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Ford recalls 285K Explorers, F-150s, and more with transmission, suspension problems

Ford issued five recalls today, with most affected vehicles being Ford-model trucks and SUVs. Combined, the recalls affect roughly 285,000 vehicles in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

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    Ford F-150 trucks are shown at a dealership in Glbert, Ariz. Ford is recalling nearly 202,000 pickup trucks, SUVs and cars in North America because the automatic transmissions can suddenly downshift to first gear. The company also said Wednesday, April 27, 2016, that it’s recalling more than 81,000 Explorer SUVs to fix a rear suspension problem. The transmission recall covers the 2011 and 2012 F-150 and the 2012 Expedition, Mustang and Lincoln Navigator.
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Ford Motor Company issued five recalls today, with most affected vehicles being Ford-model trucks and SUVs. Combined, the recalls affect roughly 285,000 vehicles in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. 

If you believe that you own one of the vehicles listed below, we encourage you to call Ford Customer Service at 800-392-3673 or Lincoln Customer Service at 800-521-4140 for additional details. Recall notices will be sent to owners of affected vehicles by mail.

RECALL #1:  2011-2012 Ford F-150, 2012 Ford Expedition, Ford Mustang, and Lincoln Navigator
UNITS AFFECTED: 201,900, including 184,000 in the U.S. and 17,900 in Canada

This recall stems from a transmission problem--specifically, an issue with the output speed sensor on the transmission's lead frame. The underlying problem appears rooted in the software associated with the powertrain control module, which could cause vehicles to downshift suddenly. According to Ford:

"Under certain conditions, the transmission controls could force a temporary downshift into first gear. Depending on the speed of the vehicle at the time of the downshift, the driver could experience an abrupt speed reduction that could cause the rear tires to slide or lock up. This condition could result in loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash."

Three accidents have been potentially linked to the problem, but no injuries.

Ford says that dealers will inspect the powertrain control module and upgrade the software if there are no diagnostic trouble codes found. The upgrade will prevent the vehicles from downshifting into first gear if a fault with the output speed sensor takes place. Ford also says that it will replace the lead frame on vehicles that have logged fewer than 150,000 miles.  

The recall is limited to vehicles equipped with 6R80 transmissions that were manufactured on the following dates:

  • 2011-2012 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Assembly Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant between August 19, 2011 and March 9, 2012
  • 2012 Ford Expedition vehicles built at Kentucky Truck Plant between August 19, 2011 and December 19, 2011
  • 2012 Ford Mustang vehicles built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant between August 19, 2011 and February 21, 2012
  • 2012 Lincoln Navigator vehicles built at Kentucky Truck Plant between August 19, 2011 and December 17, 2011

RECALL #2: 2014-2015 Ford Explorer and Ford Police Interceptor Utility
UNITS AFFECTED: 81,036, including 75,364 in the U.S., 4,615 in Canada, and 1,057 in Mexico

This recall is meant to address a problem with the SUVs' suspension systems. Ford says poor weld quality could cause the left and right rear suspension toe links to crack. Depending on the severity of the fracture, owners might hear noise coming from the rear of the vehicle, have difficulty steering, or experience loss of steering control.

Ford has received a report of one accident and one injury related to the problem.

The recall affects vehicles built on the following dates:

  • 2014-2015 Ford Explorer vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant between January 17, 2014 and May 31, 2014
  • 2014-2015 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant between January 21, 2014 and May 13, 2014

The repair will involve dealers replacing the left and right rear suspension toe links and aligning the rear suspension.

RECALL #3: 2007-2012 Ford Flex, Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Mercury Sable
UNITS AFFECTED: 199, all registered in the U.S.

This small recall is meant to repair a problem with the cars' driver-side airbag. According to Ford, a crucial element of that device may be missing, and as a result, the airbags might not deploy as intended during collisions. Thankfully, Ford knows of no accidents or injuries related to the problem.

The recall affects vehicles built at Chicago Assembly Plant and Oakville Assembly between December 13, 2007 and October 6, 2011. Dealers will replace the driver-side airbag module at no cost to owners.

RECALL #4: 2016 Ford Fusion
UNITS AFFECTED: 39, all registered in the U.S.

The vehicles affected by this recall may suffer from a problem with the driver seat track assembly. According to Ford, the bracket that mounts the seat to the track rail might not have been properly welded, which could increase the risk of injury to drivers. However, Ford says that it's received no reports of associated accidents or injuries.

The recall is limited to vehicles manufactured at Hermosillo Assembly Plant between March 10, 2016 and March 16, 2016. Dealers will replace the Fusion's driver seat track assembly at no charge.

RECALL #5: 2016 Ford F-Series Super Duty
UNITS AFFECTED: 2,596, including 2,288 in the U.S., 271 in Canada, and 37 in Mexico 

Ford says that the sidewalls of tires on some of these vehicles might have been damaged during the assembly process. If the damage was severe enough, the tires could rupture while the vehicle is in motion, increasing the risk of a crash. However, Ford has no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem.

The recall affects vehicles manufactured at Kentucky Truck Plant between April 5, 2016 and April 10, 2016. Ford says that dealers will inspect the tires on those vehicles for inboard sidewall damage and replace tires, as necessary.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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