By on September 12, 2016

Front Side Pose oF 2009 Ford F-150 Platinum In Black

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 #9L3Z19980Y, 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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112 Comments on “Ford Backtracks After Giving Up Parts Search for Man’s Seven-Year-Old F-150...”


  • avatar
    dwbf11

    Good on Ford for commissioning a one-off replacement part, but is it really possible that one of these is not available used from a salvage yard somewhere?

    • 0 avatar

      I looked at that as well and this combination is extremely rare. Car-part.com showed only 8 of this combination available in all of North America. There were 5 in Canada in 3 in the US. The only combination that was more rare was the one with automatic temperature, non-heated back glass, and heated only seats. There were only 2 of those that showed up and both in Canada.

      I’m guessing that the owner preferred a new part and considering that the truck is only 9 years old I believe that one should have been available.

      • 0 avatar
        Sjalabais

        I don’t really understand how this combination results in ultra special parts? Shouldn’t it be a standard part everywhere, with the necessary functions either available or not?

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      Maybe, but they created AND exacerbated the problem by creating a part that is only used in a very specific combination of options. There aren’t going to be many salvage vehicles with the same options and, therefore, the same part.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      This is the stupid end result of how Byzantine the options on pickups are. Not on interesting options like bespoke color, but on 20 versions of a climate control system so you can screw someone that already paid for the seat heaters out of an additional $250 or whatever for the ~$2 in extra parts for seat coolers. You can have the top selling vehicle in the US and not have replacement parts after 7 years. Hopefully this embarrassment will cause the OEMs to clean up the options lists.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Sounds too me like too many systems are linked together within the HVAC module. Why would the cooled seats need to run through there as well?

    I have this same problem intermittently, except reversed – driver’s side hot, passenger ice cold – with the AC on in my Tahoe. It’s happened a couple times. Turn the ignition all the way off and back on, and it fixes it. I suspect I need a new HVAC module as well.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I suspect I need a new HVAC module as well.”

      You might. It is also possible that the plastic parts in the actuator itself are failing. I’ve never actually had an HVAC module fail in a GM vehicle but I have had the little plastic gears break a few times.

      I had blend door issues with my Charger too.

      These automakers need to step up their HVAC game.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That would be my other thought. I know the actuator is down behind the glove box. I had an actuator failing in my GS as well. You could hear it trying to adjust and failing.

        I just figured with it being so intermittent that it’d be the module issue. I bet their GM scan thing would know the difference. Is there an aftermarket computer solution for their scan tool yet?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          I know certain model year GMT800 (or was it early production GMT900) vehicles had issues with the dual zone climate control and actuator failures. You’re location is correct. My understanding is this is a do-it-yourself job even if you have only advanced beginner skills. One of those part is cheap, labor is YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME jobs if the dealer does it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yeah, so far I have been able to do a couple little things on my own, with my limited knowledge and tools. I saw a video where the guy suggested you’d need to cut a square in the plastic wall behind/beside the glove box to get to the actuator. That seems wrong – unless the only other option is taking the entire dash apart.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            ” I saw a video where the guy suggested you’d need to cut a square in the plastic wall behind/beside the glove box to get to the actuator. That seems wrong – unless the only other option is taking the entire dash apart.”

            Yep don’t do that. Watched that video also. I did the 2 actuators buried in the dash and the one under the dash (passenger side) this spring on my 2004 GMC HD. Took pictures with my cell phone, tagged and bagged everything, watched a youtube video on how to do it multiple times. Wasn’t that bad. Also sent in the gage cluster at the same time & had that rebuilt with new stepper motors. My fresh air vent still isn’t working so it may be the controller or the wiring.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Were you able to get to those actuators just from underneath, without taking the whole dash apart?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          There is good aftermarket software for all the major mfgs. One of my favorites is AutoEnginuity. They have the basic package that will handle the emissions, transmission, and ABS for most cars. For additional money you can get enhanced coverage either as groups or a stand alone like just GM. With those you can do virtually everything you can with the factory scan tool.

