Industry Update: New under-ride guard is standard

Stoughton Trailers has developed a new rear under-ride guard, in production just now, and has made it a standard feature. The company also made a decision to provide it at no additional cost. The guard is designed to afford better protection to the driving public in the event of an accident at the rear of the trailer.
Stoughton engineers were challenged to design a guard based on the recommendations of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The challenge was met without adding weight, without negatively affecting aerodynamics, and without reducing the robustness of the undercarriage and rear structure. Better yet, the guard is one of only three on the market to pass the difficult 30-degree offset crash test. Continue reading “Industry Update: New under-ride guard is standard”

General Motors Recalls Vehicles for Potential Roll-Away Defect

Late September 2012, General Motors (GM) announced plans to recall over 425,000 Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Saturn vehicles due to a condition that could prevent proper engagement of the transmission PARK position.  This could allow the vehicle to roll-away unattended. 

 

GM detected this potential condition during analysis of unusually high warranty claims associated with the transmission shift control cable.  During subsequent laboratory analysis, engineers determined that portions of the plastic retention clips that secure the cable to the transmission were fracturing, thus allowing the cable to move abnormally within the retention bracket.  According to GM documents, this condition can cause the transmission shift indicator to falsely indicate the transmission gear position, leading the operator to conclude the transmission is in PARK when it is not.  Further, this condition could allow removal of the ignition key in a non-PARK position.  If the parking brake is not applied or does not hold, the vehicle could roll-away unintended, increasing the risk of a crash or injury.    

 

The recalled vehicles include the 2008-2010 Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6, and 2007-2010 Saturn Aura, equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission.  

 

For more information please contact Scott King, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates at rsk@forensicDJS.com or

by phone at 215-659-2010.

Honda Recalls Over 250,000 Vehicles for Fire Risk

Honda, in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has announced a recall of certain 2002 through 2006 Honda CR-Vs equipped with power windows due to a defect that could result in overheating of the window master control switch that could lead to a fire.     

 

According to NHTSA documents, the master control switch located in the driver’s door panel is at risk of corrosion and overheating due to moisture contamination.  Honda discovered this defect after receiving field reports of thermal events in the driver’s door area and recreating the observed burn patterns during controlled tests. 

 

Until repairs have been made, Honda is recommending that owners park their vehicles outside. 

 

For more information regarding the Ford Recall, or any automotive matter, please contact R. Scott King, BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates at rsk@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010

NHTSA Investigates Complaints of Sticking Accelerators

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated an investigation of certain Ford vehicles due to complaints of broken cruise control cables, which can prevent the engine throttle valve from closing upon accelerator pedal release.

The subject vehicles include as many as 310,000 model year 2000 through 2003 Ford Taurus/Mercury Sables equipped with the 3.0 liter V-6 Duratec engine and cruise control.  NHTSA received at least 50 consumer reports of this condition and, as a result, elected to open a Preliminary Evaluation, often a precursor to an official Safety Recall, to further study this potential defect.  Early information from NHTSA indicates the condition could potentially cause the throttle to remain open approximately 25% of full application.  In top transmission gear; this is more than enough throttle application to maintain highway speed.

For more information regarding this investigation, or any automotive matter, please contact R. Scott King, BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates, at 215-659-2010 or via email at rsk@forensicDJS.com.

 

Ford Recalls 89,000 Vehicles Due To Engine Fires

Ford recently announced it is recalling over 73,000 2013 Escape, and nearly 16,000 2013 Fusion SE and SEL, vehicles due to potential fires in its 1.6-liter turbo-charged engines.  Ford indicates there have been 12 reported fire incidents and believes the cause is related to an overheating condition that can cause engine fluids to leak on heated engine surfaces; however, the exact cause of the problem remains uncertain.  While it continues its investigation, Ford has asked effected owners to seek loaner vehicles from their dealer.  Ford has also instructed vehicle operators to safely stop and exit their vehicle if they experience indications of an overheating condition and/or instrument panel warnings.

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Event Data Recorders: Past, Present, and Future

R. Scott King, BSME / Automotive Engineer ::::

It has been well over a decade since the introduction of the event data recorder (EDR) in passenger vehicles and light trucks.  General Motors was the first notable manufacturer to publicly disclose its use of this relatively new technology and its announcement made headlines.  The attention came not from the announcement itself; but, from the details.  Specifically, the American public first became aware that many of the vehicles already being driven for years already had the ability to monitor how the vehicle was being operated.  Generally associated with airbag deployment events, the first EDRs recorded relatively few driver-controlled parameters such as seat belt use; however, the newest vehicles were capable of monitoring and storing significantly more data, such as vehicle speed, in the few seconds before a collision.  Indeed, this was the parameter that turned heads.  Now for the first time – and whether they wanted it or not – motorists had an independent electronic witness riding along with them ready and able to provide detailed pre-crash data describing actions such as speed, braking, and accelerator control.  In the years that followed, other manufacturers such as Ford, Chrysler, and most recently Toyota, have adopted EDR technology. 

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Ruling Impacts Access to On-Board Computer Data Retrieval

R. Scott King, BSME: Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::

Later this year, an important, long-awaited ruling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA 49 CFR Part 563) will take effect requiring auto manufacturers to provide public access to crash and other incident-related data recorded by on-board computers.  Bosch, LLC has been the primary developer and provider of the equipment and software required to access such event data for over ten years.  General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and several others are among the manufacturers currently supported by the Bosch system.  In anticipation of Part 563, Bosch has added Honda passenger vehicles to its list of supported vehicles.

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U.S. DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 563 rule

EDRs have become an integral part of many collision investigations and product liability litigation actions, proving their value many times over.  However, because this technology evolved in a legislative vacuum, with little or no standardization, it is not without a few notable shortcomings.  Chief among them is data access.

Continue reading “U.S. DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 563 rule”