G3 Calls for Return of Some ION Bindings — Assembly Defect

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 19, 2017      

While I’m sure this situation is a blow to G3, it’s extremely disappointing for us here at WildSnow as well. Not only have we been big boosters of the G3 ION ski touring binding, but we’ve made it the main binding we put on all our test skis. We have numerous pairs that qualify for return under the guidelines below.

But things happen…kudos to G3 for their effort to serial number their bindings, as well as organizing this “warranty repair.”

In my opinion this is a serious defect. Do not hesitate to check your bindings and return if necessary. I know of at least one instance when this problem occurred during a ski descent of the Grand Teton. Not so hot, but the skier is back alive.

Know this is an “assembly” defect. The ION binding as designed remains one of the best out there and we continue to recommend.

** Below from G3, annotated by myself in double parenthesis, lightly edited **
Service Announcement — ION Warranty Repair — June 2017

It has come to G3’s attention that the Front Heel Body Screws (Figure A) of some ION Binding Heel Turrets ((otherwise known as the heel unit)) were not installed to our production specifications. As a result, the screws may come loose and cause the binding to release ((accidentally)). While only rare instances of failure and no injuries have been reported, we are issuing a Warranty Repair on limited ION Binding Heel Turrets ((identified by serial number)) to ensure our products perform to our specifications.

If you or any of your ski partners/friends/fellow backcountry travelers are using ION bindings, please follow the Inspection Guidelines ((below)) and determine if your heel turrets are affected.

Figure A. Affected bindings have plastic heel unit top, NOT ALUMINUM, screws as indicated may not be installed correctly. Image by G3.

Figure A. Affected bindings have plastic heel unit top, NOT ALUMINUM, screws as indicated may not be installed correctly. Image by G3.

Inspection Guidelines – How to determine if ION Heel Turrets are affected:

Any 2015 production model ION with aluminum top caps are not affected. See figures B and C. Aluminum top caps are shiny and metallic in appearance. Comolded metal/plastic top caps are matte black in appearance.

If the Heel Turret has a comolded metal/plastic top cap, check the serial number:

• If you have an ION 12 with serial numbers starting with 3H15 (all) or 3H16 (00001 – 04132) it may be affected.
• If you have an ION 10 with serial numbers starting with 4H15 (all) or 4H16 (00001 – 04170) it may be affected.
• If you have an ION LT 12 with serial numbers starting with 5H15 (all) or 5H16 (00001 – 02177) it may be affected.

Locating the Serial Numbers:
Serial numbers of each ION heel unit may be found in 3 different locations: under the binding baseplate, under the heel turret or on the box packaging. Every pair of bindings has 4 unique serial numbers. Please check both heel units to confirm if they are affected.

Remember, if your binding has aluminum top it is NOT affected.

Figure B and C. Again, if your binding has aluminum top it is NOT affected. ((Two things to check, first if your binding has plastic top, then if so check the serial number.))
Image by G3.

Figure D, bottom view of ION baseplate. Serial number locations. Image by G3.

Figure D, bottom view of ION baseplate. Serial number locations. Image by G3.

Return Process
If you determine you have an ION Heel Turret that is affected, please contact G3 via one of the following methods:

1. Complete the ION service form here: genuineguidegear.com/IONservice
2. Send an email to service@genuineguidegear.com; please include: name, phone number, model, shipping address and serial number. G3 will provide specific instructions to ensure your issue is serviced.

We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
— The G3 Team 06.12.2017

(All images used by permission of G3.)

Related links:
Experiments with tightening and thread locking the screws at issue.
All our ION posts.


30 Responses to “G3 Calls for Return of Some ION Bindings — Assembly Defect”

  1. Adam June 19th, 2017 12:34 pm

    My Ion LTs have an aluminum top but the serial number falls within the recall. Apparently the “aluminum top = not affected” is only for the Ion, not the Ion LT.

  2. XXX_er June 19th, 2017 12:44 pm

    A large mfger of tech bindings issuing a recall … how refreshing!

