Nearly 1.2 million Ford Explorers Sidelined By Toe Link Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – June 20, 2019 – Over 1.1 million 2011-2017 Ford Explorers are under recall notice by the model’s eponymous automaker due to a rear suspension system issue that poses a potential threat to riders’ safety by increasing their crash risk. Ford Motor Company says it will inform registered owners of this hazard by first-class mail no later than June 24 and advise them to take their vehicles back to the dealer so that the problem, if diagnosed, can be fixed at no cost.

The Defect

According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford is recalling approximately 1.19 million Explorers – with model years ranging from 2011 to 2019 – whose rear suspension systems may be compromised. More specifically, the problem affects the sport utility vehicle’s toe links, which are located in the rear of the vehicle and provide added ballast so the wheels remain in constant contact with the road. However, it’s possible that these toe links could fracture while the vehicle is in operation, depending on the topography and curvature of a given road surface. In such an event, it could lead to an accident by reducing motorists’ steering control.

Timeline of Events

This issue first came to Ford’s attention back in April 2017 when the automaker received feedback from an Explorer user who noted that the toe link on the SUV shattered after mistakenly hitting a curb. The automaker was made aware of other incidents involving the rear suspension issue through December 2018, although none of the incidents led to injury.

But the number of events was enough to prompt an internal investigation, which featured engineers recreating situations that were similar to the ones referenced by motorists whose toe links broke or suspension systems failed. These tests determined that when Explorers were under stress – experiencing “suspension articulation,” in automotive jargon – the toe links could fracture, especially if exposed to the same types of jostling regularly and over time. A break could then lead to a steering failure and potential risk of an injury in the event of a crash.

Ford’s Field Review Committee ultimately determined that a safety recall was warranted and informed NHTSA of this in early June.

The Solution

The recall is rather wide in scope, involving Explorers built between May 2010 and January 2017. Most of the potentially problematic SUVs are 2015 and 2016 models, as Ford says it’s recalling a combined 466,000 vehicles manufactured during this period. Of the 1.19 million warranting a recall, around 12,000 SUVs have the defect and will need to be serviced, according to NHTSA documents. 

Nevertheless, Ford says it will send out fliers to owners starting on June 24 to inform them of the safety issue and instruct drivers to take their SUVs to their nearest authorized dealer so the rear suspension toe links can be repaired or replaced. The recall is expected to cost the automaker approximately $180 million, according to BBC News, but for motorists themselves, the repair is free.

For more information on this, contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332. You can also enter your VIN at MotorSafety.org to see if your vehicle is affected by this or a separate recall. An estimated 25% of vehicles currently on the road have a recall that has yet to be repaired. 

Sean ReyesNearly 1.2 million Ford Explorers Sidelined By Toe Link Defect

Certain Recalled F-150s May Need Another Fix, Ford Says

Laguna Hills, CA – June 18, 2019 – Tens of thousands of F-150s – consistently the best-selling vehicle in America – are being recalled by the Ford Motor Company due to flaws within the truck’s powertrain control module, which may cause the vehicle to downshift without warning. The unexpectedness of such a scenario may reduce a driver’s ability to maintain control of the car, thus increasing the risk of a crash and resulting injury. This latest recall is a follow-up to one that occurred in March over a similar issue.

Owners are urged to bring their trucks back to the dealer so a free fix can be scheduled, which will likely involve a reprogramming or full-scale replacement of the PCM. Motorists will be notified officially no later than June 24 by first-class mail.

The Defect

As corroborated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford is recalling 107,857 2013 F-150 trucks due to malfunctions with the powertrain control module, which were first brought to the attention of the automaker in 2016 and have since resulted in a number of follow-up investigations. In fact, certain 2011-2013 F-150s were recalled over PCM issues back in February, only that one involved over 1.2 million vehicles. The concern at the time was the potential for these trucks to suddenly downshift to a lower gear, even though motorists may be traveling at a high speed – which would, under normal circumstances, prevent that from happening.

