Two NHTSA recall investigations affect nearly 250,000 Cascadia trucks

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 4/11/2017

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently opened two recall investigations for certain Freightliner Cascadia trucks. One recall deals with a steering defect, and the other defect affects the wiper motor. Nearly 250,000 trucks are potentially affected between the two issues.

The first defect investigation affects an estimated 50,000 2016-2017 Cascadia trucks. According to NHTSA documents, the capscrews that secure the lower steering arm to the steering knuckle on the tie rod may fail without warning.

One crash that resulted in two fatalities has been reported.

In September 2015, Daimler Trucks North America issued a similar recall (15V-613) for 2016 Freightliner Cascadia, Business Class M2, 108SD, 114SD, 122SD, Coronado Glider, and Columbia Glider trucks. Nearly 11,000 trucks were affected in that recall.

In the 2015 recall, axles were built in Mexico with insufficient torque applied to steering arm capscrews. According to NHTSA, only 62 percent of affected trucks have completed the remedy to date.

On Oct. 23, 2016, a 2017 Cascadia was involved in a crash where both the driver and co-driver were killed along Interstate 57 in Illinois. An investigation found that “the steering linkage separation occurred at the lower steering arm capscrews on the driver side.”

NHTSA is currently investigating to determine whether or not a larger population of trucks should have been included in the recall from 2015.

In a separate investigation, NHTSA is looking into a wiper defect affecting nearly 200,000 2015-2016 Cascadia trucks. According to investigation documents, “The wiper motor intermittently ceases to operate causing a loss of vision while driving and increasing the risk of a crash.”

Field reports reveal that multiple vehicles were affected, with some trucks experiencing the issues multiple times. Replacing the wiper motor appeared to resolve the problem.

In one situation, the wipers quit working when a driver switched the wiper speed from intermediate to high during a rainstorm. As a result of the loss of visibility, the driver lost control and hit an embankment.

DTNA has collected wiper motors from trucks reported to experience failure. However, in each case DTNA claims the motor worked and the manufacturer was unable to duplicate the failure. The investigation has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis, according to NHTSA documents.

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