Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems suppliers and factory workers are working overtime to produce EC-17 antilock braking systems (ABS) to replace potentially defective ones that have been recalled by truck OEMs.
The company announced Aug 22, 2000, that as many as 300,000 school buses, transit buses, and heavy trucks are at risk of brake failure at speeds of 20 mph and slower because of an ABS defect. Vehicles at risk are those equipped with the Bendix EC-17-1030R air brake system manufactured since 1998.
At least 40 incidents of brake failure have occurred, according to Bendix. Sixteen of the incidents involved school buses, which have been made a recall priority by the brake manufacturer.
The firm said defective brakes were installed on as many as 46,000 school and transit buses, as well as 254,000 heavy trucks of various makes: Ford, Freightliner, Volvo, Magnum, Mack, Ottawa, International, and General Motors.
Bendix said the replacement effort will start with school buses and should be completed by the end of November. Brake system replacement in other vehicles will not be complete until sometime in first-quarter 2001.
Tom Musgrave, a spokesman for the Honeywell subsidiary, said Bendix is "ramping up production in fourfold" to produce the units.
Bendix officials said the braking problem is caused by the ABS control units picking up an erratic signal from the wheels created by chafing wires. Musgrave said the problem is not electromagnetic interference, but rather the sound made by the wires as they rub against the wheel rim.
Musgrave said the company sent its first shipment of EC-17s to OEMs, and that the company is filling the orders as fast as it can. Bendix and its suppliers are working 22 hours a day, seven days a week, to produce EC-17s, said Musgrave.