Potentially Loose Loads Spark Ford Super Duty Recall

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
potentially loose loads spark ford super duty recall

There’s a new Super Duty line coming to the Ford stable for 2020, and a recall coming to owners who bought the earlier version.

On Friday, Ford Motor Company issued a recall of certain 2017-2019 F-250, F-350, and F-450 pickups to fix tailgates that might fly open at inopportune moments. The callback has been a long time coming.

According to Ford, the recall affects only those trucks with an electric release switch on the tailgate handle. The culprit? The very thing that breeds life itself: water.

“In affected vehicles with an electric tailgate latch-release switch mounted in the tailgate handle, water entering the electrical wiring system may cause a short circuit, resulting in unintended switch activation and release of the tailgate latches,” the automaker states. “This could cause the tailgate to open unintentionally, whether the vehicle is in motion or stationary. This condition may result in the loss of unrestrained cargo, increasing the risk of a crash.”

Obviously, trucks with only manual tailgate handles are not included in the recall. Adding electricity to a mechanism or feature that previously lacked such modernity is fraught with danger. Just ask my friend, whose F-150’s power running boards didn’t last long in the harsh conditions of the salt belt. Fixed boards would have averted those trips to the dealer.

In the case of the unlatching tailgates, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was all over the issue by October of 2018, launching an investigation into 2017 model-year Ford trucks with electrically-actuated tailgates. That probe included the F-150, too. At the time, it seemed a recall was only a matter of time.

While Ford claims it’s unaware of any accidents or injuries stemming from the potential fault, dropping your tailgate at highway speeds with a full bed of junk could spell disaster for motorists in other vehicles. The recall, which seeks to modify the trucks’ tailgate frame wiring harnesses and install a new tailgate release switch, impacts some 231,664 vehicles in the U.S. and federal territories and 29,953 in Canada.

If you’re thinking that Ford is the only automaker to grapple with wonky power tailgates, think again. In the summer of 2018, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.1 million Ram trucks for tailgates with a mind of their own.

[Image: Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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8 of 18 comments
  • EBFlex EBFlex on Dec 08, 2019

    They’re literally reporting on a recall. Why is that bad?

    • See 5 previous
    • Jack4x Jack4x on Dec 09, 2019

      @DenverMike Hope you like blue.

  • PandaBear PandaBear on Dec 09, 2019

    You can't group the whole US together. i.e. California and Texas are completely opposite in automotive preferences. I also am interested in a Lambo, but I am not going to buy one new or used. Does that make sense? p.s. Prius V owner, will buy a used Chevy Volt if I need to replace my Corolla now.

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.