Dynafit Rear Pin Failure — Rare But Happens With Some Older Generation Bindings


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 6, 2010      

Dynafits never die, they just fade away. Indeed, the Dynafit binding might be one of the longest running ski binding mechanical systems since cable bindings. But sometimes Dynafits do break before they become card carrying AARP members. A while back we started an ongoing blogpost about Dynafit durability, which pointed out some of the failure points to watch for. But we forgot about the possibility of the pins breaking, so here are the details now that we have an example.

Dynafit binding breakage durability repair.

Dynafit heel unit with broken rear pin, this binding is a 2006/2007 model.

Let me repeat that this is rare and as far as I know does not happen with recent generations of bindings, but it did occur with some regularity a couple of seasons ago, when Dynafit changed manufacturers and some defective pins snuck into the retail channel. Apparently we ended up with some of those, as a set of bindings one of our WildSnow bloggers has been using did have the pin failure a few weeks ago. Luckily Jason got nothing more than a bloody nose from the resulting body slam but it could have been worse.

What to look for? First, know that with the latest models you DO NOT need to mess around with this. If you’ve got an older model, use a magnifying glass to examine your heel pins for cracks near the binding housing, and _behind_ the flange on the pin. Grab the pins with some pliers (protect from plier jaws with tape) and work them a bit to see if they’re getting ready to fail, and spread them apart so you can perhaps see behind the flange. Like I said, nothing to be alarmed about but good to be aware of — and I’ve not heard of this happening at all with newer generation bindings.

Dynafit binding pin breakage failure durability.

Intact pin at bottom, broken at top.

The repair is easy. In this case we swapped in some spare pins we had lying around, but it’s more likely you’d simply unscrew the heel unit from the ski and replace with a complete new heel unit. Only caveat: If you do break a pin be sure to replace both heel units, in case the other one has the same generation pins.



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Comments

30 Responses to “Dynafit Rear Pin Failure — Rare But Happens With Some Older Generation Bindings”

  1. Karl January 6th, 2010 11:45 am

    Are the pins readily available if a replacement is needed? (Salewa?)

  2. Lou January 6th, 2010 12:20 pm

    I’m sure Salewa NA would take care of you in some fashion. Bear in mind that this is just an addition to our “Dynafit Durability” information, not some kind of big deal.

  3. Karl January 6th, 2010 1:33 pm

    Thanks Lou – first season for me on the Dynafits (previously Fritschi and Naxo, and still have Dukes), and they’re impressive.

  4. Eric Steig January 6th, 2010 2:07 pm

    Lou,

    A bit off topic but a question:

    Are brakes for Vertical ST identical between 09/10 and 08/09? I want to make sure I have the latest/best.

    Thanks!

    P.S. Just got a pair of Dalbello Virus Lite. Brilliant! You need to try these. I suspect you may find you like them even more than your beloved Green machines.

  5. Scott January 6th, 2010 3:07 pm

    For what it’s worth, I just got something back from Salewa in the mail a few hours ago. I sent in some Dynafit TLT bindings (older ones, blue in color). Despite having the parts to fix them, they refused to do so because they were out of warranty. I even offered to pay for the repair but they wouldn’t touch them. They would only send me parts (as if I’m more adept to fixing them than a professional repair tech). I was surprised that they wouldn’t even attempt to fix them. I told them that I wouldn’t fault them for anything, but it just wasn’t going to happen.

  6. Tim M. January 6th, 2010 3:13 pm

    Lil’ sidebar: I broke off the lowest-level walk-mode riser nub on a cold day last week. They still worked fine, but I sent ’em back and Salewa got me a new heel piece today. After a brief hasty search of the apartment when the springs launched themselves during a re-install misfire, they’re now back in service.

  7. Dostie January 6th, 2010 3:56 pm

    Slight shift of topic here. Had a few friends ask me the other day about the rear pins on their Dynafiddle bindings jiggling about 1.0 – 0.5 mm. Are you familiar with this phenomenon? Is there a cure?

  8. Lou January 6th, 2010 4:05 pm

    Dostie, sometimes there is some jiggle, but it’s usually only noticed when a person is riding a ski lift, thus making it an invalid issue :angel:

    That said, worn out thimble bushings can also cause this, as can a generally worn out binding. Nothing manmade lasts forever, even Dynafits.

  9. Lou January 6th, 2010 4:58 pm

    Eric, there was a year or two when some of the brakes tended to stick closed because a key angle bend was slightly off. That has been taken care of for a while, but there is always a chance you could end up with an older pair that “stuck.” My advice would be to stick with later ones if at all possible.

  10. Lou January 6th, 2010 5:02 pm

    Scott,
    Salewa NA doesn’t necessarily have technicians on standby for rebuilding old out-of-warranty bindings. In one business model, it’s the ski shops that are supposed to be doing that kind of support. Of course that’s somewhat out the window due to the internet and mail-order…

    I suspect there are some ski shops around who have employees who can do this sort of work. Anyone know one they can suggest to Scott, so he can send his bindings and parts there for repair?