          It will set you back a lot more than the DIY grade tools but it is far cry cheaper than other aftermaket professional tools with the same capabilities. Of course you’ll need a laptop too.

          For Fords there is Forscan that gives much of the OE level access for free, don’t know if anyone has a program like that for GM vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks, I haven’t done any searching around for it yet. But if it’d identify exactly which actuator part was the issue, that would be worth it before I start taking things apart.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Wait, what? Since when do you have a Tahoe?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I picked it up on August 19!

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Congrats! Is this a Cadillac replacement? What year? Obviously I didn’t pay attention to the right threads.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Yep, it’s Cadillac replacement. That goes on sale soon, after I clean it up. It’s an 03 LT. I wanted to add some more pics I have to that album, but my phone is being utterly ridiculous at the moment.

            https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.706416454235.1073741834.63400165&type=1&l=6d4533ccbc

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Clean as all he!!. Nice pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks! Adding the photos on there now. You can see the new LED lights I fitted at the back, thought they looked much cleaner/newer than the originals.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Congrats, interesting choice Corey.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @28

            I figured you had noticed me mention it a while back! I had narrowed it down to a GMT option of 03-06 vintage, or the MDX ideally 04-06. Was going to be stuck with higher miles either way, unless I wanted to pay out the nose. Decided a truck body would wear high miles better than a reinforced Accord platform.

            Also I might mention the Deville is back in the shop, because Thursday as I got home from work in it, the brake line ruptured! Driver’s side at the back. I was very lucky it happened after I already stopped, it has about 3% total braking power, even if you include use of the e-brake to stop.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Because the seats get their cool air from the HVAC system, so they have to be linked and you might as well put it all in one module rather than two modules that have to communicate.

      What surprises me is that they make a unique module for Dual Climate w/o cooled seats. It seems it would be cheaper to have a one size fits all. There are a couple of ways to do that and it isn’t like Ford hasn’t done similar things before. For example the Lighting Control Module for Panthers. On the older units there was a circuit that if provided a ground connection put the module in “dark mode” where the dome light would not operate with the doors. On the later models the module is programed through the OBD port to enable or disable dark mode. Similarly all of those modules were set up to work with or without the Autolamp feature.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ah, that makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yeah, that part’s weird.

        I’d expect a “universal” module that gets “what’s attached” from canbus or whatnot, and then configures itself to match the vehicle, or at least has programming put in before installation.

        A unique module for a low-volume combination of options is both a maintenance nightmare and *less profitable* than doing it in software…

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Typically the module is configured through the OBD port after it is installed in the vehicle. Either you flash the appropriate code or go through a menu and turn items on or off or for things like gear ratios and tire sizes on trucks pick from several options.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      CoreyDL,
      I find this article amusing because I might have the answer that caused the so called shortage of these actuators.

      Believe it or not there is a lot of F-150 systems integrated into the global Ranger and BT50.

      My climate control system in my BT50 has had a total of 7 actuators replaced up until the warranty ran out. There was an issue of the actuators failing.

      It took Ford several years to come up with a solution, which was a soft ware upgrade for the management of the climate control system.

      So, the last time, last year they replaced the actuator/s the climate control system was re-flashed with the new software.

      Now I have not an issue.

      So, maybe many actuators were used to repair many Rangers and BT50s.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Hmm these guys make is sound like they have them?

    http://www.oemautopartsandaccessories.com/catalog/parts/search/?q=9L3Z19980Y

    Although many other OE sources show it as being out of stock.

    Definitely an unpleasant surprise when it’s literally the best selling vehicle in the country and tracking down parts becomes a hassle.

