Do some Ford F-150’s have a brake problem? That’s what the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is trying to find out. The Detroit Free Press reports the agency is upgrading its investigation of potential braking issues impacting nearly 253,000 pickups. The issue is linked to at least seven crashes and one injury.
Here’s the situation. The government’s investigation involves 2011-2012 Ford F-150s with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. NHTSA says it has reports of 432 complaints and 6,476 warranty claims relating to failures of the electric brake vacuum assist pump. The failure of the pump, or EVP, leads to “increased brake pedal effort at cold start and extended stopping distance while driving in traffic,” according to the NHTSA.
According to Ford, the F-150s under investigation have a traditional brake vacuum booster to provide power assist for braking and the electric brake vacuum pump “is intended to operate to maintain consistent brake pedal feel. The engine intake manifold is the primary source of vacuum for the booster and is fully compliant to motor vehicle safety standards without the EVP.”
Ford submitted test data to NHTSA that looks at the impact of braking if the part is not working. The tests showed drivers would need two to three times braking forces to reach a stop when traveling 50 mph when the EVP Is disabled and 5-6 times normal if there is a complete brake booster failure.
“We will cooperate with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do,” said Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker.
The next step is for the NHTSA to conduct an engineering analysis to try to find out if the EVP malfunctions under other conditions, such as low-speed driveway braking after cold start.