By on December 6, 2015

Ford Everest Fire

An automotive journalist in Australia has found the Ford Everest to be the hottest vehicle on sale in the worst way imaginable. Peter Barnwell of CarsGuide was testing Ford’s latest utility when it suddenly burst into flames and began shooting shrapnel earlier last week.

After news of the Everest fire hit news airwaves in Australia, owners of Ford Rangers contacted News Corp to share their high temperature experiences.

One Ranger owner, Wade Ibrahim, had a similar experience with his Ford Ranger XLT. When he tried to report it to Ford, the automaker simply directed him to his insurer.

“I spoke to Ford and they didn’t want to know about it. They told me to go through my insurance,” Ibrahim said to News Corp Australia.

Another Ranger owner, Peter McCarthy, experienced a fire two weeks ago when his 2012 Ford Ranger XLT went up in flames as it was parked in the driveway.

“My daughter heard the alarm go off first — the car was locked — and then saw it go up in flames,” said McCarthy.

A Ford spokesperson explained it was company policy to refer an owner of a vehicle that’s experienced fire to their insurer. Ford then works with the insurer if it’s determined the fire was caused by the vehicle itself.

As for the Everest pictured, Ford is still investigating that incident.

“We are still completing our investigation of the Everest incident but are not aware of similar reports for the new Everest or Ranger, or previous Ranger. We believe our customers should be comfortable driving their vehicles as normal,” said a Ford spokesperson to News Corp Australia.

The Ford Ranger and Everest share identical engines, electronics and platform. They are built at the same factory in Thailand, but designed and engineered in Australia.

[Photo credit: Peter Barnwell, h/t to Ben]

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51 Comments on “Ford Everest Goes Up in Flames in Journalist’s Hands, Ranger Reports Follow...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    I wonder what the reporting mechanism is in Australia.

    In the U.S., a manufacturer would ALSO be telling the owner to contact their insurance (and insurance would almost certainly subrogate the claim back to the manufacturer.) Certainly insurance is going to get a check to their policyholder faster than the warranty claim is going cut a check for the full value of the car.

    But of course in the U.S., the manufacturer would also be required to report the fire to the appropriate agency after determining the cause. (Don’t know what happens to it if they can’t figure out the cause; maybe still a report of “vehicle caught on fire; cause unknown”?)

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @sirwired ,
      Similar to the US

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      I’ve been part of ‘thermal event’ root cause analysis as a OEM and supplier. You essentially get to walk through your entire control plan and analyze whatever survives the fire. Usually, between what you salvage and obtain from the same lots of material, you can assembly a fairly complete picture of the quality of the part (material and assembly quality). You also walk through assembly quality of surrounding units on the line (touch conditions, etc.).

      Design does a deep dive of the area where ignition was determined.

      I haven’t seen a scenario where they haven’t rooted out a root cause. In both instances, one very likely root cause along with two other causal factors had corrective actions implemented.

  • avatar
    Ion

    “Designed and engineered in Australia”. Considering some of the Australians who frequent here, I think I found the problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Hey bro,

      I’m an American too, just like you. We are brothers and think alike!

      xoxoxoxoxo

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Big Al from Oz
        Sounds like a total disaster. It has happened to US Fords as well.
        “The whole thing escalated so quickly after the car conked out, but there had been warning signs.

        Things started to go belly up three days into my test drive. There was a warning about the car needing Adblue (an additive for diesel) otherwise the engine was going to shut down in 750km.

        I phoned the Ford dealer who said they’d fill up the Adblue tank when I returned the vehicle.

        But the warning continued cycling every 10 minutes or so.

        The next day, the phone started dropping out and rebooting and there was a battery warning.

        I parked the Everest and returned to find it wouldn’t unlock using the key fob despite a number of attempts. The electric tailgate wouldn’t open either.
        through the driver’s door and tried to unlock the other doors — no go. Lucky that didn’t happen when the thing went up in flames.

        The Everest took two attempts before it fired up. Once on the road, things began to go haywire again. Warnings flashed on the instrument panel that the radar cruise and other functions weren’t available. Then the screen blinked off and the engine cut out. I rolled down the hill about 300m to a bus stop, pulled in and stopped.

        That’s when the fireworks began.

        Ford’s engineers have already been in touch to get more details. They need to sort this quickly.. details. They need to sort this quickly.”

        • 0 avatar
          redmondjp

          From Robert’s description, it sounds like there was a current drain which lowered the battery voltage, causing other electronics to either not work or malfunction.

          And once the vehicle is started (which is somewhat surprising if the battery is heavily discharged), the huge demand on the alternator by the near-dead battery can overload and overheat it as well along with the wiring between the alternator and the battery.

          It will be interesting to see what the fix is for this, or if they even admit the problem.