  11. John W January 6th, 2010 5:40 pm

    I’m not a gear pounder but last year I broke 2 Comfort base plate heel pivot posts (the unit that screws to the ski) . Local ski shop had one, the second I got from
    salewa in Boulder.
    Carry bailing wire.
    JH Ski patroler Big Wally was caught in a slide this morning. Cross your fingers.

  12. Corey January 6th, 2010 8:15 pm

    I’m an absolute newbie to both the website AND AT skis/binding (finally switched from tele for my backcountry skiing), so forgive me if this isn’t the place I should have come to ask these questions.

    I bought Dynafit Mustagh skis with Dynafit bindings pre-mounted at an on-line site. Firstly, my bindings say TLT Vertical ST which confuses me since many of your discussions mention EITHER “TLT” OR “Vertical” bindings. MIne say both names…so…

    Question#1 is: Do I need to have a 4mm gap between my heel and heelpiece as the FAQ says to use for TLTs or should I have a 6mm gap as it says for the Verticals?

    And when I adjust the position of the heel piece, the closest I can get (the smallest gap between boot heel and binding heel piece) is about 5mm, which maxes it out and puts part of the heel piece off of the adjustment screw. I’m worried this won’t be stable enough and could break or have too much “play”. Should I remount the bindings?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

  13. Lou January 6th, 2010 8:45 pm

    Corey, the naming of this stuff has always been confusing. There is a “TLT” binding also known as the “Speed.” It is NOT what you have. Instead, you have the Vertical ST, which uses the 6 mm gap. Thus, you should be able to adjust to 6 mm and be fine.

    Your bindings should have come with a feeler gauge for adjust the gap. It’s difficult to do with a ruler.

  14. Corey January 6th, 2010 9:18 pm

    Lou,

    Thanks! And glad I can use a 6mm gap since I don’t think the adjustment screw will get me to 4mm. I don’t believe there was a feeler gauge in the box (though I could have missed it if it was just sitting in the bottom of the box the skis were delivered in), so I used the highly scientific method of pulling post-it notes from a pad until it was the desired thickness and used it as the gauge. So you don’t think there is a problem with the heel piece not beeing fully on the screw then? Oh, and last question is: Do you know where I can find a DIN chart for Dynafit?

  15. Greg Louie January 7th, 2010 12:15 am

    Dostie, it depends on what you mean by “jiggling” but your friends should immediately check the screws holding down the top plate (especially the two front ones) – these small screws sunk into plastic are all that’s holding the pins (and you) to the heelpiece. The worn bushings or general mechanical slop that Lou mentions won’t be abruptly catastrophic, but the loose screws pulling out might be.

  16. Alastair January 7th, 2010 4:22 am

    I have had a pin break on a nearly new pair of Comforts as well. I guess they were purchased around 2.5 years ago. There wasn’t an obvious reason for the failure – I was skiing over a compression but by no means hammering into it. A local shop sorted me out with a replacement pin for free and I have had no issues with the bindings since.

    What was more of an issue is that when one pin snapped, the unbroken pin placed a large and uneven pressure on the boot(Scarpa Spirit 4), outside the tech insert , snapping a large chunk off the heel – about 1″ long around the heel, and 1/4″ deep into it. Boots were not a lot of use after that, although Scarpa Europe graciously replaced them under warranty.

  17. Jonathan Shefftz January 7th, 2010 7:54 am

    “Do you know where I can find a DIN chart for Dynafit?”
    – It should be in the manual that came with the bindings, but it’s the same chart that used for all alpine downhill bindings too, so just pull one off the internet.

    BTW, following up on another exchange, TLT just stands for Tour Lite Tech, and Dynafit has prefixed all of their bindings with that name for years, although typically when someone says “TLT” it’s referencing only the binding that debuted in the late 90s and has stayed the same ever since, except for the name (IV, Tech, Classic, Speed). All the boots originally had that prefix too (e.g., 3, 4, All Terrain), although now usually only the 4/Evo/Lite is referred to as the TLT.
    Also, at one point every ski model seemed to combined multiple iterations of those words, so that every ski was something like the Dynafit TLT Ski Tour Lite Tech Lite Tour, etc.

  18. Lou January 7th, 2010 7:58 am

    Lo and behold, we even have a DIN chart here at trusty ol Wildsnow.com!

    http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/naxo-mount/naxo_mount_5.html

  19. Corey January 7th, 2010 9:39 am

    Thanks again for the help, Lou and Jonathan! Definitely a new fan of this site! I think I am all set up now, and can’t wait to get away from the resort and use the new gear!

  20. Mark W January 7th, 2010 11:33 am

    How does one remove/replace TLT Speed baseplate?

