Daimler Trucks North America is recalling certain Freightliner Cascadia trucks due to an insufficiently tightened drag link taper joint. If the joint becomes loose, it can result in the gradual separation of the drag link from the steering arm and cause complete loss of steering control.
The recall affects 105,183 trucks, including 2019 Freightliner Classic Cascadia trucks built at DTNA’s manufacturing plant in Santiago, Mexico, between April 2018 and December 2018; and 2019-2021 Freightliner Cascadia trucks build at the manufacturing plant in Saltillo, Mexico, between April 2018 and July 14, 2020.
About 1% of the potentially involved trucks are estimated to have the defect, according to DTNA’s defect information report. Drivers are likely to notice loose steering, wandering noises or vibration in affected vehicles.
As a remedy, DTNA will inspect the drag link taper joint on affects trucks and repair it as necessary.
Between April and June 2020, one fleet reported loose steering in five trucks, and another fleet reported that the drag link completely separated from the steering arm in two trucks. A DTNA investigation led to the implementation of torque management and audit tools in all plants. At that time, DTNA did not determine an "unreasonable risk to safety," company officials wrote in the report.
In February 2021, two more customers reported loose steering due to the taper joint connection in vehicles built before the corrective action was implemented. DTNA launched a deeper investigation into the same issue and found seven more reports of complete separations through warranty claim information. Between April through August, DTNA broadened the search finding 757 total reports. Within that timeframe, two more separations occurred, bringing the total to 11. On Aug. 30, 2021, DTNA decided to conduct a safety recall on the vehicles.
Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Oct. 31.