By on November 7, 2018

ford explorer police interceptor utility

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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10 Comments on “Ford’s Police Interceptor Utility off the Hook As Brake Investigation Wraps Up...”

  • avatar

    When I see these PI Explorers I feel as if I stumbled into a RoboCop cartoon.

    Recently saw a Statee on the highway with the side emblazoned: T-R-O-O-P-E-R (same font as above).

    Did I cross into Toontown?

    • 0 avatar

      IF I were to buy an Explorer I would scour the junkyards to find one with “I-N-T-E-R-C-E-P-T-O-R” across the hood, and grab the hood. (Unless the parts department at the local Ford dealer will sell me one.)

  • avatar

    Shade tree mechanic fix?

    2 ea flexible metal dryer vent
    2 ea mesh vent covers
    14 ga copper wire stripped out of Romex (not plastic snap ties)

    There must be enough room under these whaleboats to thread the vent tubes to the general area of the calipers. You might not need much convective cooling to reduce the brake hose coupling overheating to a manageable level. Besides all the kool kids do it – Porsche, et al.

  • avatar

    Huge upgrade from the Crown Vic it replaces. Cannot think of a category in which it is not superior, and I really liked the CV.

    • 0 avatar

      The water pump from the CVPI is less prone to failure and much easier to replace. ;)

      Seriously, the Ford PI Utility hasn’t been proven to have the durability that the CVPI had. For example, I’d like to see numbers on transmission failures. Not that the current Ford PI series isn’t a worthy upgrade, just there may be a few areas in which the old CVPI is hard to beat.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, brn, I have heard some of the same. The Crown Vic was cheap to maintain for sure. Hopefully, Ford will work out the bugs. I remember when the Pentastar came out. It had at least one very serious issue, but they are very reliable engines now.

  • avatar

    Let me guess, they did their pursuit training in July. When I used to work in the San Joaquin valley many years ago, I recall that temps could get up to about 116 in the sun, come late afternoon. I remember getting into my Probe (go ahead, laugh) that I brought from Pennsylvania, ie, no tint and experiencing my face and nose first hurting from the heat then going numb! Summertime in the valley is no joke. No surprise that they’d bust a hose flogging those fat bastards around on a hot track.

    • 0 avatar

      “No surprise that they’d bust a hose flogging those fat bastards around on a hot track.”

      Not to mention what they would do to the vehicles!

      (Just kidding, of course, no need to get yer knickers in a knot!)

  • avatar
    Jonathan Kleinbart

    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.

  • avatar

    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!

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