By on July 20, 2018

Ford Expedition Galvanic Corrosion, Image: Carcomplaints

DC writes:

I am not sure if you have looked at this before, but there are aluminum issues Ford has had on several vehicles. I discovered it after I purchased as Certified Pre-Owned 2016 Ford Expedition XLT 4WD with the upgraded option package. It had over 38,000 miles on it when I drove it off the lot. That number will make a difference later on. The biggest issue though is galvanic corrosion under the paint many customers are experiencing.

The tailgate/hatch and hood are made of aluminum on several years of the Ford Expedition. Within a few years the paint starts to bubble. I read about it online, and contacted Ford. I got a call back from a “Regional Manager” from Ford. She blamed ice on the roads. I pointed out I am in California, and she said oh, then it is salt air from the sea. I then further pointed out I was in Sacramento. She informed me my vehicle did not qualify for a buyback. I said I just wanted it fixed. She said the five-year corrosion warranty didn’t apply to this unless it corroded all the way through the panel. It was covered up to three years/36,000 miles, and not one of the things extended with the Certified Pre-Owned 12 month/12,000 mile. The vehicle was driven as a dealer exec vehicle from about 27,000-38,000 miles.

A couple days later, I was told Ford would cover repainting it. After I dropped it off I found Ford TSB 17-0062, which says it should be replaced, not repainted. It took over a week because they found more extensive corrosion repainting it, but still repainted it after I pointed out the TSB. When I got it back, I had new damage (paint chipped on the hood down to the aluminum) and they have had it four more days now to fix that. I am concerned that one of the theories on this is galvanic corrosion due to dissimilar metal contamination in the aluminum. If that is the case, repainting will be a temporary solution at best. A solution that gets you further from the time when it is covered. 

Another issue I have noticed is that, compared to my previous vehicle, the SiriusXM on this vehicle loses signal and says “Acquiring Signal” far more often. When it happens, I can usually spot a cell tower within a few hundred feet. I am comparing it to a 2015 Jeep Patriot High Altitude FWD that was totaled in January when I was rear-ended. I noticed that aftermarket SiriusXM antennas recommend placing the antenna as close to the rear of the vehicle as possible. On the Expedition it is on the roof right above the windshield on the Front passenger side. On the Patriot is is near the rear hatch on the roof.

The third issue is I didn’t see the proverbial fine print on the Sync 3 update that added Android Auto and CarPlay. I had to upgrade the USB hub. As far as I can tell, Ford kept saying it would be available in a software update for 2016 model vehicles with Sync 3. It wasn’t until the press release about the update in May, 2017 that they put in a footnote that a hardware upgrade was needed.  I convinced the dealer to discount the part, and put it in with my brother’s assistance since he already had the nylon pry bar needed. Still out of pocket was $63 to add a feature I was told it would have with a software update.

Sajeev answers:

“I am concerned that one of the theories on this is galvanic corrosion because of dissimilar metal contamination in the aluminum. If that is the case repainting will be a temporary solution at best.”

That’s an incorrect conclusion: a proper repair (mostly in the prep before paint, and the zinc chromate primer?) will last the life of the vehicle.

Galvanic corrosion isn’t the end of the world, as the aluminum hood on my beloved 1983 Continental never corroded in 35 years. And that’s not some delusional notion of The Good Old Days, as plenty of new aluminum-intensive cars painted in newer factories, under modern environmental regulations, have decent paint adhesion.

So what’s the problem? It’s the finger pointing when the vehicle is new enough to fall under the factory warranty coverage, or a manufacturer-blessed goodwill repair or a customer pay resolution.  Sometimes you never know where the ball will land, so I’m glad they are repainting the affected panels on their dime.

As mentioned before, I reckon any I-Car Gold Class body shop is up to the task. But the collision repair industry is built upon re-work: customer service is key, because getting it right the first time isn’t guaranteed. Paint chips are certainly frustrating, but don’t let it cast a shadow on the repair’s effectiveness…especially if they have a lifetime workmanship warranty (as many shops do).

Perhaps I am being too optimistic, but how else should you armchair such a predicament?

