By on December 22, 2017

2005 Ranger

Ford is recalling the Ranger. No, not the one they’re likely to show on stage at Detroit in about a month’s time. Rather, they’re calling back nearly 400,000 of the old Rangers. You know, the ones they stopped producing way back in the, uh, wow, 2012 model year.

In fact, the recalled units stem from much further back than that, with the company saying it will replace the airbags in 391,394 units of the 2004 through 2006 model-year Ford Ranger. Yes, Virginia, this is another problem related to Takata airbags.

Plus, we just wanted an excuse to run a photo of the old Ford Ranger.

The recalls cover driver and passenger airbag inflators in a select number of ’04-‘06 Ford Ranger pickups. Mazda B-Series trucks made by Ford are affected as well.

Takata used ammonium nitrate to create the bang to inflate its airbags. The problem with this approach is that the chemical can deteriorate over time. In some cases, the chemical can burn too fast when activated in a crash, blowing apart a metal canister and potentially hurling hot shrapnel in the faces of vehicle occupants.

2005 Ranger

It’s not the first time these particular trucks have been recalled for this same issue. The pickups were summoned back to dealers in 2015 and 2016 to replace inflators with newer ones as a stopgap measure. Under the latest recalls, inflators will be swapped for ones that don’t use ammonium nitrate.

The recall of 14-year-old pickup trucks bends this author’s brain. Most of these machines have gently returned to the earth in the form of fine iron oxide filings in this part of the country, while many others have simply endured a lifetime of hard work and long been discarded into the unflinching jaws of The Crusher. Of the 391,394 trucks covered in this recall, your humble author would love to know the exact number that actually get shiny new inflators.

Nevertheless, safety considerations reign, as they well should. These trucks are still on the road, particularly in parts of the nation where weather patterns are kinder to the longevity of vehicles. A death in South Carolina relating to this problem in the Ranger has been reported by the NHTSA.

Notifications will be sent later this month to owners of affected Ford Rangers.

2005 Ranger

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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22 Comments on “Takata Problems Force Recall of Ford Ranger (No, Not That One – the Old One)...”


  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    2011 was the last year of the Ranger in the US as Ford didn’t feel it was worth investing in a stability control system needed to be sold as a 2012 MY vehicle. That is also why the last Panthers sold in the US were 2011, though they did make a handful of 2012 MY vehicles for export.

    There are still lots of Rangers on the road around here where corrosion isn’t a factor and they are still in demand and ones in good condition command surprisingly high prices.

    • 0 avatar

      2011s (and 2010s?) have Ford’s AdvanceTrac stability control, I don’t know if other safety standards killed the Ranger, but I bet that’s the case.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Every now and then I’ve looked at used Rangers. I can never believe the prices, regardless of engine, transmission, or drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      trk2

      This is not the reason. As previously stated, stability and traction control were added to the Ranger for its final year of production. Ford had announced plans to close the Twin Cities Assembly plant in 2006. By 2011, when the plant closed, sales of the Ranger had fallen to the point where it did not make sense to move production to another facility.

  • avatar
    gsf12man

    We have a lovely ’08 XLT 4×4 . . . still waiting on The Word for our airbag replacement. Both bags; first it was the steering wheel airbag, some months later got another notice for the passenger-side device. I can’t say when the newer trucks such as ours were included in the recall, but it extends at least to the 2008s.

  • avatar

    I am still waiting for my passenger side airbag inflator for my 2011. Think this has been going on 2 years now.

    I still get compliments and offers to buy mine, even after I mention the airbag recall. :)

  • avatar
    gtem

    That Ranger looks better than any current midsize truck for sale, full stop.

    I’m willing to bet that if they started cranking these out tomorrow with a price tag undercutting Tacoma/Colorado by $5k or so (let’s put safety reqs aside for a moment), they’d totally obliterate everyone in sales IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      Only if they upgraded their V6s to late model Duratecs/Ecoboosts and added Sync. The 2011 Duratec four-banger in base trim will definitely do well these days if the feedback I get on mine is any indication.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        A circa ’11 Ranger FX4 with an F150’s base 3.3L NA motor sounds quite fetching to be honest, or while we’re dreaming a pre-downsizing 3.7L. On a simple old platform like this, turbos and DI seem out of place IMO.

        A neighbor of mine has a late 2000s Ranger FX4 with what looks like a 1 inch body lift and some BFGs, he tows a compact camping trailer with it on what I can only assume are some pretty neat adventures judging by how long he leaves for at a time. Not a bad choice and more interesting than the done-to-death Tacomas and Land Cruisers usually over-represented in the overlanding scene (not that I can blame folks).