  • avatar
    OE Supplier Veteran

    OE suppliers are generally on the hook for EOP (End of production) + 15 years service supply. In 2009 F150 was coded P415, which ran from 2009 through 2014. So, playing totally by the rules, parts should be available though 2029. The article seems to indicate an extreme degree of specificity to the part. However, this doesn’t change the norms to which suppliers are contracted to comply. You’d have to peel a few more layers off this onion to understand what’s truly gone on here…

    • 0 avatar

      That is insightful. My guess was that this version of the part had a low run and might not have been picked up if they changed suppliers. These are the 9 versions of the part I was able to find:

      Control Assembly
      Dash Control Unit
      Without Auto Temperature Control
      Without Heated Rear Window
      -Without Power Telescopic Mirror 9L3Z19980T
      -With Power Telescopic Mirror 9L3Z19980HA
      -With Heated Rear Window 9L3Z19980V
      With Auto Temperature Control
      Without Navigation System
      Without Heated Rear Window
      -Without Cooled Seat 9L3Z19980ZA
      -With Cooled Seat 9L3Z19980VA
      With Heated Rear Window
      -Without Cooled Seat 9L3Z19980YA
      -With Cooled Seat 9L3Z19980XA
      With Navigation System
      -Without Cooled Seat 9L3Z19980Y ***
      -With Cooled Seat 9L3Z19980X

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      to the best of my knowledge, there’s actually no law (at least in the US) which specifies how long service parts must be available for after a vehicle is produced. The only exception would be the EPA 8 year emissions warranty.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Clever way of forcing a gull, er, customer, into a new vehicle.

    Complex system and no support equals (in the logic of the Smart Kids in charge) another sale.

    And it may well.

    At the Toyota or Nissan store. I’ve had similar, although not-so-egregious, games played on me in the past. What it does, is add another brand to my NO-BUY list.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Except – see above – only 8 or 9 of that configuration were sold in all of North America, and other configurations are still in stock.

      Nobody at that level of volume plays funny business games to “force” 9 customers into a new vehicle, IF their climate module failed in the first place; it makes less than no sense.

      (Reminds me:

      “The part in question is Dash Control Unit #9L3Z19980Y, 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.
      […]
      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.””

      Of course, what that actually means, assuming the part can’t be collapsed into a universal one, is “stop allowing custom configurations with custom parts to be sold”.

      For our own good, of course.)

  • avatar
    Zackman

    One lesson to learn: Don’t buy or order off-the-wall optioned vehicle models. This may be one good reason to buy “off the lot” rather than special-ordering a vehicle, if that’s what the buyer did.

    If not, and the buyer did in fact buy off the lot, then shame on Ford – and every other OEM who does such a thing by not keeping a 10-15 parts supply, especially to a favorite model.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    It’s not the first time an obsolete part gets re-produced. Ford (as with other OEM’s) usually strings together service parts commitments with similar newly awarded production contracts. H3ll, they have their own PPAP and supplier support group just for service.

    As a supplier, I hand built all kinds of sh1t from the 90’s to the 70’s.

    They’re likely not going to ‘one off’ a service part. This is either the result of an individual or a string of individuals who are out of touch with how their organization runs OR there was a Tier 1 change between platforms and the service tooling / production wasn’t packaged in the purchasing agreement or upstarted due to focus on new model production. That platform’s parts supply base only recently wound down their service parts production.

  • avatar

    Assuming they still offer the module WITH the seat coolers, wouldn’t that module have worked? Usually they have the same connectors, there will just be missing pins for the options that the truck doesn’t have or they would go to a dead end?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I had the same thought.

    • 0 avatar

      That was one of my thoughts as well but the person responsible for working on it may have just been a parts-changer instead of proper technician that would put some time and effort into the repair. The other possibility is that there was some programming tied to it that would not have allowed the other module to work.

      Instead of telling the customer that they are on their own, I believe that the issue could have been resolved at the dealer level either by trying one of the other modules that is available or sending his module out to a rebuilder to be refurbished.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        It could have been resolved with a simple call to FCSD. Then the regional rep could have gone the extra step and got a hold of a site STA engineer for the last level of part #. All it takes is to look up the supplier site code on the previous level part. That is on the part number label. That STA engineer could then effectively work out when the next run would be done for the service level part or to identify if it was even feasible – which it likely is. My guess is the service part supplier even has inventory on hand.

        I sincerely doubt the last module’s service inventory was depleted in the last year.

