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Faulty Bendix Valves Installed on Around 60,000 New Trucks

2/3/2012 11:00:00 AM
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By Rip Watson, Senior Reporter

This story appears in the Feb. 6 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story, and the Feb. 6 print edition of Transport Topics, incorrectly stated that malfunctions of the Bendix ATR-6 traction relay valve could disable the traction control and electronic stability control systems.

A faulty brake valve produced by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems has been installed on as many as 60,000 Navistar Inc., Paccar Inc. and Volvo Group heavy-duty vehicles that are now in service.

The flawed valve also has halted or delayed delivery of an unknown number of trucks that are in various stages of production.

News of the faulty part became public on Feb. 1 during Navistar Inc.’s quarterly stock analyst meeting, when officials revealed it and warned that it was unclear what the effects might be on Navistar’s short-term profitability.

Navistar halted delivery of tractors with the Bendix valves on Jan. 20, a move that affected 40% of its total production, CEO Daniel Ustian told Transport Topics. Volvo now has resumed deliveries after postponing them on Jan. 19, spokesman Brandon Borgna said. Paccar officials declined to respond to several calls.

Malfunctions of the valve, identified as the Bendix ATR-6 traction relay valve, can unexpectedly apply a tractor’s brakes, Bendix said on its website. Failures of brake lights or brake pressure gauges also can occur, the company said.

“There is a situation going on right now in the industry relative to brakes,� said Jack Allen, president of Navistar’s North American truck group. “It’s quite a disruption to our operations.�

“We haven’t shipped a whole lot of trucks since Jan. 20, and many of these will be held up now into the second and third week of February,� Allen added.

“We’ll get all of this volume back this year,� Allen said, “I don’t have any doubts about that.� However, he added, “The cost is going to be quite a challenge for us,� in terms of delayed production and the need to retrofit all the trucks that are already on the road.

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