Laguna Hills, CA – December 20, 2018 – Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2016-2018 Ford Focus vehicles equipped with a 1.0L Fox GTDI engine and a 6-speed manual transmission due to potential clutch fracture. The potential number of units affected is 2,828.
According to the NHTSA Recall Safety Report, affected vehicles are equipped with the 1.0L Fox GTDI engine and B6 manual transmission and may experience clutch slip, potentially resulting in elevated system operating temperatures. Repeated high-energy clutch slip input can lead to premature clutch lining wear, and this can subsequently cause a reduction in the mechanical properties of pressure plate material. After repeated cyclic heating and cooling events, cracks may develop around the outer edge of the pressure plate.
The torque capacity reduction that occurs due to clutch lining wear can cause additional slippage and introduce excessive energy and heat into the pressure plate. Eventually, a structural failure or fracture of the pressure plate may occur, leading to clutch cover and transmission housing breaches, which can potentially cause a leak of transmission fluid. A transmission fluid leak in the presence of an ignition source such as hot engine or exhaust components can increase the risk of a fire in the engine compartment.
Vehicle operators may notice clutch odor and smoke, and reduced vehicle performance, which are indications of a potential clutch slip condition prior to pressure plate fracture.
Timeline of Events
As part of an earlier recall, Ford’s Field Review Committee approved field action 18S07 (18V169) March 5, 2018. Between April and August 2018, Ford of Europe continued to monitor field data related to the subject vehicles, and between September and October 2018, a review of field data identified two reports of clutch pressure plate damage on European vehicles. Of these, one vehicle was equipped with a 1.5L and one equipped with a 1.0L engine and B6 manual transmission. Both were built after the timeframe for the previous field action.
Additional engineering investigation and testing identified a wider suspect population of vehicles built with clutch pressure plates manufactured after the field action but prior to a February 2018 material change to the clutch pressure plate. Ford of Europe’s Critical Concern Review Group reviewed this issue on October 10, 2018.
Analysis of field data for U.S. vehicles equipped with the B6 manual transmission identified no reports of pressure plate damage on vehicles built after the timeframe for the previous field action, but on November 19, 2018, Ford’s Field Review Committee reviewed the concern and approved an incremental population of 2,828 vehicles to 18S07 due to two reports of underhood fire on vehicles with similar transmissions in Europe – although no reports have been made in the U.S. for any similar problems.
Ford will notify owners, and dealers will update vehicles with software that detects and prevents prolonged clutch slip, and will replace the clutch, as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 7, 2019. Owners may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 18S07. Owners may also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153). The NHTSA Campaign Number for this recall is 18V-845, and this recall is an expansion of recall 18V-169.