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Speculation on the gas cap program in a post-Navistar world?


Matt Kirsch
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Navistar inherited the liability for the gas cap lawsuit and kept the free gas cap program running all these years.

Will the new owners be obligated to continue the program? I had heard years ago that Navistar was considering ending the program, yet it is still going.

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1 hour ago, Matt Kirsch said:

Navistar inherited the liability for the gas cap lawsuit and kept the free gas cap program running all these years.

Will the new owners be obligated to continue the program? I had heard years ago that Navistar was considering ending the program, yet it is still going.

  If my memory is any good IH was required to have funding in place for that program meaning the money is already there and that any legitimate claim had to be honored.  Two questions.  Do the lawyers for VW care and does the US Justice Dept care.  Specifically, will the government push to keep that program and will VW fight if pushed?  Will VW figure it is cheaper to keep the program going versus hiring an army of lawyers to fight the US government?  I never heard of an expiration date when this whole thing came to be around 1980 but most people involved probably figured IH as an entity would be around for a very long time.  Back to lawyers I suppose that they could make an argument that 2021 was well past the time of expected lifetime for those tractors.  If the Feds and our own state of NY make good on notions of getting rid of the internal combustion engine at least where gasoline is concerned then that might be the exit out of having to provide caps.  We got a replacement cap for the M shortly after the program came out.  

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36 minutes ago, Sparky said:

If the people that truly deserve a "free" gas cap haven't received one yet, they probably don't need it. Jmo....

Travis

  Just like at the time this came to be it was decided that a substantial number of tractor owners live outside of the modern world thus a time period allowed to make good.  If you went into your IH dealer around the year 1980 you would have seen a sign up at the parts counter about the program.  A number of farm magazines had ads placed in them by IH about the program.  Regardless of all that IH had to allow for tractor owners that lived like hermits coming to civilization once every 20 years to buy gasoline, cigarettes, and ammo plus maybe stop at their local IH dealer.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just wanted to put an update on this. I didn't know anything on the gas cap program until reading it on here. I have a 69 444 gas and filled out the form a couple weeks ago. Got the gas cap in the mail a couple days ago. The program is still alive. lol the only issue I have with it is the gas cap is black instead of red.

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30 minutes ago, Wolfraider said:

Just wanted to put an update on this. I didn't know anything on the gas cap program until reading it on here. I have a 69 444 gas and filled out the form a couple weeks ago. Got the gas cap in the mail a couple days ago. The program is still alive. lol the only issue I have with it is the gas cap is black instead of red.

All the caps I got on the program many many years ago were black also. 

Never bothered me but I guess you can rattle can them if you have a mind to. 

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If I know legal professionals, they'll keep it around. Relatively cheap program and keeping it would be easier to stomach than the risk of liability.

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The last couple C/IH or CNH dealers I've been in have new gas caps available for $25.00.  

    Dad did the paperwork for the new caps for the M & SH,  new caps were triple baffle caps like the factory caps were except they had an extra catch or safety bar so the gas cap had to be turned about 1/4 turn, lifted like a radiator cap, then turned zn additional quarter turn and removed.  Except the second bar was a bit too long, made it hard to install & remove. The cap was pop-riveted together, I drilled the rivets out, tossed the safety catch and used 3/16" stainless steel rivets to reassemble the cap.

     I believe Dad sent in a form for a gas cap for his scrap #62 combine with the 69 cid Continental gas engine.  Not sure what became of the new gas cap. I think the gas tank was given to one of the owners of OSCO FIREWORKS for a home-made tractor he built in the mid - 1970's.  Maybe he got the new gas cap too.

     There was a lawsuit against IHC that several guys I knew at work testified at.  Farmer pulled his gasoline tractor up to the gas barrel, had a lit cigarette in his mouth, grabbed the gas hose, twisted the cap off the gas tank and SWOOSH the pressure of hot gasoline escaped from the tank, fumes hit his cigarette and The guy, his tractor, the gas barrel all burned.  Tractor was new enough to have the tall triple baffle cap.  If I remember correctly IH won the lawsuit.

