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Old 10-06-2014, 20:03   #1
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Location: Currently in Malaysia
Boat: Najad 520 - Barbara Ann
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Check your older Mustang Survival PFD's!!

We have a pair of Mustang model 3032 PFD's that are approximately 13 years old. They have never seen the water and have been stored in a dry, ventilated cockpit locker. We recently decided to check the units and tried to manually inflate them. We heard significant air leaks in both units and investigated further. We then found that both auto-inflaters were separating from the vest, due to a total deterioration of the plastic ring that holds them to the vest. A small pull on the inflators resulted in their complete separation from the vests, with a 3/4" diameter hole open to the interior of the vest. The vests are in good condition otherwise. We surmise that the plastic used for this important juncture is of inferior quality. It had been about 3 years since we last did a visual inspection of the vests and manually inflated them.

Had we been forced to use these in a true MOB situation the units would have failed immediately and filled with water.

We contacted Mustang Survival and they told us the units were past warranty and that no further support could be given. We told them that there are probably many older Mustang PFD's out there that have this same problem, and that the owners needed to know about this potential problem. They responded that their documentation advises routine inspection of the vests, but didn't seem too concerned with passing along any type of additional warning to consumers.

Although it is true that we should have been checking these vests more frequently (our boat has been in dry storage for almost 3 years) it is also true that there are probably a lot of 10 year old Mustang PFD's out there that are on the verge of failure at this joint, assuming that this same plastic ring is still being used.

Bottom line - check your vests. If more of us find this similar failure, Mustang Survival needs to be advised.
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Old 10-06-2014, 20:30   #2
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Re: Check your older Mustang Survival PFD's!!

You really think it is a manufacturing defect that 13 year old plastic and rubber, that haven't been maintained, aren't in good condition?
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Old 10-06-2014, 21:55   #3
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Re: Check your older Mustang Survival PFD's!!

What do you mean "haven't been maintained"? How do maintain plastic? If you mean not regularly inspected, I've already admitted to not checking them for 3 years. The point I'm making is that these plastic rings are like time bombs. The way in which they degrade is not readily apparent, unless you're looking for it. They are the weak link, that fails first. The rest of the vest looks great. I'm just trying to make people aware of the sudden failure potential. I guarantee there a lot of these vests out there, around 10 years old, that are on the verge of failure. FYI.
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Old 11-06-2014, 00:21   #4
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Re: Check your older Mustang Survival PFD's!!

PFDs should be inflated periodically and left overnight to ensure they hold air. I think the label inside the Mustang recommends once a month. My guess is that very few people ever do this at all. For diving, I inflate my BC, leave it overnight and replace the power inflator because it's required for the science diving I do though I'm loath to throw the old inflators away since they still seem in good condition. I'd bet most recreational divers don't ever do this either. When your life depends on this equipment, people should really take responsibility that it's not a dusty, dry-rotted PFD they're grabbing when they really need it. And parts needs to be replaced before they hit critical failure points....
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