          I have one of Ford’s factory-approved and dealer-installed “fixes” for the infamous cruise-control switch fires. It’s a harness with two fuse-holders in it. As an engineer who used to design wiring harnesses for a living, it completely underwhelmed me.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Vehicles have gotten very complex with an engine control module and body control module running the show. A failure somewhere in the system triggered a catastrophic event.
            I was just talking to a colleague with a Ram 3500 diesel with manual transmission. The truck was having issues with the clutch/neutral safety switch (prevents an “in gear” engine start) and a power door lock. The technician didn’t disconnect the battery while servicing the power door lock. The tech shorted out a wire which somehow started the truck. Since the neutral start switch had failed the truck drove itself into a shop bench smashing up the front of the truck.
            Luckily no one was hurt.

          • 0 avatar
            NickS

            @Lou_BC:
            “The technician didn’t disconnect the battery while servicing the power door lock.”

            The technician also apparently didn’t engage the hand/e-brake and take a number of other preventive measures. It’s a diesel engine not a lawn mower. People have been pinned against their toolbox with tragic results.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I don’t care how many times my father doesn’t do it–when leaving a vehicle with a manual transmission, I always engage the parking brake.

    • 0 avatar
      Hurf

      As with most supposed design “flaws” this is likely an example of management making the call to cut costs in materials, development, manufacturing, or a combination thereof.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    Ford should have sourced the build for these vehicles in China. General Motors, known far and wide for quality and reliability, is building and importing a new Buick from China. Have we heard one word from anyone that Chinese Buicks are bursting into flame?

    No, we have not.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      No they have to find out the Problem fast as the previous Rangers did not have a Problem. This will not look good for Ford here as the Ranger is now their best selling vehicle

    • 0 avatar
      Hurf

      The issues with manufacturing being done in China are lack of environmental and labour protections, not quality of product.

      China manufactures most of the cheap garbage on the global market, but most high quality consumer goods are also manufactured there. Quality of product has more to do with engineering and production standards than nationality.

      As with most new vehicles being built in a new facility the first Chinese Buicks will likely have quality problems, but there’s no reason that Chinese manufactured vehicles can’t be as good as vehicles manufactured in Japan or North America.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Hurf,
        Totally manufactured in Thailand not China. From memory, we’re not US Fords having the same ” instant combustion” problem. I think some people were killed or injured.?

        • 0 avatar
          Hurf

          Fords bursting into flames and killing the occupants is sort of like GM interiors falling apart or German cars eating expensive engine components: Just part of the experience by now.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Hurf
            Part of the Ford DNA. Not a problem with the local,y manufactured Ford’s like the Falcon etc.
            This is going to be very worrying for the current Ford management here as they see their sales plummeting. Falcon and Territory not selling, as people know Ford is closing. European Ford’s not selling, now this. Not a Happy New Year for Ford.Australia

          • 0 avatar
            WhiskeyRiver

            I gotta say…

            The funniest thing I’ve seen all day is these two guys making serious comments about what seems to me to be an obvious comedic effort which was almost slapstick in it’s delivery.

            I hope they weren’t trying to make more obvious comedy.

            “Comedy irony” gold though.

            Well done if that’s where you were going.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “China manufactures most of the cheap garbage on the global market, but most high quality consumer goods are also manufactured there.”

        Which high quality things are made there?

        • 0 avatar
          InterstateNomad

          Urine drug screen kits and other medical equipment are manufactured there. They are capable of making items with low margins of error (especially something that can make or break a treatment decision) when given the correct resources… the problem is most market pressures push for cost cutting and they are good at it.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          What high quality things, your Iphone, iPad, Samsung , TV’s etc

  • avatar
    Joss

    Lucky this happens to a journalist. How much longer and how many lives would it take to get out?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    More importantly to me, are BT50s afflicted with the same problem.

    They are essentially a Ranger and manufactured on the same line as the Ranger.

    Looking at the dates of the vehicles it appears they have more or less been catching on fire since they were released.

    Ford would be well aware of the problem.

    Judging by the length of time it took Ford to rectify the dud Getrag MT82s they manufactured (7 years) this only has another couple of years before Ford looks at it. This problem is still in the bottom of someone’s in tray. The MT82 is also fitted to Mustangs. It was a design flaw, as the UK manufactured MT82’s had the same issues as the Chinese ones fitted to the Ranger/BT50 and US Mustangs.

    The fires from what I’ve read as quite sudden and fast and in one report a fireman stated it appeared the fire started at the fuse box under the bonnet (hood).

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Big Al from Oz,
      Going to be a good year for Hilux and the new Navara. Navara really selling well. Let us say both are going to ” burn up” the charts when this incident becomes better known

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Ford could have a long climb out of this one.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I agree Pch101. The Ranger is actually a much bigger seller for Ford in Australia than the F Series is for Ford in the US.

