Ford's Police Interceptor Utility Off the Hook As Brake Investigation Wraps Up

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fords police interceptor utility off the hook as brake investigation wraps up

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s probe into reports of exhaust gasses leaking into the cabin of certain Ford Explorers continues, the company doesn’t have to worry about the brakes on its law enforcement variants anymore.

After launching an investigation into front brake hose failures — at the request of the Sacramento Police Department — in 2015, the NHTSA returned the verdict this week. Nothing inherently wrong with those front stoppers, it said. It seems the Sacramento PD really, really pushes its vehicles in pursuit training.

Seeking evidence of a defect trend, the agency’s probe looked at “maximum front caliper crimp temperatures under various test conditions” and tested “hose assemblies removed from police interceptor service for any signs of thermal degradation.” The investigation concerned vehicles from the 2013 to 2015 model years.

While it determined that the brake hose failures resulted from “exposure to extremely high heat at the caliper-side hose crimp,” none of the Police Interceptor Utility vehicles pulled from patrol and pursuit duties for testing showed any sign of the condition.

“The low number of hose assembly failure reports and the absence of any verified incidents of heat related front brake hose crimp failures since 2015 suggests that the Sacramento PD incidents resulted from conditions unique to the training program,” the NHTSA said in its rundown. No recall or further investigation is warranted.

In light of the agency’s finding, it’s odd that other police departments didn’t report the same issue. The Police Interceptor Utility is one of the most common pursuit vehicles you’ll see, and trainees put those rigs through their paces from coast to coast.

Another brake hose issue did crop up in 2013, also on the same type of vehicle. However, in 2015 the NHTSA determined that the brake hose failures reported by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department originated from “a small tear in the outer cover on the body end of the hoses on the outboard side.”

While it couldn’t identify a defect in the hose material, the investigation suggested that improper repair procedures likely contributed to the tears. In other words, the guy tasked with swapping the brake discs allowed the caliper to dangle from its brake hose during servicing.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • Jonathan Kleinbart Jonathan Kleinbart on Nov 08, 2018

    Don't want to be that guy, but "gases" not "gasses." The former is a noun and the latter is a verb. I should be able to read past it but alas, here we are.

  • Brilly Brilly on Nov 26, 2018

    If anybody is listening.. I have a 2013 Ford Edge and I have had brake failure twice! Ford replaced booster then it failed again. Now replacing master cylinder. Lots of similar complaints along with Fords lack of responsibility to completely fix the problem!! Personally I feel it is a more expensive fix than a defective booster which ford claims is the reason.I think it is a defective hydraulic control braking unit which Ford would have to pay alot more to replace! Many people have had multiple brake failures and our lives are at risk.Ford only offers an extended warranty on the brake booster and will only replace it twice. Too bad if that does not work...(which it doesnt) Greed and lack of concern for lives are a bad mark for this company. I will never buy another one after owning 4 Ford automobiles. This will be the last time. Fact check this and you will find it true!

  • Arthur Dailey When I grew tired of the T-Bird trying to kill me by refusing to start at the most inconvenient times/places, I replaced it with a '79 fullsized Dodge (Sportsman) van. Similar to this but with a different grille and rectangular headlights. The 4 'captains' chairs in my van were pretty much identical to the ones in this van. Mine certainly was not as nicely finished inside. And it was a handful to drive in snow/ice. One thing that strikes me about this van is that although a conversion it does not seem to have the requisite dark tint on the windows.
  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.