1. Stop all deliveries in North America of new trucks with the affected ECU
2. Notify customers who own Volvo trucks with Bendix ABS that were built from Dec. 1, 1997, to Aug. 7, 2000
3. Hold all recently completed trucks and remove the new electronic control unit (ECU) for the ABS system in order to repair vehicles already on the roads of North America
4. Contact and counsel customers with existing new-truck orders
5. Continue working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Bendix and
others to evaluate ways to minimize the risk of accidents while the recall is completed.
"Volvo will not compromise safety," said Marc F. Gustafson, president and CEO of Volvo Trucks North America. "We accept the responsibility to make sure customers' trucks in the most critical applications are repaired first to minimize risks to drivers and the public."
Volvo Trucks Wednesday began notifying owners of the recall, which affects about 18,000 Volvo trucks that were manufactured from Dec. 1, 1997, to Aug. 7, 2000. Trucks manufactured with Bendix ABS before or after those dates are unaffected.
An investigation conducted by Volvo Trucks with Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems and NHTSA showed that certain components of the ABS system can generate an erratic signal that the Bendix ECU does not always recognize as faulty.
On occasion, the Bendix ECU has misinterpreted the faulty signal and temporarily activated the ABS on one or more wheels during braking at low speeds. The result is the loss of full braking ability. The temporary loss of braking performance occurs at speeds below 20 mph for up to four seconds. Volvo Trucks believes that the driver may not receive a warning of the loss of braking effort.
Volvo's investigation showed that some of its trucks may have a wheel-end sensor that rubs on the tone ring. These trucks in critical applications will be among the first ones recalled and repaired by Volvo.
Volvo models are not affected by other equipment issues noted by Bendix. Volvo models do not have chafed ABS wires or loose tone rings because different manufacturing processes and designs are used.
To date, Volvo Trucks has had five reports of in-service incidents that may have been related to the Bendix ABS. The company has received no reports of accidents or injuries resulting from this problem.
According to Bendix, a total of approximately 300,000 commercial trucks and buses are affected by this recall. Bendix has begun increasing production of replacement components from 9,000 to 39,000 units monthly. Since the current supply of replacement ECUs is inadequate to recall all vehicles simultaneously, Volvo, Bendix and other truck and bus makers agreed to a program that ensures that vehicles in the most critical applications are repaired first.
The NHTSA-industry agreement says that school buses will be recalled first, followed by straight trucks in critical applications such as refuse collection. The final phases of the recall will see new components made available for the repair of other straight trucks and tractors. Volvo Trucks expects to begin the recall of straight trucks used in critical applications by mid October or early November.
Volvo Trucks urges owners of the affected trucks to continue to drive defensively and to anticipate stops. If operators sense a loss of braking and believe they may not be able to safely stop, they should apply the parking brakes by pulling out the yellow dash knob. If the ABS warning light comes on, operators should have the vehicle serviced as soon as possible at a Volvo truck dealer.
Customers can determine whether their trucks have the affected Bendix ABS by going online at
www.volvotrucks.com. They may also call Volvo Trucks toll-free at 1-800-541-6535.