      40% of all Fords sold in Australia are Rangers.

      I wonder if this problem is occurring in Sth Africa? Are only the manufactured Thai Rangers fire prone?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Ford and fires go together like cake and ice cream.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        A Ford truck or SUV that spontaneously ignites in one’s driveway is sort of deja vu.

        If Ford handles it like they did here in the states, it will be the individual owners who face a long climb to get reimbursed.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          OldandSlow,
          I do know the Mazda in Australia treated me very well regarding my gearbox fail.

          The BT50 was out of warranty and they replaced the gearbox. The service manager told me that it was not a common problem, but big enough to be an issue for Mazda and Ford.

          I Googled MT82 problems and found that Ford in the US didn’t respond favourably to it’s US Mustang customers regarding their MT82 gearbox issues. They were left high and dry.

          It went to court and Ford won. The outcome was it was a driver related issue. I find this amazing that all of a sudden a certain percentage of drivers have become incompetent at driving a manual.

          Maybe we have different consumer laws.

          Also, how many vehicles has this occurred to?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ajla, I read recently that Ford is having to recall >450.000 gas tanks of Hecho en Mexico Fords because of “cracking”. Surprised me to.

        When my #2 son was a CHiP, I told him about the gas tank on his Crown Vic Patrol car and how it needed to have shields installed to keep it from being breached in case of a rear-ender.

        The Patrol maintenance shop didn’t even know anything about it, until he told them. Then they knew, and there was a FSB out on it.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        Agreed about Fords and fires. Back during the late Nasser Ford era I was on an e-mail list with a computer engineer who was a volunteer firefighter on the side. As part of his training they were told that 95% of all vehicle fires are arson unless it’s a Ford. A year or two prior to that an acquaintance of mine had his old (1986 or so) F150 burn up and melt his tools into his toolbox. I have to say that’s the only time anyone in my limited circle has ever had a vehicle fire.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      @pch101 This is in no way comparable to the number of units affected, or the degree of deliberate deception in the VW et al. diesel emissions issue.

      I see no reason why they can’t quickly find out what caused the failure, issue a recall (on the relatively small number of units that have gotten into the wild so far), make some inexpensive warranty repairs, and go to bed at night sleeping relatively well.

      I can’t see any reason why this should turn into “a long climb out” for Ford, unless they were too dumb to recognize that recognizing the problem and resolving now is the best, perhaps only, way to cut their losses to a minimum.

      Even if there is a poor design decision involved, I cannot see any court convicting them of anything criminal, as long as they address this quickly, both as to initiating a well-documented analysis phase, and as to initiating remediation efforts as soon as a cause and solution can come out of a quick but well-executed engineering process.

      FoMoCo has made a few mistakes over the years, but has not been known to try to bury things under the rug. Put them to bed quickly, yes, perhaps even a bit too quickly (partially plastic mod motor manifolds, looking at you), but I have seen them quickly fix outstanding problems quickly for decades, even back into my father’s era, when they promptly fixed a lifter problem on the big block Edsels by replacing mechanical lifters with self-adjusting ones, if I recall correctly. Once they did, he had a good-running low mile used car that he kept and enjoyed for years.

      Predictions of doom and gloom for Ford are likely premature, based on their past record.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        “Predictions of doom and gloom for Ford are likely premature, based on their past record.”
        Already happening here, as the loss of local manufacturing in Ford’s case ( well it appears in quite a few other cases increasing) will be rammed home, when Ford releases its last Turbo Straight Six, Falcon with a min 435hp, 490lbs ft of torque. Sedan already turns a 12.5 second quarter
        People are buying Silly Useless Vehicles in vast numbers and Ford has few to offer. The Everest was going to be a volume seller.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Hopefully they didn’t bring bake the brake pressure switch fires again:

    http://www.lieffcabraser.com/Personal-Injury/Car-Accidents/Ford-Cruise-Control-Switch-Fires.shtml

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Top of the line in utility sports, unexplained fires are a matter for the courts, Everest-o!

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    Electronic door latches can be scary in a fire, much better to have old style mechanicals

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      For that very reason, I keep a Club(tm) antitheft bar on the floorboard of my car, on the passenger side, and easily within my reach behind the wheel.

      In case of fire, or should I find myself in danger of submarining, that heavy bar is going to be taking out my side window ASAP, assuming the door is inoperative.

      No way I am going to get trapped inside either a burning or a drowning vehicle. Not after having grown up reading my father’s copies of Fire Engineering News, complete with detailed photos suitable only for professional (not mass market) consumption.

      I don’t think Ford is the only manufacturer with this kind of a problem in some of their vehicles, and the Panther(P71, CVPI) fire issue when rear-ended, while mitigated by Ford’s fix, it was more like an upgrade to a normal issue than correction of a deficiency.