As to your other queries:

  • We are getting conflicting info: SiriusXM says both locations are acceptable, “mount the antenna on the SUV’s roof, just above the rear window or front windshield.” The dealer won’t do squat to address your concerns, as I doubt there’s a workaround available short of hacking wiring and drilling another hole in the roof. No thanks!
  • Our society lives and dies by the proverbial fine print!  The only way around is to get a lawyer involved, but I suspect their fee is far more than the discounted part you installed. So you won…sorta.

[Image: Carcomplaints.com]

Send your queries to [email protected]m. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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50 Comments on “Piston Slap: Corrosive Aftersales on Galvanic Corrosion?...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Quality Is Job…I dunno, 3 or 4 maybe?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Fords and their paint jobs have never been the best of friends

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Indeed, if theres anything that annoys me about my ex-cruiser its the flakey delicate “fleet white” paint. I had hoped that after 15 years Ford would’ve learned how to apply paint better.

    • 0 avatar
      kurkosdr

      Or fords and interior upholstery. The upholstery on dad’s 2003 Mondeo looked like the upholstery of a 30-year old vehicle after just 5 years of ownership. This was the time I decided I will never own a Ford, and the PowerShift fiasco only cemented that decision.

      At least Alfa Romeos are beautiful and feel sporty.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    “Recent studies have shown that not only is zinc chromate highly toxic, it is also a carcinogen.[17] Exposure to zinc chromate can cause tissue ulceration and cancer.[1][3] A study published in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine showed a significant correlation between the use of zinc chromate and lead chromate in factories and the number of cases in lung cancer experienced by the workers.[18] Because of its toxicity the use of zinc chromate has greatly diminished in recent years.”
    Not sure if you can buy zinc chromate now due to health hazard.
    There are other, less toxic, aluminum primers such as epoxy.
    The best would be anodizing the part, but that would require removing all the other parts, latches, glass, wiring, etc and complete paint strip beforehand. Probably won’t happen. Certainly if a company like Ford is paying for it.
    Zinc chromate was used extensively in the aircraft industry and abandoned due to the dangers. IIRC someone got an award for developing a less toxic alternative that did not require the complexity of a 2 part epoxy. And don’t get me started on catylized urethane.

    • 0 avatar
      brettucks

      Zinc chromate primer is still used in aerospace work. There is a less toxic but more costly alternative, however the old specs are still active (as least two of my customers ) and most parts offer the less toxic as an alternative to the older.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Man I thought the cracking composites on the hatches of the last of the rear drive Explorers was bad enough…

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I’m wondering why the OP brought up the proximity of cell phone towers when discussing SiriusXM reception… how is that relevant to satellite radio?

    • 0 avatar
      brettucks

      my mustang with sirius (antenna on trunk) has similar problems around cell towers. I have about 4 dead spots on way home, 3 of them around intersections. I assumed it was due to something on the signal light crossbar for emergency vehicles that might be causing the trouble if it isnt cell towers.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      AT&T has been deploying 2.3 GHz LTE Band 30 on frequencies very near those used by Sirius XM. Some Sirius XM receivers have trouble very near cell sites where Band 30 has been turned on. There was one intersection in Plano, TX where Sirius XM used to always quit working for me, but the problem has been corrected. I complained about it, but doubt my individual complaint caused it to be fixed. I assume AT&T changed transmitter power and/or antenna downtilt just enough to eliminate receiver overload at that light. Sometimes AT&T and Sirius XM work together to install a Sirius XM terrestrial repeater to solve the problem.

  • avatar
    mason

    Here’s a strange one regarding Sirius XM antennas. My 14 Ram 3500 crew cab antenna is mounted at the front driver’s side corner of the roof. We have a 14 Ram 1500 crew cab at work, the antenna on that one is mounted on the driver’s side rear corner of the roof.
    Things that make you go hmmm.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I realize Ford should simply change it’s name to F-150, but the high margin Expedition should still be an important product. How do they screw this up so much, esp in its second or third generation?

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    GM suffered with a bunch of S-10’s/S-15’s back in the ’90s with a similar condition on some of the tailgates but not all. One of the line workers used a body lotion and deposited it on the gates during prep for coating (painting). Paint sloughed off the finished vehicles and caused my company (the paint system supplier) agony as it was our fault somehow. Proper preparation and application for the new coatings being used is essential and someone is goofing up somewhere. I’d be interested in knowing if the paint used was PPG, Dupont, or BASF (the big three coatings suppliers).

