Montgomery’s Ford Explorers Have Cracked Manifolds

Ford Explorers, outfitted with police lights and radios, have raised questions about carbon monoxide. Montgomery County hasn’t had the same issues as other police departments.

Across the country, police agencies are becoming concerned that officers, who drive Ford Explorers, are becoming ill from carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Montgomery County, the Department of General Services has been monitoring the Explorers since January, said David Dise, the department’s director.

Of the 108 Explorers the county operates, 60 to 80 percent have cracked exhaust manifolds, Dise said. The oldest are four or five years old, he said.

“When we find a cracked manifold, we are taking [the Explorer] out of service, and we’re returning it to dealer. That’s a manufacturer defect and we won’t pay for that,” Dise said.

Three people who drive the Explorers — police officers as well as other county administrators — thought they smelled exhaust, he said. County technicians tested the vehicle, and no carbon monoxide was detected in the cabin.

Drivers, however, have shown no ill effects.

“I think a lot of that is we’ve been proactive and aggressive in taking care of these issues,” he said.

An NBC News report described officers passing out, possibly because of exposure to carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be emitted in a vehicle’s exhaust. Auburn, Massachusetts, police posted the following Facebook post after one of its officers was involved in a crash.

In the NBC piece, Ford suggested the cabins of the police cars could be compromised because of holes drilled to install specialized police lights or radios.

Dise said the county outfits its own vehicles with lights and radios, and the holes are checked.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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