Regulators Scrutinizing 2013 Ford Truck Recall After Receiving 30 Additional Complaints

A week after the new head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned automakers and consumers that the agency would take an aggressive approach to vehicle safety, the regulator announced it is revisiting the 2013 recall of several Ford pickup trucks, opening the possibility of increasing the recall scope from 3,000 to nearly 200,000 trucks.

The New York Times reports that opening the recall query into the Ford trucks is an unusual move for NHTSA, but falls in line with Mark Rosekind’s announcement last week that 2015 could see more recalls than the 60 million issued in 2014.

According to NHTSA documents [PDF], the recall query was initiated last week after the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) became aware of 30 non-duplicative complaints for the vehicles covered under the original 2013 recall.

The original Ford recall [PDF] covered certain model year 2011 and 2012 Ford F-350, F-450 and F-550 “Ambulance Package” vehicles equipped with 6.7-liter diesel “Power Stroke” engines that could contain a stalling problem.

The crux of the query rests on whether or not NHTSA should vastly expand the original recall to cover nearly 197,000 additional trucks, including the F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 “Super Duty” trucks that have similar engines to those recalled two years ago but are not used as ambulances.

According to NHTSA, many of the 30 consumer complaints – none of which include injuries or fatalities – received by ODI allege multiple EGT sensor malfunctions, with some of the sensors already having been replaced more than once.

In many cases, consumers reported the sensor malfunction left their vehicle disabled in the roadway after driving at normal speed just minutes before. Additionally, some consumers reported that the previous recall remedy is not long-lasting or that other sensor locations have subsequently malfunctioned.

“This is the third time that a EGT sensor has failed on my Ford F-350 diesel truck,” one complaint states. “The first time was in California in the desert traveling at 70 miles per hour. The truck shut down for no reason that I could see. I had a horse trailer with five horses on board.”

Despite the original recall focusing on ambulances, a number of the complaints cited by NHTSA in the recall query involve the same emergency vehicles.

“This vehicle, which is an ambulance, was dispatched to an emergency call,” the complaint states. “As they turned into the drive of the facility the chimes sounded and the engine shut off. Had this vehicle been on the highway at the time, it would have been a very dangerous situation for the crew involved….Another ambulance had to be dispatched to the call and delayed care to the patient.”

In another incident, an ambulance leaving to respond to an emergency call wouldn’t even turn over, resulting in another ambulance being dispatched and precious minutes lost, the complaint states.

According to the NHTSA filing, investigators will evaluate the scope and remedy of the previous recall to determine what, if any, action should be taken.

Safety Unit Broadens Its Scrutiny of a Ford Recall [The New York Times]

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