NHTSA investigating 708,000 Ford SUVs, pickups for ‘catastrophic engine failures’
Bronco, F-150, and Explorer models are included
Under normal driving conditions without warning the vehicle may experience a loss of motive power without restart due to catastrophic engine failure related to an alleged faulty valve within 2.7 L and 3.0 L EcoBoost Engines.
OCTOBER 2023 — autoblog.com — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating more than 708,000 trucks and SUVs built by Ford and Lincoln due to reports of “catastrophic engine failures.” The agency expands investigation of vehicles all powered by a turbocharged 2.7- or 3.0-liter EcoBoost V6.
NHTSA officials opened an investigation into approximately 25,000 units of the Bronco in June 2022, and it launched an engineering analysis that includes five other models in September 2023. Working with Ford, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) discovered 328 customer complaints about a sudden engine failure, (including field reports), 487 warranty claims, and 809 engine replacements related to an issue with the valvetrain. The agency blames the problem on “multiple factors” that can cause the intake valves to break.
Ford clarified that the defective valves were made with a type of alloy called Silchrome Lite, which “can become excessively hard and brittle if an over-temperature condition occurs during machining of the component.” The firm added that repairing the damage caused by a broken valve usually requires replacing the engine, but it notes that the problem commonly manifests itself early in a vehicle’s life. It believes that the majority of failures have already happened. Valves manufactured after October 2021 are made with a different alloy called Silchrome 1.
The NHTSA estimates that 708,837 vehicles are included in its engineering analysis. The full list is below.
2021-2022 Ford Bronco
2021-2022 Ford Edge
2021-2022 Ford Explorer
2021-2022 Ford F-150
2021-2022 Lincoln Nautilus
2021-2022 Lincoln Aviator
The ODI’s engineering analysis aims to evaluate the scope and the frequency of allegations of engine failures in the aforementioned vehicles, work with the NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Testing Center to evaluate the broken parts provided by Ford, and gather more details about when the problem is likely to manifest itself. It will also evaluate the updated parts that Ford put into production in 2021. At the end of the investigation, officials will decide whether the vehicles fitted with engines that are allegedly prone to failure need to be recalled.
NHTSA investigates Ford Bronco ‘catastrophic engine failure’ reports
The issue is reportedly valvetrain-related
JUNE 2022 — autoblog.com — Ford’s sixth-generation Bronco is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over reports of “catastrophic engine failure.” The federal agency wrote that it has received three petitions requesting a probe into the alleged problem.
Assigned NHTSA action number DP22001, the investigation stems from petitions that claim some Bronco models powered by the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 suffer from a valvetrain-related problem that manifests as a loss of power at highway speeds. Starting the engine is then reportedly impossible due to what is described as “a catastrophic engine failure.” There’s no mention of precisely which component fails.
“This defect petition has been opened to evaluate the issue and determine whether to grant or deny the petitions,” the NHTSA wrote on its website. That means the investigation is not a recall, does not force Ford to issue a recall, and does not acknowledge an issue with the V6. MORE >>
NHTSA INVESTIGATION NUMBER: EA23002
Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company
Component(s): ENGINE; Loss of Motive Power; Catastrophic Engine Failures
Potential Number of Units Affected: 708,837
Report Receipt Date: September 29, 2023
SEPTEMBER 2023 — Under normal driving conditions without warning the vehicle may experience a loss of motive power without restart due to catastrophic engine failure related to an alleged faulty valve within 2.7 L and 3.0 L EcoBoost Engines.
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received three letters from consumers in March 2022, requesting the investigation of an alleged defect in the valvetrain of model year (MY) 2021 Ford Bronco vehicles equipped with 2.7L EcoBoost engines. The petitioners allege that MY 2021 Ford Bronco vehicles are experiencing catastrophic engine failure resulting in loss of motive power in a variety of driving conditions with no ability to restart. On May 27, 2022, ODI opened a Defect Petition (DP22-001) to evaluate whether to grant or deny the petitioners’ request to investigate. ODI identified 26 Vehicle Owner Questionnaires (VOQs) related to the alleged defect, leading to the granting of the petition. A Preliminary Evaluation (PE22-007) was opened on July 22, 2022, to assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.
ODI sent an Information Request (IR) letter to Ford requesting material for both the subject 2021 Ford Bronco (25,619 vehicles), as well as additional Ford model/model year vehicle populations equipped with 2.7L EcoBoost engine including the MY 2022 Bronco (33,106 vehicles), MY 2021-2022 F-150 (155,619 vehicles), MY 2021-2022 Edge (6,889 vehicles), and MY 2021-2022 Lincoln Nautilus (8,596 vehicles). In their response to ODI’s request, Ford provided evidence of 328 customer complaints (including field reports), 487 warranty claims, and 809 engine exchanges relating to these vehicle populations. The provided data is comprised of reports of engine failure resulting in several consequences, the most common of which being loss of motive power while the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, analysis of Ford’s IR response revealed that the alleged defect is present across the “Nano” engine family, which includes both the 2.7L and 3.0L EcoBoost engine variants. Vehicles which offer the 3.0L EcoBoost engine as either standard or optional equipment include MY 2021-2022 Explorer and MY 2021-2022 Lincoln Aviator. These model/model year populations will be included within the scope of the engineering analysis and updated population and failure data will be evaluated.
During the investigation, multiple contributing factors were identified which can lead to the fracturing of the intake valves in the subject engines. Ford acknowledged that a fractured intake valve can result in catastrophic engine failure and a loss of motive power and noted that following a valve fracture, a vehicle typically requires a full engine replacement. Ford advised ODI that the defective valves were manufactured out of a specific alloy known as “Silchrome Lite”, which can become excessively hard and brittle if an over-temperature condition occurs during machining of the component. A design modification was implemented in October 2021, which changed the intake valve material to a different alloy known as “Silchrome 1”, that is less susceptible to over-temperature during machine grinding. Ford has identified that the defective intake valves commonly fail early in a vehicle’s life and has suggested that the majority of failures have already occurred.
ODI is opening an Engineering Analysis (EA) in order to 1) evaluate the scope and frequency of allegations across the expanded scope of model/model year vehicle populations equipped with the 2.7L and 3.0L EcoBoost engines, 2) coordinate with NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Testing Center (VRTC) to evaluate field return parts, 3) analyze the effect of time-in-service on the failure rates for the affected engines, and 4) gather and review additional information to evaluate the effectiveness of Ford’s manufacturing improvements regarding the alleged defect.
To review the reports cited in the attached Opening Resume ODI Report Identification Number document, go to NHTSA.gov.
VEHICLES UNDER INVESTIGATION
Ford Bronco – (2021-2022)
Ford Edge – (2021-2022)
Ford Explorer – (2021-2022)
Ford F-150 – (2021-2022)
Lincoln Nautilus – (2021-2022)
Lincoln Aviator – (2021-2022)
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