Ford Explorer Exhaust Fumes in the Cabin Causes Lawsuit

Woman sues Ford alleging her 2016 Explorer made her and her two children sick from exhaust fumes.

Ford Explorer Exhaust Fumes in the Cabin Causes Lawsuit

Posted in News

— A Louisiana woman says Ford Explorer exhaust fumes entering the cabin made her and her two minor children sick.

According to the lawsuit, Alysia Broussard purchased a used 2016 Ford Explorer XLT when the SUV had 4,000 miles on it. The Explorer came with a factory warranty and the plaintiff says she also purchased an extended warranty for the SUV.

Broussard says she noticed bad odors in the SUV shortly after she bought the vehicle, with a burning or rotten egg smell coming from the vents of the air conditioner.

The smell allegedly got worse when the Explorer was accelerated, so Broussard took the SUV to a Ford dealer in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a total of four times between February and July 2017. The plaintiff says the Ford dealer told her the smell was the result of exhaust fumes and/or carbon monoxide leaking into the Explorer.

According to the lawsuit, the repair orders describe what the dealer discovered.

"Test drive exhibited symptoms of exhaust in cabin. Performed leak test with soapy water and found multiple leak areas. Followed TSB 16-0166." - March 8, 2017

"Customer states foul smell coming from ac on acceleration. She states carbon monoxide smell already addressed and it is different smell but it is bad. Vehicle returned with exhaust entering cabin while driving concern after being performing tsb6-0166. New tsb for this vehicle to solve the exhaust issue is tsb 17-0044. Smell was confirmed during tes [sic] drive. See attached hotline case." - June 12, 2017

The plaintiff says the exhaust and carbon monoxide odors caused various injuries to her and her two children, including migraine headaches. However, Broussard eventually learned she had swelling of the brain and was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumor.

The plaintiff says her headaches got worse and her children suffered from headaches and nausea, all due to Ford's alleged refusal to properly fix the Explorer.

The lawsuit alleges the automaker has known about the carbon monoxide and exhaust problems since 2012 when Ford issued technical service bulletin (TSB 12-12-4) to dealerships:

"Some 2011-2013 Explorer vehicles may exhibit an exhaust odor in the vehicle with the auxiliary climate control system on. Customers may indicate the odor smells like sulfur.”

The TSB provided instructions to technicians about how to allegedly fix the exhaust problems in 2011-2013 Explorers.

Ford also issued TSB 14-0130 which said 2011-2015 Explorers can emit exhaust odors in the vehicles with the auxiliary climate control system on, causing an odor that smells like sulfur.

The lawsuit says Ford issued other TSBs about the Explorer exhaust issues, including TSB 16-0165 and TSB 16-0166 which added information about odors that were possible when the climate control systems were in recirculate mode and the vehicles were heavily accelerated for an extended period.

Another bulletin (TSB 17-0044) was issued to dealers concerning exhaust fumes and odors, but the plaintiff says the bulletins did nothing to repair the problems.

The plaintiff says her 2016 Explorer creates an unnecessary hazard to her and her children because of the dangerous design of the SUV.

According to the lawsuit, the exhaust odors and carbon monoxide are the result of numerous defects created by Ford when building the Explorer.

  1. Designing the bumpers and/or tailpipes such that exhaust fumes may accumulate behind the bumper and within the interior and exterior panels.
  2. Using defective rear air extractors that permit carbon monoxide to enter the cabin.
  3. Using lift gates in the rear of the vehicles with defective drain valves.
  4. Using sheet metal panels, joints and overlaps that allowed fumes to enter.
  5. Using rear auxiliary air conditioning system parts that are located too close in proximity to the drive-side rear air extractor.

According to the Ford lawsuit, the automaker allegedly made changes to the design of the 2016 Explorer in response to nationwide class-action litigation involving the 2011-2015 Explorers, but the modifications allegedly didn't help with the exhaust fumes in the cabins.

The Ford Explorer exhaust fumes lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division - Alysia Broussard and minor children KR and ER, v. Ford Motor Company.

The plaintiff is represented by the Law Offices of Kenneth W. DeJean.