  21. Dostie January 7th, 2010 12:09 pm

    Greg Louie,

    Those screws holding down the top plate, and thus the pins, were the first thing I looked at. Figured they might be loose but were not. That was the reason for the question. Checked two pair. One jiggled more than the other. 1mm of play is probably an exaggeration. More like half mm, but enough that the user was concerned. Concensus seems to be this is “normal.”

    It makes sense. Seems all the “good” backcountry bindings have some amount of play in them. Those that don’t, are for lift chained slope dopes, uh, I mean, resort only skiers. 😉

    Hey Lou, does Onyx exhibit the same play on the rear pins?

  22. harpo January 7th, 2010 8:56 pm

    Greg, Dostie, I think TetonAT had a post a year or two ago on jiggling heel pins and Steve used duct tape to shim the pins and reduce the jiggle.

  23. Phil January 8th, 2010 7:32 pm

    Lou,

    If a pair of skis had Dynafit bindings installed for a 310mm boot and the bindings were removed can you use the same mounting screw holes for a
    315mm boot? If no, could I use the front holes and redo the rear holes?

    Is there a problem reusing the screw holes? Assuming the use of expoxy.

    Thanks!

    Phil::

  24. Rick Boebel February 1st, 2010 9:08 pm

    Lou, I bought a set of K2 Mt Bakers with Dynafits on them mainly to install the Dynafit bindings on my K2 Coombas to replace too heavy Marker Dukes. Not sure of the binding model but they look like the ones pictured in your instructional series on how to install & uninstall binding brakes. Using your instructions I installed the bindings on my Coombas and they seem great. All this is in preparation for a late Feb trip to Rogers Pass in BC from my native New Zealand.
    My questions are-
    1) Is there a way to tell the year/model of Dynafit bindings?
    2) Not being sure of the exact year/model of my binding I am not sure of the rear gap setting from the boot, 4mm or 6mm? The pins measure about 12mm from the flange forward, thus should the gap be 6mm?
    3) Is there a common household item like a popicle stick that can be used as a feeler gauge for this purpose?
    4) I had my Marker Dukes set at 8DIN which worked well for me over the last two seasons, is the DIN setting on Dynafits more or less the same or do i need to do the start at 5 and tightien experiment?
    Thanks in advance, Rick B

  25. Lou February 1st, 2010 9:42 pm

    Rick, those would probably be set at 6 mm. Make a feeler gauge with whatever you have laying around. If you want the safest setting, use a release value number from the ISO chart that’s at the lower end of the scale for your weight/height. Ski the bindings at that setting, and if you pre-release dial up the mode you pre-released 1/2 of a number. Keep doing that untill you either stop pre-releasing (in normal skiing) or reach the high end of the range for your height/weight. If you still pre-release after that, you can set the binding higher but know that it’s much more likely you won’t have adequate safety release.

    You can fine tune the above by considering what type of skier you are and where you ski. For example, when I used to ski with a lot of forward leverage and spent more time at resort, I set the vertical release higher because I tended to pop out vertically. Now, I set it lower and have no problems as my ski style is different and I don’t end up needing to ski bumps at a resort. Conversly, say you’re a very mellow conservative skier. In that case you might get away with very low settings.

    Anyone should consider the fact that if they want a binding that actually protects them from many types of injuries, fine tuning your release values with ANY ski binding is a good idea. The DIN/ISO 11088 binding setting chart is pretty crude, really. And the numbers on bindings most certainly have a tolerance range when it comes to accuracy.

    Exception is a strong skier who asks their binding to perform more like a race binding. In that case, they may choose to forego reliable safety release with super high settings in return for very little chance of pre-release, since a pre-release when you’re going mach 100 can be a bad thing. And if cliff hucking is your thing, you’ll also have to make a choice between the ocasional double ejecto, or skis that are welded to your feet.

  26. SteveG February 1st, 2010 10:15 pm

    “Is there a common household item like a popsicle stick that can be used as a feeler gauge for this purpose?” Forgot my gauge once so I used 3 quarters, about 5.5 mm. Set a touch loose. Worked with no problems.

  27. Rick Boebel February 1st, 2010 10:21 pm

    Thanks a lot guys, as always the answers are useful, Lou did a great job of a much better explanation of what I meant by the words set at 5 and experiment. Very clear, I’d recommend it for a FAQ as to how to set bindings. Rick out

  28. Lou February 20th, 2010 5:00 pm

    Tony, details?

  29. Tony Bentley February 20th, 2010 4:24 pm

    Thanks for this. My binding just failed today and fortunately I was just skiing ?? at the pass and had just taken a break for lunch. It could have been worse, like dropping in on Thermogenesis or Liberty Ridge or something tame like that.

  30. Frederic Renold January 22nd, 2014 1:23 pm

    I am looking to buy some gently used heel pins for a older model Dynafit binding. Dynafit no longer has them in stock,
    Thanks

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