  3. Jason June 19th, 2017 2:23 pm

    Bought the G3 ION LT 12 this season and skied them quite a bit. The heel unit broke as described. Luckily, it was at the end of the tour next to the parking lot. G3 sent a new heel and I was back in business in about 2-3 weeks.

    Anyone have issues with the heel rotating into ski mode while skinning?

  4. Alex June 19th, 2017 5:04 pm

    Try rotating one heel one way and the other the other way. If both are turned the same way, one hangs over more on the inside and your other foot can knock it and rotate the heel.

  5. See June 19th, 2017 7:38 pm

    Just indulging in some armchair eyeball engineering, but it doesn’t surprise me that those screws come loose, given how few threads are engaged in the molded plastic top piece. I’m a big fan of the Ions, but I wonder if the change from aluminum to plastic led to this ‘“assembly” defect’.

  6. byates1 June 20th, 2017 1:21 am

    dude figured it out 30 yrs ago. just ski the real s**t

    it’s not that complicated,

    until you try and dress up beauty

    when you look at original art you should not see noise.

  7. mavo June 20th, 2017 8:20 am


    It appears the list of Cereal #’s affected has disappeared from the article? Was this by mistake or accident? I can’t seem to find a link to this list anywhere. Thanks!

  8. Eric B June 20th, 2017 8:44 am

    Jason, I’ve also had issues with the heel units rotating into ski mode (incl one time when it was dangerous). Also had a heel lifter break (which G3 repaired for free). But this latest doesn’t add to my confidence. Too bad as otherwise I really like the binding.

  9. Lou Dawson 2 June 20th, 2017 8:45 am

    Sorry, I was editing this morning, I’ll check and repair if necessary!

  10. Eric B June 20th, 2017 8:46 am

    Jason, I’ve also had issues with the heel units rotating into ski mode (incl one time when it was dangerous). Have tried ensuring snow clear from it and rotating different ways but still happens sometimes.

  11. Lou Dawson 2 June 20th, 2017 8:49 am

    Editing error fixed now. I’ve been having some trouble with my content management system, latest downgrades of Windows and other stuff. Never ending (smile). Lou

  12. Lou Dawson 2 June 20th, 2017 8:54 am

    As engineers have pointed out to me time and time again, it’s not easy to design and manufacture a reliable tech binding. I wish I had a nickle for every defect over the last 30 years. I’d be a 1 percenter! Lou

  13. Matt Kinney June 20th, 2017 11:34 am

    So if I want to get rich (or frustrated) I should go AT bindings? A tiny bit slower and poorer might have to work for me! (-:.

    Beside I’m already a 1-percenter being a tele – r.

  14. XXX_er June 20th, 2017 1:29 pm

    That there will be defects or problems is a given but not every company deals with them properly so I give G3 credit for issuing a voluntary recall

  15. Scott S Allen June 20th, 2017 2:41 pm

    Sorry, off topic, but do the Geissler’s off Indy still hold good snow now in June?
    Are there skiable north aspects?

  16. Jason June 20th, 2017 2:55 pm

    Alex – Thanks for the tip, I’ll keep this in mind. My theory is that when the ski flexes while skinning, the heel of that same boot will knock the heel unit into ski mode. The heel gap is recommended to be set much smaller than say the Dynafit Speed Radical.

    Eric B – Yeah, “sometimes” tends to be at least every tour in my experience. Maybe Alex’s tip to make sure the heel units are hanging outwards will help. I still like the binding too.

  17. Lou Dawson 2 June 20th, 2017 5:07 pm

    Adam and all, re confusion about aluminum top vs serial numbers. Whatever the serial number, if the binding has the aluminum top it does NOT need to be returned. Lou

  18. Lou Dawson 2 June 20th, 2017 5:09 pm

    Matt, you live in AK, that’s all it takes to be one percent! Lou

  19. Aitor June 20th, 2017 9:58 pm

    Do you guys know if both pairs of the heel pieces have either 3H15 or 3H16? Could they be mixed? Let’s say one heel piece is 3H15 and the other is 3H16?

