NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 1998 Ford F-150

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 1998 Ford F-150, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRES NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA05005

    Component(s): Electrical System
    Electrical System:Wiring:Front Underhood
    Vehicle Speed Control:Cruise Control

    Summary: EA05-005 is closed with Ford's actions in recalls 05V-017, 05V-388, and 06V-286, recalling approximately 6.7 million vehicles equipped with Texas instruments speed control deactivation switches (scds).the brake systems in these recalled vehicles generate a vacuum that can potentially cause the scds to fail and, in certain switch installation orientations, catch fire.Ford is also including the entire population of 1998 Explorer.Ford has informed ODI that testing to determine the cause of failures in the 1998 Explorer will continue after this investigation is closed.ODI believes that the vehicles exhibiting the factors causing scds failure described in this report correlate well with the observed failure rates on these vehicles by model and model year.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist in the non-recalled vehicles manufactured with scds that are not included in Ford's recalls.ODI will continue to monitor the non-recalled population for incidence of engine compartment fires.the Agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.see attached closing report for details.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA05005 »

  2. SPARK PLUG EJECTION FROM CYLINDER HEAD NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05005

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 22, 2005
    • Date Closed: January 04, 2006
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline

    Summary: On September 6, 2005, ODI received a petition requesting that the Agency investigate allegations of engine spark plug ejection in certain model year 1997 through 2004 Ford vehicles with Triton V-8 and V-10 engines.ODI received a total of 474 non-duplicative complaints on the subject vehicles where the complainant, or the dealer repairing the vehicle, reported that a spark plug detached from the cylinder and/or ejected from the engine.as of December 8, 2005, ODI is not aware of any allegations where the alleged defect resulted in a loss of vehicle control, a crash, an injury, or a fatality in any of the 10,319,810 subject vehicles.in addition, ODI is aware of only two incidents where the vehicle stalled without restart.information contained in the ODI consumer complaints and obtained from 72 telephone interviews with complainants showed the following:(1) 99% of the complaints were on MY 1997 to 2002 subject vehicles.(2) most the complainants reported hearing a loud pop while driving or upon starting up the vehicle followed by a loud, repetitive clicking or popping sound.(3) many of the complainants reported that the popping sound was accompanied by some loss of vehicle power; however, in 99% of the incidents reported, the vehicle did not stall.in the very few incidents where the vehicle did stall, most vehicles could be restarted.(4) only a small percentage of the complainants cited that they smelled gas or a slight burning smell when the incident occurred.(5) in all but a very few incidents, vehicle damage was limited to the engine.in one incident, the complaint reported that the fuel rail was damaged and replaced after one of the spark plugs ejected from the engine; however, the complainant reported that the damage did not result in any type of fuel leak or fire.in another incident, the only incident where a fire was alleged, the complainant reported that no fluid leak was observed, but that a fire resulted after the spark plug had ejected from the engine and he had restarted the vehicle and driven to another location.none of the complainants reported any damage to the vehicle hood.(6) only two complainants reported that they observed what appeared to be some drops of fuel coming from the cylinder where the spark plug had failed or on the spark plug itself; however, each of these complainants reported that there was no smoke or flames as a result of his incident.as the petitioner noted, and ODI's analysis showed, it is possible for a spark plug to detach from the engine cylinder threads in the subject vehicles.however, ODI's analysis of 474 complaints describing such incidents found only a very few alleged any safety-related consequences.none of these showed any evidence of a serious safety consequence.given the large population and relatively long exposure time of the subject vehicles, the complaint analysis indicates that the risk to motor vehicle safety from the alleged defect is very low.in view of the foregoing, it is unlikely that NHTSA would issue an order for the notification and remedy of the alleged defect at the conclusion of the investigation requested in the petition.therefore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the Agency's safety mission, the petition is denied.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP05005 »

  3. Fuel Tank Strap Failure Due to Corrosion NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA11006

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly:Mounting
    Fuel System, Other:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Other:Storage:Tank Assembly:Mounting

