Have no fear friend! It's no where near as serious as you are thinking. It's a part that Ford MotorCompany actually calls a hoot tube! Believe it or not. It's part of the emissions system -- and I believe may be connected to your EGR valve - go to the dealer - tell em you need a hoot tube - they wont even look at you funny. It's an easy replacement - maybe 15 minutes!
"Life's too short to drive slow!"
My first name is Anne - was a Ford Dealer Service Manager for 11 years. Waiting for my new Expedition to come in (woo hoo!)