Takata Problems Force Recall of Ford Ranger (No, Not That One - the Old One)

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

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.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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6 of 22 comments
  • Broo Broo on Dec 23, 2017

    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.

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Dec 24, 2017

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

    • See 3 previous
    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Dec 29, 2017

      @9Exponent 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.

  • Dartdude I have a 17 Ram 1500, love the dial and took to it right a way. don't have a lever blocking the dash panel or taking up space on the console.
  • Dartdude The only problem I have if there is a big demand for chips why aren't there investors lining up to invest? If smart money is not jumping at this then there must be a reason and when all these new semi-conductor plants are up and running will there be a glut. Notice how the government invests in businesses that help a select segment of the population and not the general population. Follow the money, remember that the government DOESN"T have its own money, its money stolen through taxation.
  • GBJT I know V8’s are capable of good MPG. My 2009 C6 Corvette with the 6.2 L LS3 on the highway in 6 gear pushing 1700 RPM’s gets 32 MPG.
  • TheEndlessEnigma I don't believe the odometer, not even for a second. It's way to easy to roll back this style of odometer.....that that the "Theft" light is lit. If I remember correctly, this lit up does not indicate activation of theft detection, it indicates a problem.
  • TheEndlessEnigma :Are plug-in hybrids the future?" Yes, yes they are. They make sense.