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Water Intrusion Affected Engine Control Modules, Prompting Cummins Recall

July 12, 2016

By Tom Berg

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A mistake during pre-paint washing of assembled diesels has resulted in electrical shorts and stalling problems with some Cummins ISX12 and ISX15 diesels, requiring a recall of 5,439 of the heavy duty models, said the builder and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The engine control module (ECM) may develop an internal electrical short circuit that could possibly blow a fuse in the ECM’s electrical supply circuit, resulting in an engine stall without warning,” stated NHTSA Recall 16E-047, announced in late June. “If this occurs, the engine cannot be restarted until the ECM and fuse are replaced. An unexpected engine stall without the ability to restart the engine may lead to an increased risk of an accident.”

“A number of CM2350 ECMs may have experienced water intrusion through the OEM connector during the engine wash process,” said Mario Sanchez-Lara, Cummins’ director of on-highway marketing communications, in response to a query from HDT.

“Based on information developed during investigation and analysis, Cummins decided that a safety defect may exist and to conduct a field campaign,” he said. “Cummins understands the assignable cause of issue and has taken action to correct it. Cummins is acting quickly to take care of our customers.

“We are working closely with OEMs to identify and notify end-users,” and they are being notified. No accidents or injuries from the problem have occurred, Sanchez-Lara added.

The affected engines were manufactured from March 7 to April 12 of this year at Cummins’ Jamestown, N.Y., plant, he said. Cummins announced the recall soon after.

“Engines are washed after assembly/test and prior to being painted,” NHTSA said. “During the wash process, the ECM (engine control module) original equipment manufacturer (OEM) connector port is covered with a masking cap to prevent wash water from entering the connector port. During the identified time period, defective masking caps allowed wash water to enter certain ECM’s.

“The wash water and/or the subsequent residue may create an internal short circuit on the printed circuit board that could possibly cause a blown fuse in the ECM’s electrical supply circuit.”

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