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.
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 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.