Ford Fuel Problem Play By Play

File Jan 23, 7 53 11 AM

In this post, I am going to give a play by play on the details of this particular failure and a factual account of my interactions with the dealer.  2008 Ford F-250 current mileage: 69,610.

Step 1 – January 10, 2016:  I was in route from North Little Rock to Little Rock, pulling a small 12 foot trailer.  My intention was to pick up a gun safe for my nephew and deliver it to his house in North Little Rock.  Suddenly we experienced a loss of power and the vehicle died on I-40 just prior to the Crystal Hill exit.  I turned the ignition on for about 30 seconds and then off again about 6 times and then the truck restarted.  Great!  We are on our way  again! We continued on to I-430 and the vehicle died again just past the Maumelle exit.  Unfortunately the ignition cycling trick did not work this time.  I continued to attempt to restart to no avail.  This has just become Found ORoadside Dead. Time for a tow.  I contacted Good Sam Roadside Assistance and they promptly dispatched a tow truck.  I had some tools and other equipment in the vehicle, so I had it towed home, thinking that I would remove the tools and pay for the tow to the dealer.

Step 2 – January 11, 2016:  My plan at this point was to make an effort to get the truck to the dealer before I had to go to work.  I had charged the batteries over night, so let’s see if the vehicle will start.  Yay!  Success! Vehicle started immediately on the first turn of the switch!  My thinking was that whatever the problem is it can’t be too bad.  I let the truck warm up a bit, then proceeded to North Point Ford (my dealer). I was first in line at the dealer and after explaining to the service adviser the problem with the vehicle, he informed me that the diesel mechanic was still finishing up with some issues left over from Friday and that it may be Tuesday before we had a diagnosis on the vehicle.  I said OK and left it at that.

Step 3 – January 12, 2016:  About 2 pm on Tuesday, I receive a call from my Service Adviser.  He informed me I had rust and metal shavings in the fuel system and there was a slightly expensive procedure needed in order to correct the problem.  I then asked how on earth could that happen, and he suggested that I must have picked up some bad fuel somewhere.  I immediately discounted the “Bad Fuel” theory since I purchase Diesel at the same location that my son-in-law does, and he has not had any problems with his F-250.  I then asked just how expensive the little procedure was that they needed to perform.  Wait for it…….. $12,119.38.  I don’t think I can safely describe my reaction in writing.  So, I let the adviser know that I would be down later that afternoon to observe first hand what a $12,000 repair looks like.  Of course, the extended warranty that I purchased with the vehicle had now expired.

Upon my arrival at North Point, I met with the service adviser.  I am sure that every eye in the place was on me at that point, since I was loudly requesting that I see what a $12,000 repair looked like.  The adviser quickly invited me out to the shop to visit with the mechanic.  The mechanic showed me the upper fuel filter and the rust.  He also showed me metal shavings in the bottom of the filter bowl.  I asked him how could this have happened.  He explained that I must have gotten some bad fuel. Logically, I said that if I got some bad fuel, why wouldn’t the filters have captured the shavings and prevented this problem.  He conveniently showed me a hole in the upper filter.  Hmmm. I then said well, you folks at North Point are the ones who installed these filters (actually North Point are the only mechanics who have turned a wrench on this truck). He again said that the holes must have been created from bad fuel, alcohol or some other chemical contaminant.  Hmmmmm!  How convenient.  (As a side note from my research, I have concluded that the metal shavings most probably came from the High Pressure Fuel Pump that elected to self destruct due to a small amount of moisture that a poorly designed fuel system allowed to even get to the pump and the rust is a result of the metal shavings that are flowing around in the system).

So.  What are my options at this point?  A couple of advisers get together and suggest that I contact my insurance agent and file a claim.  Contaminated fuel is contaminated fuel and this would be no different than someone putting sugar in your tank.  I then proceeded to contact my agent to file a claim.

Step 4 – January 18, 2016:  No word yet from Insurance Company.  I elected to visit North Point with the intention to meet with the Service Manager to discuss and get some idea of my options.  I step in to visit with my Service Adviser.  He seemed overly engrossed in what he was doing and seemed to be making an effort to not acknowledge my presence (I feel that “ignoring me” is a much too strong of wording in this instance!).  So, I step up to him, announce myself along with a description of my vehicle and problem (in case he forgot) and ask if he has heard anything from the insurance company.  He indicates that they haven’t been contacted yet.  I then ask to speak with the Service Manager in order to review my options.  He says that the Service Manager was not there and he would not be in until tomorrow.  Hmmmm.

So, considering my options at this point, I wandered around the lot to see if they had any used gas burning F-250’s on the lot.  Didn’t see anything that really appealed to me.  I then wandered in to the show room thinking that I might could speak with a salesman to get some idea if a deal could be worked out with my truck.  Keep in mind that my state of mind is angry and upset!  After unloading all my anger and frustration on the salesman, he says that I really need to speak to his boss.  After a few minutes, the salesman returns with the General Manager of North Point Ford.  After a few minutes of discussion, I explain my situation to the GM.  He then proceeds to state that there is not much that he can do for me from a dealer perspective and suggests that I need to contact Ford Customer Service.  He also suggests that I not pursue any other options until Ford has a chance to look in to the matter.  With the number to Ford Customer Service in my hot little hands, I return home and proceed to call Ford.  I was promptly connected to Tiffany (who was very professional and efficient).  Tiffany patiently listened while I ranted and raved and explained my situation and my feelings. After a lengthy conversation (mostly me ranting), Tiffany assigned me a case number and told me that my next point of contact would be the Service Manager at North Point Ford.  She would forward all the information to him.