      I mean who expects that a car at a dead stop, when rear-ended by a car going 75mph, wouldn’t be prone to a gas tank rupture. Their improvements helped, but most sedans cannot withstand that kind of damage without a gastank leak, not just CVPI’s.

      One of the reasons that there was concern was the “hangover” effect from the more severe (in my opinion) situation of GMC putting gas tanks on the side panels of some of its pickup trucks several years earlier. That situation was much more prone to fires, even when T-boned at much lower speeds, a much more common type of accident that a high speed rearending of a stopped vehicle.

      Having said that, I have been having a bit of wierdness with fuses going out, turn signals flaky, etc, in my Panther. And my mechanic says he has seen some Panthers with the harness to the turnstalk having connectors that have started to melt from heat.

      Not exactly bursting into flame, but I think I’ll be opening up my steering column to have a look this month, just in case…

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        The “explosive saddle tank” thing was completely fabricated by Dateline. Not an ounce of truth to it. Debunked in 1993.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_C/K#Sidesaddle_fuel_tank_controversy

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          I was not aware of the outcome of that, just that it had been a big controversy. Thanks for the additional info, Drzhivago138.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            VolandoBajo, it was fabricated and debunked as staged.

            However, I did briefly own a Chevy Standard Cab ShortBed 4X4 pickup, aka Kidney Buster, with a 15 gallon saddle-bag gas tank on each side of the bed, and in case of a T-Bone collision, it could conceivably have ruptured the gas tank.

            The military people I bought it from had a truck-bed Camper on it and used it to go off the beaten path in the mountains on weekends.

            I bought it for scratch without the Camper when they went overseas to Japan and could not take it with them, and I sold it to the first illegal alien Mexican who offered me more for it than I had paid for it.

            AFAIK, they are still using it in some Blue State they migrated to, back East.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        I see no reason to keep a huge club like that.

        I carry 2 RESQME’s in the car, one on the key chain and the other stays in the center console. Both in lime green to be easily seen. My side windows are not laminated so it works for them.

        http://resqme.com/resqme/

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Earlier reports were that Ford planned to start building the Ranger in the U.S. again, along with an SUV built on the same chassis that might revive the Bronco name.

    This is the new Bronco, isn’t it?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Yes and no. Yes, it’s very likely that the Bronco will be Ranger-based, but no, by the time it comes here (2020, I think? at least 2018), the Everest will be starting its next model.

  • avatar
    jcisne

    The same thing happened to me many years ago with a 1999 Hyundai Galloper (a clone of the first generation Mitsubishi Montero built by Hyundai in the late 90’s – early 2000’s). The car was parked when it spontaneously caught fire and there was absolutely no interest from Hyundai to investigate my claim. No more Hyundais for me ever since since.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    Unsafe at any spe… er.. standing still. Too soon?

    • 0 avatar
      46and2

      Nice one Andy.

      I was just looking at the Ford website. When did they change their motto from “Quality is Job 1” to “Go Further?”

      I think the Everest driver tried to “Go Further”…but well…uh, once the dashboard started to melt into the floor I bet it was a bit hard to go anywhere.

      Besides, if Ford really wanted it’s products to “Go Further” it should make cars that don’t turn into flaming marshmallows.

  • avatar
    shaker

    “Everest”?

    More like “Vesuvius”, amirite?

    Most electrical failures involving multiple strange effects (multiple systems acting strangely, self-activation, etc.) are caused by a broken or resistive ground connection to the vehicle chassis, of which there are several in a modern vehicle.

    Electricity that can’t find its proper path to ground will find a way through another path, causing all kinds of weird (or dangerous) effects.

    I had a Wolfsburg Rabbit back in the day that would eat front wheel bearings in a few thousand miles due to a corroded ground strap between the engine and body – the bearings would arc and pit (esp. when starting the engine), and accelerate normal mechanical wear. (Hypothetically, If bearing grease were all that flammable and had access to oxygen, you could see how fire could be a possible result.)

    I believe that the Ford fires in the cruise control involved brake fluid, and a bad ground.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      No bad ground required. In Ford’s stupidity, they had unswitched +12V going to the cruise control brake pressure switch. When the diaphragm in the switch leaked, water-contaminated brake fluid came into contact with the +12V and provided a path to ground.

      If they had used switched power to that switch instead, at least it would have prevented vehicle fires while the vehicle wasn’t being operated.

  • avatar
    rogbaggs

    I always think it’s worth re-visiting an issue like this some time later. It’s now more than four months since this fire. There are now many more Ford Everests on the road. They have been on the market for more than six months. As far as I can tell there has only been the one incident of this type. Although one fire is one too many, it’s starting to look as if this may have been an isolated incident rather than a design or manufacture problem.

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