Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Have you driven a Ford lately?

...and if you did, was the odometer working? Was the heat on in the summer or the A/C on in the winter?

Lovely. My Ford expedition (aka Nancy) has a couple of really irritating manufacturing defects. And of course, Ford will deny deny deny they existed. Lets elaborate:

  1. Odometer flakey - Instead of one of those old fashioned gear driven odometers that have worked for damn near 100 years with very little exception, Ford had the genius idea of putting in an LED odometer. After all, the mileage is stored in a computer, why not just display it?

    I'll tell you why: because with a zillion electronic gizmos on one single circuit board, you are bound to have one cold solder... and if you expose it to hot and cold and bumpy roads... eventually it will stop working altogether.

    That is what happened to me. And you have to replace the whole circuit board at a price of about $350 parts -- with 8 hours of labor to pull it out of the dash. If you go google you will find lots and lots of us out there have this problem. From what I have read, a simple touch of a soldering iron will fix the problem (with the 8 hours of labor, of course.) We shall see.
  2. Blend door - In the old days, there was a little door that diverted cold/hot air for the heater and A/C. There was a cable that ran to it and moved it. Cars going back to the 60's (and beyond) have this with no problems. Why change? And what would you change it to?

    Why of course, build a little servo motor and stick it into the ass end of the door. If you are a real idiot, you will make a servo door that moves 35 degrees from stop to stop and make a door that has 30 degrees of freedom from stop to stop. Over time that extra 5 degrees will cause the door to bust. Estimated repair cost is about $1100. For the ability to get warm/cold air.

    So I bit it off and combined my 8 hours (more) of labor with the odometer issue. Again, google "ford blend door" and see how many zillions of hits you get. The problem is across all makes and models (and even leaks over into Mazda). So imagine my surprise when Ford wont sell a blend door. Ford will only sell the entire air handler. $300 for the whole part. And if you buy this, you have to drain/remove the heater core and drain/remove the A/C coil.


[Later edit... The entire blend-door-a-rama was finally presented as a rant]