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Ford investigating engines in Europe for fire risk

7:32 AM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
Ford is extending to Europe its investigation of fires in new vehicles equipped with one of its EcoBoost turbocharged engines.
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Ford is extending to Europe its investigation of fires in new vehicles equipped with one of its EcoBoost turbocharged engines.

Ford said Tuesday it has reports of seven fires in Europe in vehicles with the same 1.6-liter EcoBoost as 2013 Fusion sedan and Escape crossover models that were recalled in the U.S. on Friday, although Ford says it is not sure whether all the European reports are related to the same overheating problem and fire risk that led to the U.S. recalls.

"At the same time as we are conducting our investigation here, Ford of Europe is currently investigating (whether) vehicles sold in their market are affected by this condition," says Ford spokesman Said Deep.

In Europe, the same 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is used in several models, including Focus and Mondeo sedans and the Galaxy minivan.

Ford recalled 89,153 Escapes and Fusions on Friday after 12 reports of engines that became overheated, then caused fires. It marked the fourth recall - three related to engine overheating or fire risks - for the redesigned Escape that went on sale last summer. The redesigned Fusion went on sale this fall. Owners are being told to contact dealerships for a free loaner car until the Escapes and Fusions are fixed.

In its letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford said that two of the reported fires actually occurred at the Louisville, Ky., assembly plant where the Escape is made. Deep says that the plant is continuing to build Escapes with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost (it has two other engine options) even though the cause of the fires has yet to be pinpointed and a fix devised.

Deep says Ford is conducting an "extensive engineering analysis" based on the belief that fluids leaking from the engine are coming into contact with the hot exhaust components and causing the fires.

While he says he isn't sure what fluids are involved, one of Escape's previous recalls involved a potential fuel leak, the other a coolant leak.

The more-powerful 2-liter EcoBoost engine that's an option in both the Escape and Fusion and the non-turbo base 2.5-liter engine are not involved in the recall.

USA Today

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