Ford issues recall on the F-150 and super duty pickup lines for engine block heater fire risk

Hot on the heels the announcement that they were recalling 350,000 trucks and SUVs for faulty transmission gears, Ford has announced that it’s recalling an additional 400,000 truck for a risk of fire. Ironically enough, the cause of such a major risk as fire comes from what most would call a “dime store part”: a splice connector in the wiring for the engine block heater. The connector has been found to allow dirt, water, and other contaminants to enter the connection when then corrodes. As most of us know, any corrosion or compromise in a vehicle’s electrical system can lead to some major issues, and that would be why Ford has issued this recall. The corrosion can the engine block heater to short out and trip a circuit when plugged in, or worse, melt to the point of igniting. As of now, Ford said it is aware of three fires linked to the engine block heater, all of which were in Canada in September. No incidents have been reported in the United States as of this writing.

According to the press release, the connector wouldn’t be susceptible to corrosion if it had been filled with dielectric grease, which seals out moisture and adds additional insulation from the elements around wiring connections. Prior to November 17th, the automaker did not apply grease to the engine block heater wiring on gas-burning models. On the recalled trucks, the wiring was found to be too close to the ground and had the connection facing upward, which would allow water to sit atop the connector, leading to a greater risk of corrosion. Dealers will squeeze dielectric grease into the connector starting next month, and if the cable is found to show signs of damage, will replace the cable completely. These repairs, of course, will be done at no cost to the owners. Those of you with affected trucks using engine block heaters, please exercise caution when using them until you’ve taken your truck in for the necessary repairs.

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