Ford Explorer exhaust leak lawsuit alleges carbon monoxide enters the cabins, and occupants.

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Ford Explorer Exhaust Leak Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge
Ford Explorer exhaust leak lawsuit alleges carbon monoxide enters the cabins, and occupants.

— A Ford Explorer exhaust leak lawsuit is over as a federal judge granted the wishes of Ford to dismiss the proposed class-action lawsuit.

Filed by plaintiff David Schiesser, the lawsuit alleges Schiesser purchased a 2013 Ford Explorer that eventually had problems with exhaust leaks that caused odors and fumes to enter the cabin area.

Plaintiff Schiesser says he purchased a 2013 Ford Explorer in June 2012 from an Illinois Ford dealer, but in August or September 2015, Schiesser began noticing exhaust odors accumulating in the passenger cabin of his SUV.

In October 2015, Schiesser brought the Explorer to the dealership and Ford allegedly proposed two repairs costing between $800 and $900 but could not guarantee that either repair would fix the problem. Schiesser declined the repairs because neither solution was guaranteed to solve the problem.

The plaintiff says Ford has known about the problems because a December 2012 technical service bulletin was sent to dealerships after Explorer owners kept complaining about exhaust leaks. Prior to that, an official from Ford allegedly offered help to customers who complained about carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes.

According to the lawsuit, the Ford rep told customers their complaints would be sent straight to Ford and owners should expect calls direct from the automaker.

Ford also responded to customer complaints by letter in March 2014, writing that it had "performed several inspections and sealing actions . . . to help minimize the amount of odor coming into the passenger compartment" but that the customer "may still experience odor under certain driving conditions such as, when performing wide open throttle (WOT) accelerations with the climate control system in recirculation mode."

The plaintiff also pointed out that Ford provided the bulletins only to its dealerships and not to customers or non-Ford repair facilities, but federal regulations don't require bulletins to be sent to consumers or non-Ford repair shops.

The lawsuit never made it to the class-action stage as the plaintiff couldn't prove his case. The judge ruled the plaintiff didn't provide enough details to prove the Ford Explorer has defects that allow exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide to enter the cabin.

This was the final straw for the suit as the case had already been dismissed previously, although the judge left the door open for the plaintiff to amend the complaint. However, this time the judge closed that door permanently.

The court ruled there were problems with the claims alleged in the Explorer exhaust lawsuit, problems with the claims that weren't fixed after the first time the lawsuit was dismissed.

One problem was faulty breach of warranty claims the judge ruled didn't hold water because the plaintiff took the Explorer to a dealer after the warranty expired. This left him with proving the warranty's time and mileage limitations were "unconscionable" for the claim to proceed, something the judge said couldn't be done.

Ford also told the court it should dismiss Schiesser's claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act because the plaintiff didn't sufficiently allege a breach of express warranty claim under Illinois law. In the end, the judge agreed that because Schiesser's state law warranty claim fails, he also cannot make a claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

Ford further argues Schiesser has not sufficiently identified any communication by Ford, let alone one that omitted disclosure of the alleged defect, that convinced Schiesser to purchase the Explorer.

Although it's over for the Illinois Ford Explorer exhaust leak lawsuit, a 2014 lawsuit in Florida did have traction for Ford owners in Florida. Filed by the owner of a 2013 Ford Explorer, the plaintiff claims exhaust smells and carbon monoxide sickened her, causing her to take the SUV to a dealership eight times.

Ford sent dealers a technical service bulletin about 2011-2013 Explorers concerning exhaust odors when the auxiliary climate control systems are activated. If a customer complained about exhaust leaks, dealers replaced the left side rear air extractors, install new drain valves and apply new layers of undercoating to the SUVs.

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating Ford Explorer exhaust leaks in July 2016, an investigation that continues today. And in March 2017, a Texas police department was concerned enough about carbon monoxide after officers got sick that the Austin Police Department is installing 360 carbon monoxide detectors in Explorer police vehicles.

The Ford Explorer exhaust leak lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois - David Schiesser, et al., v. Ford Motor Company.

The plaintiff is is represented by Wexler Wallace LLP, and Audet & Partners LLP. has complaints about Ford Explorer exhaust problems in the model years included in the federal investigation:


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