Navistar said more than 22,000 IC Bus models will be voluntarily recalled this fall because school bus seats are made with foam padding that may not meet federal regulations for knee-impact zones in the event of a crash.
IC Bus AE Series small school buses with model years 2013 and 2014 are affected by NHTSA Campaign No. 13V308000 as are 2011-2014 model year BE, CE and RE Series school buses. The 22,264 total units were manufactured from Feb. 11, 2010 through June 13 of this year. Nearly 21,000 of the affected buses are CE Series conventionals operating in the U.S, and nearly 2,500 more CE school buses are in Canada.
Navistar added in its Noncompliance Information Report filed to NHTSA last week that the padding at two small areas of the lower outside corners of the seat back, or knee impact zone, did not pass compliance testing in May under FMVSS 222. The resisting force of the impacted material exceed 2,669 N (600 pounds). During a crash, this could increase the risk of injury to student passengers.
The foam was supplied by FRP, and IC Bus installed the complete seating systems at its Tulsa, Okla., plant. Navistar said that FRP changed it's manufacturing process in June to build the seat foam to print dimensions.
The recall is expected to begin before Oct. 2, 2013, but a Navistar said the affected school buses remain safe to operate as the foam padding that could be non-compliant "has a very minmal effect on the overall protection of some of our seats." Owners of the affected bus models will be notified that dealers will install free of charge polystyrene blocks in the lower outside corners of each seat to increase knee protection.
Navistar's recall campaign number is 13512.