Ford Full Size Vans

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Auto Defects > Ford

September 1998

Dear Ford Van Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your Econoline, Club Wagon or E-series van. CAS has received many complaints from consumers concerning fires, peeling paint, brake failure, transmission and front end shimmy/vibration.

Fires have historically plagued these vehicles. Since 1980, Ford has conducted 12 safety recalls for defects that could cause fires. The most serious and expensive recall came after CAS petitioned the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to investigate reports of fuel spurting from the filler necks on 1983-87 E250/350 Econoline vans and Club Wagons, Ford recalled 204,000 of these vehicles in late 1987 after fire and police forces joined in CAS' demand for a recall.

Brake failure has also been a problem in Ford Vans. In 1990, NHTSA investigated 1987-90 E250 & 350 vans for the loss of power brakes, but failed to order a recall. Econolines with 4-wheel ABS have experienced chronic failure. Another chronic problem is excess wear and loss of the serpentine accessory pulley belt used on many Econoline vehicles from 4.9 to 7.3L engines. NHTSA investigated 1992-94 7.3L models after reports of belt failures that cut the transmission cooler line and started fires but dropped the investigation after Ford agreed to a service campaign.

The most common and expensive defect is paint peeling on 1985-92 models. CAS has received hundreds of complaints on this problem. Ford attempts to cover it up by buying off aggressive consumers under a secret warranty and ignoring consumers who don't complain loudly. CAS petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to force Ford to notify owners about the secret warranty and pay for new paint jobs. CAS also petitioned every state attorney general to force Ford to reimburse owners for paint peel.

You'll find more information on Ford Van problems below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Ford as we fight for action on these defects.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible which entitles you to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

FORD ECONOLINE (E) & CLUBWAGON (CW) FACT SHEET

Ford technical service bulletin (TSB) number in parentheses; bulletins apply to all models unless stated.

Brakes/Steering/Suspension: Front caliper piston boots damaged 86-91 E250/E350, 86-94 E250/350 (94-24-11); Steering loose/drift 92-94 E (94-20-12); Brakes/steering pull/drift 92-93 E150 (94-20-13); Air in p/s system 90-94 E (93-26-5); Rear ABS - adverse characteristics 87-93 E150-350, 90-93 E (93-17-9 & 93-15-16); Brakes shutter/vib. during light/moderate stop 92-93 E250-350 (93-12-14); Brakes stick/bind/grab 87-92 E (93-11-7); Input shaft leak- w/XR50 steering gear 82-92 E (93-6-7); Excess. brake pedal travel/fade 89-91 E250/350 (91-20-8); Distorted wheel mounting surface 85-91 E250-350 (91-11-16); Driveline vibration 87-88 E350 (90-23-17); Intermit. brake squeal, 85-91 E (90-22-6); Premature ball joint wear '93-95 E (95-20-6); 4-wheel ABS repeat repairs 94-96 E (96-8-11); False 4 wheel ABS codes 94-96 E (96-7-21).

Electrical/Air Conditioning: Fuel pump whine/buzz in speakers 89-95 E (95-11-3); Speed control intermit./inop. 86-93 E (92-7-8, 94-8-17); Blower motor inop. 88-89 E (91-11-17); Battery has low charge, 85-91 E (91-10-8); New O-rings for spring lock couplings & service 93-97 E (95-20-2, 96-20-8, 96-20-7)

Engine: 2nd/3rd gear buzz at 25-40 mph 94-95 E350 (95-9-9); Water intrusion of MLP/TR sensor 94-95 E150/F150, 89-94 E (95-3-13, 95-2-12); Startup knock 84-95 4.9L E (95-8-8); Coolant in oil/Knocking/Poor perf. 93-94 E250-350 (95-5-24); Early tensioner pulley wear 93-95 E (95-6-17); Leaking radiator hose joint 95-96 E (95-6-16); Access. drive belt comes off pulleys 92-94 E (95-5-22); Oil leaks, All 93 & Prior w/4.0L (94-12-13); Heater core "gurgles" when cold 92-94 E (94-9-13); A/C & Accessory drive belt chirp/squeal or wear/breakage 87-94 E (94-5-12, 94-10-19, 94-1-10, 93-25-3); Loose catalyst/muffler heat shields 85-94 E (94-7-10); Stalling when stopping 83-94 E (94-5-11); Inst. cluster warning lights 83-93 E (93-24-10); Rough idle/hesitation/poor heater output 84-94 E (93-24-8); Oil pump/pickup Tube - Low/No oil pressure 90-92 E (93-21-18); Metal to metal noise 82-90 E150-250 (92-18-6); Cooling concerns/vib. 87-92 E (92-15-14); Exhaust manifold bolts/studs break/loosen 88-89 E250-350 (91-20-14); Fan clutch loose/rattles 88-92 E (91-21-19); Hesitation, surge - Cruise or light accel. 91-94 E (95-2-10); Idle air control valve noise, 93-94 E (94-26-11); No power/start - Catalytic Converter 88-94 E (94-2-23); Tip-in hesitation from a stop 92-93 E (93-25-9); EGO Sensors - Silicone Contamination 84-94 E (93-23-6); Stalls on start-up 90-93 E (93-22-14); Spark knock 85-93 E (93-13-10); Rough idle/stumble, 85-91 E (93-11-4); Worn dist./camshaft gear 88-89 E250-350 (90-5-8); MIL on 89-91 E w/E4OD (92-3-7, 93-8-14); High idle after highway cruise 91-92 E (93-9-5); Hard starting/No power 90-93 E (93-2-7); Service engine soon lamp, 91-93 E (92-24-3); Broken EGR tube 88-91 E (92-22-8); Hard cold starts/hesitation 85-91 E (91-25-7); Fuel pump vapor lock 88-91 E350 (91-13-8); No power - exhaust restriction 86-91 E (91-12-11); Hard starting/Long cranking time 88-90 E250-350 (90-26-11); Sticking fuel pump relay 83-90 E (90-18-3); No power on passing or wide open throttle 88-89 E (90-4-13); Excess oil consumption 87-90 E150-250 (90-1-9); New design block for 7.0/7.5L service 93-96 E (96-1-9); Exhaust manifold leak 93-96 w/7.0/7.5L (96-22-13); Accessory drive belt wear or loss w/4.9L 93-96 E (97-4-8), 93-95 E (95-13-5), 93-94 E (94-10-19).