      I will say one thing about today's blends of gasoline,  I use Kwik-Trip RECREATIONAL gas, 91 octane for use in boats, snow mobiles, jet ski's, motorcycles, etc.  It's supposed to store well for longer times.  But if I have half a tank of gas in both the M & SH, and some gas in each of the three Cub Cadets I'm almost afraid to flip the light switch on the gas fumes are so strong, I'm afraid I'll blow the roof of my shop a half mile away!

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46 minutes ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

The last couple C/IH or CNH dealers I've been in have new gas caps available for $25.00.  

 

You must not have bought one in awhile...

224839C91 fuel cap is over $45 a piece now...

Travis

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The IH gas cap program wont be cancelled anytime soon. LIABILITY is the reason. They ask for your serial number as they have to record them.   If someone decided to sue IH/Navistar/VW/????? to be sure that EVERY machine received/has the new style gas cap, they could.  Until EVERY serial number is accounted for with having a new gas cap, the program will go on.

 

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On 9/20/2021 at 9:15 AM, Sparky said:

If the people that truly deserve a "free" gas cap haven't received one yet, they probably don't need it. Jmo....

Travis

Agree with this 100%.  I understand it's a liability issue...but my goodness does IH or whoever buys them in the future need to protect you from yourself 50 years after the fact????  I guess it's the society we live in, never take responsibility for your own actions.

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1 hour ago, Bermuda_Ken said:

The IH gas cap program wont be cancelled anytime soon. LIABILITY is the reason. They ask for your serial number as they have to record them.   If someone decided to sue IH/Navistar/VW/????? to be sure that EVERY machine received/has the new style gas cap, they could.  Until EVERY serial number is accounted for with having a new gas cap, the program will go on.

 

  Spot on as to liability and this was determined when the program was established.  What will not happen is a lawsuit in reference to all models having caps.  It would be easier to carry water 100 yards in a sieve than to figure out if all qualified tractors now have a cap.  I worked for Central Tractor back in the 1990's and they figured that the more common models such as IH H & M, JD A & B, Ford 8N & 9N, etc. had most likely 20 percent of original production or more lost by that point due to engine fire, barn fire, neglect.

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19 hours ago, Bermuda_Ken said:

The IH gas cap program wont be cancelled anytime soon. LIABILITY is the reason.

Yes, but the company has changed hands. Usually that involves some legal paperwork that absolves the new owners of any civil liabilities incurred by the previous owner.

I'm sure the program is continuing now because there is a period where you are told "business as usual" while a plan is formed to absorb the acquired company. BTDT a few times now.

This may fly under the radar of the new owners, but I'm betting if/when the bean counters find it they will decide defending against a lawsuit will be cheaper than maintaining this program. They already have the lawyers on staff/retainer sitting around for just this purpose.

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2 hours ago, Matt Kirsch said:

Yes, but the company has changed hands. Usually that involves some legal paperwork that absolves the new owners of any civil liabilities incurred by the previous owner.

I'm sure the program is continuing now because there is a period where you are told "business as usual" while a plan is formed to absorb the acquired company. BTDT a few times now.

This may fly under the radar of the new owners, but I'm betting if/when the bean counters find it they will decide defending against a lawsuit will be cheaper than maintaining this program. They already have the lawyers on staff/retainer sitting around for just this purpose.

  We are around 40 years after when this was hashed out between IH and the government.  Even in 1980 the cost was tiny compared to the result of a class action suit by injured parties when tabulating the loss in terms of injury, not being able to work, etc. when injured by burning fuel and vapors.  What's the real cost today of maintaining it.  The caps most likely exist by several thousand units.  The program amounts to a junior executive checking a PO Box for inquiries.  If an inquiry comes the executive hands it off to a secretary who then goes down the hall to a cabinet, pulls a cap and packages it, and then takes the package to the shipping department.  In 2021 this amounts to maybe 2 or 3 dozen units shipped.  I don't see the cap program in magazines and have not for quite some time.  I don't recall seeing any signs up at the dealer in Canandaigua but I will look the next time I am there just to make 100 percent sure on this.  

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23 hours ago, Bermuda_Ken said:

The IH gas cap program wont be cancelled anytime soon. LIABILITY is the reason. They ask for your serial number as they have to record them.   If someone decided to sue IH/Navistar/VW/????? to be sure that EVERY machine received/has the new style gas cap, they could.  Until EVERY serial number is accounted for with having a new gas cap, the program will go on.

