Recall: Bendix scrambles to remedy defective valve

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | 2/3/2012

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is recalling certain traction relay valves that will affect shipment of a large number of heavy trucks made by Paccar, Volvo, Mack and Navistar. In late January, the Ohio-based company notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it had identified a potential defect on a traction relay valve fitted on 50,000 to 60,000 trucks manufactured between Dec. 2, 2010 and Jan. 18, 2012.

According to Bendix, OEMs were notified to ensure that the potentially affected trucks won’t be delivered for sale until there’s a fix. Bendix Communications Manager Barbara Gould said Thursday that the company was working as diligently as it could to get a remedy in place.

“Safety and customer satisfaction are top priority for us,” said Gould, “and when these types of situations arise, we do everything we can to get the right information and insure the fastest and least disruptive solution we can.”

The problem was discovered in mid-December after reports of intermittent brake applications. The company reports that following inspection of complaint vehicles, Bendix replicated the event under lab conditions and verified the situation in the field.

Gould said Bendix notified NHTSA on Jan. 26 of a potential defect on the ATR-6 traction relay valve. The problem is that internal leakage can develop, resulting in pressure being delivered to the affected service brake circuit.

Gould said it’s a potential problem, which means it doesn’t happen in every valve but can happen. The one consistent element, she said, is that it has occurred in vehicles operating in extremely cold – below zero – temps.

According to Gould, a temporary remedy kit is out there now and permanent one is forthcoming.

“From the OEM perspective, we are working closely with them to come up with a solution that works for them,” she said. “Some are already in the field installing the temporary remedy kit and we are working with others to come to a decision.”

Gould noted some confusion with a few reports she’d seen that indicated the defect was connected with Bendix’s stability and collision mitigation systems. Those reports are not accurate, she said.

“It’s not true that there are problems with these systems,” she said. “It’s an intermittent air leak issue, not related to stability and collision mitigation systems. Our Bendix ESP Full Stability System and Wingman ACB and Wingman Advanced – although they are temporarily suspended when you install the temporary remedy kit – are not the root cause of the condition.”

When the permanent remedy kit is installed, Gould said those systems will be instantly reactivated on the vehicle.

Bendix is providing online information and the latest developments at its Product Action Center and is now manning a toll free action line at 1-800-478-1793.

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