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Ford F150 transmission rupture
Old 01-20-2020, 06:39 PM   #1
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Ford F150 transmission rupture

Hey, so I am probably handling this correctly, but just in case...

We were driving our 2017 Ford F150 4x4 (30,000 miles on it) on some ice/light snow roads and had it in 4x4 hi for a couple of miles. No problems. We then pulled into our driveway which had about 6 inches to 7 inches of fresh powdery snow on it and I stopped, put the shift in neutral, shifted to 4x4 low, and moved foward a few yards. The wheels were slipping a bit so I stopped, put it in reverse and moved back a few feet. I put it in forward and the thing just (how to put this politely) shat itself. Horrible screech, smell and the engine went to around 3500 rpm for a few seconds without my foot on the gas at all. I put it back in 2wd, backed up a few feet and noticed the snow was melted with greasy fluid all over it. I figured the front wheel part of the 4x4 had ruptured itself and so called Ford roadside towing which comes with our warranty.

After sitting at the dealer for 4 days, they finally get a look at it and say/claim that the front differential appears to be damaged externally and is broken into 4 pieces. They will not cover under the warranty (I even went to Ford customer service and after an hour was also told, nope).

I am at a loss as to how this happened. We didn't hit anything ever to my knowledge. I had just assumed that some gear came loose and cracked the case.

My other theory is that the aluminum case was hot from driving a few miles in 4x4 high and when we hit the snow, the case shattered from the temperature differential. Not sure if that is a possibility. Also not sure whose fault that would be.

I have filed with my insurance company under the assumption that it was road debris as the Ford dealer claims, even though I cannot say when or if we ever encountered road debris.

It is about a $4,000 repair.

Glad I have my $100 down for a cybertruck.
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Old 01-20-2020, 06:49 PM   #2
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Very sorry to hear of this, we just purchased a 2018 F-150 4x. with 35000 miles on it. Please keep us posted on how this plays out, very disappointing to hear about Ford's response though not surprising.

One question- is this a 6 speed or 10 speed trans?
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Old 01-20-2020, 06:55 PM   #3
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Only suggestion I have is to search any F150 message boards (seems like about every vehicle has one) and review sites to see if others have had this happen, and if they got it covered.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:06 PM   #4
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The relatively small temperature difference from the 4x4 high use to your snow covered driveway, is no way sufficient to cause a crack. Even with some snow touching the case. Not enough heat transfer capability.
It sounds to me like you did have something let go in the front differential. As in mechanical failure, not case failure. The case failure is what we called post failure damage. I used to do lot of failure analysis. Of course I would need to see the exact parts for real definitive conclusion.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Fermion View Post
My other theory is that the aluminum case was hot from driving a few miles in 4x4 high and when we hit the snow, the case shattered from the temperature differential. Not sure if that is a possibility.
No, this is not a possibility. The aluminum case would never get hot enough from driving a few miles (or a few hundred miles for that manner) to shatter after hitting snow. You were driving the vehicle as intended and it should certainly be able to handle the situation as described.

The most likely scenario is that something let go inside the differential case which caused the case to break. I would demand to see the damaged case and have them show you an area on the outside of the case that appears to be impacted. Chances are they cannot do it.

Aluminum is a relatively soft metal, so if something hit the outside of the case causing it to break, there should be an obvious gouge, gash or scrape on the outside of the pieces from the outside of the case.

Unfortunately, it is very common for Ford to deny responsibility for warranty repairs. Sometimes I don't understand how they have any customers left, given the large variety of much better, higher quality choices available.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:24 PM   #6
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I worked for Ford for 24 years. I've also got the double talk from the Customer NoService Department like it's their job to say no automatically.

You should request a face to face meeting with their Ford Service Rep. They go around to dealers day after day, and your dealer should know when his guy is going to be there. Discuss the problem with him calmly--and see the parts that destructed.

I do know that some dealers try to take advantage of their manufacturer on warranty claims, and some dealers have better relationships than others.

I had a buddy that was a service manager of one of Ford's premier dealerships, and his Service Rep really took care of him. They once warrantied a transmission for me--and I didn't buy there or get them to fix the tranny.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:56 PM   #7
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Wow. Never tried reverse in 4 low. I donít think Iíve had either my 2009 F150 or current 2017 F 150 in 4 low forward let alone reverse.

Try f150forum.com. Iíve found great info on this board.
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Old 01-20-2020, 08:10 PM   #8
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Some photos of the damaged component would be useful for us and for pushing your claims. If you hit something or if the internal components broke out of the case should be obvious.
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Old 01-20-2020, 08:57 PM   #9
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Do you use 4 low often? Seems conditions should have been OK for it. Forward/reverse should make no difference as long as slippery conditions.

I live in Michigan, off-road and tow occasionally but have never used/needed 4 low.

