|2007 Ford F250 Super Duty Turbo Diesel - Turbocharger
A customer installed a K&N air intake system on his 2007 Ford F250 6.0 Diesel in June 2007. In November 2008, the customer took his truck to his Ford dealer's service department, complaining of a lack of engine power and smoke coming from the exhaust. The service department determined that the turbocharger needed to be replaced, because the compressor blades "appeared sandblasted", which indicated the repair was caused by poor air filtration. The service advisor contacted Ford, because the truck was still under warranty. Ford stated that if an aftermarket air filter had been installed and caused the problem, the repair could not be covered under warranty. The service advisor then contacted K&N.
Upon being contacted, we asked the service advisor's permission to contact the customer directly. When speaking to the customer, we discovered he was the owner of a shop which sells and installs K&N products. The claim made by his dealership gave made the customer feel concerned about the integrity of the product he sells in his store, and it was important to him that we find out if the K&N product was the actual cause of the repair. We asked the customer to re-install his factory air intake, and ship his K&N intake to us for inspection, and to obtain a sample of engine oil to send in for oil analysis. We received the customer's K&N intake, and it appeared in good condition with no noticeable defects, and the air filter had relatively little dirt buildup on it. When tested in K&N's in-house filtration lab, the specified air filter for this intake system had more than 98.5% cumulative efficiency. The results of the engine oil analysis confirmed that the air filtration equipment was functioning properly; silicon levels in the oil were low at only 8ppm. The K&N air intake was eliminated as a possible cause for the repair. We sent the results of our testing to the Ford dealer, and they proceeded with the vehicle repair under warranty.
2008 Pontiac Vibe - Check Engine Light
A customer installed a K&N replacement air filter in her 2008 Pontiac Vibe in June 2008. In January 2009, her vehicle began to experience performance issues such as bucking and hesitation, and her check engine light had illuminated. She took the vehicle to her local Pontiac dealer for repair, because the vehicle was well within the terms of the factory warranty. The technician at the Pontiac dealer diagnosed the problem and claimed that K&N air filter oil had come off the K&N air filter and made contact with the vehicle's mass airflow sensor, insulating the sensing element, causing the sensor to deliver an inaccurate reading. The dealer recommended replacing the mass airflow sensor and the K&N air filter, and these repairs would not be covered under warranty because the K&N air filter had caused the need for the repair. The customer declined the mass airflow sensor replacement, but was required to pay to replace her K&N air filter with an original equipment Pontiac air filter, so that the problem with the mass airflow sensor wouldn't get any worse. The customer picked up her vehicle from the Pontiac dealer, then contacted K&N, because the dealer's claim seemed suspicious, and she felt they might be taking advantage of her.
When we first spoke to the customer, we learned that she had been driving a friend's vehicle, because the bucking and hesitation were so bad, driving her own car was an inconvenience. We asked the customer to send us a copy of the repair order from the Pontiac dealer, and asked the customer's permission to contact the dealership for more information. On the repair order, we read what steps were taken to diagnose the vehicle. The technician scanned the vehicle and found a P2195 trouble code, checked the fuel trim values and found them OK, then tested the mass airflow sensor and claimed the K&N filter caused the sensor to become coated with oil. We reviewed the General Motors troubleshooting procedure for a P2195, and found that this specific code related directly to an oxygen sensor issue, and had nothing to do with the mass airflow sensor. We contacted the dealership to educate them about how K&N products function, and offered to work with them directly the next time they encountered a problem on a vehicle with a K&N product installed, and they were very receptive to the offer. We then reimbursed the customer for the amount she paid out of pocket at the dealership, and offered to help her find another dealership where she would feel more comfortable taking her car.