GM to recall full sized 2012 SUVs, vans over potential power steering failure
This recall, which is set to begin on or around April 4th 2012, affects select 2012 Chevrolet Express vans and Suburban full sized SUVs along with the similar 2012 model year vehicles from GMC (Savana vans and Yukon XL sport ute) – with 6,159 vehicles possibly affected by this problem.
In these full size General Motors vehicles, the automaker is concerned that the steering gear pitman shaft may not have been hardened properly during the production process. If the metal has not been properly treated, it could be more prone to breaking when the vehicle hits a pothole or a rough patch in the road – which could be accelerated by the steady abuse that front end suspension components can face on these heavyweight vehicles.
The pitman arm causing this Chevy Suburban, Chevy Express, GMC Savana and Yukon XL recall is the component that connects the steering rack (the item that physically turns the wheels) and the power steering box – to which the steering wheel is connected. When you turn your steering wheel, the steering box moves the pitman arm and that allows the wheels to turn. Due to the location of the pitman arm in the steering system, this component can be subject to intense vibration and impact during the basic rigors of driving. If the pitman arm has been hardened incorrectly, the metal could be more brittle and that could make it more likely to break. When the pitman arm breaks, there is nothing connecting the steering box to the steering rack assembly so there is literally no way to control the direction of the vehicle. Needless to say, total loss of steering control poses a serious safety issue so GM is making the move to get these vans and sport utility vehicles back to dealerships for repairs before any problems are reported.