NHTSA Investigating Failures in Engines in 710K Ford, Lincoln Trucks and SUVs


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it has opened an engineering analysis of 2.7L and 3.0L EcoBoost engines produced by Ford for several model year 2021 and 2022 trucks and SUVs.

The engines are present in about 710,000 Ford Bronco, Edge, Explorer and F-150 and Lincoln Aviator and Nautilus vehicles.

NHTSA said owners have reported a sudden loss of power due to catastrophic engine failure related to an alleged faulty valve.

The agency first started looking into the engines in March 2022, when it received a request to investigate a possible defect from the owners of three 2021 Broncos with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine. A preliminary evaluation was opened in July 2022, at which time NHTSA asked Ford for materials related to the 2021 Bronco, as well as any other vehicles equipped with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine.

Ford provided evidence of 328 customer complaints, 487 warranty claims and 809 engine exchanges---but zero crashes or injuries---as well as evidence that the alleged defect is present across the Nano engine family, which includes both the 2.7L and 3.0L EcoBoost engine variants.

On Sept. 23, NHTSA opened the engineering analysis, which will determine if a recall is warranted.

NHTSA said its investigation so far has identified multiple contributing factors which can lead to the fracturing of the intake valves in the engines. Ford acknowledged a fractured intake valve can result in catastrophic engine failure and a loss of power, and noted that following a valve fracture, a vehicle typically requires a full engine replacement. 

Ford said 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. 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 said the defective intake valves commonly fail early in a vehicle's life and suggested the majority of failures have already occurred.

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