Ford recalls another 386K for chassis corrosion

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by CHRIS WOODYARD

USA TODAY

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Ford, which has been quiet while its Detroit counterparts General Motors and Chrysler Group launched several large recalls in recent weeks, came through with a pair on Monday.

The largest is yet another Ford recall for corrosion of underbody parts in Snow Belt states in vehicles. The time it involves nearly 386,000 Ford Escapes from the 2001 through 2004 model years for corrosion of the front subframe. The subframe carries the engine, transmission, steering gear and the front suspension, brakes and wheels

Ford says the corrosion can lead to separation of a control arm -- part of the suspension that holds the wheel and tire in the right place -- that would, among other things, interfere with steering and increase the risk of a crash. The corrosion recall applies to vehicles bought or registered in cold-weather states and the District of Columbia where salt, which corrodes metal, is used to de-ice roads.

Ford says it is aware of one crash linked to the problem and no injuries.

Such a Snow Belt recall is known as a regional recall, which saves money for automakers by cutting the number of vehicles recalled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has approved regional recalls.

But safety consultant Sean Kane says that they have a higher chance of missing owners and vehicles that should be recalled.

Separately, Ford recalled 49,000 of its newest models -- the 2013 and 2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ midsize sedans, the Ford Escape SUV and the C-Max hatchback hybrid replace seat back frames that weren't welded properly. 

 

In other corrosion recalls, Ford in early 2011 recalled 425,288 1999-2003 Windstars minivans in snow states for the same type of subframe corrosion.

That recall followed by about six months a recall of nearly 600,000 1998-2003 Windstars in snow areas because the rear axles can corrode and break. There was a fatal crash linked to the van corrosion issues.

In the Windstar recalls, Ford provided a rental if an owner's Windstar failed a dealer corrosion inspection before reinforcement parts were available. If the van could not be repaired Ford would offer to buy it back.

Also in 2011, Ford recalled about 1.2 million pickups in snow areas to replace straps holding fuel tanks in place, which could corrode. Covered were the 1997-2004 F-150, some 1007-99 F-250 pickups and the 2002-03 Lincoln Blackwood trucks.

And in 2013, Ford recalled about 230,000 later minivans in snow areas worldwide -- the 2004-07 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey -- to fix potential salt corrosion in the area of the third row mounting bracket near the wheel wells.

Also in 2013, Ford recalled about 370,000 in the U.S. of its 2005-11 Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car sedans in snow areas potential lower steering shaft corrosion that could result in loss of steering.

Snow Belt regional recalls generally cover some or all of these states where road salt is used (plus Canada and some other world markets for some models):

Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin -- plus the District of Columbia.

 

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