G3 ION Warranty Return Part 2 — Experiments and Evaluations

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 26, 2017      

Despite my experiments below being rather basic, I’d recommend returning bindings to G3. Consider below to be proof-of-concept and informative in nature. Also, any work such as this done on G3 ski bindings utterly and completely voids any sort of warranty.

Assuming the problem G3 alludes to in this case is the front pair of screws on the rear ION binding unit being improperly tightened or poorly threadlocked (or both), a fix I could do on my workbench seemed possible. (Note, it’s entirely possible that the screws in the warranty return G3 bindings are defective, yet another reason to be sure to return your bindings to the company if bindings have serial numbers that qualify.)

First, caveats and overall notes:

1.) I determined if my bindings bindings qualified for the recall, some did. That’s the ones I experimented with.

2.) This procedure is so quick it doesn’t really matter if it’s done with an extra screw or two, so I did all the screws in all my questionable bindings.

3.) Crux for me was to tighten “just enough” which in this case is minimal as these are soft stainless steel screws, 3 millimeter tiny diameter only engaging what appears to be at most 6 threads (and probably fewer). Using a downsized torque wrench would be best. I have a good feel for this kind of small parts assembly, that’s a plus. I found that grabbing the screw driver with only my thumb and opposing pinky finger, or pinky and ring finger, made a sort of “slip clutch” that guarded against over torquing. G3 specified tightening torque is 8inlb (0.9Nm). I tested my intuitive tightening torque and I was using close to that.

4.) I did one screw at a time, keeps it simple.

 First, the binding heel housing is removed from the center turret.

First, the binding heel housing is removed from the center turret. Video from G3 below animates the procedure. Quite simple, and what you need to do if you’re returning your bindings to G3.

Adjust the upward (vertical) release tension to a minimal setting.

Before removing screws as shown, I adjusted the upward (vertical) release tension to a minimal setting. This places less upward internal pressure on the top plate. I removed and renewed ONE SCREW AT A TIME, to avoid turning this simple project into complex re-assembly.

Screw out.

Screw out.

I made this 'G3 Screw Tool' by heating and bending a torx 1.0 screwdriver, works well though entirely removing heel unit from center turret makes the process easier.

I made this ‘G3 Screw Tool’ by heating and bending a torx 1.0 screwdriver, works nicely for checking screw tightness and will entirely remove screws for renewal of thread locker. Entirely removing heel unit from center turret makes the process easier.

Evidence of thread locker that perhaps is not as effective as one would like. I cleaned  the screws by soaking for a few minutes in a cap full of lacquer thinner.

Evidence of thread locker that perhaps is not as effective as one would like. I cleaned the screws by soaking for a few minutes in a cap full of lacquer thinner. In the case of using something like Loctite 242, a few challenges rise. Firstly, while I don’t believe 242 hurts this type of plastic (and did experiment with it), it’s said that Loctite damages some plastics. Moreover, stainless steel doesn’t respond to anaerobic thread lockers as it should, without a primer. But how will I get primer inside the heel housing screw hole without dousing it on other binding mechanicals? No way. So at this time I’m using JB Kiwk epoxy for threadlocker (see below).

Screws were cleaned by soaking for a few minutes in a cap full of lacquer thinner.

I cleaned the screws by soaking for a few minutes in a cap full of lacquer thinner then wiping and air drying. Again, I’m doing this one screw at a time to avoid unnecessary disassembly of the binding.

I experimented with a variety of thread lockers, including Loctite 271. The only one that worked was superglue.

I experimented with a variety of thread lockers, including Loctite 271. I was not happy with the Loctite, while regular superglue seemed to be adequate while still not locking the threads as much as I’d like. After testing, I’m of the opinion that a tiny dab of JB 2 part epoxy (e.g., JB-Kwik) on the threads does an even better job of thread locking, while still being reversible.

As mentioned above, when replacing screw it’s necessary to tighten it quite carefully and gently. If the threads or screw socket head are damaged, the binding is entirely dumpsterized. In the interest of science, I tested over-tightening on a demo binding that G3 kindly provided for the WildSnow Museum. Before I could strip the screws, I blew out the socket head due to it being soft stainless steel. This went way past “gentle tightening.” As I did the screws one-at-a-time, I marked the heads with a black Sharpie so it’s obvious what’s completed.

Notes: Field tightening of these screws requires either a custom made right-angle star-drive 1.0, or else the ability to remove heel unit from the turret. Doing so only requires a pozidrive screwdriver, but taking bindings apart is not exactly wonderful in the middle of a ski descent. Instead, perhaps check screw tightness at home. Key issue for me, as mentioned above, was to avoid over-tightening the screws. I’ve got a lot of tools, but lack a smaller torque wrench. Ordered one yesterday. Hand tightening with an experienced touch seemed fine but accuracy is good.

Just heard from G3, specified torque (via T10 Torx driver) 8inlb (0.9Nm).


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23 Responses to “G3 ION Warranty Return Part 2 — Experiments and Evaluations”

  1. James June 26th, 2017 12:04 pm

    Pardon the novice question–are there any best practices for unmounting and re-mounting heel units? I’ve always paid to have my mounts done at a shop, but figure this is a good time to learn since I have 4 recalled IONs to deal with.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 June 26th, 2017 12:39 pm

    James, you don’t have to unmount the binding from the ski for the return, you just need to take the heel unit off the spindle, as I tried and failed to make clear (smile) in the post above. I’ll edit the original post. Also, I’m told that when you arrange return with G3 they do provide instructions attempting to make this clear. Lou

  3. See June 26th, 2017 7:29 pm

    I think I learned something interesting from the video— clean all grease from the threads of the heel block, the sides of the thimble and the threaded cap when reassembling. I assume this is because failure to do so could result in the cap loosening and changing the lateral release value.