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I didn’t know that Ford had changed the steering-wheel design to be closer to the “two vertical rows of buttons down the side of the airbag” meme of, say, the last-gen Fusion (even though the pictured one only has cruise buttons). I thought the “chunkier” airbag, a-la mid ‘90s Mustang-style, was used through the end of production.

  • avatar

    Oh and thank you for posting all this Ranger porn, Matthew.

  • avatar
    AeroDocGuy

    My daily driver is a red FX4LII identical to the top photo…
    Alcoa’s and all.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…with the company saying it will replace the airbags in 391,394 units”

    Sure, if they can ever actually get the airbags.

    Takata is single-handedly ruining the resale value of many cars. Personally, I would never buy a used car if this airbag issue was outstanding on it. Saying “it won’t happen to me” is just playing Russian roulette.

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    I miss these sensible sized trucks. Not interested in the full-sized replacements.

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    I miss these sensible sized trucks. Not interested in the full-sized replacements.

  • avatar
    Broo

    In eastern Canada, Rangers are still very common on the road, and many are still used as company work vehicles. I guess it’s the right size combined with the right price. Sure, it was outdated, but at that price many buyers were willing to overlook this. It was still a new truck.

    I do have a ’06 single cab with 7′ bed. I bought in 2010. Both airbags recalls have been done, looks like it’ll need to visit the Ford dealer again in the coming months.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    1965-1981 Ford Ranger is the origin of Ford Ranger pickup trucks. No airbags in these trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      9Exponent

      Great!

      Faulty airbags or none at all, you’ll die either way.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        The odds certainly aren’t as good in such an old vehicle. But airbags are unlikely to be the difference. If you wear a seatbelt and passenger compartment intrusion doesn’t crush you, you’ll probably survive regardless.

        Being in a 60 mph head-on requiring hydraulic extraction, without airbags, has made me completely unafraid of pulling a Takata Shrapnel Edition airbag fuse until it can be replaced.

        The 20th Takata shrapnel death was confirmed recently. Probably the usual minor low-speed incident where the airbag was completely unnecessary. What a horribly ironic way to die.

        http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2017/12/20/takata-airbag-death/108773568/

        It happened in Louisiana. I believe those in cool or dry climates have been spared the danger so far.

        • 0 avatar
          9Exponent

          Fair point. Glad you survived!

          Can I ask what cars were involved in the collision? As the average mass of vehicles is increasing, I have waning confidence in the ability of pre-airbag cars to prevent cabin intrusion.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I was in an ’87 Grand Am, he was in a ’91 (I think) Dynasty. So he had a couple hundred pounds on me, maybe 3 or 4 if he had the V6.

            He came into my lane from the inside of a curve and hit me with the center of his front end into my front left corner, so my side crumpled. It wasn’t a glancing blow; our cars came to rest about twenty feet apart. A front passenger in my car would have likely been uninjured, and so would the other driver if he had been wearing a seatbelt as his passenger compartment stayed intact. All I know about him is that he had a compound fracture of his femur.

            It’s hard to imagine I’d have survived if the other vehicle had been even a little taller or heavier. Looking at videos of crash tests with early-90’s GM vehicles compared to those of modern vehicles, I have to assume I’d have been able to just open my door and immediately get out of the car if I had the same crash in my ’04 Mazda3.

            But I would still consider my Mazda3 to be inadequate if I were more valuable financially or to any dependents. There are a lot of trucks and large SUVs that would go right through that thing in a high speed or side collision, and it doesn’t have the most important airbags; the side ones. If I had a wife and children, I would consider a compact CUV like a CX-5 to be the minimum I’d want them in.

            On that subject, I was surprised when my brother-in-law brought a near-new Versa to my sister with the intention of replacing her ’07 X3 this past summer. He still deals in vehicles a bit along with real estate so you never know what he might bring home. She even drove an H2 Hummer for a bit in the mid-2000’s. It was a silly vehicle but I thought it was perfectly logical for someone who can afford it to protect himself or his family in that way.

            Anyway, I don’t believe she drove it more than once before shooting that idea down. The guy owns many millions of dollars in property and wants his wife and two children in that? Her X3 is like a new vehicle inside and is well-maintained and mechanically sound. She has absolutely no interest in replacing it within the foreseeable future.

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