Fracture of a Steering Damper
The piston rod of a steering damper on a single decker bus fractured after 100,000 miles of service in the fully-extended left full-lock position. The steering damper, which is similar in shape and operation to a telescopic shock absorber, was secured by ball joints locked with slotted nuts. The steel piston rod fractured at the axle end leaving approximately 5 mm of rod welded to a securing ferrule. The failure was caused by a fatigue mechanism. Small surface cracks formed during welding in the heat-affected zone close to an unradiused shoulder in the piston. Under alternating stresses in normal service these cracks propagated through the piston rod made less tough by the extended weld heat-affected zone.