By on December 9, 2021

You may recall the brouhaha surrounding the Ford Bronco hardtop, a piece of the SUV that held up the initial rollout of the much-awaited model before causing a recall thanks to odd wear patterns. Specifically, certain roof units had a manufacturing deficiency which caused them to discolor and expose a honeycomb pattern after being subjected to particular levels of water and humidity (read: everyday conditions for some types of customers).

Now, it appears Ford is done like dinner with the issue, electing to destroy every single hardtop collected through the recall.

In fact, the company has apparently made a point of saying the hardtops will be “scrapped,” so they disappear forever.

“Those are being disposed of so that they cannot be re-sold or show up on a vehicle down the road,” said Mark Grueber, marketing manager for the Bronco in an interview with the Detroit Free Press.

Apparently, the defective hardtops can’t be sent to a recycler because they are ‘fully finished’, which apparently means there are chemicals or components in them which cannot be recycled. Greenpeace will the thrilled with that news, I’m sure.

In spite of these challenges, Ford remains wed to Webasto, a German-based company that is forging ahead with a new manufacturing facility in Michigan. The supplier presently builds the tops in Plymouth, and the new facility will be their fourth in the state. For their part, Webasto is on record saying they’ve taken ‘corrective steps’ to fix the honeycombing issue while noting the problem is strictly cosmetic and does not affect the functionality of the roof.

Elsewhere, Grueber said “We’re happy to report that we’ve completed the roof replacement for those Broncos that were being held at the Michigan Assembly Plant. We wanted to make sure these units were meeting our quality standards.”

This means there are no longer embarrassing hordes of Bronco SUVs sitting idle in Detroit parking lots, waiting for new tops before being released to dealerships. Owners who have already taken delivery, or the rare Bronco loitering on a new-car lot, will have its new top installed at the dealer.

Speaking of dealers, one outfit contact by the Freep claims hardtop swaps are a “one-day process”, a statement that stretches the bounds of credulity. Removing a Bronco roof takes about twenty minutes, with installing the thing consumes roughly the same amount of time. Even taking into account the time taken for an overworked tech to pull the customer’s Bronco into a service bay, walk to the parts department, complete the job, then drive the newly roofed SUV back to the parking lot, there’s no reason the job should take more than an hour. If a dealership service department is really taking a full 8 hour day to replace the hardtop on a Bronco, then they’re surely raking in the cash from Ford’s warranty department. Oh well, dealers be dealin’.

All this puts your author in mind of similar situations in Detroit manufacturing history, such as the W23 Kelsey Hayes wheels which tended to free themselves from the surly bonds of lug nuts when confronted with the immense power of a mighty 426 factory Hemi. These wheels are now highly prized by collectors since most were disposed of after Chrysler replaced them with other units. Given that Ford is destroying all those hardtops, there’s a case to be made the same might happen with the ill-fated Bronco roof units as well.

[Image: Ford]

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12 Comments on “Ford Blows Their Top, Disposing of Defective Bronco Lids...”


  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    A four-legged Bronco is far more reliable than a four-wheeled one.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    A non-story. If they didn’t destroy these tops, critics would wonder if Ford was going to try and sneak the better ones onto other vehicles. Sheez.

    By “one-day process”, they probably mean “same-day process”. Calm down.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Ok, Ford had a stumble with a new rollout, surprise! Ford fixed the problem and life can move on. Big deal. Someone on another site said that the defective roofs would eventually go for a fortune on ebay as being “An authentic original Bronco roof” and that’s why they’re being destroyed… Ok

    “Removing a Bronco roof takes about twenty minutes, with installing the thing consumes roughly the same amount ” Not to mention two people and a place to store the roof

    I love my one-touch sunroof :)

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Is it really a stumble when you release a shoddy designed roof that needs full and complete replacement shortly after leaving the plant?

      And a dealer to swap a roof is an entire day long job.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Speaking of the Ford Motor Company Bronco:
    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-popular-ford-bronco-sport-features-a-tiny-potentially-industry-changing-part-that-no-other-vehicle-has-11638994173

    Wait that’s Bronco Sport, not Bronco.

    Easy way to remember:
    • Bronco = New parts (big ones) directly to landfill
    • Bronco Sport = New parts (small ones) saving sea life

    TL;DR: If you purchase a new vehicle in 2022 and it is anything but a Bronco Sport, why do you hate Earth’s oceans?

  • avatar
    RangerM

    Were these defective, because they were unsafe?

    If not, I can’t see why they couldn’t just let them be sold as “irregulars” like clothing.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Yes. They had major issues. Ford tried to save face and say “oh no its strictly a cosmetic issue, nothing to see here”, but the reality is that Ford would not go to the trouble of replacing the roof from the top of the windshield back if it was just a cosmetic issue.

      Ford’s awful engineers couldn’t design a roof properly. Ford went cheap and lost bigtime.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        I’m not sure why I’m even going to ask this, but I’m going to anyway…. @EBFlex, you didn’t read the article, did you? 1) Ford didn’t make the tops, Webasto did. 2) Ford didn’t say there was nothing structurally wrong with the tops, Webasto did. 3) It wasn’t just a cosmetic issue, it was a squeaking issue as well- as documented in numerous YouTube videos.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          -Ford’s second rate engineers designed the tops.

          -Webasto was commissioned to build them because of their very successful history with building Jeep tops.

          -Ford stated this was just a cosmetic issue. Webasto didn’t comment.

          -When built to Ford’s exact specifications, the tops failed miserably. That indicated an engineering problem.

          -Ford paid for ALL of the new tooling and shipped it to Webasto. Webasto had no fault in this.

          -Ford LOVEs to blame suppliers for everything. They did NOT publically blame Webasto for this. Because this was 100% on Ford.

          Bronco6g has some great threads on this entire debacle including information from insiders that was never meant to be public. If the article fails to mention these facts then that’s on the author, not me.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s premature aging, like how the textured plastic cladding gets, fading, whitening, tiger striping, etc, after a few years of exposure. A heat gun magically brings them back to (like) new.

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      The trick with that “hack” is that for it to NOT damage the plastic further by making it more brittle, you need to coat the plastic in a light oil (linseed or even EV Olive works) while its still hot so that it can absorb the oil as it cools. Otherwise, all you’re doing is making the plastic look decent for a few weeks (or months depending on the plastic) and making it brittle.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Future collectors’ item.

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