Transmission: [Free repair: Erratic output signal to E4OD/Fuel injection pump lever (FIPL), 90-91 E (Program 91B97)]; Vib. - driveline, extension housing leakage E4OD, 93-94 E250-350 (95-11-11); Transfer case leaks, 92-95 AE4OD delayed engagement/clutch overheating, 89-94 E Series (95-11-13); Intermit. loss of torque at 3-4 upshift, 94-95 E150 (95-5-15); E4OD - No 2-3 upshift, 90-94 E (94-7-16); A/T harsh shifts/trouble code 62/Tcil lamp flashing, 89-94 E250-350 (94-2-26); A/T - Increase in RPM during light throttle 2-3 upshifts, 90-92 AE4OD Trans. - clunk shifting to drive or reverse, 89-93 E (93-12-16); Shift lever PRNDL position may not match gears, 92-93 E (93-5-14); E4OD delayed initial engagement, 89-90 E150-350 (92-1A-3); Overheating and/or internal damage A/T E4OD, 89 & After E (92-1A-4); E4OD - Harsh 3-4 upshift, 89-90 E150-350 (92-1A-2); Delayed initial forward engagement of 5-20 + sec., 90-91 E (91-25-19); Harsh/Delayed 1-2/2-3 shifts 83-92 E (91-24-13); Fluid inside clutch housing, 88-89 E (91-18-14); Grinding when shifting w/ M50D Mazda R1/R2, 88-89 E (91-18-11); Forward clutch piston return spring alignment, E4OD, 89-91 E (91-14-16); M50D Trans. hard shift cond., 88-89 E (91-10-15); Harsh/rough shifts, 89-90 E150-350 (91-11-14, 90-17-11); "Moaning" - driveline vib., 89-90 E350 (91-8-26); Delayed engagement, 89-90 E150-350 (90-18-11).

MAJOR RECALLS (post-1980 models)
Copies may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Brakes: Parking brake performance 100+ '94 E350/E, 290 '95 E, 53,400 '96 E/CW (93V-194, 95V-058, 96V-214).

Fires: Fails fuel crash standard 115 '82 E, 8,500 '83-85 E250-350V/CW (81V-105, 85V-061); Fuel lines detach 283 '83 E350 (83V-094); Fuel line coupling fails 100,000+ '83-87 E (87V-139); Faulty fuel tank strap cross-member, 4,000 '80-84 E350 (84V-034); Fuel tank vapor valve leak 250 '84-87 E/ E350 (87V-111); Dual fuel tank overflows 10,000+ '89-91 E (91V-146); Fuel system overpressure 16,000 '83-87 E350 w/7.5L, 188,000 E250-350 E/CW (87V-113, 87V-144); Engine coolant leak 14,975 '83-87 E250-350 (88V-133); Fuel filler damage 1,235 92-93 E sold to Sears (93V-100); Fuel lines abrade 20,000 '95 E (98V-062).

Electrical: Electric fuel pump short, 650 '83 E250/350 (82V-124); Battery Short 5,000 '97 E (96V-193).

Steering/Suspension: Wheel separates '81 100+ E350, 1,050 E250-350/E/CW (81V-035, 84V-014); Rear axle separates 10,000+ E250/350 (82V-104); Rear shock crossmember cracks, 25,000 '90-91 E (93V-073); Drag link/pitman arm separates, 98,916 '85-86 E350 CW/E, E250 (86V-094, 86V-173);

Transmission: Gear position indicator 1,650 '81 E (81V-042); Trans. shift rod 378 '82 E100-350, CW (82V-004); Park gear fails to engage, 1,000+ '83 E/CW, 10,000+ '89-90 E150-350 (83V-028, 90V-101); Driveshaft separates 2,100 '84-86 E350 (86V-092).

Other: Accelerator pedal sticks 629 '86 E350 (86V-174); Tires mislabeled, 29,052 '92 E/E150 (92V-123); Throttle sticks, 10,000+ '84 All (84V-119).

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