Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Potential Problem with Windstar Recall Repair?


I encourage all Windstar owners, even those with repaired recalls, have their subframe inspected by an independent mechanic.  If your mechanic finds it concerning, please file complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/   for what may possibly be a SERIOUS safety concern.

I am a not so proud owner of a 2001 Ford Windstar with 78k miles.  In early 2011 Ford recalled selected Windstars for subframe corrosion.  At that time,  Ford deemed mine as repairable.  The recall was completed at a Ford dealer in March of 2011.

In March of 2012 an independent mechanic told me the subframe was "rotted".  I called another Ford dealer and explained that I had the recall done already, however I had concerns of extensive corrosion on the subframe that was recalled.  The dealer said they would be happy to look at it.  

I brought my van to the dealer to have it inspected.  The dealer told me that the recall had already been completed and charged me $40......?!?!?.  Since they insisted on charging me this fee to tell me what I had already told them, I asked that they put it on the lift for me, so that I could see my mechanic's concern.  Below are the pics were taken with personal camera phone that shows extensive corrosion.  
Above: Pic of repair.  It was explained to me that this is the area where the new cradle is bolted and epoxied.... to the fragmented chunks of rusted metal?!? 

Note what looks to be a hole from rust

I contacted Ford to voice my concerns regarding the safety of my van and to to find out where I can submit my photos to Ford for their review, but they told me they would not accept my personal photos.  They said Ford will only accept photos submitted by an Authorized Dealer, so I returned to the dealer and had them take photos.  The dealer took photos and I requested they email me the pics as well. 

 Below are pics taken by dealer to forward to Ford:

Since then, the dealer says Ford has reiterated that the repair has been completed.   My concerns for the safety of the van still have not been addressed by Ford.  I plan to continue to contact Ford and the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA).  

I encourage all Windstar owners, even those with 'repaired' recalls, have their subframe inspected.  If your mechanic finds it concerning, please file complaints with the NHTSA at https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ for what could possibly be a SERIOUS safety flaw.

4/18/12  I phoned Ford's customer service.  I again questioned the safety of this vehicle.  Customer service rep Sierra put me on hold, only to return to the phone and tell me that the recall repair has already been completed.  I asked to speak with a supervisor because there seems to be a break in communication..... I am calling in regards to the safety of the vehicle, NOT if the repair was completed.    She told me she would put me through to a supervisor, "but you are going to get the same answer".

After being put on hold, Bruce, the supervisor spoke to me.  Again reiterated to Bruce my safety concerns, he again reiterated the repair has already taken place.  Bruce told me I have 2 different options....

1.  I could take it to another dealer and see if they will file a case on my behalf... which I questioned since a different dealer would be submitting the same information to the same people, how will that result in different response?

2. I could try to recoupe some financial losses by going through my insurance company.

At this point I was infuriated.  I questioned Bruce why it is they are not listening to my questions?  I have NOT asked for money, I am asking for Ford to merely look at the repair and provide to me, in writing, that they feel this subframe is safe as the dealer states.  I further questioned if their repair has contributed the corrosion problem?  I questioned why it is so difficult for me to alert Ford of a potential safety problem?  He assured me that all complaints are forwarded to their engineers for review...... yet they won't accept my photos.  I again told Bruce I would like Ford to review my case, look at my pics and provide to me in writing that they feel it is safe.  Bruce would only provide me with corporate address and a case number.  He instructed me to contact corporate as they can provide me with such a statement. 
Total time on the phone 1 hour 20 minutes.  Currently plan to draft letter to Ford, will post once completed.