    • 0 avatar
      IanGTCS

      How long did it take for the paint to start coming off, and how long to figure out what the exact problem was if you happen to know.

      • 0 avatar
        bullnuke

        @IanGTCS – The coatings began failing on a few in the yard waiting for dealer transport, most at the dealer or customer within a month or so of painting/assembly. GM forced us through hoops by checking samples we held of every batch of paint to be test sprayed, all the production equipment checked for cleanliness/contamination, etc. before they even looked at their own procedures in the production process. We ended up pointing out the problem onsite at the assembly plant (Shreveport IIRC) and they finally became believers at around the 30-day point. The offending GM associate lost his/her job only after it was absolutely proven to the union that the written and trained required cleanliness procedures/practices had not been followed. About $1M loss for us. One of the many memorable ghost hunts for self-inflicted paint problems in vehicle assembly plants and not just GM. We painted different models of differing brands for most everybody in the US, Europe, and Mexico.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This is why people should never buy the beer can Ford trucks.

    Unless they like paint flakes all over their garage.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Ford has THE WORST DEALERSHIPS & WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM CORPORATE, FULL STOP.

    Slimebag, scumbag, lying, cheating pieces of sh*t at every level.

    This, alone, is a significant enough reason not to buy any Ford (though their overpriced, unreliable, bland vehicles is also a great reason to purchase nearly any Ford).

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Are you and EB Flex Lovers?

      “Not that there is anything wrong with that”

      – My buddy Jerry Seinfeld

      • 0 avatar
        Charliej

        Those guys are so anti Ford that they are jokes. I am that way about GM. The last GM car that I bought was in 1983, Since then my cars have been Honda, Chrysler or Ford. All have given me good service. I am sure that there are plenty of other manufacturers that have good vehicles. Just not GM crap. By the way, my fifteen year old Ford Escape still has perfect paint and I am down here in Mexico. Where the sun burns the finish off so many cars. Three hundred fifty days of bright sunshine a year will do that. Not on my Escape though. Actually I don’t see any Escapes with peeling paint. If you want peeling paint, look at the Chevrolet pickups with the paint peeling off the hood and roof. I prefer good vehicles not GM garbage.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Art Vandelay comment’FLAGGED for homophobic comment*.

        *There are some cites allowing uncensored, raw speech, and hatred; TTAC is not one of them.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          So, this rule doesn’t apply to you? You’ve made some very offensive homophobic remarks about me in the past.

          Same as vowing to abstain from personal attacks, then launching into a rage against Jack Barurth immediately after.

          Besides, nothing he said was homophobic, would it be “heterophobic” if one of you were female?

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          But I qualified it with “Not that there is anything wrong with that”. So it’s OK.

          Now comes the part where I tell you to go fnck yourself DeadWeight. Might wanna flag that too.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      DeadWeight used to be entertaining. Now he’s just a troll. Ignore him.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      “Ford has THE WORST DEALERSHIPS & WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM CORPORATE, FULL STOP.”

      Fiatsler considers that a slight to their hegemony. I’ve been holding off on telling the story of my buddy’s pre-crashed Hellcat for over a year now. That’s because its still an ongoing ordeal. I probably should have submitted an article here when the issue was first escalated to the executives at Auburn Hills and they basically replied with an invitation to match lawyers. While Obama has made all cars that aren’t Toyotas into disposable garbage, even leasing a Fiat or a Ford is a cry for help.

    • 0 avatar
      Carroll Prescott

      Dead weight is so appropriately named. Apparently he’s never dealt with my Ford dealer who honored a 60K warranty on a former 1989 Ford when I had never been there before and had over 60k miles on the odometer. They pulled the service records from my former dealer and discovered the root causes of each of the maladies I had had with the Ford and FIXED the problems once and for all UNDER WARRANTY.

      You now stand corrected.

      Dead weight – party of one and an IQ to match.

