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John Bisnar
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Tailpipe fires in 2008 Ford trucks spur recall

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Ford Motor Co. has ordered dealers to stop selling the new 2008 Super Duty pickup trucks with the 6.4-liter diesel engine and is recalling more than 37,000 of those vehicles after tailpipe fires were reported in the diesel version of the pickups, according to an article posted on consumeraffairs.com.

Company officials say they have received three reports of flames shooting out of tailpipes after either fuel or oil leaked into an area of the exhaust system where diesel particulates are burned off to meet emission requirements. One incident in Texas reports that a hot tailpipe set a grass fire when the driver pulled off the road. The fire was rapidly extinguished and no one was injured in the incident, the article stated.

“This is an important product for us and an important customer base, and we want to move swiftly to make sure this does not become a safety issue for our customers,” Ford spokesman Dan Jarvis said in a company-issued statement.

The heavy-duty work truck has been billed as an important aspect of the company’s bid to recover financially, as it tries to dig itself out of a $12.7 billion deficit from last year. Sales of the hot selling truck will not resume until the engine control software can be updated, officials said. Customers with the first 8,400 diesel Super Duty trucks already on the roads will be notified that they should bring their vehicles into dealerships for the software update.

Ford will send out a recall notice to customers in April and dealers will contact consumers as soon as possible to warn them of the potential problem. Gasoline-powered versions of the Super Duty and previous model-year diesel trucks with 6.0-liter or 7.3-liter engines are not affected by the recall. That said, almost 70 percent of the Super Duty trucks sold are equipped with diesel engines.

How is it that Ford is not aware of these problems before it introduces its products into the marketplace? With all Ford’s engineers it would seem that “flames shoot out of the tailpipes” would be discovered before the trucks were put on the market. What were Ford’s testing and quality control people doing?

At least with this defect, Ford acted quickly to recall their vehicles. I wonder if they would have recalled these defective trucks if they had sold a quarter million of them.