Ford Transit Recalled in the US Due to Rear Axle Issue

Ford Transit 8 photos
Photo: Ford / edited
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently published a safety recall on behalf of the Ford Motor Company. As it happens, more than 77,500 units of the Transit may experience rear wheel lock-up or driveshaft separation.
How did it come to this? According to the Dearborn-based automaker, insufficient rear axle lubricant may cause damage to the rear axle tail bearing, thus resulting in lock-up or separation. 77,563 vans produced for the 2023 model year are recalled, plus a further 21 for the 2024 model year.

Production dates range between May 17, 2023 and November 30, 2023. For the North American market, Ford assembles the Transit in Claycomo, Missouri. The Kansas City Assembly Plant also makes the F-150 pickup truck, which is Ford's best-selling vehicle in this part of the world. The F-Series clocked 750,789 deliveries last year, whereas GM's full-size trucks ended the year with 850,885 sales.

Ford is aware of 30 field reports and 269 warranty reports alleging inadequate rear axle lubrication, corresponding to 285 vehicles. Of these, 19 reports further alleged rear wheel lock-up, and one vehicle also experienced a driveshaft separation. That's not all, though. The NHTSA's database includes a vehicle owner's questionnaire alleging an injury.

If the parking brake isn't engaged, driveshaft separation also increases the risk of unintended vehicle movement while in park. There are three remedies for the recall condition. If the service technician doesn't find any metal shavings on the axle's fill plug magnet, dealers will add the right amount of lubricant to the rear differential. In case of shavings, the axle bearings will be replaced.

Ford Transit
Photo: Ford
Finally, axles with symptoms consistent with pending failure will be replaced in full. Owners can look forward to mailed notifications in the period between March 4 and March 8. Both the suspect and remedy axles are 9.75-inch units produced at the Sterling Axle Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Currently employing in the ballpark of 2,400 souls, the facility also manufactures axles for the F-150, F-250, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, the Mustang. Opened in 1956, the Sterling Heights-based plant previously manufactured rear drive units for the compact Escape and mid-size Edge.

Not to be confused with the unibody Transit Connect, the body-on-frame Ford Transit is available in two main specifications: internal combustion or fully electric. The combustion-engined Transit can be had in Chassis Cab, Cutaway, Cargo Van, and Passenger Van flavors, whereas the E-Transit sports Cargo Van, Cutaway, and Chassis Cab options.

Available with all-wheel drive, the combustion-engined Transit can be specified with either the 3.5-liter PFDI V6 or the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. There's no turbo diesel to speak of, which is a bit of a shame given the inherent low-end torque and superior fuel economy over an equivalent gas-fed engine. All-wheel drive isn't available for the E-Transit, which relies on a rear-mounted drive unit with 266 horsepower and 317 pound-feet (430 Nm) on tap.
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 Download: Ford Transit rear axle recall (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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