Model: Model T
Options: 4-Wheel Drive, Leather Seats, Convertible
Drive Type: FWD
Monsey, New York, United States
The rust issue in the rear wheel wells of 2004-2007 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans has finally led to a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation into the matter in 2011, said investigation being upgraded to an engineering analysis a year later while NHTSA tried to figure out how many model years should be included in the assessment.
Ford has decided to recall all of the 230,000 minivans potentially affected, namely those sold in salt-belt states and countries like Canada. The excess rust in the rear wheel wells was also able to prevent the third-row seats from locking to the floor of the minivan. To repair the problem, owners can take their minivans to dealers, and the dealers will place new panels in the wheel wells, replace the third-row seat mounting brackets and relocate the latches to an area away from any corrosion.
Ford says it will begin notifying owners during the last week of March.
Not long ago, the History Channel showed a seemingly unending stream of World War II documentaries, but it made a switch a few years ago to include an increasing mix of 'reality' programming. American Pickers was one of the early attempts at this new formula, with cameras following hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz around the country in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as they tracked down collectibles and "rusty gold" for their Iowa shop, Antique Archeology. The show has since gone on to become one of the channel's most popular programs.
Starting in the new episode airing tonight, the affable hosts will swap their Benz for a 2015 Ford Transit, a nicely timed bit of marketing to coincide with the launch of the model's assembly at the Blue Oval's Kansas City Assembly Plant, which also kicks off this week. Ford is touting 2,000 new jobs created as part of its $1.1-billion investment in the plant.
No strangers to product placement, the guys from American Pickers say their switch away from the Sprinter is because they wanted to balance cargo capacity and fuel economy to make the most of their cross-country jaunts. They opted for the largest Transit available with a long wheelbase, extended body and high roof, giving them 487 cubic feet of cargo room. Hauling power comes from a 3.2-liter, five-cylinder diesel engine with 190 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque and a six-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. Fittingly, the van wears the same Antique Archaeology logo over white paint as their old Sprinter.
Ford is recalling about 70,209 examples of the 2005-2008 Ford Escape Hybrid and the 2006-2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid because the cooling pumps for their hybrid systems could fail.
According to the company's defect notice, it's possible for the original "Motor Electronics Coolant (MEC) Pump" to wear out and fail, which would could cause the hybrid system to overheat. If this happens, the vehicle goes into a safety mode that takes away most or all of its power. However, braking and steering still operate normally. After cooling down, the affected models restart normally. The company says that it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this problem.
Ford will begin repairing the vehicles in late October, and dealers will be installing improved, brushless pumps on the affected models at no charge to owners. If drivers had their pumps fail before this recall, they can contact Ford for a possible reimbursement. Scroll down to read the recall announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or download the full defect notice as a PDF, here.