Freightliner LLC has mobilized its North American dealer network to assist customers with authorized inspections of about 45,000 trucks, tractors, and buses that it has determined are equipped with the defective Bendix Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) EC 17-1030R electronic control units (ECU). Vehicles that were manufactured between February 13, 1998 - August 16, 2000 and are equipped with air brakes and this Bendix ABS ECU are included in the recall.

The first priority recall was for bus and emergency vehicles and Freightliner on August 28 recalled 6,000 of its school bus units. The balance of the recall includes 39,000 trucks and tractors about which Freightliner notified its customers on September 8. Of the 39,000 trucks and tractors Freightliner has recalled in phase two, 35,400 are Sterling branded and about 3,600 are Freightliner branded trucks and tractors.

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not yet required the truck and tractor phases of the recall, Freightliner has now recalled all its vehicles with the defective Bendix ABS system. According to Bendix advisories, this braking system defect involves 300,000 vehicles industry wide.

"We are strongly advising our customers that to eliminate the risk of temporary brake failure in the affected vehicles, the defective Bendix ECU must be replaced, in addition to the correction of any sensor wiring or tone ring problems," said Jim Hebe, president of Freightliner LLC. "Our dealerships are available around the clock to inspect any of our buses and trucks that are affected."

To expedite inspections and repairs, both Freightliner and Sterling dealers will be authorized to perform the warranty work on any Freightliner LLC vehicle that is included in this recall.

"To expedite the repair and replacement of these ECUs, we are continuing to ask Bendix to put priority on supplying Freightliner and other truck manufacturers with enough new ECUs to repair the priority recalled vehicles first, rather than install them in new production vehicles," Hebe added. "Freightliner has already diverted any new Bendix ECUs in its production system to repair recalled vehicles."

New ECUs will become available from Bendix in limited quantities beginning in mid-September to address the first phase of recall, which involves buses and motor coaches. To complete the next phases of the recall, Bendix advisories have said ECUs would be available by Spring 2001. More details about the defect, and availability of ECUs should be obtained from the Bendix Communications Center at 1-800-478-1793.

Freightliner will continue to advise its customers to call their local Freightliner, Thomas Built Buses or Sterling dealers with any other questions or to schedule inspections and repairs.