What's the saying? People in glass houses ...
As you can see - all auto manufacturer have their share of probs ... I wonder if this is the same 5.4 that is arriving later this year?
Ford hits another quality snag; oil leaks in V-8 truck engines lead to costly repairs
By MARY CONNELLY
DETROIT - Trying to solve another nagging quality problem, Ford Motor Co. is repairing or replacing some 5.4-liter V-8 engines on four truck lines, including the Ford F-series pickup, because of oil leaks.
The company is spending up to $4,500 per unit to replace complete engine assemblies. Less severe cases receive an estimated $800 repair to replace the cylinder heads and head gasket, according to an industry source.
Ford confirmed the engine defect but would not specify the number of units affected. The four truck lines accounted for sales of 1.3 million in the 1999 model year, when most of the defective units were built.
About 20 percent of the vehicles have the 5.4-liter V-8, according to Ward's Automotive Yearbook. It is not clear how many of the engines are developing leaks.
The oil leak is a setback in Ford's campaign to erase a reputation for poor quality. The company suffered a rash of botched launches, recalls and defects in vehicles such as the Ford Focus and Escape. The Firestone tire recall, which officially ended last week, compounded the problem.
Last week, Martin Inglis, Ford's chief financial officer, said Ford has "a lot more to do to improve our reputation.''
Ford dealers are repairing or replacing engines due to problems arising from a 1999 model-year revision to the 5.4-liter engine's head gasket. In defective units, the head gasket fails to seal variances in the engine block's surface, permitting oil seepage, said Ford spokesman Todd Nissen.
Ralph Seekins, chairman of the Ford Division National Dealer Council, said, "We have a gasket here that we need to find a replacement for. We are working on that. We also are working on a field service kit that will be sent to every dealer. It will give us the measuring tools to make sure we are doing the repairs exactly.''
The oil seepage is not a severe defect that will disable the vehicle, Seekins said. "It is a seep, not a leak. You'll get some drip on the garage floor." He owns Seekins Ford-Lincoln-Mercury in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The nameplates affected are the 1999 Ford F-150, Super Duty F series, Expedition, Econoline and the Lincoln Navigator. Some 2000 and 2001 models also are affected, according to a company source and Ford dealers.
The incidence of defects trails off after 1999 because Ford manufacturing further smoothed the block's surface to promote better sealing, Nissen said.
The tolerance on the mating surface of the block must be flat within 0.001 inch, according to Ford service bulletins.
A service kit being developed for dealers will include tools such as a high-quality straight edge and feeler gauge to measure tolerances accurately, Seekins said.
Most of the defective units are developing oil seepage while under warranty, Seekins said.
But one industry expert is recording engine problems after expiration of Ford's 36,000-mile warranty.
"I am seeing failures of the engines at about 40,000-plus miles,'' said Brad Summers, president of Summers Dealer Services in Grayling, Mich. The company processes warranty claims only for Ford dealerships. "I can see this escalating and becoming more of an issue down the road as more vehicles reach that mileage and start failing," he said.
While Ford will not quantify the problem, anecdotal evidence from dealers and industry experts suggests the defect will not be as extensive as Ford's $200 million campaign to repair 3.6-liter V-6 engines with head gasket failure in 2000. That involved 717,618 potentially faulty vehicles, including the 1994 and 1995 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, the 1995 Ford Windstar and the 1994 Lincoln Continental.