2012 Ford F-150 XLT: The most fuel-efficient and capable full-size pickup on the market  is getting fine-tuned for 2012, with several driveline updates and new technologies to further improve and refine the driving experience. They include the addition of Hill Start Assist, an automatic four-wheel-drive system for Lariat trim level and above, and an electronic locking rear axle on 3.5-liter and 5.0-liter engines. (09/29/2011) kwalston@abqjournal.com Mon Dec 12 14:11:59 -0700 2011 1323724318 FILENAME: 121801.jpg
2012 Ford F-150 XLT: The most fuel-efficient and capable full-size pickup on the market is getting fine-tuned for 2012, with several driveline updates and new technologies to further improve and refine the driving experience. They include the addition of Hill Start Assist, an automatic four-wheel-drive system for Lariat trim level and above, and an electronic locking rear axle on 3.5-liter and 5.0-liter engines. (09/29/2011) kwalston@abqjournal.com Mon Dec 12 14:11:59 -0700 2011 1323724318 FILENAME: 121801.jpg

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports of braking problems in 250,000 2011-2012 Ford F-150 pickups equipped with 3.5L GTDI engines. The group has identified 32 complaints of alleged electric vacuum assist pump failures that resulting in the loss of brake power assist—making it far more difficult to get the vehicles to stop. According to the complaints, failure occurs without warning—in two cases they are said to have resulted in crashes. Approximately 60% of the complaints have been received in the past nine months so the problem appears to be becoming more widespread.

An investigation by the NHTSA is a preliminary step in issuing a recall, though it doesn’t automatically result in one. A story in the Detroit News reports shortages of replacement parts and one instance where the problem was rectified by replacing the original electric vacuum assist pump with a belt-driven pump from a 2013 model—an extreme fix for something that could well be the responsibility of the manufacturer.

According to Brian Laskowski, a self-employed mechanic who previously worked at a dealership as a Ford Factory Master Certified Technician, the electric vacuum assist pumps in 2011-2012 Ford F-150s are poorly gasketed and subject to corrosion. The assist pump is intended to supplement the vacuum from the 3.5L GTDI (EcoBoost) engine, which at low speeds may be insufficient for power breaking. The video below was produced by Laskowski and explains the hows and whys of the pump in question and shows how to make the repair.