        Getting a F150 part supplier contract is the equivalent of getting a HJ from Ford. You’re likely on that 180 ‘partnered’ supplier lists. this all just doesn’t add up.

        • 0 avatar

          Based on your added information tresmonos, it is even more apparent that this was more an issue of laziness than the actual part not being available. I am sure one of the options would have worked if someone just took some initiative and picked up the phone.

          Even with the statement that was put out, I am not convinced that they are not just getting the supplier to pull one of the shelf or checking the other versions and finding one that is feasible.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      It’s possible, but the module would have to have its software config changed to something non-standard, and I don’t know that most dealer techs are able to do anything but download the as-built configuration bytes.

  • avatar

    Ford saying they will commission the making of a one off part for this dude sounds more like PR than good business.

    Next week Buyer 2 has the same problem. Commission a one time part again, or leave that buyer stranded?

    Seems they could do a limited run for not much more money. The bigger OEM parts suppliers would probably pick some up for their inventory anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      This specific setup applies to less than ten vehicles sold in North America. I doubt they’d commission a significant run. One would hope that they’d commission a build of a half dozen or so.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No this set up applies to way more than 10 vehicles. Bozi’s number of 9 were the used units supposedly available on carpart.com a website that lists inventory for wrecking yards. So what he found were the ones that had been wrecked that went to a wrecking yard that lists their vehicles on carpart.com so maybe 10% of the yards in NA. Further it was one of the yards that took the time to put that level of detail into the system.

        So that 9 units might represent say 5% of the ones that ended up in wrecking yards. Multiply that out and there are probably several thousand trucks still on the road that use that module.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    But they would be more than happy to sell this gentleman a BRAND NEW F-150, in any color he likes, right now! Of course, the unrepairable status of his 2009 will be reflected in its trade-in value…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I don’t think it was Ford’s intention to short change customers with climate control components.

    I believe they were exhausted for the repair of the global Ranger and BT50 as these vehicles had a climate control problem requiring actuators being replaced a couple times a year.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      that’s a real stretch.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        …maybe it isn’t? It would have to be the same component. I’ve seen scenarios where we had to delay FCSD shipments to meet production requirements, especially in times where some yard hold or on site mod required us to go above capacity planning volumes.

        Actually, we did that often with parts that were in production. Not sure if this module is ‘in production’ or if it was tied to P415.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          thanks tres,
          Just because a vehicle is “American” doesn’t it’s that far different underneath.

          People must realise it would cost manufactures massive amounts of money to have completely different systems for every vehicle made.

          Systems are even shared between manufacturers more than people would care to know. It cut costs.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    What a stupid design. There’s no reason for this to NOT be a multi-purpose part that can be re-configured with jumpers at the time of installation. (Better yet, jumpers within the wire harness connector, so all the repair guy has to do is slot in the new part.) Of course, nowadays it’d be a software-flash with a proprietary scan tool, but same end effect, except you’d have to have the dealer do the work.

    But yes, the monkey on the front lines at Ford Canada should have escalated the problem instead of sending a “go away” letter to the owner of a 7-year-old truck. There was no universe in which that was going to end well.

    And you hope they built more than just one… he can’t be the only guy whose truck uses this part.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I thought 3D printing was gonna solve this problem ! Ford has to keep all parts for this it is a 2009 not a 1960 pickup.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So many different versions of the same module? Stupid. Just make one part, with features software-configurable. Ah, for the days of sliding controls and Bowden cables.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    When I got in a car accident in the year 2000, I was driving a 6yo Nissan hardbody truck. Per the insurance company, they deemed it repairable so it was brought to an approved body shop.

    And I waited… and waited… a few phone calls to the repair shop and weeks later, they admit they can’t source one or two parts from Nissan and suggest I call Nissan USA to hurry up the process. I do this – a bit against my will since what can I do? – and the Nissan rep ends up hanging up on me. There was no heated argument, just silence after my request, and then *click*

    And that’s when I stopped buying Nissans – well that and their product lineup seemed to have really slipped by then.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “I do this – a bit against my will since what can I do? – and the Nissan rep ends up hanging up on me. There was no heated argument, just silence after my request, and then *click*”

      In fairness to Nissan, that could just as easily have been the rep hitting the wrong button trying to put you on hold, or the like.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Oh, the actuators are NOT shorting out.

