Lemberg Law is investigating complaints regarding problems with the service brakes when flat towing with the 2022 Ford Bronco. Vehicle owners are reporting that the braking system times out and shuts down, creating a serious safety issue.
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Is There a Problem with the Flat Towing Brakes?
2021-2022 Ford Bronco vehicles that are equipped with an electronic brake booster (EBB) sometimes have problems when people use the 4-wheel flat tow (neutral tow) system. It affects people using a supplemental brake system to tow their vehicle with a recreational vehicle (RV).
So far, a total of nine 2022 Ford Bronco owners have complained to the NHTSA about the flat towing brake malfunction. There is also considerable discussion about the issue on several forums including Bronco6G and Bronco Nation.
Ford is well aware of the problem and has been attempting to find a solution since at least May 2022.
What Does Ford Say About the Flat Towing Brake Problem?
On May 26, 2022, the manufacturer issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) to dealers alerting them to the problem. TSB 22-2210 is titled, Neutral (4-Wheel Flat) Towing – Inconsistent Brake Feel Through The Supplemental Brake System.
The TSB warns that drivers might report that the brake assist feature is “inconsistent” when a supplemental braking system has been installed in the vehicle. This may, they state, be because the set-up of the supplemental brake system doesn’t account for the Bronco’s EBB system going into sleep mode. It goes into sleep mode via the ABS (anti-lock brake system) module after a predetermined time following the vehicle shutting down.
The TSB explains that this “functionality” is necessary to prevent battery drain. But, clearly, they didn’t expect the vehicles to respond quite the way they do. As a result, they announced that they were in the process of developing “enhanced software” to “address this condition when the vehicle enters Neutral Tow mode.”
At this stage (May 2022), they said the new software was expected to be available in September 2022. In the meantime, dealers were instructed to follow a specific service procedure as a temporary resolution.
On September 19, 2022, when they still didn’t have a solution, Ford issued a second TSB, 22-2360. It has the same title as the first TSB and exactly the same content, including instructions for the same temporary solution. The only difference is that the first TSB was filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under Service Brakes and the second under Service Brakes, Air. And, of course, their expected date for the new software to be available was extended from September to December 2022.
Throttle Lag Seen as an Acceleration Issue
Reporting an incident that has recurred 3 times, an owner from Arizona explains what happens when accelerating from a stop. “I start to accelerate like normal for about 5 feet and then a total loss of power. This leaves me coasting into traffic and about 2 seconds later it takes off like normal.”
An owner from Michigan says his problem is intermittent. “When pressing the gas pedal, there is often a delay of 1 to 2 seconds, followed by an acceleration surge. This has created potentially hazardous conditions during otherwise routine traffic situations. The delay has resulted (in) unpredictability, and the surge has caused loss of control when on gravel surfaces.”
An owner from Washington states that “Randomly when trying to accelerate from a stop or a slow roll (less than 5 MPH), the throttle doesn’t respond for 2-3 seconds. Then the truck will surge. When I say it doesn’t respond I mean nothing happens, no RPM increase or anything. The dealership wants me to believe that it is turbo lag, but that is just a decrease in power, not total loss of acceleration. This has been an issue since delivery.”
What Problems are Owners Experiencing with Flat Towing Brakes?
One of the big selling points of the 2021-2022 Ford Broncos is that they are flat towable. But those people who have purchased Broncos with an EBB are finding that the engine literally goes to sleep after 15-45 minutes and the auxiliary brake system is completely ineffective.
So, when they start out on a journey with their Bronco hitched up to their RV, everything is fine. But then, as an owner from Texas states in an NHTSA complaint: “About 45 mins after turning the ignition off and closing the doors, the EBB (Electronic Brake Boost) in the Bronco shuts down leaving the Bronco without any brake boost.”
A member of Bronco Nation started a thread in May 2022, Flat tow not possible on 2.7 liter. He says, very simply: “Ford has a problem they won’t address on the 2.7 liter cause it has (an) electric brake booster that goes inactive after 15 mins and makes brakes inoperable under tow mode.”
Of course, Ford did address the issue later that month, promising a workable software solution. Still nothing after more than six months!
Here are a couple of typical, more elaborate examples of complaints that the NHTSA has received about flat towing a 2022 Ford Bronco. Some specify that their vehicles have a 2.7 V6 engine. There are more examples of complaints in our post, 2022 Ford Bronco Problems and Top Complaints.
This owner states that he purchased his 2022 Ford Bronco specifically to flat tow behind his motorhome. “Ford states that the full-size Broncos are flat tow capable, but unfortunately the braking system times out due to the electronic brake boost being on a timer.” This owner states that he has installed a supplemental braking unit to activate the brakes on the Bronco when being towed behind my motorhome. But, the braking system doesn’t operate after the electronic brake booster times out. That, he says, is after 45 minutes.
“This is a huge safety concern due to the weight of the Bronco not slowing down as intended while being flat towed.”
An Owner from Virginia States:
“After connecting my Bronco to the motorhome and putting it in the tow mode the following will occur. About 45 mins after turning the ignition off and closing the doors, the EBB (Electronic Brake Boost) in the Bronco shuts down leaving the Bronco without any brake boost and leaving the supplemental brake system ineffective.”
The complaint explains that when the Bronco is first connected to the motorhome, the brake boost is active. But, the supplemental brake system has to be set to match, or it will lock up the brakes on the Bronco when you stop. “After the boost shuts down the supplemental brake system cannot apply enough force to the Bronco brakes to assist in stopping and all at once it takes a much greater distance to stop the motorhome than it did when the boost was working.”
What Should You Do if Your Bronco Exhibits Flat Tow Brake Problems?
Lemberg Law is investigating complaints about the 2022 Ford Bronco’s faulty flat towing brake system. If you are experiencing problems, we’d like to hear about them.
All you need to do is call us at 844-928-4443 or complete our contact form. We will evaluate your case and see if you qualify. It won’t cost you anything because the law says that Ford must pay the legal bills for lemon law cases.