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NHTSA “Catastrophic Engine Failure” Probe Expanded To 700K Fords, Lincolns

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began a thorough investigation into the Ford Bronco in June 2022. The probe, which was sparked by three petitions filed in March of that year, concentrated on purported valve flaws allegedly discovered in a few Bronco models. Recent advancements have raised the importance of this inquiry, though, as the NHTSA has expanded its scope to include nearly 700,000 Ford and Lincoln vehicles in addition to the Ford Bronco.

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In the beginning, the company opened an investigation into more than 25,000 2021 Broncos fitted with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine in response to 26 complaints about a potential loss of motive power at highway speeds without a restart. This loss of power was attributable to a “catastrophic engine,” according to the agency failures” stemming from the failure of engine valves.

The probe was advanced to an engineering analysis stage by the NHTSA’s Office of Defects probe last week. This action was taken in response to Ford providing information that included 809 engine replacements, 487 warranty claims, and 328 customer complaints. These cases involved vehicles with either 2.7-liter or 3.0-liter EcoBoost engines, such as the 2021–22 Ford Bronco, Edge, Explorer, and F–150 as well as the 2021–22 Lincoln Aviator and Nautilus models. It’s significant that despite these worrying changes, there haven’t been any reports of incidents involving injuries, accidents, or fatalities.

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“During the investigation, multiple contributing factors were identified, which can lead to the fracturing of the intake valves in the subject engines,” NHTSA said in the document. “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.” In return, a Ford spokesperson told Automotive News the automaker was “working with NHTSA to support their investigation.”

 

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Investigations have so far uncovered a variety of potential causes that may result in the afflicted engines’ intake valves breaking. The Silochrome Lite substance, which was utilized to make the faulty intake valves, is a crucial component of the problem. This alloy, according to Ford, can turn “excessively hard and brittle if an over-temperature condition occurs during the machining of the component.” The manufacturer started a design change in October 2021, switching to an alloy for the intake valves that is less prone to overheating.

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The Mustang Mach-E was recently looked into for a comparable issue, despite being a very different type of vehicle. The high-voltage battery’s electric crossover may have had faulty contactors, which might cause it to overheat after receiving a quick DC charge. This could ultimately result in  to a loss of power.

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I'm Wahhaj, your go-to author for all things electric vehicles. Join me on this green journey as we explore the future of transportation together.

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