Are The Prius And Fusion Hybrid Brake Issues Related?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Ford says emphatically no, but the evidence (such as it is) indicates certain similarities. Let’s take a look…

Toyota’s updated press release on the Prius brake issue reads:

Some customers have complained of inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of brakes on rough or slick road surfaces when the anti-lock brake system (ABS) is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction. The system, in normal operation, engages and disengages rapidly (many times per second) as the control system senses and reacts to tire slippage. A running production change was introduced last month, improving the ABS system’s response time, as well as the system’s overall sensitivity to tire slippage.

From Toyota’s press conference:

When driving on an icy road, the shift from the electronic brake to the hydraulic brake sometimes takes longer than usual

Consumer Reports’ paraphrase of the Ford technical service bulletin (TSB-09-22-11) reads:

electronic interference might cause the electronic brake-by-wire module to switch itself off temporarily. If that happened, the braking system would revert to a backup conventional hydraulic mode that preserved braking capability, but the pedal will drop over an inch. When the engine is restarted, the electronic braking system would resume…. Ford engineering representatives explained that the software threshold for establishing a fault in the regenerative brake system was set too sensitively, causing the system to transition to conventional brakes when it was not necessary.

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  • Jim Jim on Feb 04, 2010

    Correct me if I am wrong... but doesnt ford license their hybrid technology from Toyota? If so does ford have the ability to modify what is licensed? I doubt it but still.

  • Mr Carpenter Mr Carpenter on Feb 05, 2010

    Nobody's blamed George Bush for this (yet)....

  • NexWest NexWest on Feb 08, 2010

    We had four or five complete brake failures on our company's two Ford Escape Hybrids. Without warning the "check brake" warning flashed on, and the chimes went off. It happened to me once and the other driver 3 times. A third driver reported one instance to the boss and we found about it later. In each case the brakes were fully restored after turning the engine off and restarting. These two vehicles were removed from the fleet and the company announced that "our experiment with hybrid vehicles has ended". Google "Ford Escape Hybrid brake failure". Many others have had the same problem.

  • Blowfish Blowfish on Feb 08, 2010

    This barrage of techno-baddies makes the Curbside Classic series that much sweeter. When the car doesnt work u wish its a Volkswagen. Just far too many Electronics and they all end up arbitrarily decided by the Computer, sometimes they received the wong info and acted deviously. So as planes that were fly by wire, in a real emergency the pilot can only pray the computer and him were all on the same page.