NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2005 Ford E-350

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2005 Ford E-350, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. HVAC Switch Failures NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA10003

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: April 13, 2010
    • Date Closed: March 05, 2012
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System:Wiring:Interior/Under Dash

    Summary: This investigation was opened based on one complaint and reports from four transportation fleets alleging 182 blower motor control switch failures.ODI was concerned that these melting and burning switches could lead to an open flame that could spread throughout the vehicle.After a comprehensive review of all data related to overheating blower motor control switches in the subject vehicles, ODI did not identify the existence of a safety defect trend.ODI reviewed 1,036 complaints, claims, and field reports of failed blower motor control switches and determined that only two fires were likely to have been caused by a failing subject blower motor control switch.This represents a failure rate of 0.2 R/100K on a population of 1,076,975 vehicles that have been in service for up to 14 years.ODI has found that when the subject switches do fail and begin to melt, they are constructed in a manner that typically prevents the failing switch from igniting and developing into an open flame.Ford Motor Company has agreed to take two actions to further reduce the likelihood an overheated blower motor switch in the subject vehicles.Ford informed ODI that it has implemented a series of design changes to the subject switch that will help prevent it from developing internal high resistance short circuits.Ford has also informed ODI that it would release a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB-11-11-21) instructing subject vehicle owners to replace the electrical connector at the same time a failed switch is replaced.In light of the low rate of failure resulting in open flame and fire spread on the subject vehicles, and Ford's actions to reduce the likelihood of a switch failure through switch design changes and a TSB, further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.The agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.The ODI complaints cited above can be reviewed at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following (ODI) numbers: 10427875, 10114393, 10257890For additional information, see the attached closing report.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA10003 »

  2. HVAC Switch Failures NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE09055

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: December 07, 2009
    • Date Closed: April 21, 2010
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Electrical System:Wiring:Interior/Under Dash

    Summary: ODI has received 1 complaint and reports from 4 transportation fleets alleging 182 switch failures.Each fleet operates mini buses built on a Ford E350 or E450 cutaway chassis.The OEM HVAC blower switches have melted, smoked, burned or experienced open flame and become inoperable on vehicles in each fleet.Some drivers have reported a burning smell or smoke coming from the dash.One fleet reported a vehicle fire.No injuries were sustained.However, the bus was carrying special needs children when the driver noticed smoke coming from the dash.The driver was able to evacuate the children prior to the vehicle becoming engulfed in flames.This PE has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis (EA) to determine if the blower motor switch failures create a situation where a vehicle fire is possible and presents a safety risk to the driver and other passengers.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE09055 »

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