The difference between this latest fault and the one discovered in February is the software used to reprogram the PCM wasn’t the latest version, so the initial configuration may not have worked. In essence, this latest recall is to correct the original.

If motorists are operating an adversely affected F-150, they may experience a reduction in speed out of nowhere. This could raise the risk of an accident, particularly on the highway where other motorists are driving at 65 miles per hour and over. Speed is consistently the leading factor in car crashes, according to NHTSA.

Timeline of Events

On May 16, a technician alerted Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group that certain 2013 F-150s whose powertrains were reprogrammed may not have been fixed with the appropriate software updates in place. To determine those involved, Ford launched an investigation and concluded that the corrections weren’t applied to trucks with 5.0 and 6.2 liter engines. Thus, those that were recalled initially would need to be recalled again, which Ford’s Field Review Committee authorized on June 3. The company believes potentially as many as 100% of the 107,857 F-150s may still have PCMs that weren’t appropriately calibrated, assuming motorists brought them to their dealer when they were first informed of the glitch.

The Ford F-Series commands quite the presence in the automotive world. In 2017, more than 896,000 trucks were sold nationwide, according to Business Insider, its best-selling year on record, which dates back to 1977. It’s consistently the top-seller of all models in the U.S. – a feat reached for 36 years running. This may explain why this and the original recall affected so many.

The Solution

Ford says that the recall will get underway officially on June 24, when owners will be notified of the issue by mail. Motorists are urged to bring their truck back to an authorized Ford dealer for a fresh PCM reprogramming. Like the original – and virtually all safety recalls – the service is complimentary.

For more information on this recall, owners have several options. They can contact by phone, dialing 1-866-436-7332, which is Ford’s toll-free hotline. Alternatively, check MotorSafety.org by entering the truck’s VIN in the designated field.

Sean ReyesCertain Recalled F-150s May Need Another Fix, Ford Says

Foldaway Seat Recall Expands

Laguna Hills, CA – June 6, 2019 – As part of an ever-expanding recall that centers on rear seat defect in multi-passenger vehicles, New England Wheels is reaching out to owners of certain Ford Transit and Ram Promaster vehicles, due to a foldaway seat that won’t lock in place. Under normal circumstances, the units allow for greater functionality and freedom of movement for passengers. The problem is that when the flawed ones are under pressure, they seemingly refuse to remain upright. This movement could greatly increase the risk of an injury for the person seated. New England Wheels and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urge Ford Transit and Ram Promaster to reach out to the foldaways’ manufacturer, Freedman Seating, so the repairs can be completed for free.

The Defect

Per documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Billerica, Massachusetts-based New England Wheels, a vehicle retrofitting company, seeks to recall a combined 544 Ford Transits (model years 2014-2018) and Ram Promasters (2014-2019), which the company installed with Freedman Go-ES Foldaway Seats. New England Wheels was able to determine the precise total by matching the identification numbers of the affected seats with the same digits found on the units of the vehicles they were installed in.

The flaw in question is a back frame weldment, which New England Wheels says may be too narrow and subject to malfunction because it can’t withstand the weight of a person seated or leading on the foldaway seats. The rotating action of the back cushion may exacerbate the deformation of the weldment and fail to fully engage the mechanism that locks when the seat back is repositioned. Evidence of a flawed component is if the locking mechanism doesn’t make a “click” sound when moving the back cushion from folded to upright.

This is only the latest recall notice involving Freedman Go-ES Foldaway Seats. In May, Waldoch Crafts, Inc. informed NHTSA that it was recalling 15 Ford Transit shuttle vans for the same reason. At the time, though, a remedy had not yet been finalized.

Timeline of Events

Although the two recalls involving the problematic folding passenger seats were both in 2019, the issue traces back to at least 2018, when NHTSA first issued an awareness notice at its website. Vehicle customization firms may have been unaware of the recall prior to installing them or purchased the models before the announcement.