  4. See June 27th, 2017 9:13 am

    Did you try Vibra-tite or similar? I think “reuseable” type thread locker might work better with plastic.

  5. Lou Dawson 2 June 27th, 2017 10:33 am

    Really, I think using JB Weld or JB-Kwik 2 part epoxy is the way to go for these experiments. I used to do that with Dynafit bindings and it worked well, so little surface area it’s entirely reversible but does a good job of thread locking. I’ll give it a try this morning and see how it does with the stainless steel machine screws , as those things are super soft and fragile. Edit: I just gave JB-Kwik 2 part epoxy a try as thread locker on some test bindings, worked well, screw had plenty of resistance during removal but came out without damage or excessive force. Lou

  6. Ross June 28th, 2017 12:13 am

    Hi Lou,

    I assume that you used the JB-Weld 2 part epoxy & not the JB Weld thread-locker or PlasticWeld or other of their products?

  7. Lou Dawson 2 June 28th, 2017 6:10 am

    Sorry Ross, I usually use JB-Kwik 2 part epoxy for these sorts of things and did so here, regular JB-Weld would probably work as well. The tiny stainless screws don’t seem to respond very well to regular and commonly available thread lockers, in my opinion. I used a very small dab of JB on the threads, I didn’t go crazy with it for fear of making the fastener difficult to reverse.

  8. See June 28th, 2017 7:40 pm

    In my experience epoxy doesn’t bond well to plastics other than epoxy. Maybe reusable threadlocker relies less on bond strength and more on creating a lot of friction around the fastener? Seems to me like this might work better in the long term, but you’ve done the experiments, Lou (but wasn’t there something about breaking the thread lock in this post when it first appeared?).

  9. Ross June 28th, 2017 8:22 pm

    Thanks Lou,

    I have some regular JB Weld,so I can try that. I might have to try & rectify this myself as I’m in Australia – sending back bindings is likely to be costly & time consuming, and I don’t want to have skis out of service as we are just starting (poorly!!!) our season here. If the only reason for recall is to ensure that screws don’t back out under their own steam, this seems a pretty easy home fix.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 June 29th, 2017 9:23 am

    Ross, by no means am I recommending people do this fix themselves, though I’d imagine it’s possible if done with care. Proceed at your own risk.

  11. phil July 16th, 2017 11:52 am

    Lou a question about bindings. Is there any need to reset bindings after the season to a low level like 1 or 2 to take the pressure off the springs during the off season when skis are in storage for 5 or 6 months?

  12. Lou Dawson 2 July 16th, 2017 2:13 pm

    Phil, not really, unless you’re going to own the bindings for 20 years… It certainly doesn’t hurt. I’d say if you’re the kind of skier who needs huge release values, perhaps every bit counts, but for most of us, non issue. I speak from experience. I’ve got 30 year old tech bindings that don’t seem to have any sort of reduced release value due to never backing off adjustment. Oh, and I’d also offer that if your bindings are normally set at mid ranges, that’s going to put a lot less fatigue on the springs than if you have them bottomed out. ‘best, Lou

  13. Lou Dawson 2 July 16th, 2017 2:18 pm

    I’d add: Backing off bindings is kind of like storage waxing. Both unnecessary for most people.

  14. Ross July 16th, 2017 4:43 pm

    Just a quick update for anyone in Australia reading this. I had a call from the distributor here. They have worked out a process with Genuine Guide Gear to have the work done in Australia, rather than the original plan of having the turrets shipped back to USA. Apparently the issue is being resolved by replacing screws, so maybe there was a QA issue with tolerances on some of the original screws. Anyway, for folk here it will be a much faster turn around that was originally anticipated (good news, as we are in the middle of our – rather poor this year – ski season). People should be able to go back through their original retailer to initiate the process.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 July 16th, 2017 7:32 pm

    Ross, thanks for the info, interesting that it’s possibly resolved by replacing screws… could be they’re simply new screws with the proper thread locker, or perhaps they’re different otherwise. I compared quite a few screws from bindings I have here, and never saw any differences, though I did constantly notice that the thread locker seemed soft. Perhaps some day I’ll get the story… Lou

  16. Mark W July 17th, 2017 8:46 am

    Really great article for shop tools that are super useful and yet don’t break the bank. Thanks.

  17. Mark W July 17th, 2017 8:49 am

    Sorry, meant to post previous comment under Tech Binding Toolset Part 1 post. Thanks.

  18. Lou Dawson 2 July 17th, 2017 9:06 am

    No problem Mark, thanks.

  19. Mark W July 17th, 2017 9:43 am

    Thanks for the torque spec of screws in question.

  20. Mark W July 17th, 2017 9:46 am

    From the Somewhat Minor Complaint Dept.: The little DIN/ RV stickers on IONs are terrible. They are highly prone to coming off–even in the shop or before being mounted.

  21. phil July 17th, 2017 11:07 am

    thanks Lou appreciate your knowledge sharing.

  22. See July 17th, 2017 1:24 pm

    For what it’s worth, I store my touring skis with the binding toes closed to decompress the springs a bit… not that I think it makes much difference.

  23. atfred July 17th, 2017 4:42 pm

    Yeah, I always close the toes after a day of skiing; seems like a good idea, but not sure if it really makes any difference – and all my dynafit verticals are several years old.

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