I agree with recommendation to search forums. If itís a trend, youíll find something. Auto forums are full of complainers (most legit).
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:41 PM   #10
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I am definitely going to get the parts and I will post pictures when I can. I do feel like I am getting cheated a bit but right now I don't have any proof that it was Ford's fault (because I am not at the truck, which is an hour away at the dealer and I don't have a vehicle).

It is souring me a little bit, that is for sure. I bought new so I would not have issues...now I feel like I should have just bought a beater if warranty means nothing.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:53 PM   #11
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I am finding a couple of descriptions of similar breakages.

"Jan 9, 2016
Hello, this is my first post. My 2014 F150 Ecoboost FX4 has a broken front differential which actually caused the front drive shaft to break. Stock everything. Got stuck in the snow and it broke! Dealer service manager said he will not repair it under warranty. I called the warranty claims hotline and they actually had the service manager call the claims rep himself. I am waiting to hear what they have to say. Has anyone had any experience with warranty issue resolution like this? The service manager said he could be responsible for the cost later on if audited by Ford so he is in a bad position. This truck has 33,000 miles on it, and again is bone stock! Please advise!"

And:

"I fractured the aluminum front differential housing on my 2005 f-150 attempting to remove a "small" shrub in 4X4 low in reverse. Fracture may not be the best word! A large 8" X 10" piece of the housing broke on the top side of the aluminum housing and my day was done. Nothing else broke and the dealer replaced under warantee without hesitating. Replaced the entire front differential and axle assembly! I find this unusual and suspect the aluminum housings are not strong enough or defective. I found some info online regarding fords decision to move toward aluminum to save weight. Thier testing indicated the aluminum was actually stronger than steel. I think all manufacturers have made the switch to aluminum. Anyone heard of problems like this?"
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:04 PM   #12
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Another reason I have decided never to buy another Ford in my life....


You might be early in the history and this could be design error... but will Ford admit it?



They did not for many years with my Cougar with the ECU having problems with heat and the car stalling... I think it was 14 or so years before someone sued and 'won'... I got nothing....


Nor did they admit that the plastic strip on the back of the Explorer would stress and crack... happened twice on mine... first when my BIL owned it and then when I did... BTW, after a few years I never saw an Explorer without a crack on this strip....
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I put it in forward and the thing just (how to put this politely) shat itself. Horrible screech, smell and the engine went to around 3500 rpm for a few seconds without my foot on the gas at all.


This sounds very much like an unscheduled downshift. Iíd hang my hat on that. (Just think of what would happen with a manual transmission if you shifted from 4th to 1st at moderate or high speed). Thatís the only way a tranny can cause the engine to race with accelerator pedal at closed throttle. The diff mustíve been overreved when this occurred and let go. Seen similar a few times.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:19 PM   #14
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This sounds very much like an unscheduled downshift. Iíd hang my hat on that. (Just think of what would happen with a manual transmission if you shifted from 4th to 1st at moderate or high speed). Thatís the only way a tranny can cause the engine to race with accelerator pedal at closed throttle. The diff mustíve been overreved when this occurred and let go. Seen similar a few times.
So not really being a "car guy" myself, is this my fault? I don't really know how to control the downshifting in 4 low.

Kind of scared to ever use 4wd now when the truck gets fixed.
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:36 PM   #15
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Wow. While 4WDL can sometimes be a little touchy it's not supposed to blow up when you use it. Nor should you have to understand the inner workings to use it.

About 15 years ago we bought a new Ford Escape it was a lemon that the dealer couldn't fix, nor did they want to compensate us. I contacted the Ford "Dispute Settlement Board" and after a lengthy review were given our money back. You might take a look into this avenue.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
This sounds very much like an unscheduled downshift. Iíd hang my hat on that. (Just think of what would happen with a manual transmission if you shifted from 4th to 1st at moderate or high speed). Thatís the only way a tranny can cause the engine to race with accelerator pedal at closed throttle. The diff mustíve been overreved when this occurred and let go. Seen similar a few times.
But this is not what is described in the OP:

Quote:
The wheels were slipping a bit so I stopped, put it in reverse and moved back a few feet. I put it in forward and the thing just (how to put this politely) shat itself.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:51 PM   #17
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You know where the name Ford came from?
Fix Or Repair Daily.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:59 AM   #18
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Why wouldn't this be covered under the warranty?
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:23 AM   #19
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But this is not what is described in the OP:


But you left off the rest of his description of the incident. The engine revved to 3500 rpm with no throttle input.
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Old 01-21-2020, 07:31 AM   #20
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So not really being a "car guy" myself, is this my fault? I don't really know how to control the downshifting in 4 low.



Kind of scared to ever use 4wd now when the truck gets fixed.


Most likely an internal mechanical failure that is not your fault.
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