The Solution

The Freedman Seating Company, in conjunction with NHTSA, has agreed to facilitate the inspection and completion of the repairs on flawed GO-ES Foldaway units. If owners decide to take their vehicles elsewhere, the company says it will reimburse them the cost of repairs and labor ($50 value). However, the best move is to go through Freedman directly, as the company says it knows what replacement parts to install to fix the flawed mechanism. The recall began in earnest on May 27. For more information, contact Freedman at 1-800-443-4540, New England Wheels at 1-800-886-9247 or visit MotorSafety.org, using the campaign number 19V-333.

Sean ReyesFoldaway Seat Recall Expands

Ford Recalls 2019 Ranger Vehicles For Transmission Defects

Laguna Hills, CA – May 28, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2019 Ranger pickup trucks because the transmission may unexpectedly switch to a different gear from what the shift lever indicates, and if the parking brake is not applied before exiting the truck, the vehicle may roll. As many as 2,534 vehicles may be affected by these issues.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this matter, the fasteners attaching the transmission shifter cable bracket to the transmission may come loose, resulting in the vehicle being in a gear different from that which is indicated by the gearshift lever’s position. When the transmission gear does not match what is shown by the lever, the vehicle could move in an unexpected direction, including rolling away while in the Park position unless the parking brake is engaged before leaving the vehicle. These problems may increase the risk of injury or crashes affecting vehicle occupants, passersby and any autos in the vicinity. 

Timeline of Events

Ford learned of the problem April 25, 2019 when two warranty reports indicated issues with vehicles not starting as well as rolling away while in Park. One report involved a vehicle in which the gear shifter was in the Park position while the instrument panel displayed Drive, resulting in the inability to start. In the other report, the vehicle did not start, did not register as being in Park and rolled when the shifter indicated Park. In both situations, the issue was attributed to loose or missing transmission shift cable bracket fasteners. Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group began an investigation upon learning of these reports.

Following a review of assembly plant records, it was discovered that a manual torque verification process had been temporarily substituted for the automated installation and torque verification for the shift cable bracket fasteners. This happened in vehicles produced between March 5 and March 13. The automaker conducted an audit of the 277 vehicles manufactured during this time frame and found four vehicles with improperly torqued transmission shift cable bracket fasteners.

Ford’s Field Review Committee approved a field action May 6. As of that date, the automaker was not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to these issues.    

The Solution

A recall is expected to begin July 1, 2019. Ford will inform owners, instructing them to bring affected vehicles back to the dealership for repair. Dealers will inspect and tighten the transmission shift cable bracket fasteners as needed. They will also verify the proper transmission shift operation, at no cost to owners.

Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 19S15. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the NHTSA’s www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V366000.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls 2019 Ranger Vehicles For Transmission Defects

Ford Recalls 2013-2016 Fusion Vehicles Because Of Transmission Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – May 18, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2013-2016 Ford Fusion vehicles equipped with 2.5 liter engines because a transmission defect could allow the driver to shift into Park and remove the ignition key while the vehicle may still be in gear. If this happens, the vehicle may unexpectedly roll away from its parked position, increasing the chance of an accident. As many as 259,182 vehicles may be affected. 

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this issue, the transmission shifter cable bushing may deteriorate over time, causing it to disconnect from the transmission. When this happens, if the driver shifts into Park, the vehicle could still be in gear even after the key is removed. This could lead to the vehicle unexpectedly moving or rolling away, potentially resulting in a crash. 

Timeline of Events

Ford first addressed the “roll and park” issue July 2018 in a field action involving certain 2013-16 Fusion and 2013-14 Escape vehicles that had missing or damaged shift cable bushings. In one part of the vehicle population affected by the defect, the cause was traced to a transmission grease that was not compatible with the bushing material; in the other trucks, the automaker could not find any root cause.

Following the first field-service action, Ford continued to investigate the origin of the defect, monitoring field data on vehicles not included in the original field action. From Aug. 2018 to April 2019, the automaker held periodic reviews of the matter, sharing results of its tests and internal investigations on an ongoing basis.

