Ford Authority

Third Ford Explorer Subframe Lawsuit Points Out Design Flaw

Back in April 2022, The Blue Oval recalled select 2020-2022 Ford Explorer models after it discovered that the rear axle mounting bolt may fracture when the vehicle is accelerating, which can lead to severe noise and vibration, or worse – disconnected driveshafts and the potential for the vehicle to roll away when in park. The automaker instructed dealers to replace these defective rear axle mounting bolts with new parts, but some customers felt like this fix was inadequate, which later led to the filing of not just one, but two different lawsuits. Now, a third lawsuit has been filed over this same matter, and it claims that the subframe design present in affected Ford Explorer models was flawed from the start, according to Car Complaints.

This new lawsuit – Collier, et al., v. Ford Motor Company – was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington by plaintiffs represented by Tousley Brain Stephens PLLC, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, Berger Montague PC, and Corpus Law Patel, LLC. As is the case with the previously-filed lawsuits, this one claims that Ford knew that this design – which utilizes one rear axle horizontal mounting bolt – was inadequate for higher-horsepower or rear-wheel drive models.

The lawsuit claims that this singular bolt can experience extreme stress that could cause it to break or fail, which could lead to the rear driveshaft assembly disconnecting and causing damage to the exhaust system or exhaust, and potentially even cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash.

Since Ford’s fix for this problem involves asking dealers to replace damaged rear subframes, differential covers, and any other damaged parts, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that they’re afraid to drive their crossovers.

We’ll have more on this and all Ford-related lawsuits soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Explorer news, the latest Ford lawsuit news, and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Shockandawe

    This is gonna cost billions, time for another 10 billion line of credit.

  2. Tim

    No wonder they stopped using the tag line Quality is job one, now it’s quality is job none.

  3. StarLord

    How hard is it to make a car that doesn’t break?

    1. ronarb

      There is no such vehicle.

  4. Drew Ford Retiree

    Plaintiff lawyers are having a field day. Ford’s abysmal quality means more business for these lawyers and also means a greater likelihood of a sympathetic jury pool (Ford’s poor quality will be common knowledge and nearly all potential jurors probably know someone stung by bad Ford product).

    Jimbo, who else are you going to blame for this mess?

  5. philip tilley

    How much does a bolt cost, one, two or four bolt’s, who pays for the bill, the customer 30,000 dollar’s or more.

  6. jbc

    No issues with mine.

  7. Shockandawe

    Mine neither, I haven’t driven it since I bought it, but I carry a bushel of bolts just in case.

  8. John_N68

    It seems utterly bizarre to me that a company as old as Ford had not only seemingly forgotten, but also only just realized as of Farley that maybe they should have well-documented quality testing & methodology in place. And who are the heads of the engineering departments that are rubber-stamping incredibly stupid mistakes like this? Time to clean house of these clowns.
    Farley, of all people, should know better, as he was in upper management at Toyota for 17 years and highly respected by Toyota’s Japanese leadership. He knows quite well how Toyota’s quality control systems work, and needs to implement the same at Ford ASAP.

    1. QCX

      I suspect Farley is fighting against an entrenched system of cronyism and resistance to change. Add in that all the best talent have obviously gone over to Ford-e and you can bet the remaining Ford-Blue mediocre people will fight him all the way on implementing change. Very sad, really.

    2. Steve Jones

      Unfortunately, many companies, not just automobile companies rely on software testing validation instead of hours validating a new design. This lets the automaker get to market quicker and save time and money with R&D testing. But, there are many unforseen issues that come up with today’s way of validating products.

  9. Randy

    More nonsense lawsuits. Almost every vehicle built has a “if this fails, loss of vehicle control is likely”. Ball joints, tie rod ends, any vehicle with a 3 or 4 link rear suspension, etc.
    Better start suing the tire companies because the tire can fail catastrophically if you run over something.

  10. Mark

    A few shortcomings in this article (common guys).
    The recall only covers a select few 2020 MY because most included the two bolt design that attaches the rear diff to the subframe. Ford switched to the subframe with one bolt in very late 2020, most 2021 and 2022 models have this. However, of interest, ‘some’ were built thru all MY with original two bolt design. In 2020, the one bolt subframe only came with the hybrid and 4 cylinder models. In other model years of the ST, the application was inconsistent.
    This issue is so prevalent in the ST with one bolt, that the aftermarket has developed a brace.
    Also of interest is that all models of the Lincoln Aviator have the two bolt design, which is why they are not included in the recall.
    The current fix is software related to ensure the parking brake is applied every time it is placed in park. Some also suspect the engine was detuned to reduce torque.
    NHTSA has not yet closed this issue and accepted the fix.
    The bolt on mine bent and broke the bushing. Luckily I noticed the clicking noise in a parking lot and had it checked. According to the dealer, Ford would not replace with the proper two bolt design. The rear subframe was replaced, with same one bolt design, which the dealer said cost around $8k in repairs.
    It recently started clicking again….42k miles.

  11. Kevin

    After buying a new 2008 expedition with paint issues that ford would not fix I refuse to ever buy another ford. I only wish worst for ford.

  12. Shockandawe

    Hehehe! Another unhappy ex-Furd owner.


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