EVER­EST FIRE: BAT­TERY THE CAUSE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - CARSGUIDE CONFIDENTIAL - Twit­ter @JoshuaDowl­ing

FORD won’t re­call its new Ever­est SUV de­spite a dra­matic fire in­volv­ing News Corp mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist Peter Barn­well last week.

A Ford in­ves­ti­ga­tion found a loose bat­tery con­nec­tion caused the fire, which hap­pened on a test drive.

Ford says the bat­tery on the car in ques­tion was re­placed in Thai­land af­ter the early-build ve­hi­cle sat in a com­pound near the end of the pro­duc­tion line for two weeks. The burnt ex­am­ple was one of the first 300 ve­hi­cles built.

The com­pany has since in­spected 2000 cars in Aus­tralia and over­seas to rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a man­u­fac­tur­ing fault.

“We are con­fi­dent this is not a sys­temic fail­ure, or a de­sign de­fect, or some­thing that has hap­pened through the as­sem­bly of the ve­hi­cle,” says Ford Aus­tralia safety ex­pert Andy Cooper. “It’s an un­for­tu­nate thing that some­one has made a mis­take. We’ve found no other in­stances and we think it’s very un­likely.”

One of six bat­tery ca­bles was not prop­erly lo­cated un­der a bolt, and this caused the ve­hi­cle to send false warn­ings to the in­stru­ment clus­ter, dis­able the cen­tral lock­ing and, even­tu­ally, spark the blaze.

The loose ter­mi­nal caused high re­sis­tance in the wiring, gen­er­at­ing the heat that caused the fire, Ford says.

It is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing two re­cent re­ported fires in Ford Ranger utes, which share the Ever­est’s me­chan­i­cals and wiring. Ex­perts say the Ever­est fire is a timely re­minder about the im­por­tance of fit­ting bat­ter­ies cor­rectly in mod­ern cars.

“Cars th­ese days are com­put­ers on wheels,” says vet­eran NRMA en­gi­neer Jack Ha­ley. “Mo­torists need to make sure an in­cor­rectly fit­ted bat­tery does not in­ad­ver­tently dam­age the en­gine com­puter and elec­tri­cal sys­tems.”

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