From April to May, Ford’s continuing investigation embraced powertrain package studies, part return engineering analysis, material robustness testing to under-hood fluids and analysis of updated field data. As a result, the automaker determined that the shifter cable bushing in the affected vehicles was performing differently than in other Ford powertrains. Consequently, Ford’s Field Review Committee decided May 13 to approve a field action.

The Solution

The recall is expected to begin May 28, 2019. A solution for the problem is still under development. Until repairs can be made, vehicle owners are advised to use the parking brake after shifting into Park to prevent roll-away. When a remedy is finalized, the automaker will contact vehicle owners.

Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 19S16. This recall is an expansion of 18V471. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V362000.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls 2013-2016 Fusion Vehicles Because Of Transmission Defect

Ford Transit Shuttle Vans Recalled For Rear Seat Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – May 17, 2019 – Waldoch Crafts is recalling certain 2018 Ford Transit Shuttle Vans equipped with Freedman GO-ES Foldaway Seats. The rear seat cushion may not stay locked in place when the vehicle is carrying a heavy load, such as when a sudden stop occurs, or during a crash. As many as 15 vehicles may be affected.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this issue, the affected Ford Transit vehicles, which were modified by Waldoch Crafts, contained rear foldaway seats that are designed to rotate from the stowed position to the upright one. Because of a manufacturing defect, the seat cushions may not remain locked in place in certain situations, such as when an unexpected stop occurs, or during a crash. In the event of an accident, there is a greater likelihood of injury for rear seat passengers. 

Description of Cause

According to the manufacturer, if the back frame weldment is too narrow and it is fastened to the seat base weldment, this could potentially result in a deformation of the dump mechanism. As a result, this defect would cause the seat back cushion locking module to malfunction under certain conditions. If the seat back does not lock correctly, shuttle van passengers could suddenly find themselves thrown backwards into a reclining position, increasing the chance of injury.  

The Solution

A schedule for formal notification of the recall has not been finalized yet. The manufacturer is still working on a repair solution for the problem, and will contact owners when that becomes available.

Owners may contact Waldoch customer service at 1-651-464-3215. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to the www.safercar.gov website. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V-252.

Sean ReyesFord Transit Shuttle Vans Recalled For Rear Seat Defect

Curbtender Recalls 2018 Ford Trucks With Curbtenders And Whelen Brake Lights

Laguna Hills, CA – May 8, 2019 – Curbtender, Inc. is recalling certain 2018 Ford F-650 and QT06 vehicles equipped with Curbtenders that include Whelen brake lights. Due to a possible wiring problem, these lights may incorrectly illuminate when the brake pedal has not been pressed. If this happens, it can confuse other drivers, increasing the risk of a crash. As many as six vehicles may be affected.  

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on the issue, the affected Ford F-650 and QT06 vehicles featuring Curbtenders and Whelen brake lights could have a wiring defect. The brake lights may unexpectedly illuminate when the brake has not been depressed, depending on the specific wiring of the vehicle. This would give an indication that the vehicle was stopping, when it actually wasn’t. Were this to happen, the faulty brake lights could confuse other drivers, potentially leading to a crash. 

Background of Issue

This action is similar to another current recall by Excellance, Inc. involving 2018 ambulances and emergency vehicles built on Ford E-350, E-450, F-650, F-550 4×4, Chevrolet G4500, G4500 Diesel, C3500, G3500, Freightliner M2, International 4300 and Dodge 4500 chassis and equipped with Whelen brake lights. As with this Curbtender recall, the brake lights may illuminate when the pedal hasn’t been pressed; if the brake lights improperly illuminate, it can increase the risk of a crash. Because of this issue, the affected vehicles would fail to comply with federal regulations covering lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment.

The Solution

There is no notification schedule yet for the start of the recall. The remedy is still under development by the manufacturer.

Owners may contact Curbtender customer service at 1-319-266-1721. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V237000.

