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 2015 Ford Explorer, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Ford Explorer Exhaust Odor

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE16008

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: July 01, 2016
    • Date Closed: September 12, 2017
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System
    Structure:Body

    Summary: During the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-s (NHTSA-s) investigation into the Ford carbon monoxide allegations, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) identified additional Vehicle Owner Questionnaire (VOQ) reports with similar exhaust odor claims.Presently, ODI has identified 791 VOQs for Model Year 2011-2017 Ford Explorers pertaining to exhaust odor claims.ODI has identified three crashes and 41 injuries potentially linked this issue.The reported injuries range from unspecified to loss of consciousness, with the majority being nausea, headaches, or dizziness -" all of which can be symptomatic of carbon monoxide exposure.Additionally, Ford provided 2,400 reports including owner complaints, warranty claims, dealer field reports, and legal claims, that involve 2,051 vehicles that may be connected to the exhaust odor issue.NHTSA's Vehicle Test and Research Center tested multiple vehicles, including complaint vehicles, during the investigation.ODI also conducted field inspections of complaint vehicles and crashes involving police units that occurred while the officers were on duty.When possible, data was collected to quantify carbon monoxide levels in the examined vehicles.Based on the information gathered to date, NHTSA upgraded this investigation to an Engineering Analysis (EA17-002).

  2. INVESTIGATION: Front Brake Hose Failure

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA15005

    • Status:
      PENDING
    • Date Opened: September 28, 2015
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Foundation Components:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings

    Summary: On April 29, 2015, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE15-017 to investigate reports of low-mileage failures of front brake jounce hoses in model year (MY) 2015 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles operated as training vehicles by the City of Sacramento, California (ODI VOQ No. 10705832). To date, the Sacramento police fleet has reported a total of 7 front hose failures in 5 different Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles used for its Emergency Vehicle Operation Course (EVOC) training.Most of the failures occurred within the first few miles of service on a closed course used for the EVOC program, which includes evasive accident avoidance and pursuit maneuver training.The hose assemblies either leaked at, or pulled completely free from, the caliper-end attachment where the hose is crimped to the steel end fitting.Most of the failures resulted in a sudden loss of braking performance that caused the vehicle to run off the intended course.None of the failures resulted in any crashes, injuries or property damage.The subject MY 2015 hose assemblies are similar in design to hoses used on MY 2013 through 2014 Explorer Police Interceptor and civilian vehicles. The 5 vehicles used by Sacramento EVOC have all been repaired using MY 2016 front hose assemblies that have been changed to incorporate a short steel tube attached to the caliper end banjo block.No failures have been experienced by the Sacramento fleet to date in the other 37 MY 2014-2015 Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles (2 MY 2014 and 35 MY 2015) used by the fleet in regular law enforcement duty cycles unrelated to the EVOC training.In its response to ODI's information request letter for PE15-017, Ford provided information about 2 additional failures reported by other fleets, including 1 involving a Sacramento Regional Transit vehicle that occurred while being driven on the street.Based on its analysis of failed parts returned from the Sacramento fleet and the fleet's EVOC training duty cycle, Ford attributes the Sacramento fleet hose failures to excessive temperatures produced during "hot-soak" portions of the EVOC training duty cycle (when the vehicles are stationary after hard braking exercises, with no cooling air flow through the brake rotor vents and across the other brake components).During testing conducted to replicate the EVOC duty cycle, Ford measured temperatures at the subject crimp fittings that exceeded the design limits of the brake hose material after several successive training intervals and hot soaks.Ford has provided the Sacramento fleet with modified replacement hose assemblies for all of its MY 2014-15 Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles.The replacement hose assemblies were developed for use in MY 2016 Explorer vehicles and were modified slightly to accommodate the addition of a ride height sensor in those vehicles.The revised assemblies have an additional length of brake pipe between the caliper end connection and the subject crimp ferrule that results in additional heat dissipation and makes the assemblies more robust to the severe thermal effects experienced during the EVOC testing (the hose material is the same in both assemblies).Ford believes that the excessive temperatures experienced at the crimp fitting in the subject vehicles are unique to the EVOC duty cycle, have not been observed in the standard on-road severe duty cycle testing performed by Ford and police fleets who routinely conduct such testing and are not likely to occur in service usage for on-road Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles.An Engineering Analysis has been opened to conduct testing and further assess the scope, frequency and safety-related consequences of the alleged defect in the subject vehicles.

  3. INVESTIGATION: Front brake hose failure

    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE15017

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: April 29, 2015
    • Date Closed: September 28, 2015
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Service Brakes, Hydraulic:Foundation Components:Hoses, Lines/Piping, And Fittings