    Asking this because one of my heel pieces has those numbers (either 3H15 or 3H16) scratched out/wiped so I’m unable to read it.

    If my bindings are with comolded metal/plastic top but the serial # is not within the affected ones are they 100% ok?


    Hope everyone solves their bindings 😉

  20. Lou Dawson 2 June 21st, 2017 7:37 am

    Aitor, my understanding is that unless you have the listed serial numbers, you are ok, no matter what kind of top… if you have the plastic comolded top and can’t read your numbers, I’d suggest emailing G3 and asking them how to proceed. Lou

  21. Doug June 21st, 2017 12:03 pm

    Lou… reading the article it’s quite clear… but just to confirm it’s only comoulded matte black only? not the orange and gray ION LT12’s. Thanks for your time!

  22. Lou Dawson 2 June 21st, 2017 5:03 pm

    I’m pretty sure it’s only the matte black, as well as the serial number…. in other words, the only binding that needs to be returned has the following two qualifications:
    1. Has a matte black comolded heel unit top.
    2. Has serial numbers that match those in the post above

  23. tucker June 22nd, 2017 11:22 am

    I’m not sure if color has much to do with it. Ion LT12 is specifically mentioned in the Service Announcement, and I believe all L12s are grey.

    I have a set with serial numbers within the range in question. I spoke with a G3 rep who suggested monitoring the screws to ensure they are not backing out, which it sounds like what the failure mode is. I am currently based in Santiago, Chile (nearest distributor is Buenos Aires) so returning for replacement is logistically . . . challenging.

  24. Lou Dawson 2 June 22nd, 2017 11:34 am

    Yeah, that’s what I heard as well, failure mode is the indicated screws not being installed properly. If they go into metal, perhaps you could just put some thread locker on them and torque to as much as felt right… ‘best, Lou

  25. tucker June 23rd, 2017 7:24 am

    yah, g3 rep mentioned being quite careful not to overtorque. just keeping an eye on whether any space developed between screw head/washer/heelpiece body and tightening “finger tight” if that developed. all of the bindings at our house look snug so far

  26. Adam June 25th, 2017 12:25 pm

    Pretty lame of G3 to issue this recall, but make it “voluntary” so if the users have to pay shipping back if they want the updated, “safer” versions.

  27. Lou Dawson 2 June 25th, 2017 1:08 pm

    Ok, this is WildSnow and I’m Lou, so here we go. I grabbed one of my ION LT 12 pairs with serial number 5H16-02450. This number appears to be out of the return range of:

    “ION LT 12 with serial numbers starting with 5H15 (all) or 5H16 (00001 – 02177) it may be affected.”

    Nonetheless, I tested the tightness of the indicated screws using a star drive (Torx) 1.0 driver and they were in my opinion obviously not torqued enough. I ascertained this by checking torque/tightness of the rear screws — they were in very firmly. Very easy to correct if you have some feel for mechanical things, though I’d image they could be over torqued.

    More tomorrow.

  28. See June 25th, 2017 7:23 pm

    Seems there could be a few different assembly problems aside from too little torque applied during assembly, like stripped threads, lack of thread locker, cross threading, improper tapping, etc.. Perhaps it’s not relevant to this recall, but the last few Ions I examined had a bunch of fine black threadlike “hairs” inside that looked to be left over from the machining of the heel block (makes me wonder about quality control). Kudos to G3 for doing the right thing when they learned about a potential problem. I’m skiing on Ions mostly (for bc) these days and intend to continue, but it would be helpful to know more about just what the “defect” is— inadequate torque, stripped threads, or what?

  29. Lou Dawson 2 June 27th, 2017 8:36 am

    I did some experiments regarding this issue, interesting.


  30. Mark W July 17th, 2017 9:19 am

    Lou, did you use, or could you use, a torque limiting tool to test the screws’ actual tightness objectively? If so, do you have the torque spec for those screws under scrutiny? Thanks. By the way, this post is super helpful. I just checked the serial numbers of the bindings in my shop.

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