 

Not possible to document every serial number. They don’t record S/Ns at the scrap yards.  Then there are the tagless tractors, then there are the illegible tag tractors, the parts tractors.... how will anyone know when the existing tractors are all covered? Or whether the serial number came from a empty clutch housing or seat support rusting away in someone’s barn? This has gone on long enough.

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On 10/21/2021 at 9:46 AM, Sparky said:

You must not have bought one in awhile...

224839C91 fuel cap is over $45 a piece now...

Travis

It was about 2-1/2 to 3 years ago.

    I used to know the stamping supplier that was making the gas caps for CIH/CNH about 15 yrs ago.  They wanted to do work for me REAL bad.

    Did ANY other tractor company use the tall triple baffle cap like IH did? I've never seen a tall cap on a Deere, or Allis, I've fueled up Oliver's they didn't, fueled a 4-150 White, also no.  But what about Massey-Ferguson, Massey-Harris, Case? I fueled up two Case industrial loaders, they didn't, 

 

    I bought an 8 quart plastic gas tank for my plow day Cub Cadet, cap it came with stuck up about an inch above the tank, I absolutely would not cut a hole in the hood, the neck of the tank was tall too, I sanded it down,  I was about 3/8" from closing the hood, showed the dealer parts guy, he dug around in a box and found a cap that fit the threads on the tank and I could sand a half inch off the top of the cap.  Normally I make my own tanks from steel, I've made several.

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59 minutes ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

  Did ANY other tractor company use the tall triple baffle cap like IH did? I've never seen a tall cap on a Deere, or Allis, I've fueled up Oliver's they didn't, fueled a 4-150 White, also no.  But what about Massey-Ferguson, Massey-Harris, Case? I fueled up two Case industrial loaders, they didn't, 

 

I have also wondered what made IH tractors so 'special' that they needed a gas cap of a total different design.

Maybe it was to ensure that you needed to buy the replacement from the dealer?

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3 hours ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

It was about 2-1/2 to 3 years ago.

    I used to know the stamping supplier that was making the gas caps for CIH/CNH about 15 yrs ago.  They wanted to do work for me REAL bad.

    Did ANY other tractor company use the tall triple baffle cap like IH did? I've never seen a tall cap on a Deere, or Allis, I've fueled up Oliver's they didn't, fueled a 4-150 White, also no.  But what about Massey-Ferguson, Massey-Harris, Case? I fueled up two Case industrial loaders, they didn't, 

 

    I bought an 8 quart plastic gas tank for my plow day Cub Cadet, cap it came with stuck up about an inch above the tank, I absolutely would not cut a hole in the hood, the neck of the tank was tall too, I sanded it down,  I was about 3/8" from closing the hood, showed the dealer parts guy, he dug around in a box and found a cap that fit the threads on the tank and I could sand a half inch off the top of the cap.  Normally I make my own tanks from steel, I've made several.

The other part of the issue listed in the original lawsuit was that the gas tank was between the driver and the engine....Deere put their fuel tank out front so it didn’t get as warm.....

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After reading this original post and thinking I had better act now, just in case, I ordered a gas cap for my Farmall C, which still has the (much nicer looking) original. I received my cap two days later (today) in a tidy little box with "NAVISTAR" packing tape. It was shipped from "Navistar Training" in Woodridge, IL, which I found interesting. I suspect even more now, that this program is run by newbies, either interns or recent hires. At least, that's what I would do. Low risk, but nonetheless has to be done. Get the new guy to do it.

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Thought I'd share this pic. The M that we used on mounted picker. It caught fire while picking corn and had something to do with  settlement bowl and gas leaking we thought. Wonder if it had some pressure in tank causing it?? Happened in late 70's. 

You can tell we had a Super Snoot on because there is paint on oem grill/hood over radiator. Fuel tank got replaced after fire.

Rest of hoods paint got burnt.

Dad bought tractor back from insurance, fixed  up enough to run again and we used it several years after fire. As a loader tractor. Sits in barn, hasn't been used in years, I walk by and occasionally grab hand crank to make sure motor isn't stuck. A someday project, one of my Dad's first tractors

 

Pic shows the updated fuel cap I remember that we got after fire.

No serial tag left on tractor. It melted away during fire. 

20211030_173050.jpg

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