By on October 24, 2016

Ford F-450 exhaust (Facebook)

If the dome light in Shelley Shields’ Ford F-450 Super Duty stopped working, she could easily have read a book by the hellish glow emanating from underneath her pickup.

The Cochrane, Alberta driver returned the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel-powered vehicle shortly after purchase after noticing flames shooting from the tailpipe and the exhaust glowing like a certain part of Amsterdam, Truck Trend reports.

Photos posted to Shield’s Facebook page show the situation underneath — and behind — the pickup. Great for melting driveway ice, but definitely unsettling for the owner.


When Shields contacted Ford Canada for a fix, the automaker referred her back to her dealer. Luckily for Shields, the folks at Carstairs Ford didn’t take her for a ride. They offered to take back the vehicle and handed Shields a full refund.

While the owner walked away happy and no neighborhood cats found themselves toasted, the cause of the Ford’s red-hot pipe had forum posters wondering if the truck’s original equipment was to blame. The 6.7-liter Power Stroke’s 6.4-liter predecessor was once recalled for diesel particulate filter overheating, but the automaker claims this glowing Super Duty is a one-off.


In a statement, Ford North American Trucks and Commercial Vehicles Communications Manager Jiyan Cadiz claims the problem doesn’t stem from the factory.

“We have completed our initial investigation into the Super Duty in Canada and have determined it was caused by an incorrect repair after the truck was produced,” said Cadiz. “We are not aware of any other incidents, and we are taking action to prevent this from happening in the future. In this unique case, the customer returned the affected truck and received a refund.”

“Incorrect repair” is plenty vague, but Ford forum posters claim they know the real cause. Diesel fuel poured into the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank during the pre-delivery inspection gets the blame, though it can’t be confirmed. If a technician did make such a whoopsies, it would essentially turn the exhaust system into an afterburner.

[Images: Facebook]

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30 Comments on “Ford Super Duty Owner Gets Refund After Diesel Pickup Grows Afterburner...”

  • avatar

    If only there were a fuel that were almost as efficient as diesel without needing all the sorcery to make it environmentally viable…..

  • avatar

    Incorrect repair? This is a feature!

    • 0 avatar

      In my younger days I knew people who would pay to have this feature in their daily drivers, to make them tarmac RALLY CARS that backfire when off throttle for engine cooling.

    • 0 avatar

      Back when under car neon lights were popular/legal in my jurisdiction I was driving on the highway when I saw an orange glow from under a hoopty. My friends and I were mocking the owner’s decisions about how to spend his or her money. As we got closer we realized it was the exhaust. It looked just like the pics in the story. So we had get their attention @70mph and let the poor woman know her car was about to catch fire. It is difficult for a carload of young guys to get a woman to roll her window down on the highway.

  • avatar

    I’m not familiar with Fords OS but this would never have happened in a Ram (if diesel was in fact poured into the DEF tank). Cummins has a sensor in the tank that measures DEF quality for this very reason and shuts down the metering system and trips a CEL in the dash.

    On another note, I’m not sure the DPF could ever be hot enough to ignite enough fuel to make the exhaust glow like that. I’m thinkin you’d probably have a saturated DPF at worst, and a really light wallet once the dealership figured out what you did. From the sounds of it the mechanic dropped the ball in this instance but if that’s all it was why not fix it and move on?

  • avatar

    SO the exhaust was about half way to being a pulse jet.

  • avatar

    “Diesel fuel poured into the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank during the pre-delivery inspection gets the blame”

    Sounds quite plausible but also pretty easy to remedy…or am I missing something? Remove DEF tank, empty and refill with DEF, purge lines, reassemble.

    • 0 avatar

      The DPF was likely contaminated to the point of replacement. MD and HD trucks have serviceable DPFs, I would gladly pay the extra few hundred to have one in a pick up.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I don’t understand this, either. A few thousand dollars’ effort by Ford could have fixed this, rather than a complete refund on an F-450 Super Duty.

      • 0 avatar

        Probably for the best as Ford might not be able to tell from those pictures how far the, umm, improper heat treatment of nearby bits and pieces extended. Plus good press for them not being jerks about it. Sounds like it was new enough not to need a DEF fillup so the owner would be in the clear wrt doing something stupid.

    • 0 avatar

      Um, no. the entire exhaust system was glowing orange-red. the catalysts and DPF would have been destroyed by those high temps.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Still, so what? The dealer/mfr have to fix the vehicle, anyway, and this fault didn’t destroy the truck.

        I don’t understand why they refunded the customer’s money, except for expedience.

        As someone who had a lemon vehicle once, I might still be a Honda customer if they had refunded me early on, rather than forcing me to take them to lemon court. I guess flames get more attention than electrical problems.

        • 0 avatar

          “Still, so what? The dealer/mfr have to fix the vehicle, anyway, and this fault didn’t destroy the truck.”

          Oh, so you’ve examined the truck? You’ve determined that the excessive heat from the literally red-hot exhaust system didn’t damage anything else? You’ve determined that from the comfort of whatever chair or sofa you’re sitting on?

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            I’m saying I don’t understand, because the story is incomplete.

            You’re suggesting that a red-hot exhaust pipe destroyed a $60k truck, but the photo evidence doesn’t support that.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not like Ford can’t resell the truck after it’s been repaired. Kudos to Ford on this one for quickly rectifying the customer’s issue.

  • avatar

    I had the exact symptom on a car back when I was a dumb teenager. It was an ’84 Firebird with the massively powerful 2.8L carbureted V6, and one day I could barely get it started. It finally fired up and I revved the engine in the driveway for a few minutes. My mom walked out on the front porch, took one look, and screamed SHUT IT DOWN! She could see the glow from the exhaust pipe underneath the car.

    Completely flummoxed I called my grandpa. Over the phone he guessed the timing chain had slipped a tooth, not enough to keep it from running but enough that the burning air / fuel mix shot down the tailpipe. He nailed it, of course. Grandpa knew everything. I miss that guy.

  • avatar


    what goes where on a new vehicle. is this diesel or urea? o what the hell what diff does it make anyways!

  • avatar

    Someone is about to get a heck of a deal on a very low mileage used Ford F-450 pickup truck. Either that, or someone is going to overpay on a repaired defective “demonstrator” Super Duty.

  • avatar

    “Shelley Shields’ Ford F-450 Super Duty”

    Chick car.

  • avatar

    I saw this on the ladys favebook page when it happened she herself admitted to putting diesel in def tank, she said it was half full when she bought it and she filled it with diesel later that day and blamed ford for not giving clearer instructions on def fillup, the ladys full of shit go read her comments on facebook

    • 0 avatar

      Apparently reading owners manuals is too old school anymore. Shame on Ford for not tweeting her the instructions.

    • 0 avatar

      How would you physically do that? I mean they are right next to each other, but the DEF filler is maybe 1/3 the size of the diesel filler. I’m pretty sure a diesel pump wouldn’t even fit in the hole. She must have been really determined.

  • avatar

    Next week check the local listings on a “smoking hot deal” on a low-miles king ranch F450.
    All said and done I would pay for this feature if it was intended. has that old street glow look without the nonsense of degregating ones self.

  • avatar

    This story showed up on the Ford Truck Enthusiasts (FTE) site recently, but they didn’t have an explanation of the cause; just some vague statement from Ford that there would be a three month wait to get the truck fixed.

  • avatar

    Hey watch the paint job!

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