Step 5 – January 19, 2016:  Attempted to contact North Point’s Service Manager several times throughout the day.  Apparently he was not at his desk.  I left 2 messages.

About 5:30 pm, the Service Manager returns my call.  I explain the situation to him and relay the case number.  He lets me know that he has not received any information from Ford yet and that he would look in to the matter.

Step 6 – January 21, 2016:  The Service Manager gives me a call at about 10:20 am.  He explains that Ford representatives have been on site and have reviewed my situation.  The next step in the equation is to remove the High Pressure Fuel Pump (which requires removal of the cab).  He wants me to authorize a $3200 expenditure in order to get to this point.  Well now ain’t that just exciting!  After a series of questions on my part, I understand that the $3200 is just to pull the cab and remove the High Pressure Fuel Pump.  No fix, no parts replaced, not even the cost to put it back together.  Just to remove the pump……  However, he goes on to explain that Ford cannot make a determination until the pump is inspected (and even if the insurance aspect pans out,  we will have to get here as well).  So, the dealer is not willing to take a hit on this in case Ford and the insurance company deny the claim.  At this point it appears that they really have me over the proverbial barrel.  During my readings, I noted that similar strong arm tactics were used to coerce others into paying for expensive repairs.  However, nothing can move forward until that pump is inspected.  What to do, what to do.  I elect to take a chance at this point, hoping that something good can actually come out of this deal.  I am thinking, however, that I am not willing to spend another $3200 to put the vehicle back together.  I guess I can drag the thing home in pieces.  Someone talented can buy it cheap and fix it and have a good truck for a while, at least until the HPFP self destructs again.

Interlude:  February 13, 2016:  Truck is still at North Point Ford.  No input from Ford at this point.  I have been in contact with my auto insurance.  The matter is still under investigation by the insurance company…………..  (I am not optimistic at this point).  Transportation is not really a problem yet.  The wife is driving a loaner from her brother and I am driving our 1997 Toyata 4 Runner.  (Did I mention that this 4 Runner has almost 230,000 miles on it and has only been in the shop 1 time over the years for a leaky axle seal?)

2nd Interlude:  February 26, 2016, 03:18 am:  Truck is still at North Point Ford.  I have spoken with the Service Manager at Ford.  He is not very helpful at this point.  Last discussion on Monday with the insurance company was “the matter is still under investigation”.  As of today, the truck has been out of commission for 47 days.

Step 7 – March 10, 2016:  Good News!  Insurance company will pick up the bulk of the tab!  Called the dealer and told them to go ahead and fix the truck.  State Farm really came through for me!  However, in the back of my mind I am thinking,  “This can happen again!”  Only 69,000 miles on this truck and the next time a drop of water gets into the fuel, boom another $12,000 repair!  Got to get rid of this truck as quickly as possible.

Step 8 – March 22, 2016:  The Service Advisor from North Point informs me that the truck is ready.  The truck was washed and detailed and looked good from the outside.   They really did a good job on cleaning the truck.

Went inside to meet with the Service Advisor.  He informed me that they threw in a wash and did an oil change.  I had several questions.  First and foremost, what can I do to prevent this from happening again?  What kind of warranty will I have after I pay the bill and drive off?  The advisor immediately took me back to meet with the Service Manager.  I was informed by the Service Manager that there is not really anything mechanical that can be added to the vehicle to prevent this.  He did mention that there were some off the shelf additives that could be purchased that may help avoid this.  He went on to explain that the best way to avoid this was to make sure that the fuel was purchased from a reputable dealer and to make sure to retain copies of all receipts.  He advised me that I may never see this problem again.  I asked him what he would do if he were in my shoes, he informed me that he would trade the vehicle.  He continued to let me know that this was an International motor and they have had a lot of trouble with this engine.  The newer diesels were a Ford engine and he would stack them up against any diesel out there.  The new design used oil pressure to deliver the fuel rather than a HPFP that was used in the 2008 Ford. So to make a long story short, I get a 24/2 warranty on the parts, however, if water somehow makes it to the HPFP, I am back in the same boat again……..Finally, I asked him what would have happened if the insurance had not come through on this, what would Ford have done.  Short answer:  NOTHING!  Evidently I was 2 months out from the time frame that Ford considers to be qualified for any type of assistance.  Even with the low mileage on the vehicle.

After paying the tab (insurance check and $1582 out of my pocket, total $13,582), the service manager took me to the sales floor and left me with a salesman (who did not really seem interested in assisting me).  The salesman did not have any used vehicles on the lot that met my criteria (gas burner, 3/4 ton).  He did, however, have 2 new vehicles out there.  The one that caught my eye was $49,000.  I asked him what he would give me for my vehicle.  After deliberation they informed me they would give me $18,000 for my vehicle as a trade in on a new one.  I said thank you very much.  I was going to shop around a bit and I may be back in touch.

So there we have it.  I will be driving this FTTB (Ford Ticking Time Bomb) until I can find a suitable replacement.

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