    Summary: One or both of the steel straps holding up the fuel tank and attaching it to the truck frame can corrode and fail (break or separate).If one strap fails, the tank may tilt and drop and possibly contact the road surface.If both straps break, the entire tank may drop to the road.If either failure occurs while the vehicle is being driven, contact with the road can abrade the tank and create a hole from which gasoline can spill.When the tank drops, it remains attached to the vehicle only by the fuel filler hose and/or supply lines, or in rare instances, by the skid plate, if present.In some cases the weight of the tank sufficiently strained the hoses and fittings and caused separation and subsequent fuel leaks from those connections.The fire hazard created by leaking gasoline is increased by the possible presence of sparks created by the metal tank being dragged along the road.Corrosion of the straps appears to be caused by prolonged exposure to road deicers, frequently road salt, used to treat snow or ice covered roads.States in which large quantities of deicers are applied to roads during the winter season ("salt belt states") account for the predominant portion of strap failures.Vehicles in these salt belt states are prone to experience corrosion related failures more frequently and earlier in a vehicle-s life cycle.Ford reports approximately 97 percent of reports it received relating to strap failure involve vehicles that were operated in these high corrosion areas, and 95 percent of the reports to NHTSA involved such vehicles.Approximately one-third of F-150 U.S. production was sold in salt belt states.ODI has included in the above counts reports it has received from consumers and reports it has received from Ford in which either the complaint involved confirmed strap corrosion or ODI's assessment of available information suggests corrosion caused the reported problem.Among the incidents reported to NHTSA, 441 involved one or both straps failing due to corrosion, 353 involved the fuel tank dropping and/or dragging on the ground, and 180 involved fuel leakage.ODI has received four reports of strap failure in which the leaking fuel ignited but self-extinguished, and one incident in which fire destroyed the vehicle and injured its driver.Ford reported the same injury incident and three other unique fire incidents, including two in which the leaking fuel ignited and fire destroyed the vehicle.There were no injuries associated with the three unique Ford incidents.Ford has agreed to conduct a recall to repair the subject vehicles.The recall will cover vehicles that were originally sold or are currently registered in salt belt states (regardless of vehicle age).The vehiclesincluded in the recall are those subject vehicles that are, or have ever been, registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or the District of Columbia.Ford's recall action appears to adequately address the problem at this time.The above vehicle population (1,340,349) includes subject vehicles originally delivered or sold in salt belt states.ODI does not know the current or historical locations of all subject vehicles.According to Ford approximately 73% of the recall population is currently registered (a 27% attrition rate).Ford is also recalling certain MY 1997-1999 F-250 vehicles (under 8,500 GVWR), and MY2002-2003 Lincoln Blackwood vehicles for the same condition, resulting in an estimated 1.1 million total vehicles covered by the recall (see Safety Recall 11V-385 for further details).

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA11006 »

  4. Fuel Tank Strap Corrosion/Rust NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE10036

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 07, 2010
    • Date Closed: May 23, 2011
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly:Mounting
    Fuel System, Other:Storage:Tank Assembly
    Fuel System, Other:Storage:Tank Assembly:Mounting

    Summary: One or both of the steel straps holding up the fuel tank and attaching it to the truck frame can corrode and break.If one strap breaks, the tank may tilt and drop and possibly contact the road surface.If both straps break, the entire tank may drop to the road.If either failure occurs while the vehicle is being driven, contact with the road can abrade the tank and create a hole from which gasoline can spill.When the tank drops, it remains attached to the vehicle only by the fuel filler hose and/or supply lines, or in rare instances, by the skid plate, if present.This raises the possibility that the weight of the dropped tank could sufficiently strain the hoses and fittings to cause separation and fuel leaks between those components.The fire hazard created by the leaking gasoline is increased by the possible presence of sparks created by the metal tank being dragged along the road.The sparks could ignite the escaped fuel.ODI has included in its incident counts reports it has received from consumers and reports provided by Ford in which either the complaint involved confirmed strap corrosion or ODI's investigation yielded information that strongly suggests the subject defect as the cause of the reported problem.Among the incidents reported to NHTSA or Ford, 243 involved the fuel tank dropping below the vehicle and/or dragging on the ground, 95 involved fuel leakage, and nine included reports of sparks from the tank being dragged on the road.ODI has received one report of strap failure in which the leaking fuel ignited but self-extinguished.Ford reported another incident in which the leaking fuel ignited and the resultant fire destroyed the vehicle.There have been no injuries associated with these incidents.ODI has received reports of corrosion induced tank strap failures with other model year F-150 vehicles.ODI is upgrading this investigation to further investigate the frequency, severity and scope of this problem.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE10036 »

