Lost in Transmission: Ford Recalls Nearly 68,000 2020 Pickups and Expeditions

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
lost in transmission ford recalls nearly 68 000 2020 pickups and expeditions

Ford has recalled nearly 68,000 vehicles manufactured at the start of 2020 and sold in North America, saying the cars suffer from a potential manufacturing defect where the clip that locks the gearshift cable to the transmission can become unseated.

While the company says it isn’t aware of any incidents related to the issue, a decoupling clip could allow a car’s transmission to be in a gear state different from the gearshift position selected by the operator. This could easily lead to dangerous roll-away accidents as drivers unwittingly put their vehicle into the wrong gear while thinking they’ve selected park.

Affected units include 2020 F-150, Ranger, and Expedition models (with the police package) equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Vehicles outfitted with the brand’s rotary shift knob were reportedly not impacted.

Applying the parking brake whenever you exit the vehicle should be enough to avoid a costly mistake, though we’d recommend exercising caution when putting the car into any new gear — as the vehicle may offer up a false reading. Ford said this is an issue that will likely worsen over time.

The brunt of affected models were sold in the United States, with about 12,000 going to Canada and roughly 600 settling in Mexico. You may be still be in the clear if you purchased one of the vehicles listed in the recall, as the production window is pretty narrow. Recalls only include Ranger pickups built at Michigan Assembly Plant between February 28th to March 18th; F-150s produced at the Dearborn Truck Plant between Feb. 18th and March 19th or at Kansas City Assembly from Feb. 21st to March 19th; and Expedition models assembled at the Kentucky Truck Plant from March 3rd to the 19th.

At this stage, the manufacturer simply states it will allow customers to come into dealerships for a free inspection, at which point technicians will make sure the shift cable’s locking clip is properly seated. Ford’s reference number for the recall is 20S18.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Apr 08, 2020

    I'd have to see how this one works. On my '95 F-150 (4R70W four-speed), the cable snapped on to a ball on the lever at the transmission (on the TR sensor) and the end under the dash, at the linkage coming down from the column shift lever. The maintenance schedule required lubrication every 15,000 miles, so I would have to snap the cable off at each end, add a little NLGI 2 grease inside the clip, using a small flat-blade screwdriver, then snap the cable ends back on. Never had a problem with the cable coming loose.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Apr 08, 2020

    Speaking as someone who has worked both in the design and manufacturing environments. That is what D-FMEA and P-FMEA are supposed to address. But in my personal experience, creating a good, inclusive FMEA is a lot of work, takes a lot of time, and requires the most experienced personnel (read: the most in demand) to spend quality time developing a solid FMEA......A coordinated and focused group effort. What usually happens after the initial kickoff meeting is that the attendance deteriorates, people make excuses that they have more important things to do, and eventually the most junior engineer is the only one remaining. Since he/she for the most part will be clueless, he will essentially copy the FMEA of a "similar" product. And there is a reason I put the word similar in quotes. It has four tires and an engine, right? Then those are similar products.

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