By on May 15, 2019

2019 Ford Ranger rear quarter

Recalls to prevent cars from rolling away from their owners have become commonplace, and Ford is no stranger to the phenomenon. Last year, the automaker recalled 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to replace vulnerable automatic transmission shift cables that could leave the car in the wrong gear, regardless of where the driver positions the shift lever.

On Wednesday, Ford announced a recall for the exact same problem, plus a second one for a similar issue. While the Fusion makes up the bulk of the affected vehicles, the brand new Ranger pickup also finds itself on the receiving end of some unwanted PR.

The recall covers 2013-2016 Fusions equipped with the base 2.5-liter inline-four, built at both the Flat Rock assembly plant in Michigan and Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico facility. That model year range is the same last last year’s recall, though these vehicles weren’t included in the earlier call-back.

In total, some 270,000 Fusions in North America are under recall for a shift cable bushing that can degrade, causing the cable to detach from the transmission. Should this happen, a vehicle can remain in a drive gear even after the owner shifts into park. The automaker claims it has three reports of property damage and one injury on file as a probably result of the problem.

Of the total, just over 10,000 afflicted vehicles were sold in Canada, with another 3,000 found in Mexico.

A second, separate recall impacts owners of the 2019 Ranger. Ford wants about 2,500 U.S. examples of the pickup back in the shop to check fasteners that secure the transmission shift cable bracket. If not torqued to proper specs, the fasteners could let go, leading to the same outcome as in the Fusion recall. Some 260 Rangers are under recall in Canada.

“Dealers will properly torque the two fasteners and verify the proper operation of the transmission selector assembly according to established workshop manual procedure,” the company stated.

Owners of both sets of vehicles are advised to make good use of their parking brake.

Last month, Fiat Chrysler recalled a slew of Darts that could become wayward after their shift cables detach. This recall, like the others, follow a period in which automakers, most notably Fiat Chrysler, rushed to deal with problems resulting from unorthodox shift levers placed in automatic-equipped vehicles. Dials and “return to center” monostable shifters led to customer confusion, forcing automakers to install auto-park features to prevent accidental runaways. For Ford, the feature was worth bragging about.

[Image: Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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10 Comments on “Ford Again Shifts Into Recall Mode, Citing Rollaway Risk...”


  • avatar
    SPPPP

    It seems odd that this old technology is suddenly failing for multiple manufacturers. Did they get a run of substandard parts from a shady supplier? Did they design the part cheaper than before to save a few cents per car?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      It sounds like the assembler put the bolts in hand tight, or the tool needs calibrating, to apply the right amount of torque.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        I was more concerned with the failing bushings. Auto transmission gear select cables and levers are not new. These cables used to move levers that controlled valves and whatnot inside the transmission. These days, I think the only thing being moved is an electronic control switch on the transmission. So these parts should be less stressed than before, but failures are showing up. What changed?

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          Exactly my thinking. What are all these shift cable thingies? Surely it’s all electric now, one would have thought, but no, apparently not. Goodness knows why not.

          They got rid of conventional parking brakes because the cable took too long to adjust during assembly, and replaced it with electric motors (!) for simplicity.

          But Ford probably adjusts stuff like they hang the hatch on Escapes. Aproximately.

        • 0 avatar

          ” I think the only thing being moved is an electronic control switch on the transmission.”

          Why do you need cable for that? Pair of electric wires would be enough. Or CAN bus.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    We’ve been making cars a long time…..these simple mistakes are definitely the result of cutting costs….either through design, material or manufacturing….

    But why don’t we have direct regulator oversight of our vehicles most basic safety mechanisms?

    The automobile industry is incredibly fortunate to be able to self-regulate stuff like this and fix these issues retroactively with no compensation for the affected owners….

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    But, but Subaru!!! https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/05/subaru-struggles-annual-profits-effectively-halved-due-to-quality-control-issues

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Alan Mulally’s famous cost cutting strikes again. Profits now, recalls later is not a good business model.

    The best thing to happen to Ford was Mulally retiring. Of course Ford goes ahead and hires another boob.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Don’t see too many of these on the roads. Seen two so far. Either they don’t sell or they are not fully out in force yet

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Ford, or the automotive companies are not alone on this behavior.

    If one reads the multiple accounts from many news outlets regarding the 737MAX fiasco, they seem to agree that the failure was related to what has euphemistically been called “stock-market capitalism”.

    Which simply means: the corporations have to meet the market’s financial expectations, such that stock price will continue to rise, and damn the torpedoes!

    All of them.

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