Ford recalls 1.2 million Explorer SUVs over suspension failure fears

The Blue Oval is also issuing three other separate recall actions, including its popular F-150 pickup.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
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Ford's Explorer is being recalled over potential fractured rear toe links in the vehicle's suspension.


Ford has just released a quartet of safety recalls, with three of them impacting US customers. 

The biggest one covers Ford's very popular 2011-2017 Explorer SUV, and it focuses on the possibility of a fractured rear toe link in the vehicle's suspension. In all, approximately 1.2 million vehicles are covered in the US and its federalized territories, as well as Canada and Mexico.

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According to an official release by Ford, affected fifth-generation Explorers that are "exposed to frequent full rear suspension articulation (jounce and rebound)" may experience the toe link failure, a condition that could significantly impact the vehicle's ability to be steered, increasing the chances for a crash.

The automaker says it's unaware of any injuries related to this potential failure, reporting only that one customer's SUV hit a curb after their toe link failed.

Affected Chicago Assembly Plant-built models will see dealers replace the potentially faulty suspension toe links on both sides and align the rear suspension.

2013 Ford F-150
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2013 Ford F-150

Select 2013 Ford F-150 models face a recall of a recall.


F-150 recall

Also being recalled are select 2013 Ford F-150 pickup trucks equipped with six-speed automatic gearboxes. The safety campaign, which covers around 123,000 North American models, is in effect a recall of a previous recall.

Affected F-150 models equipped with either a 5.0-liter or 6.2-liter V8 gas engine previously had their powertrain control module reprogrammed as part of another recall service action. Those vehicles may have received an incomplete software update.

According to the Dearborn-based automaker, the F-Series models under recall may not have received the necessary software updates "to prevent a potential unintended downshift into first gear." At speed, an unexpected and unwanted shift to first gear could trigger loss of control, possibly leading to an accident.

Additionally, F-150 models with the faulty programming may not properly trigger a fault indicator light when a problem is detected.

Ford dealers will reprogram affected powertrain control modules to remedy the issue.

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Taurus, Flex, MKS, MKT recall

Speaking of fractured rear toe links, a handful of Ford's other models are vulnerable to a similar failure, including some upscale Lincoln derivatives. Those models include the 2010-2017 Ford Taurus and the 2009-2017 Flex crossover, as well as the 2009-2015 Lincoln MKS and the 2010-2017 Lincoln MKT crossover

Interestingly enough, Ford is only recalling around 12,000 Canadian-market vehicles located in the Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan provinces. The automaker says it is aware of a single crash resulting in minor injuries.

As with the Explorer recall, Ford dealers will replace the left- and right-side toe links with new forged units.

2014 E-Series
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2014 E-Series

Select Ford E-Series trucks are being recalled over faulty transmission welds.


Econoline recall

Finally, the Blue Oval is recalling around 4,300 examples of its 2009-2016 Econoline trucks equipped with the company's 5.4-liter V8 and 5R110W Torqshift transmission. Only Ford E-Series models equipped with a school bus or ambulance prep package are affected by the campaign.

According to the recall notice, the transmission's clutch component could have faulty capacitive discharge weld that may fail. While Ford says that "all normal engine, braking and steering functionality" remains unaffected, if fatigue leads the weld to fail, the vehicle may become immobilized -- potentially a particularly dangerous situation when children or patients are involved.

Ford will replace affected Econoline vehicles' coast clutch cylinder and swap a dual-engaging one-way clutch in for the single-engagement unit currently in place.

All recall-related repairs on all vehicles will be performed free of charge.

Watch this: 2020 Ford Explorer is a more efficient, spacious and tech-filled SUV