Ford Recalls Thousands of 2012 Edge Models Due to Risk of Fire

by Charles Miller

Ford is recalling certain 2012 Edge crossover vehicles to correct a potential problem with their fuel systems that could result in fires, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The vehicles are being recalled because the housing of a part called the fuel line pulse damper may crack because of a manufacturing defect. Such cracks can result in fuel leaks when the fuel system is under pressure, and fuel leaks can increase the risk of a fire. Earlier this month, Ford filed a “Defect Information Report” regarding the recalled vehicles with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which described the problem as follows:

Fuel line pulse damper metal housings may crack as a result of an improper manufacturing process. Cracked fuel line pulse damper metal housings may result in a combination of fuel odor, weepage, or a continuous leak while the fuel system is pressurized. No accidents, injuries or fires attributed to this condition have been reported to date.

The report sets forth the following chronology of events leading to the recall:

  • In May 2012, Ford engineering wa informed by the Tier I fuel/brake bundle supplier that their Tier II supplier had used a non-approved manual process to assemble the two halves of the fuel line pulse damper metal housing, prior to brazing.
  • Ford investigated the unintended consequences of the non-approved manual process on the pulse damper metal housing. It was determined that the non-approved manual process can cause the internal radius to collapse, creating a stress riser. Ford engineering conducted a review of warranty, service parts and vehicles in the Ford management evaluation fleet. A total of 11 warranty claims for fuel leaks were identified. Fracture analysis of returned fuel line pulse damper metal housings identified fatigue cracking at the internal radius due to cyclic loading.
  • On July 31, 2012, engineering reported the possibility of fuel leaks on certain 2012 model year Edge vehicles equipped with 2.0L engines to the Critical Concern Review Group (CCRG).
  • On August 27, 2012, Ford’s Field Review Committee reviewed the concern and approved a field action.

Owners will be notified by mail and instructed to take their vehicle(s) to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to have their vehicle(s) inspected. Dealers have been instructed to review the sequence number on the fuel/brake bundle assembly tag. If the sequence number falls within the suspected range, or if the technician is unable to read the tag, the fuel line will be replaced. If no service part is available, the owner will be provided a loaner vehicle, until the repair is complete. If the sequence number does not fall within the suspect range, no action is necessary and the vehicle will be returned to the owner. There will be no charge to owners for this service.

Mailing of owner notification letters will occur during the week of September 24, 2012. Notification to dealers will occur on September 5, 2012.

According to Ford, the vehicles potentially affected are model year Ford Edge vehicles equipped with 2.0L engines built at Oakville Assembly Plant (OAP), in Ontario, Canada from September 2, 2010 to October 31, 2011. Information as to the applicability of this action to specific vehicles can best be obtained by either calling Ford’s toll-free line (1-866-436-7332) or by contacting a local Ford or Lincoln dealer who can obtain specific information regarding the vehicles from the Ford On-line Automotive Service Information System (OASIS) database.

This is the third recall this summer affecting vehicles equipped with either the 1.6-liter or 2-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine. In two of those cases, however, the problem was not attributed to the finished engine, but to separate parts made in the United States and used in the vehicles’ assembly.

In July, Ford said it would recall 11,500 Escape crossovers from the 2013 model year equipped with the 1.6 liter 4-cylinder EcoBoost motor because a fuel line could leak. In that case, Ford took the unusual action of telling owners to stop driving the vehicles.

Earlier this month, Ford recalled about 6,100 of its 2013 Escapes powered by the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine because a coolant leak could cause fires.

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Car and truck manufacturers have a duty to build a car that is as safe as is reasonably possible under the present state of mechanical technology, vehicle design, and safety. Manufacturers are obligated to design vehicles so that they are safe for any reasonably foreseeable use.

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by Charles Miller

Charles Miller is a licensed attorney and a partner at Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Charles focuses his practice on areas of complex commercial litigation and personal injury litigation.