Unannealed Pinions Causes Ford To Recall Vehicles
“Ford’s quality control appears to be getting worse. The Dearborn-based automaker somehow forgot to anneal the front axle pinions that equip certain F-150, Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator vehicles. By not receiving the proper heat treatment, said pinions are prone to fracture, resulting in the sudden loss of 4×4.
The abrupt switch from 4×4 to 2×4 isn’t a biggie from the standpoint of safety, but if the front axle pinion does fracture, the front wheels may lock up. Loud noises may be heard as the drive shaft and flange hit the cross member and stability bar after the pinion goes kaput.
According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the front axle pinion may fracture especially while in reverse due to higher loads. The report attached below lists Ford Motor Company as the supplier of the 3.73:1 front axle pinion gear set, which bears part number CL3W-3A410-BB.
Ford became aware of this problem in January 2023, prompting the Critical Concern Review Group to investigate reports of pinion fracture on three F-150 pickup trucks. The failures occurred as the F-150s were being reversed onto a transporter. Ford Engineering immediately determined that the very same pinions are used in the Expedition and Navigator full-size SUVs.
All three fractured pinions didn’t go through the required annealing process at the automaker’s axle manufacturing plant. Heat treatment may reduce the hardness of the metal, but it also reduces the brittleness of the pinion stem threads. The second-largest automaker of the Big Three in Detroit isn’t aware of warranty reports, field reports, or customer complaints related to this issue.
Only 240 vehicles equipped with 4×4 are believed to have been produced with unannealed pinions. The list kicks off with 227 units of the F-150 pickup truck, namely 2023 models assembled between January 15th and January 24th. Four units of the 2023 model year Expedition are noted in the report below as well, with build dates ranging between January 15th and the 26th.
Last but certainly not least, nine units of the luxury-oriented Navigator are called back. The 2023 models in question were built from January 12th to the 20th. Owners will receive mailed notifications in the period between April 10th and the 14th with instructions to take their vehicles in for the remedy, which is a brand-new front axle pinion gear set featuring a different part number from the suspect component. CL3Z-3222-D is said to have gone through the required heat treatment process.
Dealers have been instructed to have the front axle pinion gear set replaced. In case of a broken front axle pinion, the entire front axle assembly will be replaced at no charge to the customer. In the meantime, owners are recommended to run the VINs on the NHTSA’s website to confirm whether their vehicles are indeed recalled.”
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