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Several heavy truck Cr-Mo steel steering arms in service less than three years fractured during stationary or low-speed turning maneuvers that required power-assisted steering. Metallographic examination of the cracked AISI 4135 arms, heat treated to a hardness of 285 to 341 HB, revealed that fatigue crack initiation occurred from the tip of oxide scale inclusions forged into the U-shaped arm at the inside radius. Corrective action involved redesigning the steering arm to increase the minimum forging radius and reduce the stress level at the inner-bend radius, and reducing the level of power assistance to the wheels to encourage the driver to put the vehicle in motion prior to turning.

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