    They are over driving the actuators, ie, when the actuator might be open or closed the climate control software is directing the actuators to be at the position they are in, the actuator then attempt to drive open or close.

    This is not a short. A short is when there is a cross between the polarity.

    These actuators are overloaded, not shorting.

    • 0 avatar

      There might be an overload scenario in some vehicles but in my experience with the F-150, the factory diagnostic code which shows up in this situation is “B1082:11 Right Temperature Damper Motor: Circuit Short to Ground” which indicates that it is shorted.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    For the Canadian market that seems like a fairly common configuration of options: heated everything and no seat coolers. I’m really surprised that there are so many modules, instead of a single module that is configurable/programmable. Jaguar was doing that 20 years ago…

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      It’s still fairly common practice, perhaps even an increasing one on the software side. Vehicle lighting control models for instance need to be exactly matched to equipment level on my car. If I wanted to order the parts from the dealer network I’d have to find a Vin to provide them that matches exactly the upgrades I planned on completing (hids, fogs, whatever). You can still bypass the module on installation with lights of course, so perhaps it’s not the best exampke.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I would expect either the Standard Brands or Dorman to start offering a Rebuild and Return program sooner or later.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Not sure if Dorman would be the best candidate for this.

    One thing I learned in my -01 LeSabre window regulator saga (posted here before so I won’t bore you with details)..

    so the cheap 99 dollar aftermarket regulators kept breaking at the usual intervals (some less than 10 cycles).

    So I thought I’d go upmarket with the Dorman. Turns out they sourced from the same place the other guys got their regulators from. Tooling marks were identical, the only difference was the color of the zinc plating…and they were 44 bucks more. They still broke too.

    Thanks for nothing, Dorman.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      For things like window regulators, door handles and the like there is usually just one supplier for all aftermarket brands. So you’ll find the same thing in 7 different boxes at 7 different price points.

      For this it would most likely be a case where you would send in your unit and they would replace the failed component and send it back to you. So completely separate part of the organization whether the resulting part is the same, better or worse than their other lines is unknown.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Up” market to a Dorman? Mr. Moneybags!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I had an 85 Mercury Lynx (same as Escort) with a wiring harness that was bad and could not get a new wiring harness in 1994. My mechanic had to piece together wires from old wiring harnesses. Another thing that is happening is that if you have a vehicle with 15 inch rims it is getting harder to get replacement tires. I have a 2008 Isuzu I-370 which is identical to the Colorado/Canyon and had a hard time getting new tires for it 2 years ago. The 2012 Colorado/Canyon has the same size rims as well. The same thing is true on my 99 S-10 but that is more excusable especially since that truck is well over 10 to 15 years old but then they made that same truck thru 2003. It seems that the trend to offer replacement parts for many vehicles ends well before that vehicle is 10 years old. The same thing has been true with many replacement parts on appliances as well. Part of this could be that the manufacturer hopes that you will give up and buy a new vehicle sooner just as the appliance manufacturers will hope you give up and buy a new appliance. I had this experience with a 3 year old LG dishwasher which I did finally replace with a new dishwasher but I did not buy an LG nor will I ever buy any LG product again. I don’t expect manufacturers to provide parts and support for their products forever but 10 years is a reasonable amount of time to at least provide parts.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Hear you on the 15-inch tires. There isn’t a true performance all-season option for my Acura Legend anymore, and the summer performance options are no good. If I ever want to put good tires on the thing I’ll need to find a set of OEM 16″ wheels first.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Dal

        What size 15 are you looking for? There are a ton of options for say 205/50/15, with performance tires aplenty. What’s the year on that acura? Let’s find the most common size 15″ tire being autocrossed on that chassis or ones similar to it. There you’ll find your options.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          I’d add that I wouldn’t be adverse to moving the section width in either direction and keeping your factory wheels. So long as the change is minor and you are buying good tires I’d consider that to be a tuning decision that could well have positive benefits depending on how you play it. The oem’s themselves employ an extremely large range of wheel width to tire width ratios within their trim levels and model ranges.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          In the stock size of 205/60-15, the only performance option I see is the track-focused Yokohama Advan A048. Everything else is general all-season touring tires, which work, but I prefer a compromise with a bit more performance.

