exercise.

    Tesla was/is serious. I predict Michelin/Stellantis are not. And I predict in anther 20 years, they will STILL have little or nothing to show for all their ‘work’ on hydrogen.

    And it’s also interesting that there is no mention about how much Stellantis paid for their stake in Symbio. I’m guessing it’s not a lot.

    The Flush: Even if I became stupid-wealthy, I probably wouldn’t buy an Artura. I’d probably want some high end BEV of some sort.

  9. I hope some serious effort is put into researching the best sound!
    Reversing beepers on large machinery is a great example of how not to do it.The sound location is difficult to find in many situations.
    Eventually someone found that a hoarse kind of screech is perfect for the job.It can be run at very low sound levels and is super easy to locate! It’s perplexing that lawmakers didnt jump in and mandate it immediately it proved it’s worth. It’s not like it cost much to change over

    1. I’ve heard that hoarse screech (great description) coming from some Amazon trucks and I really hope it doesn’t become too common because it is obnoxious. Just an awful, awful sound. I don’t think the normal beeping is so bad—even though it’s hard to locate, pretty much everyone knows it means “a big truck is backing up nearby” and will be cued to look out for it, lest they get squashed. If you’re close enough for it to matter, you’re probably not gonna have any trouble finding it.

  10. If I had supercar money, I’d definitely be buying a Koenigsegg. Absurd, cool, custom engineered, yet still more than a bit odd because they’re sort of nerdy.

    Next step down and I’m in the market for a Porsche 911 or a Corvette Z06. (Yes, I do think the new Corvette is that much improved over the old.)

    Step down again and it’s still 911 and Corvette territory, but lower spec models.

  11. My super car dreams are mostly Aston Martins, but if I had super car money, I’d probably be more likely to spend on a bigger garage and a wide variety of cars. Give me a nice pickup, a reasonably fun sports car, and something comfortable like a loaded Chrysler 300C. Maybe a rally car or off-roader, too.

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