Victims of Freightliner parts thefts struggle to get replacements

Larry Gilliam returned to Norfolk, Virginia, from a drayage run to Ga on Monday to obtain a person of his vans with a hole punched in the passenger-facet window. He thought a thief wanted to steal the radio from his 2015 Freightliner Cascadia.

Then he looked closer. The sprint experienced been pried open up. Wiring jutted from a gaping hole exactly where the truck’s prevalent powertrain control module (CPC) applied to be. 

The brute pressure brain medical procedures remaining Gilliam’s truck immovable. It is a single of hundreds of equivalent thefts hitting former-technology 2014-2017 Freightliner Cascadias nationwide and in Canada. Operator-operators. Little trucking corporations. A employed SelecTrucks dealership in Iowa. An auction yard in Pennsylvania. No one is exempt.

It is a big more than enough difficulty that Daimler Truck North The usa issued a press release Monday detailing the dilemma. The abnormal sharing of undesirable information named consideration to the rip-offs. The market-main Class 8 truck maker pledged to do what it could to help dealers and legislation enforcement crack down.

But it simply cannot do substantially. The thefts are a felony response to a global lack of semiconductors that energy several truck functions. Chips within the CPCs are so in need that black industry selling prices best $8,000 for a part DTNA lists at $1,400.

Smash-and-get

“I discovered a hole the dimension of a fist in the passenger window. … It looked like it was smashed out,” Gilliam advised FreightWaves. “When I opened the door, I seen the sprint the place the air brake strains have been was ripped out. My ELD tablet was lacking, and the jumper cables I just purchased have been lacking.”

He did not know the CPC even existed in his Freightliner Cascadia. 

“I just assumed it was odd that the sprint was ripped out in its place of the issue with the radio,” Gilliam claimed. “I knew there had been these four plugs, so I went on-line and [read] about the theft of these laptop items.”

The 2015 Freightliner Cascadia is the most recent of four vans and a few drivers that make up Lane Jockey Transportation in Norfolk. 

Trucking company owner Larry Gilliam in black and gray jacket standing in front of his 2015 Freightliner Cascadia.
Larry Gilliam with his 2015 Freightliner Cascadia ahead of it was broken into and its frequent powertrain management module — the brain of the truck — was stolen. (Photo courtesy of Larry Gilliam)

“That truck is quite a lot a paperweight,” Gilliam stated. “There’s virtually very little I can do with it now.”

Following submitting a police report, he paid out to have the truck towed to a rental space at a safe lawn in Chesapeake, Virginia. 

Section scarcity

Gilliam studies no luck so significantly acquiring a replacement portion.

“Every Freightliner Cascadia seller I have known as so significantly has instructed me that they’ve obtained like 50 orders of these factors that’ve been on back again get due to the fact April 2021. I was heading to go wherever they experienced a person. I was heading to fly out and get it. Literally no one I known as has it.”

The several models out there on-line are suspect for the reason that they may be stolen or tampered with. They also are pricey. 

Gilliam pulled his own authority and started his enterprise a calendar year in the past right after driving for other folks since 2009. Now his enterprise is in jeopardy. His 2007 Freightliner Columbia is in the shop waiting for other sections, leaving Gilliam with just his 2013 Kenworth T660 and a 2011 Navistar Intercontinental.

“I took a major blow for the reason that I’m down to two vehicles. The ’07 Freightliner is getting labored on and I need to have components for it. That 2015 Freightliner was my latest and ideal truck. There are contracts I’m likely to have to void because I’m not likely to have the further ability [units] to do ’em.”

Volvo Trucks North The united states and Peterbilt mentioned they are not going through comparable thefts. Navistar claimed it experienced “nothing to share” on the subject matter. Kenworth did not react to a FreightWaves query.

Freightliner Cascadia dealership dismay

The SelecTrucks of Omaha dealership in Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Nebraska, found 17 utilised Cascadia crack-ins with CPCs lacking on Might 8.

Truck Center Organizations owns the retailer, one particular of 17 in 4 states. SelecTrucks is a DTNA manufacturer, supplying it precedence in finding company help.

“They are expediting what they can and hunting into other suppliers to get us sufficient of the areas in a timely method,” Rob Cygan, Truck Centre Organizations president, instructed FreightWaves. “We’ve had trucks sitting and waiting around for weeks. We’re doing the most effective we can to consider care of clients.”

A customer prepared to decide up a single of the trucks on the day the CPC thefts arrived to mild. 

“As prolonged as I’ve been close to, we have had random factors like tires [being stolen]. Copper was a truly warm item a couple of a long time in the past. We have safety all around our dealerships, so anything like this is a pretty exceptional occurrence,” Cygan reported. 

The dealership rip-off created the rounds on the online. At minimum 1 Michigan dealer group alerted staff members to consider safety measures.

Email  text with photo of a Freightliner Cascadia common powertrain control module
A warning email sent to just one dealership. 

Pennsylvania auction hit for Freightliner Cascadia modules

The premier acknowledged theft of CPCs transpired at Hess Auctioneers in Marietta, Pennsylvania. Two dozen vans ready to go on the line shed modules in one particular incident.

Hess Auctioneers has limited on-web site stability and surveillance cameras, according to a report by WGAL-Television set in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The organization turned in excess of the video to Susquehanna Regional police.

“It’s a really brazen thing that anyone would do to take that proper out of the sprint,” Invoice Troop, Hess Auctioneers standard supervisor, advised the Tv set station.

Quick to accessibility

But the modules are easy to access, in accordance to a diesel technician in the Los Angeles spot. He declined to use his title. 

DTNA a little bit moved the locale of the CPC in the New Cascadia that debuted as a 2020 product.

“It’s even now straightforward to get to. It is still in the dash,” the technician explained. “You pull a include off the passenger side held on by clips, unscrew the fuse box and it stares you in the facial area.”

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Simply click for additional FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.