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Engine failure leads to investigation for 2021 Ford Bronco 2.7L


An official investigation has been launched for “catastrophic engine failure” complaints on the 2021 Ford Bronco 2.7-liter engine. Here’s what is going on.

The new Ford Bronco captured the automotive world’s attention with the rebirth of the iconic name and the real direct competitor to the Jeep Wrangler in decades. It is a really fun vehicle as well as we found in our various reviews.

However, production issues like roofs becoming unglued, manufacturing challenges getting it in customer’s hands and now this new issue for the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine are adding to a difficult launch of the new SUV.

What’s wrong with 2021 Ford Bronco 2.7L?

This new concern comes after 32 Bronco owners complained about the engine.

“Under normal driving conditions without warning the vehicle may experience a loss of motive power without restart due to catastrophic engine failure related to a faulty valve within 2.7 L Eco-Boost Engines,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report. It says the investigation opened May 27.

Document filed by Ford revealed 25,538 Broncos may have this issue. That’s a startling number considering Ford reported 35,023 Broncos were sold in 2021.

This engine is standard on Wildtrak trims of the Bronco and optional on all other models except for Everglades and Raptor which have a different engine.

Here are some of the complaints according to the NTHSA website:

  • A Granite Bay, California, driver wrote May 5: “My wife was driving the vehicle and was enveloped in smoke and the engine stopped and she was stuck in the middle lane of a busy road in rush hour. A dangerous section of road a few miles from our house. I drove down and gave her my SUV and then called AAA who towed it to the dealership. The motor was dead. The vehicle was towed to Future Ford of Sacramento. They then diagnosed it a few days later and informed us that it is a complete engine failure and that it will take several months to get the vehicle back to us. There were no warning lights or any warning prior to the engine stopping and a large amount of smoke to the point that my wife thought the whole vehicle was on fire. Four people stopped to help her and get her to the side of the road.”
  • A Whiteland, Indiana, driver wrote May 3: “At 2,000 miles the engine dropped a valve. Vehicle has already received a new engine. Vehicle shut off running down the interstate.”
  • A Farmington Hills driver wrote March 14: “I was driving to work on the morning of March 14, 2022, on the highway approx. 70 mph. I felt a falter or engine buck, I began to lose power to the engine. … I was able to make the additional 10 miles to my workplace. When I stopped at the gate for security, the engine died and I was unable to restart it.
  • A Rochester, New York, driver wrote March 13: “I was on cruise control going about 70 yesterday when I lost all power at the gas pedal. I made it to the side of the highway and waited 90 minutes for a tow truck to come get me. I had my dogs with me and it was 25 degrees out. We were three hours from home. The service department reported today that I had a catastrophic engine failure. A valve came loose and was crushed by the pistons or some such.”
  • A Park City, Utah, driver wrote on Valentine’s Day: “Was driving my son to school, maybe 30 mph when all of a sudden I heard some clicking noises from the engine. The power dropped and I was barely able to pull over to the side of the busy road out of harms way. Engine dead. Only warning lights I got were a forward sensor failure and then a message telling me to pull over put it in park and restart. I tried but I was not able to restart. … Dealer confirmed a dropped valve and engine failure. Awaiting a replacement engine.”
  • A Middleburg, Florida, driver wrote Jan. 19, “broke down with 2058 miles. Flashing engine light, strong fumes smell and vigorously shaking. Ford customer care said there’s nothing they could do. Not even a loaner for a $63k vehicle.”

That’s not a rosy picture of Ford Bronco ownership.

What’s really interesting about this news is the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine is also available on the F-150, yet there haven’t been the same kind of complaints about it on the full-size truck.

The bottom line

Ford will work with NHTSA like they always do and there will likely be either a recall or a warranty extension offered as a result. In the meantime, consumers are going to be stuck in limbo wondering if/when and then what if their Bronco experiences the engine issue. Not a great place to be.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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1 Comment

  1. Brian FInn June 8, 2022

    It makes you think that they were not pulling the same parts from the same bin… maybe a different supplier for the same engine’s internals? The 2.7 was known for being a really good engine in this generation-leave it to Ford to go backwards. I do hope they figure it out.


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