WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Monday it was upgrading and expanding its investigation into 708,000 Ford Motor Company ( FN ) sports cars and trucks due to a fatal engine failure linked to faulty valves. .
The agency says that under normal driving conditions vehicles may experience a loss of power due to a serious engine failure related to a potentially faulty valve in the 2.7L and 3.0L EcoBoost engines.
The investigation covers the 2021 and 2022 model year Ford Bronco, Edge, Explorer, and F-150 and Lincoln Aviator and Nautilus vehicles.
NHTSA began a preliminary evaluation in July 2022 of 25,000 vehicles after opening a review of the defect request in May following requests from other owners, and is now upgrading that investigation to an engineering analysis, a step required before seeking a recall.
A Ford spokesman said the automaker was working with NHTSA to help with their investigation.
NHTSA said it had reports of 328 consumer complaints and 487 warranty claims related to the vehicles under investigation.
It said analysis of data submitted by Ford “revealed that the alleged defect is present in the ‘Nano’ engine family, which includes the 2.7L and 3.0L EcoBoost engine variants.”
Ford told NHTSA the defective valves were made from an alloy known as “Silchrome Lite” that can be “excessively hard and brittle if excessive temperatures occur during the machining of the component.”
Ford said a design change in October 2021 changed the intake valve material to a different alloy. Ford added that it believes “defective intake valves usually fail early in a vehicle’s life and has suggested that many failures have already occurred.”
Reporting by David Shepardson, editing by Ed Osmond and Bernadette Baum