  • avatar
    TW5

    My 2007 Nissan Frontier had this problem, also in California. It was my brother’s at the time, and it was only about 2 years old when the paint started flaking off of the roof, cab back, and tailgate. The passage of time hasn’t really helped it, though makeshift garage painting has alleviated damage to the body panels.

    Nissan also gave us the run around, though they eventually relented and the dealer warrantied the roof paint. Unfortunately, the failing paint began to show in other areas in subsequent years.

  • avatar
    TimK

    My company paints aluminum parts and we have similar issues. Environmental concerns have largely eliminated the use of chromate conversion coatings and solvent-based paints. A proper chromate film on aluminum prior to the primer coat is what produces a finish that will last in the presence of salt or other corrosive chemicals. Leave out that step (or use an inferior substitute) and it’s a setup for later problems.

    Modern, water-borne paints are another issue. By their nature they do not bond as well to the primer as solvent based systems. Once corrosion and delamination start at the base metal, they peel off easily in large flakes.

    Our aluminum MIL-spec parts are still done the “old fashioned” way, chromate conversion+epoxy primer+solvent polyurethane top coat. You could steam clean them ten years from now and the paint will laugh at you.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      All the aluminum military vehicles I rode in got CARC tan out of a rattle can.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      Thank you for this post. This thread once again illustrates how many don’t appreciate the compromises inherent in making products durable while complying with current environmental regulations.

    • 0 avatar
      brettucks

      I agree with TimK – they still do it the old way. Id rather have toxic paint covered by more paint to prevent corrosion of any airplane I would fly in than take a chance of corrosion by using a ‘safer’ primer.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Your excellent post makes me wonder how the relatively new aluminum bodied F-150 is going to fair paint wise in the next few years.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        So far so good on my 2015, though still plenty of time for an issue to surface. I will say 2 things with respect to the finish:

        First, no chips on the hood or front. It’s at 60k so I found that odd especially given the highway miles. Oddly the plastic chrome chipped in a little spot on the inside of the grill so not like it hasn’t taken some impacts.

        Secondly, it seems to be pretty resistent to dings. I waxed it the other day and it has not one. I know some doors have hit it because it is huge and I came out of the PX to find a scratch and a shopping cart against it but again no dent.

        Hopefully they got it right on these.

    • 0 avatar
      IanGTCS

      Thanks for the information.

      Wasn’t there a period in the 70s (maybe?) where the paint wasn’t nearly as good as certain really harmful compounds were banned.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    A decade ago I ran a body shop that was fed largely by a local Ford dealer. These, Mustang and BOF Explorer hoods every single day.

    • 0 avatar
      18726543

      I’ve read about this issue on the Mustang hoods. I have a low-mile, garage kept, perpetually waxed ’09 that I’m hoping will be spared this fate. If my efforts are just wishful thinking, at least I tried my best.

  • avatar
    IanGTCS

    My 2011 Mustang that started bubbling in early 2014 along the leading edge of the hood and was covered under warranty. Haven’t noticed any other spots since then so I’m assuming it is all good. If you’ve made it this far it is probably OK.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Just yesterday I saw an older ford fusion with the paint just flecking off in huge chunks around the wheels. Under the doors the body was also just rotting away, to the extend that I was wondering if it was safe. Sure it was 10 years old, but it’s hard to believe ford is still having problems with rust and paint. I always thought FCA was worst when it came to these issues.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    Re: USB hardware update, you only have to upgrade it if you’re using Apple Carplay, and only on MY16 vehicles with Sync 3. MY17+ has the updated hardware pretty much across the board.

    Android Auto works just fine without the upgraded hardware (though for whatever reason you need to buy a decent USB cable).

    To be honest in my opinion neither is as good as the base Sync 3 software, but that’s just me.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Is this a climate specific issue? The only vehicles I’ve seen in Minnesota with excessive amounts of peeling paint were Luminas and Lumina-based Monte Carlos. Otherwsie, up here it’s usually regular old rust that kills bodywork.

    Of course there are the Hondas running around with peeling bumpers, usually silver.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    Odd, never seen this at all. Must be specific to northern climates.

    I do see MODERN vehicles with peeling paint from all makes including the Duh princesses Hon and Toyo.

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