Back in May, Ford announced a recall of about 39,000 2021 model-year Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs to fix a problem under the hood that could lead to a fire.
At that time, 16 complaints were received, 14 of which involved rental fleet models. Owners were advised to park the models outside until the problem was resolved.
Over the next few weeks, five more fires were reported, four of which involved rental vehicles. One person suffered burns. It was no longer a question of a few isolated incidents.
The good news is that the company has found a fix for the problem. At the same time, it has increased the number of vehicles falling under the recall, from 39,013 to 66,221 units. The affected models were built between July 27, 2020 and August 31, 2021.
The source of the problem, according to Ford, is a circuit board provided by a supplier that changed manufacturing locations during the pandemic. The automaker’s statement mentions that “circuit boards produced at this facility are uniquely susceptible to a high-current short.”
The affected vehicles are equipped with either an 800-watt or 700-watt cooling fan system. Approximately one-third of the recalled models are equipped with the former and should receive a quick repair at the dealership. Technicians will inspect the battery junction box and if they find evidence of melting, they will replace it. If not, they will simply remove the ground wire from the engine fan that goes to the battery junction box; since this ground relay is redundant, the change will not affect fan operation.
Owners of vehicles with the 700-watt system may have to wait until September for a fix. Those vehicles need an auxiliary relay box with a jumper wire, but the parts are not available now.
Ford will notify all owners via the FordPass app and follow up with those whose vehicle features a 700-watt system as soon as parts are in stock. Until the vehicles are repaired, Ford says the vehicles are safe to drive, but should be parked outside and away from structures.
That last message seems contradictory to us, but we're guessing Ford wants to err on the side of caution.