U.S. closes Ford Explorer investigation without recall

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Saturday it is closing an investigation into 13,000 Explorer Police Interceptor SUVs after reports of more than a dozen front brake hoses failures.

The investigation found that improper service repairs rather than a manufacturing defect was likely to blame and the government didn’t seek a recall.

NHTSA launched its investigation in August after a report from the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department of 13 front brake hoses failures in 11 vehicles out of of 46 2013 Explorer Police Interceptors.

The DC police department gave Ford with 71 hoses for analysis, including 4 of the 13 failed hoses, also known as jounce houses.

“The lab did not identify any manufacturing or material deficiencies in the hoses and concluded that the hose failures were caused by excessive bending stresses. Based on the examinations of the returned jounce hoses, Ford conducted durability testing on new hoses that were the same design as those found on the subject vehicles. Ford first determined the worst case conditions for the hoses; jounce bumpers removed, internal rebound stops fully compressed, and shock absorbers attached,” NHTSA said. “Using these conditions hoses tested on a Suspension Motion Simulator far surpassed Ford’s performance specifications.”

NHTSA said “no pattern of failures was observed by hose assembly... but Ford identified improper service repair procedures (e. g., hanging the brake caliper from the brake hose during brake pad replacement) as a possible contributor to higher than expected rate of front brake jounce hose leaks.”