Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has issued a recall for more than 100,000 Freightliner Cascadia trucks for a defect that could “lead to a complete loss of steering control.”
The recall is for all 2019 Freightliner Classic Cascadias built at the Santiago manufacturing plant in Mexico between April 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, and for all 2019 — 20121 Freightliner Cascadias built at the Saltillo manufacturing plant in Mexico between April 1, 2018 and July 14, 2020.
A total of 105,183 vehicles in the U.S. are affected by the recall. In Canada, an additional 8,298 are impacted by the recall.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall documents, “On certain vehicles, the drag link taper joint at the steering arm may not have been tightened sufficiently and may come loose, potentially resulting in a complete separation of the joint. A gradual loosening and separation of this joint could lead to a complete loss of steering control which could lead to a crash.”
Recall documents indicate that hundreds of reported defects were discovered during a DTNA investigation:
In or about April 2020, DTNA received a field report indicating loose steering in 5 units from the same customer fleet. Based on this report, DTNA initiated an inspection campaign on the customer fleet. In or about June 2020, DTNA received a field report that 2 units owned by a different customer had experienced a complete separation of the drag link from the steering arm. In or around June through September 2020, DTNA investigated the issue, which included a look at manufacturing processes, supplier quality and driver safety. The investigation led to the implementation of torque management and audit tools in all plants. At this time, DTNA did not reasonably determine an unreasonable risk to safety. In or around February 2021, 2 more customers reported loose steering due to the taper joint connection in vehicles built before the corrective action was implemented. DTNA promptly launched a deeper investigation into the same issue and found 7 more reports of complete separations through warranty claim information. In the April through August date range DTNA broadened the search finding 757 total reports and within this time 2 more separation occurred, bringing the total to 11. DTNA investigated the connection between the torque management and audit tool implementation and the loose tapered joint and reviewed warranty claim, field report and field inspection data; combined with a second look at supplier quality. On August 30, 2021, DTNA decided to conduct a safety recall on the above referenced vehicles.
Repairs to the taper joint will be made at Daimler-authorized service facilities.
Truck owners will be contacted by DTNA via first class mail on October 31, 2021. The letters will contain “details of the reimbursement plan,” according to NHTSA documents.