05242017Headline:

Charlottesville, Virginia

HomeVirginiaCharlottesville

Email Greg Webb Greg Webb on LinkedIn Greg Webb on Facebook
Greg Webb
Greg Webb
Attorney • (800) 451-1288

Ford F-150 Trucks – NHTSA Investigates Ford Fuel Tank Problem

11 comments

Tom Krisher, an Associated Press’ auto writer, reported May 10, 2011, on WRAL.com that NHTSA is digging into a problem with the Ford F-150 pick-up truck again. Only this time, it’s not the air bags—it’s their gas tanks. Apparently, the steel straps that hold the F-150 truck’s gas tank can rust and break which may cause a fuel leak and fire. Thus far, no injuries have been reported concerning the problem; however, it may affect F-150 trucks manufactured in from 1997 through 2001, or about 150,000 trucks.

Ford received 243 reports of the tanks actually falling from the trucks and two incidents of fires occurring following the tank falling. One fire destroyed an entire truck. The NHTSA said it began looking into the problem after receiving 32 complaints. The F-Series Ford pick-up is reputed to have been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for more than three decades.

On April 26, 2011, Ford Motors reported its best first quarter pre-tax profit in 13 years: $2.8 billion, or an increase over a year ago in profit of about $250 per vehicle in its home market, according to Reuters.

This is a potential safety defect, that could result in a fire. If you have one of these trucks, have it checked by a Ford dealership.

For information on automobile defect recalls, and related issues, visit: www.nhtsa.gov

11 Comments

Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1. robbt raxx says:
    up arrow

    1999 f150 gas tank fell off at 70mph, Not pretty.
    Ford better recall this major defect.

  2. Greg Webb says:
    up arrow

    Amen to that. A fuel tank falling off at 70 mph is a safety problem no matter how you look at it. And, while I am no engineer, I am pretty sure that is not supposed to happen – I am betting most automobile engineers do not want that to occur. And, it would seem to be a fairly easy defect to design out, eh?

    Greg Webb

  3. F150 owner says:
    up arrow

    Greg, You stated that this may affect 150,000 trucks, but that is not correc t. The number of trucks on the original study (PE10036) was 1.4 million, but after 8 months of “study” NHTSA has launched a new “engineering study” becuase 8 months is an insufficient amount of time to detemine if gas tanks falling out of moving vehicles is a safety concern. IN the new study the number is well over 2 million. As you say, NHTSA has restricted this to model years 1997-2001, but as we all know, 2002-2003 are all identical. Why does NHTSA believe that the owners of these model years deserve no protection, and by the way, why is 8 months insufficient to decide if this is a safety concern. Are they taht stupid or that corrupt?

  4. F150 Owner says:
    up arrow

    I looked it up. While both PE10036 and EA11006 cover 1997-2001 Model Year F150’s, the volume on the PE was estimated at 1.4 million, but the volume on the EA nearly double to 2.7 million. Another interesting point is that I was en employee in Ford NA Truck PD in 2002. The Human Resources Dept. threatened everyone in my group with termination if we indicated that a defect exists in any written form. The example they cited was an email that stated “occupants could be charred beyond recognition if the defect is not addressed.” Given the timing and the area of the company I was in at the time, I believe this is the defect referenced. HR did not have the courtesy to let me know that I was the corps that would likely be burned in a ball of flame. Later I reported a defect which I believe killed 64 people, but my management told me that “we are OK because NHTSA won’t do anything.” They were right, and I was fired for not supporting this criminal violation of the TREAD Act.

  5. Greg Webb says:
    up arrow

    Mr. F150 Owner:

    Thank you for your comments. I think the recall you are referring to was for airbag related defects with the F150’s; the defect recall I referenced for 150,000 of the trucks was for the gas tank falling off when the straps rusted – not and ideal circumstance either. Let me know if I have that wrong. I cannot keep up with the Ford defect recalls. See this link: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/04/ford-expanding-f-150-recall-for-airbag-problem-by-12-million-trucks.html

    Regards,

    Greg Webb

  6. F150 Owner says:
    up arrow

    Actually, I don’t believe there has been a recall per se’. The prliminary study “PE10036″ stated ann estimated 1.4 million units, and was definitiely for the fuel tank issue:

    NHTSA Action Number : PE10036 NHTSA Recall Campaign Number : N/A
    Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):
    FORD / F-150 1997-2001

    FORD / F150 1997-2001

    FORD / F150 LD 1997-2001

    Manufacturer : FORD MOTOR COMPANY
    Component(s) :
    FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:MOUNTING
    FUEL SYSTEM, OTHER:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:MOUNTING

    Date Investigation Opened : September 7, 2010
    Date Investigation Closed : Open
    Summary:
    ODI has received 32 complaints alleging corrosion of the straps supporting the fuel tank. In all but four of the complaints, either one or both straps broke allowing the tank to drop from the frame and either drag along the ground or completely detach from the vehicle. In six of the complaints, fuel spilled when the tank dropped or detached. There have been no fires or injuries alleged in these incidents.

