iRV2 Forums

iRV2 Forums (
-   Class A Motorhome Discussions (
-   -   DEF Sensors complaint filed with NHTSA (

brobox 12-16-2020 06:37 AM

DEF Sensors complaint filed with NHTSA
After several attempts to contact Shaw Development the manufactures of the DEF sensor that are failing I filed a formal complaint with NHTSA this morning.

I hope others that are having failures will come forward with NHTSA to hopefully help others that are or will have the problem of failed DEF sensor. After two DEF sensor failures, I am not sure it is a one time thing. the manufactures don't seem to care. Attached is a copy of the complaint.

I have owned both a 2019 and the new 2021 Entegra Cornerstone motor homes. On both motorhomes, the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) sensor have failed in less that 2,000 miles. When DEF sensors fail the engine can go into derate which is 5 mph in less that a couple hundred miles. This problem is leaving many large diesel engine owned vehicles stranded, from motorhomes to large over the road trucks. I have contacted Spartan Motors the manufacture of the chassis, which referred me to Shaw Development, the manufacture of the DEF sensor. Shaw Development refuses to take calls or emails requesting information regarding this problem. The DEF sensors was a regulation passed by EPA in 2016, stating the DEF concentration be measured in the DEF tanks of vehicles. However the DEF sensor manufactures cannot seems to manufacture a part that will work and not put engine into derate. Shaw Development is currently at the sixth generation of the DEF sensor which are still failing on brand new 2021 year motor homes. That is six attempts to make a part that continues to leave people on long trips stranded. With all of the contacts I have made regarding this problem, nothing is being done except passing the buck. This link is a small sample of what users have been facing with this problem. Many posts like this are all over the internet. The photo shows the DEF units that have to be replaced at Cummins Diesel Engine shops. This is a major problem with all diesel engines. EPA requirements that the chassis manufactures cannot meet leaving the owners stranded. The DEF sensor by Shaw Development being purchased by Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc are now on the sixth edition with the failure rate continuing. My repair date with Cummins Service in Ft Myers FL was Dec 2, 2020 and a new 2021 model motorhome

buddy110 12-16-2020 08:12 AM

Great job, Chuck. IS there any way we suffered can pile on to the complaint? The more who complain the stronger the argument

dave&ginny 12-16-2020 08:30 AM

Great job Chuck

brobox 12-16-2020 08:36 AM


Originally Posted by buddy110 (Post 5560112)
Great job, Chuck. IS there any way we suffered can pile on to the complaint? The more who complain the stronger the argument

Most definitely! You had one fail delaying your delivery that matches your VIN # The more that complain the better as stated on NHTSA website. For those that have had DEF sensors replace and think it's good......I wouldn't bet on it. Please file a complaint if you have a VIN # that has had the problem.

USMCRET 12-16-2020 08:42 AM

I’m a little reluctant to weigh in here as I own neither an Entegra nor a MH with DEF (yet), but I think the safety aspect has to carry the water with these complaints.

Gary.Jones 12-16-2020 08:53 AM

This was posted to another thread but feel that it is relevant now that Chuck has made a "move". Here it is again.

Although some seem to be "down" on government regulations (and have apparently forgotten what filthy/nasty air is like in major cities)(those were definitely the good old days, like Pittsburgh, around 1900), this is a case for a class action lawsuit or government ruling. I feel for the companies involved and it appears to be an engineering problem that they have not figured out how to make the device that does what it needs to do and yet is impervious to most of the common situations that occur in motorcoaches (sitting extended periods of time, limited daily use, etc. etc.). That is no one's fault in my opinion, but it is a situation that is going to start costing owners ~ $1,000 out of their pockets to fix or avoid.

That cost is the reason for our unhappiness along with the inconvenience and hazard of being stuck beside the road or having plans destroyed. So, this needs to be defined as a safety and reliability issue and defined as something that is a continuing problem that is the responsibility of someone/something that continues beyond warranty time periods. If this were defined as a problem that must be resolved regardless of when it occurs (warranty period), then the onus would be firmly on the industry to find a solution that minimizes their cost long term.... all the bitching and complaining to them will roll off their backs until the problem is defined as something they cant sneak out of with the passage of time (notice how this is similar to the radiator issue). If all the manufacturers were held liable for the product, something would have to give (probably the company that makes the DEF sensor would go "under" first and everyone else get stuck....). I feel bad for the companies that get "stuck" but it should not be the end consumer.

It seems obvious that it is much harder to detect bad DEF concentrations in the end-users supply, (and stupid and inefficient also) than it is to control the DEF concentration and quality control at the manufacturer. Forget evaluating at the end-user site (the coach) and guarantee that all of it is manufactured correctly and fine heartily any trucking company or municipal bus company (for examples) that starts to screw with purchased DEF). Alternately, how about a "looser" regulation, or "more miles" for DEF issues in motorcoaches than in commercial freight applications? All diesel users are not the same. Doesn't seem like it would necessitate much reprogramming.


brobox 12-16-2020 09:04 AM


Originally Posted by USMCRET (Post 5560151)
I’m a little reluctant to weigh in here as I own neither an Entegra nor a MH with DEF (yet), but I think the safety aspect has to carry the water with these complaints.