          In the OEM 16″ size of 215/50-16, I can get tires like the Continental DWS06 or the Michelin Pilot Sport AS/3 that are exactly the type I’d want for this type of car. I’m not finding that type of tire in any 15″ size anywhere remotely near the OEM size.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            And you might want to get those 16″ sooner rather than later as I wouldn’t want to bet on those sizes staying production long term. It is an unfortunate fact that with many of the older sizes you are eventually left with little choice.

            Went through it with the 14″ tires for a Ranger years ago. The choices were no name or the good old BFG Radial T/A at a high price. That truck got some Crown Vic 15″ wheels to get some more choices.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      15s? HA! Why not try finding a decent tire in 195/60-14? My ’90 Integra needs tires because they’re 8 years old and dry-rotted, even though they have less than 13,000 miles on them. Nothing seems to be available in a brand I’ve heard of.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Kumho and General are respectable brands with H-rated models of all-seasons in that size. Bridgestone’s “Fuzion” has one too. I’d lean toward the Generals, but would be fine with any of them. None are expensive.

  • avatar
    zip94513

    As a Ford stockholder, articles like this bug me to no end. Building one spare part doesn’t sit well either.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    That might be what I have to do eventually on at least the 2008 since it is newer and only has 29k miles on it. The 99 is in good shape but I use it as my beater and figure on keeping it a few more years but not too much past 20 years old. I might end up donating the 99 to the high school near me for vocational training for aspiring auto mechanics.

  • avatar
    b534202

    Since they have to do a special production run, maybe he should order 2 just in case.

  • avatar
    George B

    Am I the only person who read truck heater in Canada and immediately thought The Rodeo Song by Garry Lee and the Showdown?

    “Well it’s 40 below and I don’t give a f***
    Got a heater in my truck and I’m off to the rodeo…”

    I find it’s easier to repair broken electronic modules than to get a replacement. The problem is almost always a broken solder joint, not a component failure.

  • avatar
    MatadorX

    …And this is EXACTLY why I will never buy a ford, and will only buy Toyota products.

    They have the best part supply/distribution system in the country, and except for special editions, pretty much everything you could ever want is in stock ready to go for 25+ years.

    I just recently rebuilt my 1998 Sienna from the ground up. Was able to get everything from a 1 year only one model only exhaust heat shield, to engine block dowel pins, to the friggen emblem that clips on to the engine cover from an excellent online parts department. No fuss, excellent diagrams, order exactly what I wanted without calling and dealing with a lazy, mouth breathing, self entitled parts tzar at the local dealer. Yes you will PAY through the nose for Toyota parts ( in many case well exceeding what BMW parts, etc will cost) but they carry everything

    Ford on the other hand? My experience I needed an ENGINE MOUNT for a 2009 Fusion with the 2.3 I4. They made what 500k of them with that configuration? No dice, discontinued. Seven years seems to be the magic point Ford no longer gives a crap about you as a customer. I was shocked coming from Toyota. My 1998 Sienna mounts were all in stock and easy to get. Ended up having to get a mount for the 2.5 and using an adapter bracket to get it to fit, drilling and taping various holes, etc. A total nightmare. If you want a car for 10 years, get a Toyota. Not saying it won’t break, but when it does OEM parts will be in your hands in a day or less.

  • avatar
    John

    If I recall correctly, TTAC recently had an article about how in the future, restoring classic cars with obsolete digital electronics will be a breeze, because “emulators”. So, where is the emulator for the detective’s Ford???

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Our dog ate the rear wiring harness on our 2004 Suburban 2500 with an 8.1 engine. In 2007 GM said the harness was obsolete. The fuel pump went out a few years later. I waited over a week for a fuel pump. The dealer claimed the 2004 8.1 Suburban had a fuel pump only used that year with that engine.

