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Navistar conducting 3rd recall for connecting rod failures

Navistar International is recalling 8,002 trucks across four model lines in the U.S. and Canada because of faulty connecting rods that led to two earlier recalls. The three actions account for 23,802 trucks sold between 2018 and 2021.

The latest recall affects certain International HV, HX, LT and RH models built between March 2017 and February 2020. Affected models have International’s A26 engine. Other A26-equipped trucks are not involved in the recall.

Navistar reported no crashes or injuries related to the latest expansion, which it told the National Highway Safety Administration affects 100% of the newly recalled trucks. Earlier recalls had projected failure rates of 17% and 13%.

The company reported three instances of a driver being stuck in a lane of traffic. In dozens of instances, the driver managed to ease the truck to the side of the road during the first recall in 2020. 

The connecting rod issue is what safety investigators call “infant mortality,” meaning it presents itself early in a vehicle’s life .The trouble occurs in the low 100,000s of miles. Trucks with higher mileage are unlikely to have the issue.

Connecting rod part machined outside design tolerance

The issue involves bushing material in the small end bore, or wrist pin, of the connecting rod. Over time, it may develop cracks or lose chunks of bushing material. Machining of the wrist pin bore of the connecting rod is outside the design tolerance for straightness.

Connecting rod engine failure could result in engine shutdown with minimal warning. A driver may hear a knocking noise, notice an engine warning light or experience rough idle. The operator usually has sufficient time to pull off the road. But a stall on or near the road increases the risk of a crash.

The company will install a new knock detection system software for free to warn the driver prior to engine connecting rod failure. A red engine warning light indicates the driver should stop the engine as soon as it is safe. 

Navistar engine production changed connecting rod suppliers from Camtac Manufacturing to Albon Engineering and Manufacturing in November 2019. 

Dealers and owner letters about the recall will be mailed by Nov. 14. The NHTSA recall number is 22V-691.

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.