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Freightliners recalled for possible steering loss

Daimler Truck North America is recalling 19 truck models over three production years for a condition that could lead to the complete loss of steering control and an increased crash risk.

The issue — a loose drag link taper joint — led to the recall of 123,481 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada in September 2021. The issue has not surfaced in the current recall population. But Daimler agreed to the recall “out of an abundance of caution” because of an “unartfully worded” service bulletin.

In both recalls, about 1% of recalled vehicles are expected to experience the condition.

Daimler saw ‘quality issue,’ not a safety recall

On certain vehicles built on specific dates at the Freightliner plant in Santiago, Mexico, the drag link taper joint at the steering arm may not have been sufficiently tightened and may come loose. A gradual loosening of this joint could lead to a full loss of steering control.

“This, in good faith and with reasonable engineering judgment, was for a perceived quality issue as there were no separations and no injuries or deaths,” the truck maker wrote in its filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Daimler recalled 2019 Freightliner Classic Cascadia and 2019-2021 Freightliner Cascadia trucks in September 2021 because of 11 reports of steering separations and more than 700 complaints of loose steering. The earlier filings on NHTSA and Transport Canada websites did not list any injuries or crashes.

The latest recall of 60,604 vehicles in the U.S. involves:

Model year Model Units recalled

2019-2021 Freightliner 108SD 947
2019-2021 Freightliner 114SD 3,364
2019-2021 Freightliner 122SD 4,262
2020 Freightliner Cascadia 595
2019-2021 Freightliner Columbia 1,058
2019-2021 Freightliner Coronado 2,104
2019-2021 Freightliner Business Class M2 48,274

An additional 3,460 vehicles were recalled in Canada, according to the Transport Canada website.

Daimler screened second recall population

At the time of the 2021 recall, Daimler DTNA screened and investigated this second population built in Santiago. The first recall population came from plants in Santiago and Saltillo, Mexico.

“The potential risk of this situation leading to a steering separation cannot be ruled out and thus may rise to the level of an unreasonable risk to safety,” Daimler wrote to NHTSA.

Daimler Truck service centers will inspect and test for accurate torque. Trucks will be repaired for free as necessary. Dealers and owners will be told of the recall on April 21. The NHTSA recall number is 23V-105. The Transport Canada recall number is 2023-083.

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

123,481 Freightliner Cascadias recalled because steering linkage can separate

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.