    But since NHTSA Engineers are too stupid or corrupt to determine if gas tanks falling out of moving vehicles is a safety concern for consumers in a mere 8 months, the launched EA10016, and covers 2.8 million units:

    NHTSA Campaign ID Number: EA11006 Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s): FORD / F-150 1997-2001FORD / F150 1997-2001FORD / F150 LD 1997-2001Manufacturer: FORD MOTOR COMPANY Component(s):
    FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY
    FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:MOUNTING
    FUEL SYSTEM, OTHER:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY
    FUEL SYSTEM, OTHER:STORAGE:TANK ASSEMBLY:MOUNTING
    Summary:
    One or both of the steel straps holding up the fuel tank and attaching it to the truck frame can corrode and break. If one strap breaks, the tank may tilt and drop and possibly contact the road surface. If both straps break, the entire tank may drop to the road. If either failure occurs while the vehicle is being driven, contact with the road can abrade the tank and create a hole from which gasoline can spill. When the tank drops, it remains attached to the vehicle only by the fuel filler hose and/or supply lines, or in rare instances, by the skid plate, if present. This raises the possibility that the weight of the dropped tank could sufficiently strain the hoses and fittings to cause separation and fuel leaks between those components. The fire hazard created by the leaking gasoline is increased by the possible presence of sparks created by the metal tank being dragged along the road. The sparks could ignite the escaped fuel. ODI has included in its incident counts reports it has received from consumers and reports provided by Ford in which either the complaint involved confirmed strap corrosion or ODI’s investigation yielded information that strongly suggests the subject defect as the cause of the reported problem. Among the incidents reported to NHTSA or Ford, 243 involved the fuel tank dropping below the vehicle and/or dragging on the ground, 95 involved fuel leakage, and nine included reports of sparks from the tank being dragged on the road. ODI has received one report of strap failure in which the leaking fuel ignited but self-extinguished. Ford reported another incident in which the leaking fuel ignited and the resultant fire destroyed the vehicle. There have been no injuries associated with these incidents. ODI has received reports of corrosion induced tank strap failures with other model year F-150 vehicles. ODI is upgrading this investigation to further investigate the frequency, severity and scope of this problem.
    Date Investigation Opened: May 4, 2011 Date Investigation Closed: Open

    However, as I stated, model years 2002-3 are identical to these units, so NHTSA should be covering them as well.

    I have told NHTSA that I am not fixing mine until they determine if this is a safety concern. If I die in a ball of flame, so be it since I have already been financially destroyed for refusing to violate the criminal provisions of the TREAD Act all with NHTSA’s full blessing and knowledge.

  7. Bruce Ewing says:
    up arrow

    I also have a 1999 Ford F-150 and have just last week took it to my local Ford dealer for inspection of a rusted fuel tank strap and they did indeed replace both straps and charged me $277,00 for the replacement.

  8. Robb says:
    up arrow

    Ouch Bruce, Mine were 45.98 for the new straps and 30.00 to have them installed. Gas tank was the spendy part as mine dragged throwing sparks and have a 3 inch hole in the corner. Lost 30 plus gallons of gas and was fined 10 thousand by the department of natural resources for the fuel spill that ran down a storm sewer they cleaned out and flushed also had to pay for a redo of a new section of asphalt parking lot it ruined.

  9. Greg Webb says:
    up arrow

    Why on earth would they charge for this with it being a defect? No opportunity missed for turning a profit?

  10. F150 Owner says:
    up arrow

    There have been many fuel spills, but what is so mind boggling to me is that the dumbasses at NHTSA, after 9 months of intense study, still are not quite sure if this is a safety concern for consumers. The posting below shows that this defect has caused a severe injury, which if it was known by the company and not reported, should trigger criminal violations of up to a $16 million fine and 15 years in prison, but since NHTSA is so reliably inept, they still haven’t decided if the 2002-3 vehcles with the same parts should be part of the study. Apparently this person is “less burned” becuase NHTSA has been running a study for 9 months and has no answers. I would say he or she is lucky not to be killed, but without knowing the extent of the enduring pain, this may not be the case.

    Make:
    FORD
    Model:
    F-150
    Year:
    2002
    Complaint Number:
    10404949
    Summary:
    FUEL TANK DROPPED TO THE ROAD WHILE DRIVING CAUSING THE TRUCK TO BE ENGULFED IN FLAMES. DRIVER MADE IT OUT WITH FIRST AND SECOND DEGREE BURNS. TWO DOGS IN THE BACK SEAT DIED IN THE FIRE. INITIAL INVESTIGATION BY THE INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR DETERMINED THAT IT WAS THE FUEL TANK STRAPS THAT FAILED. THERE IS AN INVESTIGATION (PE10036) BY THE NHTSA FOR FUEL TANK STRAPS ON FORD F-150S 1999-2001. THE 2002 AND 2003 F-150 USE THE SAME STRAPS. LARRY HERSHMAN OF NHTSA HAS CONTACTED ME ABOUT THIS INCIDENT.

  11. Adrian Capes says:
    up arrow

    Yup my ford 150 2002, gas tank filled up to the top with gas dropped on the 401 just out of Windsor, On. Listening to the radio we had no ides until a woman passenger in a car that overtook us travelling at 120kmh and screaming that our truck was on fire…pulled over fast and was lucky enough to have left the fire behiond….watched as $100 of gas poured over the road…… didn’t put on my hazard lights lol! How many people have had this happen and not reported it? Cost $300 for tow and $600 for new tank….. This is crap, when the truck is serviced somebody should have mentioned it… There should be a safety strap for when the others fail.. we have them in light fixtures and they aint no way as dangerous as an exploding fuel tank. Very poor design.