It’s been a bad spring for the Ford F-150 pickup truck brand. First, there was the recall of around 1.3 million vehicles for faulty airbags. Now comes news that NHTSA is investigating a problem with rusting fuel tank straps that could impact 2.7 million F-150 trucks.
NHTSA says it has reviewed around 300 complaints of fuel straps rusting and failing, including two reports of fires. The investigation is looking at model year 1997-2001 F-150 trucks.
The straps hold the truck’s fuel tank in place, but if they corrode and break the tank can drop from its proper position, possibly making contact with the road and causing a potentially dangerous fuel leak.
NHTSA says it is “upgrading this investigation to further investigate the frequency, severity and scope of this problem.”
From the Detroit News:
The agency cited that of the incidents reported, 243 involved the fuel tank dropping below the vehicle — with some dragging on the ground. Of those, 95 involved fuel leakage, and nine included reports of sparks from the tank being dragged on the road.
The February 2008 fire under investigation that destroyed a vehicle was a 1998 F-150 in New Hampshire with 153,000 miles. In the fire, the gas tank fell off the vehicle, an investigator found.
“We are aware of the matter, and we’re going to continue to cooperate,” says a very serious rep for Ford.
NHTSA expands probe into 2.7 million F-150 pickups [Detroit News]