    I wouldn’t have believed it but the parts guy showed me there were only 6 in the entire country at the time (2010). I always though GM was the best OEM for parts availability. I’m rapidly finding out this is not true.

    Another example. We purchased some GM work trucks in 2012 with non power door locks. The plastic unlock knob is a flat looking affair that breaks instantly when you pull it up. GM NEVER had any in stock. Even worse, if you locked the truck and both broke there was no way to exit the truck. The doors would not unlock when you pulled on the handle, a VERY dangerous issue in an accident. It was so bad I had aftermarket power locks installed in all of them.

  • avatar
    v8corvairpickup

    Welcome to the world of our vehicles getting old and part obsolescence. this guy’s truck is 7 years old, my Prelude is 25 years old. I feel his pain but al least I don’t have much invested in this beast. I won’t even start on the my effort to get a speedometer cable or the associated sensors. At least I have HVAC that does the same on both sides and A/C that works until it is over 110.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    In the mid 1990’s, in Dearborn, in Ford’s Light Truck Engineering, Building #1, when one entered into the Chassis Engineering Department, there was a big sign above the door that read “Life begins at 10 years, 150,000 Miles!”

    I think that long ago crew, including Len Brown, John Gosz, Tom Hedderly, Daniel May, Mike Kerastas, Maria Cunningham, Jeff Mazoway, Leslie Blackburn, Dave West, and Eric Engelson were all proud of developing vehicles that met this goal…

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Kerastas is still working at Ford (last I heard). I recognized that name from my short days in Quality.

      As for this article and the stream of comments – who says TTAC is pro Ford? The premise of this article is that of misinformation. I would bet my month’s salary on the fact the root cause of all of this hoopla was a lazy dealer or company rep who had no idea what they were doing.

      Then to top it off, their department furthered their incompetence by stating that the part will be a ‘one off.’ There is no such thing. When there was a demand for 1970 Mustang power steering lines, they made the supplier make 45 of them. Who can say that they make OE replacement lines for a vehicle in the 1970’s?

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    This is a good argument for 3-D computer printing of parts: no need to keep every part in stock, when you can print it, on site, within minutes.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Electronics are not something that is 3d printable with current technology. 3d printing could be used to create the case and that is not something that will take just minutes. 3D printing is not quick. It is quicker than creating a mold for a plastic part or milling it out of a chunk of solid material.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    As an automotive vendor, also to Ford, we always understood that after Job Last, there would be the expectation of a service parts supply for 10 years.

    Some parts we were able to produce on the legacy assy line. Others were built on a newer line modified to make the old part. Some were produced in the prototype shop. Some with a combination of the preceding.

    We learned it was sometimes very hard to be able to produce parts after 5-7 years after Job Last.

    Some parts that took up little space we produced based on a forecast provided by the customer or estimated by us and were then warehoused to be doled out to the OEM’s parts and service on an as requested basis. But for the more bulky parts, or the expensive ones, or those produced with equipment that was unlikely to be available in 10 years time, we made it clear in our contract that the OEM would get a single chance to make an “all time buy” at Job Last with a quantity to be determined by them and with this buy to be delivered to them in a single lot, to be paid 30 days net (and then warehoused by them for that next 10 odd years.)

    We also had cases where the OEM mis-estimated future service parts needs (for both parts made by us, or a competitor) and begged us to make parts for which we had no regular production assembly processes any more. In some cases we could make these parts in our prototype shop and then sell them at a significant markup for all the work behind PSWing small batch parts from a new manual process.

    I never liked doing that though, as there were just too many ways to introduce errors when manually assembling parts years after the original parts had ceased production. I shudder to think what it’s like for vendors reliant upon a large amount of injection tooling or electronic components that are no longer available.

