With all the “wow” factor surrounding the new, all aluminum Ford F-150, which should begin arriving in dealerships as early as late next month (October or November 2104), there is a lesser know issue with another one of Ford’s vehicles thatcontans an all aluminum hood- The 2005-2009 Mustang. However in my research, I found complaints from owners of 2010 Mustangs with the same issue. The issue involves paint bubbling, peeling or even rusting along the front edges of the hood.
Currently there is a pending class action federal lawsuit in New Jersey dealing with this matter. In Mickens v. Ford, the two named Mustang owners allege that the use of aluminum hood panels on their cars (a move made by Ford beginning in 2000 to comply with new gas mileage standards) led to negative consequences, including extensive corrosion on both the top and bottom of the hood panel. In these cases we are talking about some pretty severe paint delamination. These Mustang owners claim that Ford rushed to incorporate lightweight aluminum components on its vehicles to meet federal fuel efficiency requirements, to the detriment of its customers
Initially the presiding judge, Judge Kevin McNulty, dismissed one of the items of the three-count lawsuit. However, the McNulty did leave open for trial the claims that Ford violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act through a material omission of the defect in the warranty and owner’s manual and by engaging in deceptive practices by creating a warranty plan that would exclude hood repairs. The outcome of that suit has yet to happen.
Ford’s motion to dismiss the material omission claim was denied because warranty coverage of a potential defect does not relieve a manufacturer, as a matter of law, from a knowing-omission claim under the CFA, the judge said.
A 2004 TSB acknowledged the issue
What is interesting to note about this issue is that Ford actually wrote a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) and sent it out to all of its dealers in 2004 outlining the issues with the hoods and how to repair them properly even though they deny all wrong doing or that an issue even exists.
It is pretty hard to ignore that an issue exists when a simple Google search of “Mustang Hood problems” will bring up forum after forum of Mustang owners complaining about this issue. The 2004 TSB covers more than just the Mustang for this same issue. It also includes the 2000-2007 Crown Vic and Taurus, the 2000-2003 Ford Ranger, Lincoln Town Cars, Lincoln LS, the F150, explorer and Expedition.
Below is what the TSB # 06-25-15 has to say regarding the cause and the way to prevent this from happening again when the panel is repainted. (summarized)
2000-2007 Crown Victoria, Taurus
2005-2006 Ford GT
2007 Explorer Sport Trac LINCOLN:
2000-2006 Lincoln LS
2000-2007 Town Car, Navigator
2000-2007 Grand Marquis, Sable
This article supersedes TSB 04-25-1 to update the vehicle model years. ISSUE:
Some vehicles may exhibit a bubbling or blistering under the paint on aluminum body parts. This is due to iron contamination of the aluminum panel.
This TSB provides service tips and procedures, outlining methods to properly prepare and protect aluminum body parts from cross contamination.
Ford’s Scientific Research Laboratory has performed a number of tests on vehicle body parts returned for corrosion related concerns. Testing has revealed that the aluminum corrosion was caused by iron particles working their way into the aluminum body part, prior to it being painted. SERVICE TIPS AND PROCEDURE
When repairing a vehicle for corrosion or collision damage, it is essential that extreme care be taken to cover and protect all aluminum parts to prevent cross metal contamination. Areas in a shop where metal work is performed should be sectioned off, using at the very least curtain walls, to prevent metal dust migration. Cross contamination can also occur through the use of metal working tools (hammers, dolly’s, picks, grinding wheels, etc.). Tools used for aluminum repairs should be kept separate, and not used to repair other metals. Wire brushes used on aluminum should be made of stainless steel.
NOTE:THIS PROCEDURE SHOULD ONLY BE USED ON NON-PERFORATED METAL. REVIEW WARRANTY AND POLICY MANUAL FOR VEHICLE WITH PERFORATED METAL
Corrosion should be removed by blasting. Use an aggressive blasting material, such as acrylic (salt grain size).
So as you can see, Ford claims that there is a paint issue, and that it does in fact result from cross contamination of steel and the aluminum panel, yet it will not cover the repair once your car is out of the 3 year 36,000 mile warranty which all of these vehicles are by now.
The class action lawsuit claims Ford's knew about rust problem
In light of all the recent recalls on pretty much every manufacturer, it is a bit puzzling to see a manufacturer deny a claim such as this one. Like the faulty GM ignition switch scandal, when it comes to light that a manufacturer might have known about a corrosion issue during the assembly process, but failed to do anything about it and sold those vehicles anyway, it upsets consumers and rightfully so.
I myself was considering trading my 78,000 mile almost paid off 2010 Ford F-150 on one of the new 2015 aluminum F-150’s, but now this certainly gives me pause. And this is from a die hard for guy who has owned Fords for the last 36 years dating all the way back to my 1949 Ford coupe.
The problem, as the claim goes, alleges that Ford used aluminum hoods but failed to properly insulate them from prior model year iron-based connecting and supporting parts," despite knowing that "would give rise to galvanic coupling" and corrosion.
The lawsuit goes on to say that the automaker went on to conceal this inevitable problem from buyers, drastically reducing the long-term value of their vehicles.
Ford says the suit is so lacking in merit that it should be dismissed.
What Should You Do Next?
The judge has yet to rule on if this class action lawsuit covers all owners or not, which is a huge distinction given the millions of Ford vehicles on the road. Depositions in the case are currently on going.
Elizabeth Weigandt, a Ford spokeswoman, says, “Ford cannot comment on pending litigation, however, the company is absolutely committed to top quality and customer satisfaction. We recommend that customers with any questions on our products either contact their dealer directly or visit Owner Support at Ford.com.”
So until then, if you own one of these vehicles you have three options:
- Get it fixed a local auto body repair show that is equipped to handle aluminum repairs.
- Let it continue to bubble and delaminate
- Follow this case and wait to see if Ford will be forced to own up and recall your hood for a complimentary repair.