SEATTLE, WASHINGTON —  Boeing has recently discovered improperly torqued bolts on new-build 737 MAX jets, pointing to a quality concern similar to that identified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on March 23.

Earlier this year, the company found mis-torqued bolts on 737 landing gears and wing ribs through internal audits at its Renton assembly site.

Although Boeing asserts that these findings do not indicate a systemic problem, the company has reported them to the FAA and increased internal quality oversight. 

Previously, assembly workers self-certified bolt torque application by recording torque readings and tools used. However, Boeing has now introduced "witness inspections" as of February 13, requiring designated quality assurance employees to visually confirm torque readings.

While FAA inspectors visited the Renton 737 assembly site in late February, Boeing claims the visit was pre-scheduled and did not reveal any torque issues. The FAA remains tight-lipped about the purpose of its visit, stating that it is providing routine oversight of Boeing's production quality system.

On March 23, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive for 330 US-registered 737 MAX aircraft, addressing improperly torqued bolts on anti-ice exhaust ducts of CFM International Leap-1B turbofans. Boeing denies any connection between the two bolt-torque incidents. The FAA directive affects 737 MAX 8s, MAX 8-200s, and MAX 9 variants, but the agency has not commented on torque issues involving other 737 MAX components.