Class-action lawsuit accuses Navistar of knowingly selling defective engines

| July 11, 2014
Navistar's MaxxForce 15

Navistar’s MaxxForce 15

A class-action lawsuit filed July 10 by three trucking companies against Navistar-International echoes claims of similar lawsuits filed this week: The truck and engine maker knew its EGR-only MaxxForce engines had defects and Navistar concealed those problems from buyers.

The suit, brought by carriers Denis Gray Trucking, Carmichael Leasing and GTL Enterprises, also claim Navistar failed to properly repair the engines during the warranty period, thereby decreasing their trucks’ value and shortening the expected life of the engine. Those who bought International trucks with MaxxForce engines “did not get what they paid for,” the lawsuit alleges.

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Navistar hit with 3 lawsuits over EGR-only engines as carriers claim defects, losses

Three trucking companies have filed lawsuits against truck and engine maker Navistar, claiming its '11-'12 MaxxForce engines were defective and didn’t meet federal emissions standards. The lawsuits further allege Navistar knew its engines were flawed yet concealed that information.

Navistar spokesperson Elissa Mauer said earlier this week the company does not comment on pending litigation.

The class members in the suit include anyone who bought an EGR-only MaxxForce-equipped International between 2008 and 2013.

The engines could not “handle the amount of heat and pressure they generate,” the carriers claim in their suit, which led to issues like broken EGR valves, exhaust leaks that harm other parts of the engine and EGR cooler failures. The latter causes the engine to shut down immediately, the suit says.

The alleged defects, which the lawsuit claims stem from the exhaust gas recirculation systems on the engines, were safety hazards for both drivers and other motorists, as “sudden breakdowns” would force the trucks’ drivers to perform “emergency maneuvers” to get the truck off of the road. And the engine issues caused coolant and exhaust fumes to enter the cab, causing potential for driver poisoning, the lawsuit claims.

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As with lawsuits filed earlier this week over the company’s 2011 and 2012 engines, the class-action suit claims Navistar knew the EGR systems on the MaxxForce engines had problems yet hid those issues from truck buyers.

As evidence of the alleged concealment, the lawsuit notes Navistar marketing that pushed its Advanced EGR system, its fuel economy and its resale value while calling selective catalytic reduction (the aftertreatment system used at that point by all other North American manufacturers) a technology that would be abandoned.

The suits also point to confidential witness testimony in lawsuits claiming Navistar violated securities laws, who say chief engineers in the company presented to former Navistar President and CEO Dan Ustian their concerns with the engines but the company proceeded with them anyhow. Engineers for the company also told their supervisors that the level of EGR the company wanted — along with its fuel economy and performance parameters — “was not possible” per the “physics of EGR,” according to the lawsuit.

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The company also halted any work on SCR as a fall-back and threatened to fire employees who discussed “alternate solutions to…EGR,” the lawsuit claims.

Denis Gray Trucking — who’s based in Payullup, Wash., but purchased the trucks in California — says it has purchased more than 100 International trucks since 1977, including six between 2010 and 2012, which were powered by MaxxForce 13 Advanced EGR engines. The trucks had “consistent failures of EGR-related components,” the lawsuit says, with nearly all of the engines’ EGR coolers failing and needing replaced with the first 150,000 miles, Gray says int he suit. One didn’t make it 7,000 miles before the EGR cooler failed, the suit says.

Carmichael, based in Chicago, Ill., owns 31 2011-2013 trucks with MaxxForce engines and “experienced numerous breakdowns…most related to the emissions system,” the suit says, and even after repairs, the issues continued. Navistar dealers told Carmichael that the 2011 and 2012 engines did not have the same defect earlier models had.

Carmichael has seen losses of revenue caused by inoperable trucks, costs to fix the engines, costs in providing replacement trucks to customers and “substantially lower trade in and resale values…because the problems with the engines are widely known and feared in the industry,” the lawsuit claims.

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GTL, based in Othello, Wash., owns 14 International trucks powered by Advanced EGR MaxxForce engines. Due to repeated repairs, it says, specifically on the EGR system, the carrier estimates it has lost more than 150 days’ revenue due to downtime.

The counts against Navistar in the lawsuit include breach of express and implied warranties and merchantability, breach of implied covenant of good fait and fair dealing, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment, violation of consumer fraud and deceptive trade acts and violation of unfair competition laws.

The lawsuits seek compensatory damages for the class, along with exemplary and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

The suit also requests a jury for the case.

In late 2012, Navistar announced it would be transitioning away from its EGR-only approach and adding SCR systems to its 11- and 13-liter engines. It cut production of its 15-liter engine entirely and now offers Cummins ISX15 as its 15-liter option.

