— A Ford F-150 master cylinder recall has caused federal safety regulators to close an investigation into 2015-2016 trucks that was opened four years ago.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened the 2016 investigation after regulators referenced an earlier 2013-2014 F-150 recall issued following nine crashes caused by brake problems. Ford said the problem was caused by brake fluid that leaked from the master cylinders into the brake boosters.
Model year 2013-2014 F-150 customers reported brake pedals that went to the floors as all braking ability was lost, the same type of complaints made by 2015-2016 F-150 owners.
Truck owners also reported hearing chimes and seeing warning messages and lights before losing the brakes. Customers also reported dealerships routinely diagnosed the problem as faulty master cylinders.
A separate 2016 investigation was opened into 2013-2014 Ford F-150 brake failures after the government received more than 30 complaints about the trucks. About 420,000 model year 2013-2014 trucks were included in the investigation, and all the trucks were equipped with 3.5-liter EcoBoost engines.
Investigators said out of the 33 complaints, four F-150 owners said they crashed when the brakes failed while driving.
Customers said the master cylinders had no brake fluid in them, and illuminated warning lights occurred at the same time drivers felt the brake pedals going to the floors. However, F-150 owners said they didn't see any sign of leaking brake fluid.
This led safety regulators to determine the fluid did leak from the master cylinders, but not onto the ground. The brake fluid leaked into the brake boosters because the master cylinders failed.
The 2016 investigation of 2013-2014 F-150s caused Ford to recall 271,000 trucks in 2016, a bad sign that led to the recent F-150 master cylinder actions.
Safety investigators say the June 2020 recall of 292,000 model year 2014-2017 Ford F-150s should be enough to finally repair all the affected trucks.
Ford determined contaminated brake fluid interfered with the rear cup seals which caused brake fluid to leak from the master cylinders into the brake boosters.
CarComplaints.com has owner-reported complaints about Ford F-150 trucks.