When the 3-cylinder, 1.5-liter gasoline engine is operating, a cracked fuel injector could cause fuel and/or fuel vapor to accumulate near hot surfaces, resulting in a potential engine bay fire. The recall will also include Bronco Sport and Escape models sold outside the United States, further raising the total number of vehicles involved to more than 630,000.
Ford is projecting a low failure rate for fuel injectors experiencing the leak. By the time the vehicles achieve 15 years or 150,000 miles, the failure rate is estimated at approximately 0.38% for 2020 model-year vehicles and 0.22% for 2021-2022 model-year vehicles. However, Ford has received 20 reports of engine fires, making the recall an immediate necessity.
“Taking care of our customers who are affected by this potential issue is our utmost priority,” said Jim Azzouz, executive director, Global CX Products & Customer Relations. “Once the repair is available, we will ask customers to schedule service with their preferred dealer.”
Recall letters to affected owners will go out by Dec. 19. Ford is taking steps to minimize the inconvenience for customers, including providing an option to arrange for free pick-up, repair and delivery, in addition to owners taking vehicles themselves to Ford dealers.
“They can take advantage of our complimentary pickup and delivery or a loaner to make sure the repair is completed at their earliest convenience,” Azzouz said.
Fire prevention update
A recall report at www.nhtsa.gov and a parallel press release from Ford both state that Ford dealers will update the engine control software to detect whether the fuel injector is cracked by measuring fuel pressure.
If the system detects a pressure variance, the system will provide a dashboard message to customers to seek service. Additionally, if a pressure drop in the fuel rail is detected, engine power will automatically be reduced to minimize risk, while allowing the owner to drive to a safe location and stop the vehicle.
As part of the recall, Ford dealers will also install a tube that drains fuel from the cylinder head and away from hot surfaces, and check for excessive fuel odor near the top of the engine, which may indicate that an injector has failed. It was not stated, but presumably Ford would also replace any cracked and leaking injectors.
Because the recall is proactive and the failure rate so low, it’s unlikely that cracks have developed at this time. Therefore, Ford has not issued instructions to stop driving vehicles under this recall.
This recall is the sixth for the Bronco Sport and the fifth for the Escape. Earlier this year, both models were recalled because the engine oil separator housing could crack and develop an oil leak. Ford dealers inspected and replaced the affected components.
The recall does not include Ford’s Maverick compact pickup truck, which is built on the same platform as the Bronco Sport and Escape, but uses different drivetrain options. However, the Maverick has had six recalls of its own.