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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2007 Ford Freestyle

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 2007 Ford Freestyle, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE08060

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: October 14, 2008
    • Date Closed: April 09, 2009
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Tires:Valve

    Summary: On October 14, 2008, ODI opened PE08-060 to investigate allegations of cracked and leaking snap-in tire valves in model year (MY) 2007 vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Company.the valves were supplied to Ford by topseal auto-parts, a subsidiary of the shanghai baolong automotive corporation in china.valves made by topseal for aftermarket sale were the subject of two recent safety recalls by tech international (08T-018) and dill air controls (08T-028), the latter of which was investigated by ODI in PE08-036 and EA08-022.the defect conditions addressed by the aftermarket tire valve recalls both involved inadequate resistance to ozone cracking due to issues with the supply of anti-ozonant chemicals to topseal for a period from July to mid-November 2006.the aftermarket valves were compounded with a blend of epdm and natural rubber, using a relatively low percentage of epdm (epdm provides inherent resistance to ozone cracking).hence, the need for anti-ozonant chemicals and the problems with cracking when those chemicals were missing or out of specification in some lots of valves.both recall campaigns involved inspection programs to identify and replace valves with visible surface cracking.although the topseal valves supplied to Ford also appear to have been affected by the anti-ozonant supply issues in mid to late-2006, Ford indicated that its valves were made at a different topseal production line and were compounded with a higher percentage of epdm rubber to meet more stringent specifications from Ford.ODI's analysis of complaint and warranty data provided by Ford showed that problems with cracked tire valves were significantly higher for MY 2007 vehicles produced from December 2006 through March 2007.Ford responded by implementing changes in its material specifications for snap-in rubber tire valves and also increasing the quality and acceptance standards for valves imported for use in its vehicles.while the complaint and warranty claim rates are elevated for subject vehicles produced from December 2006 through March 2007, the rates of leaking valves are well below one percent of production for each of the peak months for all of the affected models.a substantial majority of the subject vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) which warn the driver when any tire pressures drops below 25 percent of recommended inflation pressure. As outlined in a letter to ODI dated April 6, 2009, Ford has agreed to send letters to owners of certain MY 2007 and 2008 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles to provide information about the cracking concern. Letters will be sent to owners of vehicles built from November 2006 through May 2007.owners can opt for a free dealer inspection.valves exhibiting surface cracks or air leakage related to ozone attack will be replaced by Ford under its normal warranty terms.Ford expects to send the letter by approximately mid-May 2009. Based on the use of TPMS in the majority of subject vehicles and the relatively low rates of repairs associated with leaking valves and resultant tire damage, ODI believes that the actions Ford has agreed to take will provide effective and expeditious resolution for vehicles that were built during the period when valves with inadequate resistance to ozone cracking were most likely to have been used in vehicle production.further investigation of this matter would not be an efficient allocation of Agency resources.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Idle instability

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE11018

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: May 11, 2011
    • Date Closed: February 07, 2013
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control

    Summary: On November 29, 2012, Ford Motor Company (Ford) initiated Customer Satisfaction Program 12N03 to extend warranty coverage terms for repair of engine idle RPM surge caused by throttle body deposits in all model year (MY) 2005 through 2007 Ford Freestyle, Five Hundred and Mercury Montego vehicles.The program extends the coverage for up to 10 years of service or 150,000 miles from the warranty start date of the vehicle (all vehicles are eligible for the program through May 31, 2013, regardless of mileage).Dealers will repair vehicles exhibiting the condition by removing and cleaning the throttle body and reprogramming the PCM with software containing an updated idle speed control strategy.According to Ford, some of the affected vehicles may experience momentary, intermittent engine idle RPM surge (idle flare) when stopped or during low speed driving maneuvers such as in a parking lot or driveway.Unstable idle speed control (dips and flares) around the target engine speed (700 rpm) can occur in vehicles with deposit build-up in the throttle body when the system adjusts engine speed in response to changes in engine load, typically from power steering application or air-conditioner compressor cycling.Idle speed control logic is only active at vehicle speeds below 3.5 mph and when the accelerator pedal is not applied.Ford testing of a vehicle with a "worst case" throttle body measured a maximum idle flare of 1360 RPM lasting approximately 1 second, which Ford indicated was consistent with system design to limit vehicle speed and acceleration in idle control mode.Ford indicated that the test vehicle was held in place with normal brake effort and that vehicle speed remained under 4 mph without the brake pedal applied.In addition to throttle body deposit accumulation, symptoms associated with the condition may include Check Engine lamp illumination and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) P0505, P0506 or P061B.Ford attributed the surge condition to changes in idle air flow resulting from the progressive buildup of deposits in the throttle body from normal Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system operation.This condition was not adequately compensated for in the original Powertrain Control Module (PCM) calibration.Ford issued a technical service bulletin on August 15, 2011 (TSB 11-8-5), releasing an updated powertrain control calibration for vehicles with CVT transmissions.On October 19, 2011, Ford issued a second bulletin (TSB 11-10-21) superseding TSB 11-8-5 and including updated powertrain control calibration for vehicles with 6-speed transmissions.Prior to Ford issuing the TSB-s, owner-s experiencing the alleged defect either received no repairs, if dealers could not duplicate the condition, or had the throttle body cleaned or replaced, which only provided temporary correction until the throttle deposit build-up returned.Ford-s revised powertrain calibrations appear to be effective remedies for the idle instability caused by build-up of throttle body deposits.However, even after the TSB-s were released, many owners experiencing the condition continued to have difficulty with proper diagnosis and repair as dealers were often either unable to duplicate the condition or were unfamiliar with the new repair procedures.Ford's new program addresses those concerns.NHTSA's testing and complaint analysis indicate that the idle speed control issue in the subject vehicles can only occur at very low speeds, are very brief events, are easily controlled by moderate brake pedal forces and result in minor increases in vehicle speed even with no braking.This investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding that a safety-related defect does not exist.For additional information regarding this investigation, see complete closing resume in the document file for PE11-018.

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