Ford Backtracks After Giving Up Parts Search for Man's Seven-Year-Old F-150

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford backtracks after giving up parts search for mans seven year old f 150

Just because your vehicle is the most popular model in the world doesn’t mean there’s spare parts stashed in every storage room and broom closet.

The owner of one 2009 F-150 crew cab found this out the hard way, forcing him to turn to the media and consumer rights groups to keep his truck driveable after an extensive search for a replacement part turned up dry.

According to CBC, the owner — a detective with the Calgary Police Force in Alberta, Canada — initially failed to crack the case of the missing HVAC module.

Recently, his truck’s heater went haywire, blowing cold air into the driver’s side of the cabin and scorching air into the passenger side. The air sent to the passenger side is so hot, in fact, that a front seat passenger is out of the question. After visiting his dealership in search of a quick fix visited his dealership, Paul Rubner claims he was told the part is “obsolete and not available.”

Keep in mind, Rubner bought the best-selling vehicle at that dealership in 2009. With the dealer unable to help, Rubner called other Ford dealers. No dice, and no HVAC module. A search of aftermarket parts suppliers and used parts suppliers turned up empty.

Calgary’s weather is notoriously fickle, with wild temperature swings almost year-round. A properly functioning heater is a must. After contacting Ford Canada, Rubner received a reply stating that the part was “obsolete.” The company provided a list of other companies that might stock the part, but if not, he was out of luck.

“If you are not able to locate the part through these companies then there is nothing further that Ford of Canada can do for you,” the automaker reportedly stated in its email. That didn’t sit well with Rubner, who told the CBC, “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a vehicle to last 10, 12, 15 years. Not seven.”

The part in question is Dash Control Unit which Ford Parts Canada lists as discontinued and unavailable. It was installed in V8-powered 2009 F-150s of various trim levels, equipped with dual-zone climate control, heated rear window, mirrors and seats, but with a seat cooler delete. That makes it a relatively low-volume item.

TTAC’s Bozi Tatarevic describes Rubner’s problem: “The issue that he is having is that the passenger side blend door actuator is shorting out. This causes the blend door to get stuck open when it should be closing. Since it is stuck open, the passenger side gets air that is flowing over the heater core. The shorting of the blend door actuator is caused by the HVAC module.”

When told about Rubner’s problem by the broadcaster, George Iny, director of Canada’s Automobile Protection Association, stated, “It’s not acceptable … for the largest-sold vehicle in the country to be an orphan or stranded, because a certain component can’t be sourced anymore.”

A reasonable amount of time to keep parts in stock would be 15 years, he said.

After the case drew attention from the media and consumer protection groups, Ford Canada realized it had a major PR issue on its hands. The automaker has since agreed to have a supplier build a one-off module specially for Rubner’s truck. With stereotypical Canadian politeness, Rubner thanks the company for making his truck driveable during winter, though he wishes it hadn’t cast him aside the first time he appealed for help.

We have to wonder if this is the only time Ford builds a bespoke replacement part for an F-150 owner, or just the first.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).