Dizzying Number of Exhaust-in-cabin Reports Plague Ford’s Explorer
After the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration launched an investigation into reports of a sulphurous exhaust smell in the cabins of 2011-2015 Ford Explorers, numerous complaints have rolled in concerning newer models.
Now, a California police officer claims the exhaust led him and his patrol vehicle on a date with a tree.
Last July, NHTSA launched a probe into older current-generation Explorer models after receiving 154 complaints about a strong odor. Since the first complaints in 2012, Ford has issued three technical service bulletins to address the issue. Potential remedies includedÂ sealing and coating the rear floor pan and body seams, replacing the air extractor, installing new drain valves and a software update.
According to some complaints, the supposed fix did nothing to end the odor, which often seems stronger during heavy acceleration and when the air conditioner is in use. Of the reports, only one involved a crash. No injuries were involved in that incident.
Fast forward to this week,Â CBS News discovered complaints submitted to NHTSA aboutÂ the exhaust odor have ballooned to over 450. The tally of worried drivers now includes owners of 2016 and 2017 models.
One driver who claims the “no injuries” report is false isÂ Newport Beach police officer Brian McDowell, who told CBSÂ he believes he was overwhelmed with fumes while driving a 2014 model-year Explorer while on duty.
â€œI just had that nauseous feeling and just feeling like I had a headache,â€ McDowell said. After that, it was lights out. McDowell’s Police Interceptor Utility, a law enforcement version of the Explorer, left the road and impacted a tree. The officer suffered a dislocated shoulder, fractured eye socket and traumatic brain injury. However, when doctors attempted to find out why McDowell had suddenly passed out, a cause eluded them.
Now, McDowell believes it was carbon monoxide from an exhaust leak that caused his blackout. He has since filed a lawsuit against Ford. Following the crash, the Newport Beach PD has installed carbon monoxide detectors in its vehicles â€” some of which, McDowell claims, have gone off.
Another owner, retired Army veteran Ron Booth, told CBSÂ he’s had his 2015 Explorer in the shop five times to fix the problem. Still, the odor persists. Booth has also outfitted his cabin with a carbon monoxide detector.
A class-action lawsuit filed against the automaker by a North Carolina was settled last year for an undisclosed amount.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]
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February 15, 2017 at 07:06AM