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Hagens Berman files class-action lawsuit against Ford and Bosch claiming Super Duty diesel emissions defeat devices

The law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Ford and Bosch of knowingly installing emissions-cheating software devices in 2011-2017 Ford 250 and 350 Super Duty diesel pickup trucks, allowing the affected pickups to pollute at levels up to 50 times legal limits. Ford called the claim “baseless”.

Hagens Berman is the same firm responsible for emissions lawsuits against Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes, General Motors and Volkswagen. The firm said that it conducted independent testing of the 2011-2017 Ford 250 and 350 Super Duty trucks, which revealed emissions of harmful pollutants including NOx at up to 50 times legal emissions standards. The suit adds that the diesel Super Duty trucks that pollute at illegal levels cost $8,400 more than their gasoline counterparts. Even in average stop-and-go conditions, emissions are routinely as high as five times the standard, the suit says.

The class action hits Ford and Bosch with a total 58 counts of violations of state consumer laws, false advertising laws, deceptive trade laws as well as violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), adding that “Ford did not act alone,” but colluded with Bosch in an organized scheme to evade emissions requirements, for sake of profit.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District for the Eastern District of Michigan, states that the trucks’ touted performance, power and towing capabilities are only obtained by switching off or turning down emissions controls when the software senses the vehicle is not in an emissions-testing environment.

Resources

  • CASE NUMBER: 2:18-cv-10106-DPH-EAS
    COURT: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Comments

Calgarygary

Unless the owners of the trucks are getting caught exceeding emission standards and being forced to fix the problem at their own expense, I'm not sure many would want it to come to light that the trucks are failing the emissions test. Which leads me to wonder who is behind the class action?

CheeseEater88

Having been in independent testing facilities, certified to test emissions equipment on cars, it's rather unlikely they have sufficient data to support any of thier claims(other than to a court of law). The cost of the certified gases is incredible.

Ineffective emissions equipment is far from a cheat device. Likely they used outliers and fudged the results to back thier desired numbers. Ford, i would hope, wouldn't risk something like failing emissions equipment on thier bread and butter truck line.

I have tested other trucks completely stationary/dyno, and have found that you can get very high NOx due to tricking the truck. Usually the truck will find the trick, over time, but it could take a while, certain parameters for testing the emissions equipment don't trigger until certain speed and temperatures and loads. Water down DEF fluid is one i am familiar with, snapping the throttle is another, playing with the high pressure fuel sensor is another, the list goes on. I could make almost any truck fail a test, for a while anyway.

The nature of emissions equipment and what is legal rolling down the road isn't exactly some simple cut and dry numbers, the car can legally run out of desired emissions parameters for a myriad of reasons, all of which are legal. WOT, a vehicle that is insufficiently warmed up, a vehicle that is trying to save itself from destruction. Thus it is possible to make these loopholes show up during regular driving scenarios without overtly being nefarious.

You have to remember, that in the auto industry everyone is frenemies. I believe that other makers would have turned in ford long ago, at the same time as Volkswagen or sooner, if they had a cause to.

What complicates this is Bosch being there, Bosch transcends all brands and nameplates, it's everywhere. Bosch sells its emissions equipment to the OEMs like a salesman does a vacuum.

If it's prevalent as they say, we'd hear of this sooner. We heard of Volkswagen, who's numbers are dwarfed by ford, it just seems odd to me.

Lad

Points out the fact that no matter what you do, when you burn fossil fuel in an internal combustion engine, you create pollution. The fix is what we are trying to accomplish, i.e, a switch to electric motors.

Brian P

Right now, this proves nothing other than that lawyers are fishing for cases.

CheeseEater88

Unlike VW, ford has proper emissions equipment in place, not just an EGR system. If they are found at fault, this could be an issue for all makes, if Ford and Bosch fall, the rest will be like dominos, except for maybe Cummins, but even still it could have similar short comings.

Nothing is perfect Lad, even in my state, my ICE on the free way is greener than many long range electrics co2 wise.

Engineer-Poet

Ironic for you to claim superiority CO2-wise, when the issue at hand regards NOx.

The two are tradeoffs, and fuel economy tracks CO2 performance.

bhtooefr

@CheeseEater88: They do have a SCR, but VW didn't just have an EGR in the American cars - they either had a LNT or SCR themselves.

CheeseEater88

Well coal fired power might have a bit of NOx too, but I'm not familiar enough to say. I don't know if the temperatures get hot enough.

Bhtooer, i might be mistaken but i don't remember a dpf or def fluid on the VW we had in the lab. I worked with the car a few times, but mainly i was focusing on larger trucks. It could have been an older emissions profile car, but it was newer in comparison to our fleet. It still should have been up to tier 4. We didn't really mess with the car because it didn't have a lot of the secondary emissions controls like the others. We had a brand new duramax, a dodge, Hino, and several Cummins on stands.


So the model probably had a dpf, but likely didn't have scr, as only some did. We talked about it because international and caterpillar formally large makers of engines, didn't have one ready as of the tier 4 phase in because they too didn't go with an scr system, they tried to go with massive or heavy egr, with duty cycles North of 50%.

CheeseEater88

This article says ford is over 50x the threshold, meaning this is way worse than VWs. Which makes me think either everyone else has missed this and ford is very lucky, or its some conspiracy to make money on whistle blowing.

Car companies often buy and test thier competition. That how they find out who's playing by the rules. Almost every emission shortfall or fuel mileage miss quote has been called out by another manufacturer. Often time they are notified by another maker, and take steps to correct it while contacting the proper authorities. Mistakes happen. When you are searching for the best possible fuel economy in your class and your competition beats you by 3mpg, you are going to wonder how they did that, and that's how Hyundai came under scrutiny, beyond owner complaints, it was other makers raising questions, and it just came down to an improper coast down number, same with ford, and probably others.

It's odd to hear complaints of 6 years of trucks and no one caught this sooner, even as VW was going on.

CheeseEater88

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/tech/volkswagen-diesel-emissions/

VWs main way of reducing NOx was through its EGR, even a NOx absorbing catalyst like a LNT would saturate quickly without constantly being cycled rich. Which is what they programmed out, only when tested did they cycle rich or run the egr at any meaningful rate.

SCR is a much better system, which is why i am wondering about these allegations. Sure its a cost of ownership, but you have to run through the fluid before it turns bad, and it's not an extreme cost, so I'm just wondering the reason Ford would cheat. I forget the typical ratio of DEF to diesel but it's not a huge burden.

Between the DPF and SCR it wouldn't make sense to possibly cripple the emissions equipment. Upto $8000 in exhaust after treatment and sensors just to keep it clean, why would you shut it down? Turning off SCR is only going to save you on DEF purchases, and you can't really run around DPF without active or passive regening.

Im just trying to fathom why they would cheat. They wouldn't benefit, and thier customers wouldn't save fuel. Those SCR injectors can flow a lot, no excuse for bypass. SCR is a proven to work system. It would do more harm than good bypassing the SCR, the fluid rapidly decays and is left sitting in a tank with other expensive components.

Engineer-Poet
coal fired power might have a bit of NOx too
It very often does.  Several methods are now being used to control it, but it used to be so bad at some plants that the stack gases would be red from the NOx in it.

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