The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that it is investigating 400,000 Ford F-150 pickup trucks built between 2011 and the 2013 over a problem with the heavily-publicized 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine.
A spokesperson explained that the NHTSA has received over 95 complaints from owners who say that their new or late-model truck started shaking as it experienced a sudden loss in power while accelerating. About a third of the complaints say that the problem occurred while driving in rainy or humid conditions.
Ford has issued several service bulletins related to the defect. The most recent one instructs dealerships to look into moisture building up in the truck's Charge Air Cooler and to replace the part and its air deflector if necessary. The bulletin also instructs dealers to re-program the powertrain control software.
Ford is not aware of any accidents caused by the defect and it is not planning on ordering a recall because the problem allegedly poses no threat to occupant safety. However, the NHTSA will continue its probe and it can force Ford to recall the trucks if it judges that the problem is caused by an engineering issue.
The matter goes to court
The probe is not Ford's only EcoBoost-related issue. Three unsatisfied owners in Ohio recently filed a lawsuit against Ford over what they call "serious latent design, manufacturing or assembly defects" with the direct-injected EcoBoost mill. The NHTSA's probe only includes the F-150, but the lawsuit claims that Taurus SHO sedans suffer from the same problems.