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April 11, 2019

Ford ‘recalls the recall’ with F-150 and Super Duty truck block heater cables

Nightmare scenario: automaker recalls vehicles and the fix damages something else so another recall is required.

By Olly Wehring

Nightmare scenario: automaker recalls vehicles and the fix damages something else so another recall is required.

This time, a “subset”, as Ford puts it, of 874,000 vehicles previously recalled is being called back again – 327,000 in North America, split between 131,068 in the US and its territories and 196,269 in Canada.

The higher number for Canada is explained due to this “safety recall” for some 2015-19 F-150 and 2017-19 Super Duty being vehicles equipped with engine block heaters that had been inspected in accordance with a previous recall numbered 18S45.

In inspected vehicles, the engine block heater cable splice connectors may have inadvertently become damaged. The damaged block heater cable can cause an inoperative engine block heater and/or tripping of household breakers or GFCI-equipped outlets or a resistive short, which can increase the risk of overheated or melted wiring and fire while the vehicle is parked and the block heater is plugged in.

Of course, the safety risk only exists while the vehicle is parked and the block heater cable is plugged into an electrical outlet.

Initially, customers are advised to not use the engine block heater cable.

Ford said it was aware of one fire in the US and one in Canada that may relate to block heater usage following successful completion of the earlier recall. It was also aware of one report of fire in Canada in which the vehicle failed the earlier inspection procedure and inspection after the fire was inconclusive.

The specific vehicles are:

  • 2015-19 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Truck Plant, 18 March, 2014 to 17 November, 2018 and at Kansas City Assembly Plant, 21 August, 2014 to 17 November, 2018
  • 2017-19 Ford F-Series Super Duty vehicles built at Ohio Assembly Plant, 5 February, 2016 to 17 November, 2018 and at Kentucky Truck Plant, 8 October, 2015 to 17 November, 2018

Initially, dealers will disable the vehicle’s engine block heater cable by cutting off the plug end prongs and sealing the end cap with silicone sealant. Customers will be notified when an engine block replacement cable is available.

The Ford reference number for this recall is 19S11.

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