Natural gas vehicle conversion specialist Landi Renzo USA is recalling about 350 Ford E-Series vehicles that the company modified to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) between Jan. 2, 2011, and Feb. 24, 2014.
The company submitted a defect report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in early March, explaining that both brackets that support the rear CNG tank in these conversions could become compromised ‘due to excessive wear and tear’ and that ‘the ear of both brackets could develop cracks and eventually break.’
‘The effect of the ears of the bracket breaking may eventually cause the main rear structure to form cracks on the inner (center) portion of the structure,’ the company wrote in its notice to NHTSA. ‘As the crack develops, the rear structure may completely lose its structural integrity and, in extreme worst-case scenario, the cylinder may come dislodged from the rear structure.’
The affected NGVs include model-year 2011-2014 Ford E-150, E-250 and E-350 vehicles. Landi Renzo USA said only NGVs with more than 80,000 miles on the odometer showed any signs of cracking, and only a handful of problems were reported by fleet customers. Also, the company said it is ‘not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this issue.’
After an investigation of a pair of NGVs and inspecting a number of other units, ‘a finite element analysis study determined that the structure did not meet Landi Renzo's structural loading scenarios and specifications,’ the company wrote to NHTSA. ‘The mode of failure observed on failed structures was confirmed.’
The company thereafter requested the voluntary recall.
Landi Renzo has already begun contacting vehicle owners, who have been instructed to schedule appointments with Ford dealers or Landi Renzo service centers to handle the repair service, free of charge.