    Ps I’m also surprised that this rather oddball assembly (heated seat delete) can’t be substituted with a similar unit (say for units with heated seats) …

    Aside: as a kid, my folks bought new a 1972 Chevy Kingswood wagon (from Roger Penske of all people!) when it was ca 7 years old, the wiper transmission (the thing mounted to the cowl and wiper arm and linkage) failed. The Chevy parts dept said it was obsolete. Couldn’t get it. I had noticed that the windshields of all these 1971 bodies were the same shape and figured that this thingy might have been a common part across the divisions… long story short, I worked my way up the hierarchy P,O,B, and I finally found the same part at the local Cadillac dealership… the GM parts system said there were none to be found, but…

  • avatar
    Johnster

    About ten years ago, or maybe even longer, the newspapers had a story about a guy in the L.A. area who bought a Lincoln Mark VIII and when the black box quit working he was unable to buy a new one because they’d quit making, both the car and the black box for it.

    As I recall, the guy was royally pissed and ended up junking the Lincoln and he bought himself a new Lexus ES.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Watching “Leno’s Garage”, he used 3D printing for replacement parts. I guess that would be limited to certain types of components. But it will be a big deal in the future.

  • avatar
    B_C_R

    This happens all the time, especially after so many suppliers went bankrupt when GM and Chrysler and many of their parts suppliers followed them to the drain.

    This is still having an impact on OEMs years later, as there are still parts that have never been reintroduced.

  • avatar

    So when are they going to have a recall on the exploding drive shafts? My SIL’s 2009 F-150 crew cab lost one just out of warranty at 63k, Ford said GFY. I told my brother to keep the receipt for parts and install so he can get reimbursed for the repair when Ford loses the class action suit.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Robert, Thanks for the insight into a parts manufacture. I can understand why a part cannot be available indefinitely. I would hope that all manufacturers use more standardized parts that can be used among most of their product lines. More standardization allows for easier availability of parts and less cost to the manufacturer. Also standardized parts allow dealers to control their inventory better and to better serve the customer.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    In 1970 I was driving and maintaining my father’s 62 Chevy II 300 when the windshield wiper motor when out. My father and I spend hours at a junkyard going thru 4 1962 Chevy IIs before finding a windshield wiper motor that would fit. It was a one speed wiper motor that replaced a 2 speed one but at that point my father and I were glad to find one that fit and worked. All 4 of the windshield wiper motors were slightly different on the same model year Chevy II which for 1962 Chevy II came in 100, 300, and Nova trim levels.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    This is a prime example of why manufacturers bundle options the way they do.

    The article outlines the rarity of these combined options as the culprit of this parts supply dilemma. Imagine the FUBAR parts replacement scenarios that would arise if us mere consumers were able to pick and choose our options ala carte. I see the manufacturers reasoning a bit now.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      It still doesn’t explain why you need to order the sunroof in order to get heated seats.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      I understand the rational as well for manufacturers not to offer ala carte because it requires less variation on the assembly line and allows for just-in-time inventory management which saves storage space and costs of carrying additional parts inventory. The reason you have to get a sunroof with heated seats is that it is not that much more to add the sunroof and the profit margins are greater on the higher trims. Also as some have stated before the dealers are the manufacturers main customers and that is what the dealers order.

      This article makes me rethink the idea of ordering a vehicle with certain options or deletions especially if there is a chance that I would encounter a better chance of not being able to get a replacement part for it in the near future. Although there are no guarantees that a manufacture will still provide parts for a vehicle less than 10 years old you might have a better chance to take the trim package that most buyers choose on a certain model.

  • avatar
    manbridge

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Old 911 owner laughing hysterically whilst electronically paging through endless catalogs.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    That reminds me of the time my Grand Marquis’s steering wheel cruise control harness fried itself. My local Ford dealer actually went above and beyond to find one from a scarp yard, but it was already obsolete at 7 years old. Mind you this was a 2006 model year so they still sold *okay* and the same part is used on all base trim Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis.

    I intended on drive it sparingly and keep that car for a long time, but after that I figured, f it, not with this to look forward to 10 years down the road. So I will just drive it until the wheels fall off and replace it with a truck.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    They don’t have junkyards in Canada?

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    This is nothing compared to the grief contained in a Volvo 850 HVAC system.


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