By on September 28, 2020

Hey, it’s Monday – you can’t blame us for picking that low hanging fruit in the headline. Bad puns aside, owners of certain 2020 model-year Mustangs equipped with a slushbox should visit their dealership post-haste to rectify what could be a terrifying problem.

According to the safety nerds at NHTSA, the brake pedal bracket in certain 2020 Mustangs equipped with an automatic transmission may fracture during sudden stopping. The root cause of this condition, according to NHTSA, is “insufficient design margins for noise factors” within brake pedal engineering specifications. In other words, a supplier changed how they built the thing.

The brake pedal bracket material was apparently changed from nylon to polypropylene at some point leading up to the production run between March 2019 and August of this year. A total of 38,005 Mustangs have been identified as affected by the defect and, to throw a wrench into the mix, the vehicles are not produced in VIN order.

NHTSA docs state that Ford has known about this since last summer. On August 4, 2019, a concern related to three reports of brake-pedal bracket fracturing was brought to Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group for review. Ford analyzed parts returned and determined the brackets failed via brittle overload.

As of September 9, 2020, Ford found there had been four reports in the European market and two reports in the North American market of brake-pedal bracket breaking at pivot location during spike stop braking. With this in hand, the company’s Field Review Committee approved a field action roughly a couple of weeks ago.

Ford says they are not aware of any reports of accident or injury related to this condition which is good because, y’know, brakes. Dealers were notified about this campaign last Thursday so they should know what you’re on about when contacted. Owners can also call Ford at 1-866-436-7332 or use the NHTSA’s lookup tool to see if their car is affected.

[Images: Ford]

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18 Comments on “Braking Bad: Ford Recalls Mustang for Brake Pedal Problems...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “In other words, a supplier changed how they built the thing.”

    Not exactly. If they changed to a different material, then Ford knew about it, studied it, and approved of it. This is totally on Ford, even if the change was recommended by the supplier.

    As for the non-sequential issue, they must be treating brake pedals as a commodity that go into a refillable bin.

    Next we’ll get a recall about how the dealer technicians forgot to properly install the retaining clips on some of the new pedals.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      “Noise factors”? According to a “Taguchi design”, “Noise factors are process or design parameters that are difficult or expensive to control during manufacturing. Examples of noise factors are ambient temperature or humidity.”

      So, I think this is another word for “quality control”. Maybe it just sounds less damning.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    This article brings to mind the old Firesign Theatre skit about a new car with “the new plastic brake system with the look of real metal that’s raised so many eyebrows amongst surviving American consumers”.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Well, y’know, Ford’s only been building brake pedals for like 115 years. We should give them the time they need to figure it out.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @Mike: I think you’re onto something. GM apparantly hasn’t had enough time to figure out brakes either:

      https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/a34159014/c8-corvette-stop-sale-order-recall-brake-issue/

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    So the whole pedal could bust off up under the dash, or would there be part of the stub left that you could manipulate with your left foot shoved up there?

    Is this in the “2020, Year Of The ‘Rona, you can’t make this [fecal material] up!” file??!!

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    “Spike stop”. Must be brake checking the Hellcat behind them.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    I just can’t fathom a plastic bracket for something like a brake pedal. I noted the original was nylon. Nylon gets brittle after a few years of high heat. Watch out Arizonans.

    Cost cutting going too far.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Questions for the B&B:

    a) When did plastic brake pedal components become a thing?

    b) If a brake line rusted through, presumably you would still have braking on half the system, correct?

    c) What steps would you take in what order if you were driving a vehicle and suddenly discovered that the brake pedal was no longer connected to the vehicle’s braking system?

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      a- when money became more important than people.
      b- theoretically
      c- 1. Freak out
      2. Shift into neutral
      3. apply parking brake
      4. pull over
      5. Freak out some more
      6. Curse the ghost of Henry

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      a) I dunno, but it sounds like this is plastic in the attachment to the firewall, AKA the fulcrum point for the brake pedal lever. Not a place I want a failure to occur.

      b.) In theory, yes. In practice, the amount of braking power available may not be sufficient to solve the problem you face on the road at that exact moment. The pedal may drop pretty far before you get any braking power. Especially if the maintenance hasn’t been tip-top (old fluid with entrapped air), the stopping may be dangerously weak.

      c.) Since a broken brake pedal would likely follow an extreme application of the brake pedal, I assume I would only have time to:
      1 – Clench
      2 – Steer
      3 – Pray

      and not necessarily in that order.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Just as a follow-up, here is a link to an article describing what usually happens when a brake line ruptures in a split system. This matches my experience quite well.

        https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/what-you-need-to-know-to-survive-catastrophic-brake-failure/

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      C) Downshift, apply parking brake, scrub the tires from side to side, rub the curb, guardrail or center divider, look for the softest target/object if you have to hit something.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Built Ford Proud!

    This is a result of the furniture salesman squeezing suppliers to the bone to keep the profit percentage as high as possible. All vehicle programs must be above X% in terms of profit. And to achieve that quality must drop (Explorer, Blazer, Ranger, etc).

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Yikes. I can imagine them having to recall all the nylon ones too, at some point in the future. Doesn’t seem like the place to save weight and money by avoiding metal.

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