Ford Recalling Over 500,000 F-150 Pickups Over Transmission Defect

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Ford Motor Co. is recalling 552,188 F-Series trucks sold in the United States over a transmission issue that can force the vehicle to downshift into first gear unexpectedly. Based on documentation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the issue only pertains to vehicles from the 2014 model year F-150 pickups and mimics and earlier recall impacting 1.5 million trucks.

The alleged culprit is the transmission control module. A loss of signal between the transmission output shaft speed sensor and the powertrain control module is said to cause the transmission to unexpectedly downshift into first gear. This can reportedly take place regardless of vehicle speed, which could do catastrophic damage to both the engine and transmission.

While Ford estimates that only about 1 percent of the whole are likely to be affected, something like this happening at higher speeds would wreak havoc on the powertrain and potentially result in a loss of control. At a minimum it would be incredibly jarring for anyone inside the vehicle.

The manufacturer has said that it has “identified various causal factors of an intermittent OSS signal in this population of vehicles, including contamination, power short to ground, connector corrosion, connector pin swaging, and incorrect outputs from the OSS sensor.”

Drivers of the affected pickups may be wholly unaware of there being a problem. However, in some instances, they may notice a warning light come on as the vehicle attempts to shift itself into first gear. Vehicles that are suffering may recover the OSS signal on their own while driving and others will require the driver to stop the vehicle and restart it. Either way, we’d strongly recommend against driving the truck at anything other than low speeds to help mitigate risk.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into the matter in March, and seems to believe this is tied to an earlier recall that impacted a much larger recall covering F-Series pickups.

Documents filed with the NHTSA on Tuesday, show Ford reporting 396 warranty and field reports. There have also been over a fair number of customer complaints about the problem for the relevant model, covering just under 500 trucks. A few complaints have allegedly resulted in crashes after claims that the rear wheels suddenly locked up.

Ford has said it is working with the NHTSA on the matter and plans on notifying customers in July. Sadly, it looks like repairs won’t be happening until the fall with dealers updating the powertrain control software at no cost. However, if the issue stems from physical shorts and corroded connections, a simple software flash doesn’t really seem sufficient.

Concerned owners can utilize Ford's customer service line at (866) 436-7332. Ford's number for the recall is 24S37. The NHTSA is likewise an option, with drivers able to call (888) 327-4236 or use the recall website. Just be sure to have your VIN handy.

[Images: Ford]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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4 of 48 comments
  • Yuda Yuda on Jun 26, 2024

    "tranny defect" is wild LMAO

  • 3-On-The-Tree 3-On-The-Tree on Jun 27, 2024


    I’ve heard that from a lot of mechanics due to the simple pushrod design, no added complexity with the twin turbo set up. Same with the LS3. I traded that truck in for a 2021 Tundra with the 5.7. It actually gets a little better mileage than the Ecoboost. I drove up to Wa and back and the

    Ecoboost never got over 17.5 over a 1300mi trip.

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 27, 2024

      Coyote is DOHC. 7.3 Godzilla has pushrods.

      There are tuning shops getting huge HP numbers out of the Coyote. My son showed me an article about a 1963 Galaxie 500 dragster with 2,700 hp at rear wheels.

      He's worked on a few 800 hp Mustangs.

  • Fred As a British Car Fan I liked them, but then I sat in one and changed my mind. I like the unique looks of the newer ones.
  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.