Nearly 643,000 Ford Escapes and Bronco Sports have been recalled due to a fire hazard from cracked fuel injectors, which result from leaking fuel igniting on contact with hot engine parts. This isn’t the first recall for this engine family, nor is it the first Ford recall for a fire hazard. This recall covers cars with the 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine worldwide.
Accordingly Automotive News, the problem starts with cracked fuel injectors that cause liquid fuel and fuel vapors to escape from the high pressure fuel system. The affected cars are equipped with direct injection, which means that the fuel system is pressurized even more than the port injection system. Basically, even a small crack can cause a lot of fuel to leak out of the system and potentially splatter.
Ford has reported 54 fires under the hood of cars with 1.5-liter engines and four cars with broken fuel injectors. 13 of the incidents were likely caused by a leaking fuel injector. So far, Ford has not reported any losses or deaths related to the fire other than the affected vehicles.
An earlier recall for the 1.5-liter engine in the same cars also created a fire hazard related to the oil separator housing. In this case, the oil separator housing may crack, leak oil, and cause an engine fire. About 643,000 vehicles worldwide are affected, of which about 520,000 are in the United States.
The current solution to the Ford-reported problem is a cylinder head exhaust pipe that directs fuel away from hot engine surfaces and prevents build-up. Ford also plans to release a software update that will alert the driver when fuel pressure is low and put the car into limp mode.
Owners are not advised to stop driving their cars under the recall, and Ford predicts a low injector failure rate. Until a fix is released, owners are advised to be wary of the smell of fuel around the engine compartment and contact their dealer immediately.