The company’s bottom line has also taken a hit from warranty claims from its 2010-2012 engines, reporting net losses of $898 million in 2013 and $3 billion in 2014.

  • Julius J. Rim

    Technical solution of EGR-only engine would be to retrofit with GreenPower Muffler “H-EGR” system which can save fuel by 20% by recovery of muffler waste heat to generate water-vapor which will lower the combustion temperature. Remember it is good engine but can be up-graded with newly patented features of GreenPower. Contact: Dr. Rim, dieseltrap@gmail.com

  • http://totallytankless.us Steven Foerst

    How does one become part of the lawsuit?
    My truck has failed me far too many times. High temperatures that
    the dealer could not figure out and eventually a blown engine. I am happy to add my name to the list!

  • localnet

    I was in the International sealer the other day, and the service manager stated that International is now putting an older operating code into the MaxxForce ECMs. he stated that it cured the overheat problem. Don’t know if he was blowing smoke up my rear or not, as I have a Cummins motor under the hood.

    His number is 517-783-2721

  • Gerald Wood

    First generation EGR engines had issues that were detected about 15 years ago. Volkswagen had similar if not the same issues with her engines. However, Violating EPA emissions standards by Navistar is a really big problem. The web link provides just something interesting history documented by another engine mfg. (introspection: the value of history while looking at today) https://vwoilsludgesettlement.com/

  • Gerald Wood

    oil sludge…recovered by a muffler…incompent suggestion,

  • rc1234

    The problem is the EPA…. That agency needs to be abolished…

  • GreatBay

    So give International a get out of jail free card for this because it’s the EPA’s fault? They knowingly gambled and lost. Their poor decisions have cost trucking companies dearly in downtime. Not to say SCR has not been without its own issues but the wrinkles are pretty much ironed out with most manufacturers by now.

  • Jeanne Phillips

    Quote “now offers Cummins ISX15 as its 15-liter option.” Can anyone tell me how this option has worked? The company I work for has has nothing but trouble with the ISX15 and the down time is really hurting us and our drivers.
    One truck was down for about 10 days and was in 2 different repair facilities on its very first trip having travelled less than 1500 miles and we just had another truck down for a total engine rebuild with less than 205000 miles on it. (yes we keep up on all maintenance to keep our extended warranty in effect)
    We are looking for others with the same issues and to see if there are any pending class action suits against Cummins for the ISX15 issues.

  • john homes

    Company was closed down in Garland tx with more then 600 ppl losing there jobs homes and cars so all I can say is navistar sucks for what they did to this ppl in Garland tx I have no pity on them They moved it all to Mexico…remember you get cheap shit from Mexico

  • localnet

    I have the 2008 ISX 600, a 15 liter under the hood. It is a DPF model, CM871, no DEF, and I had a hell of a time with it when I first purchased it a few months ago. It had serious “soot” issues… Needed a good cleaning, everything pulled off on the EGR system and cleaned out. This may be your issue, as mine through codes left and right, engine shut down, etc., and reeked havoc on my turbo. Cleaned it all out, and now operates properly. Just a thought on my part.

  • Zachary Bell

    How do I get Anne Ferro to get the FMCSA to file a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for shoving new and unproven emissions technology down the truck makers throats? This “technology” has led to an increase in breakdowns, truck fires and crashes since it was conceived in the early 2000s. The crash increase is caused by drivers having to perform emergency maneuvers to get to safety when the check engine and stop engine lights come on. The fires and breakdowns have been caused by sensor problems, exhaust restriction (specifically DPFs), wiring issues (shorts in wiring harnesses, etc…) and generally poor build quality ( excessive use of fiberglass and plastic instead of steel and aluminum).

  • Happy Canuck

    The best truck building plant Navistar had was in Chatham Ontario Canada. Canada is known for quality workmanship. Navistar had a plant in Fort Wayne Indiana and Chatham Ontario, but they closed the one in Fort Wayne years ago and kept the Navistar in Chatham Ontario. The quality was high but so were wages so now they closed the Chatham plant a few years ago and got the Mexicans to do it cheaper. You get what you pay for!

  • truckinginfo

    Has anyone been having these issues in Canada?

  • pat

    yes it is causing me to go broke..navistar owes us all a lot of money in repairs that they say just aren’t covered under warranty. $60,000 in the first two years.

  • truckinginfo

    Do you have a Navistar Maxxforce Advanced EGR diesel engine?

  • truckinginfo

    Hi Steven, do you live in Canada?

  • http://totallytankless.us Steven Foerst

    I live in New York

  • Ronald wickwire

    Yes how do we get in on the lawsuit we had 6 2010s with max eng and I would say we spent at least 75,000 on towing and repairs and lost rev is way up their and we had no choice but to let th go back