Hot Stuff: Ford GT Recalled for Fire Risk
It wouldn’t be a supercar without some risk of getting burnt. Those performance limits are far beyond the capabilities of most owners, after all.
This time, however, the threat of conflagration is real.
According to Ford, certain copies of the GT run the risk of dribbling hydraulic fluid from the lines feeding its adjustable rear spoiler. Since the car’s centrally-mounted exhaust tips are located in close proximity, this problem could set the whole works ablaze.
Specifically, Ford is issuing a recall for approximately 200 select 2017 and 2018 Ford GT supercars. In affected vehicles, the valve block assembly located underneath the rear wing may weep hydraulic fluid onto a hot exhaust. Company reps say they are aware of one fire in Germany that caused no injuries. Ford mentions it is not aware of accidents or injuries as a result of the problem.
That fire in Germany appears to have been a doozy, though. According to local media, a silver GT with about 40 miles on the clock set itself alight this past June, with the 52-year old owner and his son escaping before harm befell them. Photos taken at the time show a GT with everything aft of the B-pillar reduced to ashes.
Affected vehicles include cars built from December 20th, 2016 all the way through to July 31st of this year. Nearly 200 of the exclusive rides in North America are affected, with 176 in the United States and 18 in Canada.
Here’s a fun fact: Ford has apparently sold 191 GTs in America during 2017 and so far in 2018, meaning only a handful of GTs are not affected by the recall. It’s a similar situation in Canada.
Interestingly, Ford says the fix will not be a mechanical one for most cars. Dealers will perform a software update to the fully integrated vehicle controller, eliminating the possibility of excessive pressure in the valve block assembly. A few of the recalled vehicles are expected to have a rear wing hydraulic check valve installed as well. If I were the owner of a half-million dollar car, I’d ask for the tangible fix.
In a world increasingly turning up its nose at the V8 engine, the Ford GT is powered by a version of the company’s 3.5L EcoBoost V6, making nearly 650 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque.
Pwrwrench on Oct 13, 2018
This was a problem in the aircraft world when systems moved from mechanical actuation to hydraulic. This happened back in the 1930s and 40s as planes got bigger and the force required to move things, landing gear, control surfaces (similar to that GT wing), doors and valves on environmental control systems. Many planes in WWII were lost due to fire from leaking hydraulic fluid. Later a fluid was developed that was much more resistant to fire. If Ford did this change however, they would probably need to replace all the sealing parts in their system; O-rings, hoses, etc. As the newer fluids will wreck the other stuff. Also the fire resistant fluid is nasty stuff and will remove paint better than acid. It also wrecks most clothing and everything else it comes into contact with. I knew people that worked on parts for those systems. They needed to change their clothes when starting the work day and change again before lunch or going home. Those that don't get a mess. One guy had holes in his regular clothes and all the upholstery was gone on his car seat leaving steel springs. He'd throw a towel over it that would need replacement regularly. This was just from the residue left after work and washing up, but obviously not enough in this case.
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