    Summary: On April 29, 2015, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened PE15-017 to investigate reports of low-mileage failures of front brake jounce hoses in model year (MY) 2015 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles operated as training vehicles by the City of Sacramento, California (ODI VOQ No. 10705832). To date, the Sacramento police fleet has reported a total of 7 front hose failures in 5 different Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles used for its Emergency Vehicle Operation Course (EVOC) training. Most of the failures occurred within the first few miles of service on a closed course used for the EVOC program, which includes evasive accident avoidance and pursuit maneuver training. The hose assemblies either leaked at, or pulled completely free from, the caliper-end attachment where the hose is crimped to the steel end fitting. Most of the failures resulted in a sudden loss of braking performance that caused the vehicle to run off the intended course. None of the failures resulted in any crashes, injuries or property damage.The subject MY 2015 hose assemblies are similar in design to hoses used on MY 2013 through 2014 Explorer Police Interceptor and civilian vehicles. The 5 vehicles used by Sacramento EVOC have all been repaired using MY 2016 front hose assemblies that have been changed to incorporate a short steel tube attached to the caliper end banjo block. No failures have been experienced by the Sacramento fleet to date in the other 37 MY 2014-2015 Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles (2 MY 2014 and 35 MY 2015) used by the fleet in regular law enforcement duty cycles unrelated to the EVOC training. In its response to ODI's information request letter for PE15-017, Ford provided information about 2 additional failures reported by other fleets, including 1 involving a Sacramento Regional Transit vehicle that occurred while being driven on the street.Based on its analysis of failed parts returned from the Sacramento fleet and the fleet's EVOC training duty cycle, Ford attributes the Sacramento fleet hose failures to excessive temperatures produced during "hot-soak" portions of the EVOC training duty cycle (when the vehicles are stationary after hard braking exercises, with no cooling air flow through the brake rotor vents and across the other brake components). During testing conducted to replicate the EVOC duty cycle, Ford measured temperatures at the subject crimp fittings that exceeded the design limits of the brake hose material after several successive training intervals and hot soaks. Ford has provided the Sacramento fleet with modified replacement hose assemblies for all of its MY 2014-15 Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles. The replacement hose assemblies were developed for use in MY 2016 Explorer vehicles and were modified slightly to accommodate the addition of a ride height sensor in those vehicles. The revised assemblies have an additional length of brake pipe between the caliper end connection and the subject crimp ferrule that results in additional heat dissipation and makes the assemblies more robust to the severe thermal effects experienced during the EVOC testing (the hose material is the same in both assemblies). Ford believes that the excessive temperatures experienced at the crimp fitting in the subject vehicles are unique to the EVOC duty cycle, have not been observed in the standard on-road severe duty cycle testing performed by Ford and police fleets who routinely conduct such testing and are not likely to occur in service usage for on-road Explorer Police Interceptor vehicles.This preliminary evaluation is closed, an Engineering Analysis (EA15-005) has been opened to conduct testing and further assess the scope, frequency and safety related consequences of the alleged defect in the subject vehicles.The VOQs associated with this investigation are: 10705832

  4. INVESTIGATION: Ford Explorer Exhaust Odor

    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA17002

    • Status:
      PENDING
    • Date Opened: July 27, 2017
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling:Exhaust System:Manifold/Header/Muffler/Tail Pipe
    Structure:Body

    Summary: ODI opened Preliminary Evaluation (PE) 16-008 in July of 2016 after receiving 154 Vehicle Owner Questionnaire (VOQ) reports reporting exhaust odors in the vehicle occupant compartment of model year (MY) 2011 to 2015 Ford Explorers, which included one low speed crash event without injury.During the course of the PE, ODI identified additional VOQ reports concerning the exhaust odor issue, totaling 791 as of this writing.The complaints cover MY 2011 to 2017 Explorers.Eleven of the reports involve Police Interceptor vehicles, as do two other non-VOQ incidents ODI identified during PE16-008.Overall, ODI has identified three crash events and 25 injury incidents citing a total of 41 injuries.The alleged injuries, as affirmatively indicated on the VOQ reports, range from unspecified to loss of consciousness, with the majority indicating nausea, headaches, or light headedness.One police incident alleged a crash with related injuries, and a second police incident reported a physiological injury allegedly from carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.Another reported police incident resulted in a rollover crash event with injuries.The Ford reports cited above were provided in the company-s August 24, 2016 response to an ODI Information Request letter sent during PE16-008.Therein, ODI identified 2400 reports (485 owner complaints, 1254 warranty claims, 606 dealer field reports, 55 legal claims), involving 2,051 unique vehicles, that appear to relate to the exhaust odor issue, and include 123 reports that are duplicative of the VOQ reports.A number of the Ford reports also discussed health effects similar to the VOQs, specifically nausea and headaches.During the PE, working in conjunction with NHTSA's Vehicle Test and Research Center (VRTC) in East Liberty, Ohio, ODI has tested multiple vehicles, including complaint vehicles.Additionally, ODI has conducted field inspections of complaint vehicles and crashes involving police units that occurred while the officers were on-duty.When possible, data has been collected to quantify carbon monoxide (CO) levels in the examined vehicles.During this Engineering Analysis (EA), the VRTC testing efforts and field inspections will continue.To date, no substantive data or actual evidence (such as a carboxyhemoglobin measurement) has been obtained supporting a claim that any of the alleged injury or crash allegations were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, the alleged hazard.ODI has obtained preliminary testing that suggests, however, that CO levels may be elevated in certain driving scenarios, although the significance and effect of those levels remains under evaluation as part of the EA.Ford has issued multiple TSBs related to the exhaust odor issue, and in some cases revised those documents multiple times to provide dealership technicians with procedures to address complaints raised by consumers and police fleets.Concerns over the effectiveness of the procedures have been raised by vehicle owners in some cases.During the EA, ODI will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the TSBs.Through cooperation with police agencies, ODI recently learned that the Police Interceptor version of the Ford Explorer is experiencing exhaust manifold cracks, which appear to present a low level of detectability, and may explain the exhaust odor.During the EA, the root cause, frequency, and safety consequence of these manifold cracks will be evaluated, as will the extent to which non-police Ford Explorers are experiencing cracked exhaust manifolds.