NHTSA investigating 708,000 Ford SUVs, pickups that could experience 'catastrophic engine failures'

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.

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.

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