The block heater cable could cause a fire.
It seems Ford is having some electrical troubles relating to its full-size pickup trucks, specifically with engine block heaters. The Automaker from Dearborn issued a safety recall for nearly 900,000 trucks in North America, including the F-150 and larger F-Series Super Duty trucks built in the last few years. There isn’t any risk while the vehicle is in use, but the block heater cable could short out while it’s plugged in and that might lead to trouble, including fires.
The specific problem lies with the splice connector for the block heater cable. Ford says that water and contaminants can get into the connection, causing corrosion that can damage the cable. Over time, the damage could cause an electrical short when plugged in. Should that happen, the best-case scenario would be the short tripping a breaker or GFCI-equipped outlet. The worst-case scenario could be a fire, and Ford does mention three such instances in its press release. The automaker isn’t aware of injuries or vehicle accidents resulting from this issue.
Gallery: 2019 Ford F-150 Limited
The problem affects certain 2015-2019 F-150s and 2017-2019 Super Duty trucks. Obviously the recall applies to trucks equipped with an engine block heater. All total, the recall includes approximately 874,000 trucks – 410,289 in the United States and U.S. territories, and 463,793 in Canada where the longer winter makes having a block heater very nice indeed.
The fix is pretty straightforward. Ford dealers will inspect the cable and replace it if any damage or corrosion is found. In the event everything looks good, techs will still disconnect the cable and apply dielectric grease to the connector for a bit of added defense. Ford says the reference number for the recall is 18S45; anyone with questions or concerns should contact their dealer for details.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY ISSUES SAFETY RECALL FOR SELECT FORD F-150, SUPER DUTY TRUCKS TO REPLACE ENGINE BLOCK HEATER CABLE
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 21, 2018 – Ford is issuing a recall for select 2015-19 F-150 and 2017-19 Super Duty vehicles equipped with engine block heaters. Water and contaminants can intrude into the block heater cable’s splice connector causing corrosion and damage to the cable over time. Prolonged corrosion in the cable splice connector can cause a short, make the engine block heater inoperable, and/or trip household breakers or GFCI-equipped outlets while the vehicle is parked and the block heater is plugged in.
The risk to safety only exists while the vehicle is parked and the block heater cable is plugged into an electrical outlet.
Ford is aware of three fires originating from the engine block heater cable splice connector, and minor property damage reported in one incident. Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries tied to this.
- Affected vehicles include:
- 2015-19 F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Truck Plant between March 18, 2014 and Nov. 17, 2018 and at Kansas City Assembly Plant between Aug. 21, 2014 and Nov. 17, 2018
- 2017-19 Super Duty vehicles built at Ohio Assembly Plant between Feb. 5, 2016 and Nov. 17, 2018 and at Kentucky Truck Plant between Oct. 8, 2015 and Nov. 17, 2018
Dealers will inspect the engine block heater cable and replace it if it is damaged or corroded. If there are no signs of damage or corrosion, dealers will apply dielectric grease to the splice connector and reconnect. If a replacement cable is required but unavailable, the customer will receive an information sheet and will be notified via mail for a follow-up appointment once parts become available.
There are approximately 874,000 vehicles that are affected in North America, with 410,289 in the United States and federal territories and 463,793 in Canada. The Ford reference number for this recall is 18S45.