Feds Close Probe Into 1.6 Million Ford Vehicles, Including 2009-'13 Ford Escape | Edmunds

Feds Close Probe Into 1.6 Million Ford Vehicles, Including 2009-'13 Ford Escape


Just the Facts:
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed an investigation into an estimated 1,593,452 Ford vehicles, including the 2009-'13 Ford Escape, after reviewing more than 10,000 consumer complaints about sudden reduction of engine power while driving.
  • The vehicles will not be recalled.
  • Instead, Ford will update the software in the affected vehicles and extend warranty coverage on the vehicles' engine throttle body for up to 10 years of service or 150,000 miles from the warranty start date of the vehicle.

WASHINGTON The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has closed an investigation into an estimated 1,593,452 Ford vehicles, including the 2009-'13 Ford Escape, after reviewing more than 10,000 consumer complaints about sudden reduction of engine power while driving.

Other vehicles involved in the probe include the 2009-'13 Mercury Mariner, Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan with 2.5-liter or 3.0-liter engines.

The vehicles will not be recalled.

Instead, Ford will update the software in the affected vehicles and extend warranty coverage on the vehicles' engine throttle body for up to 10 years of service or 150,000 miles from the warranty start date of the vehicle. The automaker issued a special Customer Satisfaction Program extending the warranty coverage.

Dealers have been instructed to "update the powertrain calibration to improve vehicle performance in the event that intermittent electrical connectivity of the throttle body motor contacts occurs," the NHTSA summary said.

All vehicles are eligible for the program through January 31, 2015, regardless of mileage, according to NHTSA.

"Owners of the affected vehicles will be contacted by mail to take their vehicle to a Ford dealer who will reprogram the powertrain control module to the latest calibration," said NHTSA in its summary of the investigation.

Federal safety regulators opened the investigation into the Ford vehicles in February 2013 after complaints that electronic throttle body failure may result in sudden reduction of engine power while driving.

NHTSA said it received 1,147 complaints, while Ford received 10,999 complaints for a total of 11,960 complaints. Just one report of an injury is listed in the NHTSA report.

NHTSA said: "During this investigation, Ford identified a condition in subject vehicles equipped with 2.5-liter and 3.0-liter engines that may result in a sudden reduction of engine power."

"According to Ford, the (electronic throttle body) internal motor contacts may develop a high resistance material buildup condition on the commutator, resulting in intermittent electrical connectivity and reduced engine power."

The problem will trigger a warning light on the dashboard and "the vehicle may enter a limited limp home mode."

NHTSA said an analysis of warranty claims provided by Ford identified 59,807 claims related to ETB replacements, and approximately 50 percent of claims are associated with diagnostic trouble codes for "throttle body stuck open" and "throttle body stuck closed."

"Vehicles are not likely to unexpectedly stall as a result of this condition, but drivers may characterize the reduced functionality as a stall, even though their vehicle may still has (sic) motive capability," according to the NHTSA summary.

Ford and its suppliers, Delphi and Igarashi, updated the powertrain control module software to include a throttle body motor cleaning cycle during key-on and modified the ETB internal motor components design, surface finish and material composition to improve durability.

Edmunds says: If you own one of the affected Ford vehicles, you'll want to get it into your local Ford dealer to update the powertrain control module software once you are notified by mail.

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