Freightliner LLC has notified its bus and fire/emergency vehicle customers who have vehicles manufactured between March 1998 and August 2000, equipped with air brakes and Bendix Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) EC 17-1030R electronic control units (ECU), of a defect in that system. The company’s customers and dealers, which include American LaFrance, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Trucks and Sterling Trucks dealers, have been notified of the problem and the proper inspection procedures for the vehicles included in the recall.

According to Bendix advisories, this braking system defect involves 300,000 vehicles industry-wide. Of that number, about 46,000 are buses and coaches. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that school buses and fire/emergency service vehicles are the first priorities for recall. On August 29-31, Freightliner/Thomas distributed notifications for approximately 6,000 of its bus chassis and fire/emergency vehicles that are included in the recall.

In addition to being available around the clock to inspect any of their buses and trucks that are affected, Freightliner has diverted all the new Bendix ECUs they have in production to repair the recalled vehicles. Freightliner has encouraged Bendix to do the same so the potential braking defect with school buses and fire/emergency vehicles can be remedied as soon as possible.

The repair of the defective braking system involves both inspection of the existing system and replacement of the Bendix ABS electronic control units with a new ECU. New ECUs will become available in limited quantities beginning in mid-September. Additional details about the defect, inspection process and repair should be obtained from the Bendix Communications Center at 1-800-478-1793.

Freightliner has advised its emergency service customers to call their local Freightliner or American LaFrance dealers with any questions or to schedule inspections. Also, Freightliner’s toll-free customer assistance center, (800) FTL-HELP, or (800) 385-4357, is staffed on a 24/7 basis to answer questions and direct customers to the appropriate resources for help.

Other manufacturers of emergency vehicles are included if their vehicles were manufactured between March 1998 and August 2000, are equipped with air brakes and use Bendix Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) EC 17-1030R electronic control units (ECU).

The IAFF will monitor this recall with all manufacturers and report when available.