— A Ford Explorer carbon monoxide class action lawsuit has been filed by six Washington State Patrol troopers who allege they were poisoned by exhaust fumes caused by defects in the SUVs.
The 2011-2018 Ford Explorer lawsuit includes "all persons or entities in the State of Washington who purchased, leased, drove or own a Class Vehicle."
According to the class action lawsuit, the Explorers have defective heating, cooling and exhaust systems that allow carbon monoxide to poison occupants.
The lawsuit alleges Ford issued technical service bulletins to dealerships starting in 2012, something that allegedly proves the automaker knew about exhaust system defects.
The plaintiffs claim carbon monoxide has caused 41 injuries and three crashes, with drivers and occupants reporting nausea, headaches, dizziness and incidents of passing out.
Ford has allegedly done nothing to order a recall and owners haven't been compensated for driving allegedly dangerous vehicles. The plaintiffs claim no reasonable consumer would purchase or lease a vehicle with deadly defects that can poison occupants from exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide.
According to the lawsuit, the six troopers detected exhaust fumes in the passenger compartments while driving, causing the plaintiffs to take the Explorers to Ford dealerships. However, the dealerships allegedly couldn't adequately repair the problems and allegedly couldn't prevent carbon monoxide from entering the cabins.
The plaintiffs claim they were told it was safe to drive the SUVs and no harm would come to occupants. But the six plaintiffs claim they still suffered flu-like symptoms, headaches and slowed thinking after dealers said the vehicles were safe.
One trooper allegedly cannot work because he suffered permanent neurological damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.
The class action blames the exhaust fume problems on multiple defects found in the bumpers, tail pipes and rear air extractors. In addition, incompatible metal exhaust manifolds become warped and allow carbon monoxide to leak out and then sucked back into the air intakes.
According to the lawsuit, the intakes shouldn't have been located adjacent to the manifolds, and incompatible metal parts end up warping because of heat.
The lawsuit also says exhaust fumes invade the cabins because of defects in the tailgate drain valves and sheet metal panels. Other problems named by the plaintiffs are the Explorer joints and seams and rear auxiliary air conditioning systems. Even replacing the exhaust systems allegedly do nothing but temporarily put a "band-aid" on the problems.
In addition to health problems caused by carbon monoxide, the lawsuit alleges occupants are exposed to sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, benzene and soot.
For years Ford has been battling allegations of dangerous exhaust fumes in police and non-police Explorers, including calls from safety groups to recall the vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has investigated alleged exhaust fume problems in Explorers and the automaker has settled prior lawsuits filed over fumes.
As for Explorers used for police service, multiple officers or their families have filed suit claiming carbon monoxide sickened them while on duty.
The automaker has also created service campaigns to inspect and allegedly repair Explorers to prevent exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide from affected occupants. One campaign was announced for police vehicles and a separate campaign concerned non-police Ford Explorers.
The Ford Explorer carbon monoxide class action lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Washington for Clark County - Cashatt, et al., v. Ford Motor Company.
The plaintiffs are represented by Josephine C. Townsend.
CarComplaints.com has exhaust system complaints about Ford Explorers: