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Ford Recalls 2004-2006 Ranger Pickups To Re-Install Problem Airbag Inflators

For over a decade, the Takata airbag recall has continued making it the largest and longest recall in vehicle history. Though many automakers have recalled and repaired vehicles seemingly successfully, some automakers, like Ford, have re-recalled some of the repaired vehicles to be fixed again. The 2004-2006 Ford Ranger is one of them.

You would think that with the number of recalls and vehicles being recalled due to history’s largest safety recall, the auto industry would get things right, but it doesn’t seem so. The recall to which we are referring is the still ongoing Takata front seat airbag inflator recall. This recall began well over a decade ago. Indeed, it has involved just about the entire automotive industry. Indeed, 20 brands have felt the impact of the recall that continues to roil the automotive industry.

Largest Safety Recall In History

The recall, which has involved upwards of 70 million front-seat airbag inflators and more than 50 million vehicles worldwide, as has noted, touched every brand out there. The brands feeling the biggest impact of the recall have been Honda, at one time a small owner of the company that precipitated the recall, Takata, as early as 2001, and Ford, whose Ranger from 2004 to 2006. Other major brands have also felt the impact, though not to the degree of the automakers mentioned.

This recall counts the number of fatalities in the United States at more than 20, with another five or eight globally. The number of serious injuries is more than 200 worldwide.

The central problem of the recall is simple. Front-seat airbag inflator housings have blown apart, with the metal shards scything through the interior of the vehicles, often involved with deadly effect. The heart of the problem lies in the propellant used in the airbag inflators. Takata relied on ammonium nitrate, which, over time, can deteriorate, increasing the propellant's explosive force. Takata also relied on inflators made at its factories in Mexico. Those factories were not noted for their cleanliness, and very often, debris fell into the inflators, keeping them from being adequately sealed. In turn, the poorly sealed inflators allowed moisture – an enemy of ammonium nitrate – to seep into the housing, causing the propellant to deteriorate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a long and exhaustive investigation of this problem which resulted, ultimately, in the bankruptcy of the manufacturer and its takeover by another parts manufacturer, also resulted in two record fines being issued by the safety agency and the setting of a timetable that should have resulted in the end of the recall this year.

Recall Information Scarce Lately

It remains to be seen where the recall is now as it is an issue that has gone to ground though automakers across the globe continued to recall their vehicles to be fixed through late last year and early this year. Sometimes, though, the vehicles that have been recalled have needed to be recalled again to fix problems with the recall.

That’s the case with the 2004 to 2006 Ford Ranger. The automaker has had to recall nearly 100,000 compact pickup trucks for re-repair of already installed airbag inflator housings. According to paperwork filed with the safety agency, Ford has recalled “certain 2004-2006: Ranger vehicles that received replacement front passenger airbag inflators under a previous recall. The replacement frontal passenger airbag inflators may have been incorrectly installed.”

Ford will notify the owners of the impacted vehicles beginning March 27, after which owners may contact their dealers to have technicians inspect and reinstall the frontal airbag inflators, as necessary, free of charge.

Safety Recall Consumer Info

For more information, owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332. The Ford identification number for this recall is 23S08.

Owners may also contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit the agency website at The NHTSA identification number is 23V125.

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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 many misspent hours hanging out at gas stations (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 I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my earnings 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.