A couple of months ago, the Ford Motor Co. opened a recall on its popular F-150 line because there was a problem with separating driveshafts. Ford recalled 185,000 F-150s because of problems with driveshaft construction regarding insulators. The insulators keep driveshaft noise down, and when the insulators fail, the driveshaft can split.
Ford Expands Pickup Driveshaft Recall
Last week, the automaker expanded the F-150 recall to two more vehicles in its F-Series, the F-250 and F-350, both heavyweight units. More specifically, the manufacturer recalled 250,000 heavy-duty pickups, bringing the total number of F-Series units to just under 450,000 trucks. The pickups recalled were 2017-2022 units.
Like the F-150 recall of December, driveshafts in the heavy-duty pickups failed because the noise insulation on the driveshaft failed over time. This meant that driveshafts shifted and failed. There were two failure modes, according to the NHTSA.
A pickup will lose power in the first failure mode because of a driveshaft failure. If the pickup is in motion when this happens, the truck will either stop or, if the driveshaft hits the ground, the operator can lose control. In the second failure mode – which can occur if the pickup is parked -- the pickup can roll even if the vehicle is parked with the gearshift in Park. (The way automatic transmissions work is that a pawl is set on the driveshaft when a vehicle is in Park. The pawl keeps the driveshaft from turning, keeping the truck from rolling. However, if the driveshaft fails due to an insulator problem, the pickup can roll, even if the vehicle is in Park.)
Reasons For The Driveshaft Recall
According to a story by the Associated Press, the reason a recall is underway is that if the vehicle stops suddenly in traffic because the driveshaft stops turning, a second vehicle could potentially hit the pickup. If the vehicle rolls because the parking brake remains unset because of a driveshaft failure, the pickup could easily roll into another vehicle. Or it could be hit by a second vehicle because it has rolled into traffic. So far, there have been no reports of accidents or injuries resulting from the issue.
The fix is straightforward. A pickup owner can take the vehicle to a dealer, where a technician will carefully check the driveshaft. The dealer will replace the driveshaft free of charge if the driveshaft is shot. If the driveshaft is in good shape, the technician will install the insulator correctly.
According to the AP, the automaker will begin notifying owners early in April.
F-Series Is Country’s Top-Seller
Ford's F-Series is the country's leading pickup series. The 45th straight year that the Ford F-Series has attained this goal.
Photo Courtesy Ford Motor Co.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.