2007-2015: Ford Duratec V6 water pump issue in the news

2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature, Machine Grey Metallic
Inexpensive car parts leading to unbelievably costly repairs.

The article is from a local ABC station here in the ATL. There is a video in the article page that shows an example of the aftermath of a water pump failure.

Inexpensive car parts leading to unbelievably costly repairs

Nov 22, 2019 - 7:34 AM
ATLANTA - A Channel 2 consumer investigation exposes how an inexpensive part can lead to an extra-expensive repair. Consumer investigator Jim Strickland reveals why the drivers of some of Ford's most popular cars and trucks get hit with the bill.

You know the names well, like F-150, Explorer, Fusion and Taurus. They're all Fords, and the affected model years in this case share the same engines. When a $200 part goes bad, the news gets worse in a hurry.

Shona Manigault's car is a 2011 Ford Explorer. She was pulling out of a McDonald's when it started to sputter, stall and overheat. It turned out to be a fairly routine issue involving the water pump, an engine component that circulates coolant to keep your engine at an optimum temperature. But the price of the repair was anything but routine: more than $8,100.

"Are you angry?" Strickland asked Mrs. Manigault.

"Angry is putting it lightly. I am past the moon with rage with what has happened to me with this vehicle," Manigault said.

Ford introduced the Duratec engine in 2007. Its water pump is inside the engine itself. When it fails, instead of anti-freeze leaking on the ground, it leaks into the oil, turning it into something resembling a chocolate milkshake.

"So honestly when the tech told me that, I was like, 'You've got to be kidding. There's no way at all.' And he says, *Yes, Mr. Manigault I'm sorry to give you this news but that's what happened,'" Cleavon Manigault said.

"12 million drivers don't know they're driving with this engine, isn't that fair to say?" Strickland asked Pennsylvania attorney Joe Meltzer.

"Absolutely," Meltzer said.

Meltzer filed a class-action lawsuit involving 15 different models spread over the last 12 years. The list includes Fords, Lincolns and Mazdas.

He said there's another problem. Just to get to the water pump, you have to tear the engine apart, removing it completely from the vehicle and racking up costly labor charges right from the start.

"When stuff like that happens for people who rely on their car to drive their families around or for their living and you see that this is a real hardship," Meltzer told Strickland.

Strickland found dozens of complaints on file with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

"Water pump exploded and destroyed the engine."
"My car suddenly shut down."
"A huge design defect."
Days after a lengthy phone call with Ford, Strickland received a one-sentence email: "We do not comment on pending litigation."

The company refused to discuss general questions about the water pump location, so Strickland turned to independent Ford technician Doug Lewis with Ford Performance Specialists in Mableton.

"Tell me why Ford made the water pump design the way that they did," Strickland asked Lewis.

"Packaging is the best word I can use to describe it," Lewis said.

Lewis said unlike an external pump, the internal one saves precious space under the hood, making room for a larger engine or other components.

"My opinion, it's not a defect," Lewis told Strickland

Lewis said he's fixed a dozen of the water pump failures, including a Ford Flex he had in the shop when Strickland visited. He said he's been able to save each engine and can't explain why hundreds of drivers like the Manigaults have been told their engines were destroyed.

Of course, the replacement they got is the same design.

"I call it a ticking time bomb," Cleavon Manigault said.

A federal judge in Michigan said most of the vehicles involved in the class-action lawsuit were out of warranty. She dismissed the key parts of the lawsuit. Meltzer is working on an appeal.

Affected Vehicles
Ford Edge 2007*2010
Ford Edge 2015*present
Ford Edge 285 2011*2014
Ford Explorer 2011*present
Ford F-150 282 2015*2017
Ford Flex 2009*present
Ford Fusion Sport 2010*2012
Ford Taurus 2008*present
Ford Taurus X 2008*2009
Lincoln MKX 2007*2010
Lincoln MKZ 2007*2012
Mazda 6 (3.7L) 2009-2013
Mazda CX-9 (3.5L) 2007
Mazda CX9 (3.7L) 2008-2015

Mercury Sable 2008*2009
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2019 Mazda CX-9 Signature, Machine Grey Metallic
"My opinion, it's not a defect," Lewis told Strickland


I am sure Ford begs to disagree.

The folks that were interviewed had their engine replaced due to the water pump breaking. I guess from that mechanic gentleman's point of view, it isn't a defect since he has fixed all the engines that encountered that issue. I think he was making a point that a new engine is not really needed when the water pump breaks and spills coolant into the engine and mixes with the oil. It may not technically be a defect, but I would consider it a major design flaw that benefits the manufacturer from a packaging perspective. In any case, I'm just relieved that I don't have to worry about this.
2021 CX-9 Sig
2014 CX-5 GT
Older Toyota V6 engines required a water pump replacement at 100K miles. A $1500 job. Nobody complains about that.
Mazda CX-9 GS AWD
Older Toyota V6 engines required a water pump replacement at 100K miles. A $1500 job. Nobody complains about that.

I don't know the 'factory' procedure for the Toyota, but it likely doesn't require removing the engine. A friend of mine is a Toyota tech and they have found all the tricks to bring the price down to about $800.
I had my Mazda water pump done, but also replaced all the timing chains and guides which boosted the cost well above the $200 pump.
2010 Mazda 5 Sport
Older Toyota V6 engines required a water pump replacement at 100K miles. A $1500 job. Nobody complains about that.

My 2002 4Runner 3.4L V6 cost is about $400 in parts which includes timing belt, water pump, tensioner, etc etc... and a wasted afternoon. And I'm slow.

You'll need to qualify which engine is that much.
92 MX-3; 18 CX-5
FWIW you do not have the remove the engine in the Gen 1 CX-9 to replace the water pump.
Definitely advanced DIY and time consuming, but it can be done. If you have replaced a timing belt and water pump on another car you can do the water pump on the CX-9. And, the OEM water pump (motorcraft) can be bought for <$100.