Ford recalls trucks with defective shift linkage components

Dearborn, Mich. – Nov. 30, 2017 – Ford Motor Company has recalled more than 11,700 vehicles potentially equipped with defective shift linkage components, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects 2017 Ford F-150 pickup trucks produced between between Aug. 23, 2016 and Aug. 9, 2017. The car manufacturer suspects just 7 percent of the models referenced in the action contain the defective features.

The Defect

The affected vehicles contain transmission shift linkages with pins that are prone to slipping out due to the presence of non-uniform gaps between the inner and outer coils. Engineers at Ford believe the pins may also feature undersized diameters, further increasing the likelihood of pin slippage. Should this occur, gear changes initiated by drivers will not register. Owners who have experienced this have reported viewing inaccurate information on the shift indicator. The condition may result in unintended vehicle movement, which poses a serious threat to owners. However, Ford has yet to receive reports connecting the defective pins to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of Events

In June 2017, the Ford‘s Critical Concern Review Group received a report detailing an instance in which the 10-speed transmission in one vehicle failed to function properly. Engineers reviewed parts from the vehicle and found evidence that the transmission shift linkage pin could come out with ease. The CCRG launched an investigation and directed production personnel to alter assembly line processes to ensure that pin diameters were correct.

Over the course of July and August, Ford reviewed numerous reports wherein customers attested to experiencing “looseness” when attempting to operate the shift lever, which failed to move the gears. Quality assurance personnel tested the problematic shift assemblies mentioned in the reports and compared them to functioning alternatives. There was an immense difference in usability, indicating that there was a significant problem.

In September, the automaker continued to review incoming field reports related to the defect while also checking production records to ascertain the extent of the issue. Meanwhile, engineering personnel conducted further tests and discovered a connection between assembly line pin insertion force and pin dislodgment susceptibility. These technical experts also found that the the problematic transmission shift linkage pins had irregular coil spacing.

On Oct. 16, the Ford Field Review Committee evaluated all of the available evidence related to the potentially defective features and decided to launch a voluntary safety recall. Ford notified dealers of the action Oct. 24.

The Solution

Ford has directed dealers to replace the defective transmission linkage pins with new parts free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. The automaker intends to contact owners Dec.11 via first-class mail. Those in need of more immediate assistance can connect with Ford customer service at (866) 436-7332. Callers should use the internal recall identification code 17S36. Owners can also contact the NHTSA directly using its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

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