Ford has announced a recall of 6,146 model year 2013 Ford Escape vehicles equipped with 1.6-liter engines due to a defect that could result in a dislodged cylinder head freeze plug, possibly resulting in a fire.
Freeze plugs are used to seal drain holes in a sand-cast cylinder head. The drain holes are required to permit the drainage of sand, used during the casting process, from the internal cooling passages. When properly installed, freeze plugs provide an effective means of sealing the cooling system. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) documents, Ford experienced two vehicle engine fires: one at its manufacturing facility and one at a pre-delivery staging location which Ford believes may have been the result of a freeze plug leaking and/or dislodging, resulting in a rapid release of coolant. If the engine is hot enough, the water within the coolant mix could quickly evaporate, leaving a higher concentration of glycol. Under the right conditions, glycol is flammable.
According to Ford, this condition may also be preceded by various instrument panel gauge and warning light indications.
For more information regarding the Ford Recall, or on any of your automotive cases, please contact Scott King, BSME, Automotive / Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates at rsk@forensicDJS.com.