Ford's rugged off-roader has a problem with its 2.7-liter V6.
Earlier this month, we reported on the rate at which Ford Bronco engines are failing. Nearly 50 owners on the same forum expressed frustrations over the 2.7-liter V6-equipped model, which seems to have a penchant for dropping its valves. Most have reported the failure occurred with less than 10,000 miles on the clock but, alarmingly, one owner experienced the same issue after driving less than 1,000 miles.
Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is getting involved. The government organization has launched an official investigation into the alleged engine failure, saying it has received a total of 32 complaints about the problem. An NHTSA document describes it as a "catastrophic engine failure" and notes vehicles driven in normal conditions may experience a loss of power without the ability to restart.
Ford is aware of the situation and has told media outlets that it is also investigating the problem. "If any customers are experiencing issues, they will be covered under the vehicle's [5-year/60,000-mile] powertrain warranty." This will certainly come as a relief to Bronco V6 owners, but it's still very concerning. After all, Ford's desert-bashing off-roader is supposed to be rugged and built to take on anything - how are engines failing this quickly?
An individual claiming to work for the Blue Oval said the issue can be traced back to inferior valves Ford ordered from a supplier. Reportedly, these valves were fashioned out of metal that weakens due to engine heat. This has not been confirmed, so we're hoping the investigation into this problem brings about some answers. The NHTSA document notes the population of vehicles stands at 25,538.
Should the NHTSA investigation find a defective component is causing the engine failure, we can expect the Bronco 2.7-liter V6 to be recalled. It wouldn't be a great look for the Bronco; despite being around for two or so years, the retro SUV has been plagued with quality problems. Owners have reported failing soft tops; early variants of the hard top weren't any better, either.
Despite this flurry of concerning issues, demand for the Bronco remains strong. The arrival of the Raptor derivative will only bolster appeal and, with 2023 orders opening up soon, we anticipate would-be buyers will be getting their checkbooks out to get on the waiting list. If the Bronco is recalled, it will join Ford's ever-growing list of 2022 recalls, which includes 40,000 SUVs at risk of engine bay fires.