NHTSA Probe: Ford Bronco, F-150, Explorer ‘Catastrophic EcoBoost Engine Failure’ Swells to Over 700,000
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in the final phase before issuing a large recall that takes in several vehicles made by both Ford and Lincoln. This involves the 2.7 and 3.0 EcoBoost V6 engine power loss probe that the NHTSA began after three petitions requesting an investigation. According to the complaints, the EcoBoost engines lose power while driving. According to the petitions, the power loss leads to “catastrophic engine failures.”
So far, Ford has had to replace 809 engines in various models, along with there being 487 warranty claims and 328 complaints. There have been no reports of injuries or accidents. Those models with these potentially defective engines include the 2021 to 2022 Ford Bronco, Edge, Explorer, F-150, and Lincoln models 2021 to 2022 Aviator and Nautilus.
What is happening to these Ford EcoBoost engines?
“During the investigation, multiple contributing factors were identified, which can lead to the fracturing of the intake valves in the subject engines,” the NHTSA says. “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 acknowledges that valve failures have occurred and that they typically happen in the early stages of engine life. Thus, it says those engines prone to valve failure have already seen it happen. However, the NHTSA is at the “engineering analysis” stage of its investigation. This is the final phase before issuing a recall.
Why are these valves breaking?
Silochrome Lite alloy is the material Ford uses for these valves. If, during the machining process, the temperature exceeds a certain point, the valves can become work-hardened. That makes them very brittle and prone to failing.
Ford made a production change to a different alloy in October 2021. Part of the NHTSA’s investigation is reviewing the results of the production change to see how effective it was, according to Automotive News. After reviewing the issue in its entirety, it may send a “recall request,” which basically instructs the manufacturer to issue a recall.
Wasn’t there already an EcoBoost engine recall?
While Ford has several engine architectures, it markets as “EcoBoost,” this potential recall should not be confused with another family of EcoBoost engines with problems. Pending litigation is ongoing over coolant leaking into cylinders of 1.5-liter, 1.6-liter, and 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engines. Leaking cylinder head seals are causing coolant to get into cylinders. There are also several class action lawsuits over the engine failures involving these four-cylinder EcoBoost engines. The first filing was in November 2020. A recall for the engine earlier this year took in over eight million Ford vehicles.
You can contact the NHTSA directly if you have further questions, concerns, or complaints about your Ford EcoBoost V6 engine. The expectation is that there will be a recall by sometime next year, if not sooner.