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Ford Explorer faces another investigation over exhaust problems

by Justin King

The company had addressed previous complaints via a service bulletin, however owners are continuing to complain of exhaust in the cabin.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened another investigation into Ford Explorer exhaust complaints.

The agency first launched an inquiry two years ago after owners complained of exhaust fumes in the cabin. Ford appears to have addressed such concerns via a pair of service bulletins, tweaking climate-control management and calling for supplemental sealing.

"Some vehicle owners reported little or no improvement after the TSB remedy," the NHTSA writes in its latest notice.

The agency has received at least 150 complaints. One complaint even blames the exhaust fumes for causing an accident.

"Every time the SUV is accelerating over 3,400rpm for a duration of greater than 3-5 seconds, the AC system fills the cabin with nauseating gas," one owner says. "The smell has changed over the course of ownership from burnt hair smell, how to an exhaust, rotten egg/carbon smell ... I am very concerned that exhaust is entering the vehicle at hazardous levels."

The NHTSA suggests complainants agree that the problem is most noticeable when climbing steep grades or merging onto freeway ramps. It is also said to be worse when the AC system is set to recirculation mode.

The agency is now attempting to evaluate the potential safety concerns raised in the long list of complaints.

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