If a person has gone into limp mode on an interstate I would think that is a safety issue. Having been there before on another issue, it is dangerous as hell.

bevandtomH 12-16-2020 09:20 AM

Chuck sorry that this is happening but thanks for taking the initiative on this matter
[moderator edit]
Best of luck and thanks again!

brobox 12-16-2020 10:59 AM

This is off the the NHTSA website and why it is important to file DEF issues:

Reporting your problem is the important first step.

Your complaint will be added to a public NHTSA database after personally identifying information is removed.
If the agency receives similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate that a safety-related defect may exist that would warrant the opening of an investigation.
NHTSA conducts an investigation from reported complaints.

NHTSA reviews filed complaints from vehicle owners and other information related to alleged defects to decide whether to open an investigation.
NHTSA conducts an analysis of any petitions calling for defect investigations. If the petition is denied, the reasons for the denial are published in the Federal Register.

Butte64 12-16-2020 11:23 AM

Thanks for doing this.
It would be useful to know of someone who had an injury or worse as a result of being stuck on the road due to DEF system derate and shutdown. That could be used by others as an example of the safety issue. I can think of several places on 2 lane roads far from safe places to turn off the road that would be terrible to go into shutdown.

There needs to be a defined and reasonable distance to go before derate and shutdown.

brobox 12-16-2020 11:49 AM

Jerry, I am hope we get enough complaints filed that things like this will come out in their investigation. I did forget to mention more about no warning before limp mode.

I will take Tom's advise and put this on the main forum later today in hope there are more response.

Ljwt330 12-16-2020 01:02 PM

Please take this post the right way, I am not questioning anyone's decisions or experiences. However, many have mentioned the safety issue of derates and shutdowns due to DEF sensor problems. My question is, isn't there always a warning that a problem exists and isn't it made clear that a derate or shutdown can/will occur?

My thought is that it will be argued that any complaint about safety is mitigated by the fact that people continue to operate their vehicles after warnings are displayed. Yes, it's not known exactly when a derate or shutdown will happen and yes, sometimes driving is considered a"must" because of the location/time where the warning appeared, but all are aware that it is coming.

My knowledge of this issue is only through posts as I do not have a DEF system. If a derate or shutdown ever happens at the same time an initial warning is flashed, that eliminates any argument that an owner contributes to his own unsafe circumstance. The argument would conclude that once a warning is flashed, the time before a derate, plus the time before a shutdown, are adequate to get the vehicle to a safe location and call for service.

Again, this is not a post of criticism, it's a post asking for information about a very important problem facing many RV owners, and trying to show that the danger issue may have a serious challenge.

Gary.Jones 12-16-2020 01:24 PM

Your point is well taken. However, the counterpoint to me is that the delay in time or miles or actions is not specified and so the owner of such a coach is forced to make a decision based on unknown information. It is reported that if you call Spartan or Cummins, you cannot get information on how far you are able to drive. People have been able to report driving all day and the shutdown does not occur until they stopped the engine for dinner or something and then fired back up. Some report de-rate or shut down in 30 miles.

I had a different problem (which turned out to be a defective DEF pump) and several calls to Spartan resulted in the knowledge that they had no idea. That seems silly frankly. There should be a known and arbitrary answer to the question, when XXX or YYY fault comes up on the dash/screen, how much time do I have to get to a repair shop before I am shut down beside a road? That should not be arbitrary IMO.


brobox 12-16-2020 02:16 PM


I understand what you are saying and it's part of what I hope the NHTSA will investigate.
1. we have no mileage countdown as autos have to know when the shut down will happen.
2. it has been reported here that shut down mileage can be between 30 and 300 miles.
3. if that unknown mileage is on the Alcan highway, or crossing the NV desert in 120 degrees, and the unit goes into derate, is that safe? We hope we have enough warning, but do we? Lots of miles in those situation where a person will not make it across.
4. Some of the new coach owners are just that, brand new and don't have a clue what derate is. By the time the red check engine light comes on, it to late, they are into limp mode. What if that is in LA traffic? Where does one pull a 65 ft MH and toad over in LA traffic?

So far I am not able to get any answers from the manufactures, maybe the Federal Govt will investigate and find out why it's happening to begin with. If other do not wish to proceed, there is not much I can do. If there is not enough complaints, the action will fall on deaf ears and it's back to square one with nothing being accomplished.

I just received a NHTSA recall #20V-600 on my 21 Cornerstone for the power drivers seat yesterday. Really? is that going to leave me stranded anywhere? Maybe an inconvenience, but certainly not a safety issue as much as the engine shutting down. I could pull the fuse on the drives seat and drive it until the wheels fell off without it being a safety issue now that know. Owners cannot do that with the new style DEF sensors

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:01 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.