Sean ReyesCurbtender Recalls 2018 Ford Trucks With Curbtenders And Whelen Brake Lights

TransitWorks Recalls Ford Transit and Dodge Ram Vehicles For Rear Seat Defect

Laguna Hills, CA – May 7, 2019 – TransitWorks is recalling certain 2015-18 Ford Transit, 2018 Ford Transit Connect and 2016 Dodge Ram ProMaster vehicles equipped with Freedman Seating GO-ES seats. The back seat cushion may not lock in place properly. In the event of a crash or a sudden stop, if the seat back moves the occupant would have an increased risk of injury. As many as 776 vehicles may be affected.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this issue, when the back seat cushion is changed from the stowed position to an upright one, the cushion may not remain locked in place when under load, such as in a crash or a sudden stop. During the operation of the seat, and specifically when rotating the seat back cushion from the stowed to the upright position, there needs to be an audible click of the mechanism locking into position. In addition, the mechanism will rotate downwards. If the seat back failed to lock into place as designed, the back seat occupant would be at increased risk of injury during a crash or unexpected stop.

Timeline of Events

Freedman Seating Company GO-ES seats may have been manufactured with a back frame weldment that was too narrow, resulting in deformation of the seat back cushion dump mechanism, which may cause it to malfunction.

TransitWorks was notified of the recall Nov. 1, 2018 via email by Freedman Seating Company. On Nov. 6, TransitWorks requested additional information to determine whether single seats were also affected by the recall, and also began the process of identifying affected vehicles at this time. 

The Solution

The recall began Dec. 19, 2018. TransitWorks has notified owners and instructed them to contact Freedman seats for a repair kit, along with information on obtaining any necessary repairs.

Owners may contact Freedman Seating customer service at 1-800-443-4540 or TransitWorks customer service at 1-855-337-9543. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V229000.

Sean ReyesTransitWorks Recalls Ford Transit and Dodge Ram Vehicles For Rear Seat Defect

Ford Recalls 2015-19 Pickup Trucks Due To Engine Block Heater Issue

Laguna Hills, CA – April 17, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2015-2019 Ford F-150 and 2017-2019 Ford F-250 Super Duty, F-350 Super Duty, F-450 Super Duty and F-550 Super Duty pickup trucks. The affected vehicles have engine block heater cable splice connectors that were insufficiently inspected during a previous recall. The cables may have been damaged, which could cause a short, increasing the likelihood of overheated or melted wiring and chance of fire. As many as 131,068 vehicles may be affected.

The Defect

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on this problem, during the prior recall and repair process the connector pins in the block heater cable’s splice connector may have been broken or fractured. A short could then occur in the damaged cable, potentially leading to melted or overheated wiring and the subsequent risk of a fire.

Timeline of Events

The report of an under-hood fire in a 2017 F-150 pickup was first brought to Ford’s attention Feb. 28, 2019. The fire broke out when the engine block heater was plugged into a wall outlet. After inspection, greasing and reconnection, the vehicle was returned to service. Subsequent inspection later revealed that the fire had very likely been caused by the engine block heater cable, specifically a separated male pin in the splice connector.

Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group requested X-ray scans of new production and warranty-returned block heater cable connectors for signs of potential damage in the splice connector. Examination of the new cables showed that the pins were properly crimped, with no signs of damage, while the returned warranty connector scans were inconclusive.

Further review of field-returned parts in March 2019 revealed that connector pins could become partially or completely broken when the connector ends are manipulated in a lateral bending or twisting motion during connector separation. In addition, twisting or flexing the two connector ends could potentially fracture one or more of the three male terminals inside the molded connector, which would not be visible to the technician. Other factors contributing to damaged connectors could include pre-existing debris or corrosion.

After reviewing the results of the investigation, Ford’s Field Review Committee decided April 1 to approve a field action.   

The Solution

The recall will begin April 22, 2019. Ford will notify all owners to return their vehicles for service, at which time the dealers will disable the engine block heater from being used. When replacement cables become available, a second notice will be mailed and dealers will replace the engine block heater cord, free of charge.

Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 19S11. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov. The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 19V278000.

Sean ReyesFord Recalls 2015-19 Pickup Trucks Due To Engine Block Heater Issue