Recall for Defective Ford Throttle Body Could Come From Federal Petition

consumers report that the electronic throttle body assembly fails while driving, causing a stall

Recall for Defective Ford Throttle Body Could Come From Federal Petition
Image: Ford

The North Carolina Consumers Council (NCCC) has officially petitioned the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a defect investigation of alleged throttle body failures in 2005-2012 Ford Escape vehicles sharing the same or substantially similar part.

Consumer Complaints Regarding Stalling

We began receiving complaints in 2011 regarding these vehicles in addition to the complaints received by the NHTSA. Consumers report repeated instances of the vehicles either stalling in motion or suddenly surging forward when accelerating from a stop, posing a serious safety risk to vehicle occupants, other motorists and pedestrians.

Some drivers reported intermittent vehicle stalls and surges as they enter traffic from a stopped position or while driving at highway speeds.

Problem Appears to be Intermittent

As the problem was initially intermittent, the drivers continued to operate their vehicles in this condition, eventually to the point of keeping one foot on the brake while stopped and the other on the gas pedal to keep the vehicle running. Obviously, doing so is dangerous.

Throttle Body Trouble Codes

In our complaints, the problem was diagnosed as a failed throttle body, with trouble codes P2111 and P2112 present in the on-board computer system, indicating the electronic throttle actuator control system was stuck open and closed, respectively.

In these cases, drivers reported no warning signs prior to the initial failure or prior to subsequent failures. They report no damages, carbon buildup or other mechanical interference on the failed parts. We sent one of the failed throttle bodies to the NHTSA for inspection.

Only a Matter of Time

"This is obviously a very dangerous and rapidly growing issue that needs to be addressed immediately," said NCCC President Sandra Bullock. "With consumers now holding both the brake and gas pedals simultaneously, it's only a matter of time before a driver inadvertently pushes the wrong pedal, resulting in unintended movement. We trust that the NHTSA will investigate and take the necessary steps to remedy the problem as quickly as possible."

2009 Model Seems to Be Most-Affected

The complaint data from the NHTSA website shows that a number of complaints were filed between November 2011 and August 2012 for the 2009 model, for which NCCC has received complaints. There are also complaints regarding sticking throttles or throttle body failure in 2005-2012 models, all of which apparently use the same "drive-by-wire" design.

Only Affecting the "drive-by-Wire" Design

This issue is separate from a recent recall involving other Ford Escape vehicles for the 2002-2004 model years, which use a conventional cable design in place of the electronic assembly that seems to be the root cause of the failures.

It is important to note that a "drive-by-wire" throttle is generally safer than conventional throttle cables, as any failure of the system will result in a 'limp home' or reduced power mode. Unfortunately, the predisposition for failure is causing these vehicles to go into this reduced power mode.

Failures Put Motorists At Risk

The unpredictability of the repeated failures coupled with driver actions of applying both the brake and gas pedals simultaneously puts motorists at risk in this case. We do not recommend applying both the brake and gas pedals simultaneously as the failure may suddenly go away, causing unintended acceleration and possibly a crash.

Other Vehicles Possibly Affected

Some websites allege that other late model vehicles, such as the Ford Windstar, Ford Mustang, Ford Fusion, Mercury Mariner and Mercury Milan, exhibit the same condition and have an identical or very similar throttle body. NCCC received no complaints from owners of those vehicles.

Ford Acknowledges Several Previous Throttle Body Issues

Ford has issued several technical service bulletins (TSBs) for various models throughout the years for issues relating to electronic throttles. Suggested repairs for common issues have included reprogramming the powertrain control module and/or replacing the throttle body.

Update: Investigation is Open

The NHTSA has opened an investigation into this issue.

What You Should Do

NCCC believes in accountability for all consumer products, even when accountability means a loss of money for the manufacturer. Companies should stand by the products they sell, not abandon them to the consumer's pocketbook.

NCCC encourages consumers to continue reporting this defect and other safety defects to NHTSA so that their vehicle information can help identify defects. Please include your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in your complaint, if possible.

Get The Word Out

Getting the word out may not help you with your particular issue, but you may be able to help others before they experience the same problems.

Share this article with your family, friends and colleagues. You may help them learn about the defect and keep them from becoming another statistic.

Extended Warranty Issued

Ford has issued an extended warranty for defective throttle body assemblies and sensors for 10 years or 150,000 miles from the data of original purchase. For vehicles past this time limit, the warranty is valid until January 31, 2015.

Affected owners should contact Ford and mention Consumer Satisfaction Program 13N03.

What Can NCCC Do For Me?

We regret that we are not able to offer any specific guidance for consumers experiencing this issue. The investigation is now closed (see updated information below) and the time limits for the extended warranty has expired for many vehicles. You may success with filing small claims actions through a local court or by hiring a private attorney.

Updated Information

Ford Issues Extended Warranty to Cover Throttle Body Assemblies
NHTSA Closes Investigation into Allegedly Defective Ford Throttle Bodies