This additional problem allegedly dates back years.
The highly popular Ford Explorer has been a bit of an issue for the automaker in recent months. Specifically, there were accusations, via class-action lawsuits, from owners and some police departments regarding carbon monoxide leaking into the previous generation SUV's cabin. Ford responded that the vehicles were safe following its own testing and evaluations and its "complementary service to address exhaust odor effectively resolves the matter." Today, however, we've learned of yet another potential legal hurdle for the Blue Oval regarding the Explorer.
According to Ford Authority, via Car Complaints, a new class-action lawsuit demands Ford to issue a recall for corroding hoods for many Explorer models. Turns out the corroding hoods are the result of contamination in the aluminum body panel. This results in bubbling and flaking paint, as well as other aesthetic issues.
The lawsuit also alleges Ford was aware of this issue for nearly 20 years and failed to act. Two decades? Really? Supposedly, yes. The lawsuit states the corroding issue dates back to the early 2000s when the Explorer's construction was changed to lighter aluminum panels as part of an effort to improve fuel economy. Supposedly, there was iron contamination of the aluminum hood prior to the paint application on the production line.
Over the years, iron particles moved into the aluminum body part, in this case, the hood, causing the corrosion. Ford has been aware of this because it issued technical service bulletins as far back as 2004. There was a second one in 2006 followed by a third in 2016. The latest one, issued last February, even recommended outright replacement.
In their lawsuit, the group of owners mentions the two-year extended coverage for the body panel corrosion is limited and that it only applies to a panel that "perforates," meaning it corroded through completely. Thing is, aluminum panels can't perforate, thus making the warranty kind of meaningless. On the one hand, this is not a potentially dangerous issue, like the alleged carbon monoxide situation. Still, a corroding hood is not only unpleasant to look at, but it can also affect the vehicle's value. There's also the little matter of proper engine protection.