  5. STEERING COLUMN NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE01033

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 17, 2001
    • Date Closed: February 06, 2002
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Steering

    Summary:

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE01033 »

  6. TIE ROD END FAILURES NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE98024

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: April 21, 1998
    • Date Closed: July 21, 1998
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Steering

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE98024 »

  7. SPARE TIRE WEAR NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE99019

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: March 04, 1999
    • Date Closed: July 27, 1999
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Structure

    Summary:

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE99019 »

  8. SPARE TIRE MOUNTING NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP99002

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: March 02, 1999
    • Date Closed: March 17, 1999
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Structure

    Summary: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was petitioned to commence a defect investigation of the subject vehicles by a letter signed by william F. allard and dated 15-Feb-98.the petition alleges that the spare tire mounting places the tire sidewall directly in contact with the metal undercarriage causing wear and damage of the sidewall.the petition further alleges that when the damaged tire is used, blowout could result on an interstate placing vehicle occupants and others at risk.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP99002 »

  9. REAR SUSPENSION SPRING BREAKAGE NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ98022

    • Status:
      OPEN
    • Date Opened: November 13, 1998
    • Date Closed: Pending
    • Recall: possible recall

    Component(s): Suspension:Rear:Springs:Leaf Spring Assembly

    Summary: In July 1998, Ford submitted a part 573 notification to NHTSA concerning broken rear springs on certain 1997-98 Ford F150 trucks, with four-wheel drive.Ford stated that fatigue fracture of the rear springs may occur if the spring are over stresses(sic) by vehicle overloading.the broken piece of the spring leaf may splay inward, damaging the fuel tank and causing fuel leakage.Ford also stated that a broken spring would cause vehicle sag and loss in load carring capability.Ford had 43 reports of fuel tank damage.Ford will install a clip on the forward end (only) of the rear springs to prevent fuel tank contact in the event of a leaf fracture.only broken springs will be replaced.ODI has received three reports of broken rear springs on 1997-98 F150 trucks;two of them have two-wheel drive.a tire puncture occurred on a four-wheel drive truck in which the broken middle spring leaf splayed outward at the rear of the spring assembly.eight other reports describe rear springs that have moved out of position or became loose; three of these reported some loss of vehicle control.closing note: While there isn't any strong evidence that the rear springs are only breaking under conditions of overload and severe use, the recall remedy to prevent fuel tank damage may be adequate and there is not a significant spring failure rate outside the recall population.thi rq should be closed, subject to future failure occurances.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #RQ98022 »

  10. BLOW BACK DURING REFUELING NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE99047

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: July 12, 1999
    • Date Closed: September 23, 1999
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control:Linkages

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE99047 »

  11. ALLEGED LOSS OF THROTTLE CONTROL NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA98018

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: August 31, 1998
    • Date Closed: September 30, 1999
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control:Linkages

    Summary: The details of information and data evaluated during this investigation are stated in the engineering analysis closing report, dated September 30, 1999.a safety-related defect trend resulting from interference by the floor mat with proper operation of the throttle in the subject vehicles was not identified during the course of the ea, and the invrestigation has been closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding that no safety-related defect exists.the Agency will continue to monitor future complaints on this issue to identify any increasing trend of occurrence, and reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA98018 »

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