The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced an expansion of its investigation into a concerning issue plaguing 708,000 Ford SUVs and trucks. The problem at hand revolves around catastrophic engine failures linked to a problematic valve. Under normal driving circumstances, these vehicles may unexpectedly lose power due to this valve issue, resulting in a potentially dangerous situation for drivers and passengers alike.
This investigation is focused on vehicles equipped with 2.7 L and 3.0 L EcoBoost engines from the 2021 and 2022 model years. The affected models include Ford Bronco, Edge, Explorer, and F-150, as well as Lincoln Aviator and Nautilus vehicles.
The origins of this investigation trace back to July 2022 when NHTSA initiated a preliminary evaluation after receiving a defect petition review in May, prompted by requests from concerned vehicle owners. Now, NHTSA is elevating the investigation to an engineering analysis, a crucial step preceding any potential recall.
Ford, the manufacturer of these vehicles, has been cooperative with NHTSA throughout the investigation process. A Ford spokeswoman confirmed the company’s commitment to supporting NHTSA’s efforts to address the issue.
NHTSA has disclosed that it has received a significant number of complaints from customers, totaling 328, along with 487 warranty claims related to the vehicles currently under investigation. Moreover, their analysis of data submitted by Ford has shown that the alleged defect extends to both the 2.7L and 3.0L EcoBoost engine variants within the “Nano” engine family.
Ford has offered insights into the root cause of the problem. They’ve indicated that the defective valves were crafted from an alloy known as “Silchrome Lite,” which can become excessively hard and brittle if subjected to over-temperature conditions during the component’s machining process. In an attempt to address the issue, Ford made a design change in October 2021 by switching to a different alloy for the intake valve material. Additionally, Ford expressed its belief that most of these valve failures have likely occurred early in the lifespan of the vehicles, signaling that they may have already rectified the majority of potential problems.
As the NHTSA investigation progresses and more information becomes available, Ford owners and enthusiasts will be keenly awaiting further updates, hoping for a swift and effective resolution to this concerning engine issue.