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The Ford Flex is a large SUV or crossover, with a body structure that was changed from a multi-purpose station wagon to a five-door station wagon to better meet customer demand. The series is based on the D4 chassis, a variant of the D3 chassis with a flexible wheelbase. The vehicle is a multifunctional van with three rows of seats and many distinctive design elements. The dimensions of the car changed from a traditional chassis to a full-size D4 chassis. Front-wheel drive was the standard, while all-wheel drive was optional and it was equipped with independent rear-wheel drive and AdvanceTrac stability control. When it launched, it was available in three versions: base SE, a mid-range SEL, and a top-of-the-range Limited. It was available in six- or seven-seat versions, the latter with second-row seating and they offered three roof colors as a part of the roof design: black, grey-white, and body color. For the 2013 model year, the roofline and designed doors were retained, but the front and rear were drastically redesigned. The first of these is the redesign of the grille without the badge, and, instead, the model name appears on the bonnet above the grille. On the tailgate, the emblem was reduced and placed in the lower right-hand corner and the interior dashboard has been redesigned with a new three-column steering wheel.
Ford Flex, especially models spanning from 2011 to 2014, has been dogged by a trio of vexing issues: a persistent "door ajar" warning light, recurrent engine failures, and internal leakage of the water pump. Starting with the door warning, many drivers have found the alert active even when doors are firmly shut. This misbehaving light can be attributed to a malfunctioning door jamb switch, leading to a constantly illuminated dome light and potential battery drainage. For vehicles not equipped with an automatic shut-off for the dome light, overnight disconnection of the battery or bulb is advised to sidestep reduced nighttime visibility. A misaligned door can also be the culprit, necessitating the inspection or replacement of the door jamb switch. Furthermore, the "door ajar" alert might spring to life when releasing the brake pedal during drives. Some attribute this to a malfunctioning sensor, suggesting a cleaning with specific sprays rather than standard WD40 due to residue issues. To rectify this pervasive problem, the NHTSA spearheaded an investigation in 2016. Ford's introduced cleaning protocol provided only temporary relief, pushing some owners towards a costlier module replacement solution. Delving into engine woes, there are multiple alarming cases like a 2014 model, with a mere 1,844 miles on the clock, showcasing a ticking sound escalating to a total engine breakdown, with minuscule copper fragments detected in the oil, hinting at a probable crank bearing issue. Ford's remedy involved replacing the entire engine block. It's worrying to note the absence of dashboard warnings during these events, and speculations indicate that emission-centric sensors might overlook internal engine problems. However, in a silver lining, the EPAS system ensured safe steering amidst engine breakdowns. Several other models, spanning years from 2009 to 2016, depicted varied engine failures, ranging from intermittent starting problems to major engine breakdowns, sometimes even incurring exorbitant repair costs or necessitating complete engine replacements. Ford has, in isolated instances, termed some of these as rare "1 in a million" occurrences, opting to replace engines under extended warranties. Lastly, the water pump's internal failure, predominantly in models from 2010 to 2014, has led to internal coolant leakage. This defect manifests as seepage onto components like the air conditioning compressor, raising suspicions of a defective water pump seal or bearings being soaked in coolant. Such issues can lead to engines overheating or antifreeze mingling with motor oil. Addressing these concerns is vital, especially considering the sizable repair costs that can be incurred. Despite the plethora of grievances and potential lawsuits, Ford has yet to officially recall any models for these pronounced problems.
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