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Over 100,000 heavy trucks from 29 manufacturers recalled after steering failure reports

Daimler, Volvo among first to report issue from Bendix subsidiary

A driver grips the steering wheel of a Freightliner truck. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Missing parts that could lead to loss of steering are the reported cause of a recall of more than 105,000 vehicles at 29 companies that includes most heavy-duty truck manufacturers.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems subsidiary R.H. Sheppard reported the issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on May 28.

The filing lists 29 customers including three subsidiaries of Daimler Truck North America; Volvo Trucks North America; Kenworth, Peterbilt and Navistar. Multiple crane and heavy equipment manufacturers also were named.

Sheppard said it was aware of two cases — in June and August 2021 — in which the heavy-duty steering gear failed. Neither involved a crash or injury. Overall, Sheppard estimates 1% of 105,271 recalled vehicles could have the issue, which results from steering gears being assembled without the required number of recirculating balls.

Driver may feel a strain

That could cause the steering gear to bind when loads are applied. In some cases, the balls may align on the same side of the gear’s worm shaft. Concentrated loads may cause the gear’s internal parts to fracture, resulting in loss of vehicle steering and the increased likelihood of a crash.

A driver may feel a strain in the steering, but no visible or audible warnings are present, Sheppard told the NHTSA.

The company halted production for a day in February and made an assembly process change while checking inventory for defects. Rework processes and inspections did not detect the missing recirculating balls. The supplier is working on a field remedy and will notify owners of the recall in July.

Daimler reported to NHTSA that it had 6,492 involved vehicles, including certain 2021-2022 Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) MT45, 2022-2023 Western Star 4900 and Freightliner Cascadia vehicles.

Volvo reported it had 1,632 certain 2022-2023 VN tractor trailers involved in the recall. 

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.