Everything You Need to Know About the Ford Tranny Defect

Thankfully, this Ford tranny defect happened several decades ago, so it’s nothing we should be worrying about today. But given the recent scandal going on with Volkswagen, it’s always a good idea to look back on history and see some notes regarding the automotive industry. Perhaps it may keep us on the right footing when things go wrong, as we’re sure VW’s looking carefully into their future for the market.

Let’s Move on From the Pinto and Go to This Horrible Debacle of a Ford Tranny Defect!

Ford just doesn’t get much luck, does he? Recalls seem to be the common deal for such an Ford tranny defect-1automaker, and even while the Ford Pinto was nothing but a disaster, it turned out that Ford faced another catastrophe in a recall back in 1980 once the NHTSA discovered Ford’s automatic transmissions between 1966 and 1980 were defective — as in the Ford tranny defects would cause the cars to go in reverse. Yes, go ahead and let your jaws drop. Everyone’s nightmare behind the wheel.

Sadly, this was another case where Ford simply neglected to deal with the issue since 1972, knowing that there was this apparent Ford tranny defect. Shame on you, Ford. The company even rejected an improvement to the design that would cost them an easy three pennies per vehicle and opted to just simply pay off victims and families a hefty $20MM sum for their troubles.

At the time, it seemed more convenient to do just that. But in hindsight…. Really, what was Ford thinking?

Of Course, This Ford Tranny Defect Fiasco Didn’t End With Such a Settlement

It turned out that the Ford tranny defect actually caused well over 700 accidents, over 250 injuries and over 20 accident-related deaths. The NHTSA couldn’t just sit there — they were going to declare an apocalyptic 23MM-car recall, which would’ve likely sent Ford to the grave, but who came to the automaker’s rescue? None other than President Reagan who issued out a compromise as Ford pleaded poverty in the worst way.

What was the solution? Ford ended up issuing out 23MM stickers to all Ford owners, reading “make sure the gear selector lever is fully engaged in park” and to also “fully engage the parking brake” before turning off the car. Smart. And that was apparently enough to dodge the disastrous recall that would’ve been heard globally.

Ford got super-lucky.

Everything You Need to Know About the Ford-Firestone Fiasco

Thankfully, this bitter problem has been long gone in the annuls of scandalous automotive history, but Ford to this day probably still does remember the issue back then regarding those Firestone tires. What was the deal with the Ford-Firestone disaster? Check it out….

The Ford-Firestone Problem Was All About the New Explorer

It was the ’90s, an age when SUVs ruled the landscape like the thunder lizards. Who knew that this T. Rex of a scandal would rock the nation in 2000 when Ford partnered with Firestone to herald in the new era with the Explorer, replacing the dangerous Bronco II, an SUV prone to Ford-Firestone-1rollovers. Not something you’d want to experience.

Ford-Firestone thought they had it right. And for a while there, they did. The Ford Explorer sold like hotcakes until it turned out the NHTSA sought to investigate occurrences of blowouts leading to rollovers. So what did Ford do?

Ford blamed Firestone.

What did Firestone do? They blamed Ford! You can see the issue ensuing and a battle between dinosaurs of this automotive industry shock the world.

The issue had to be addressed given the fact that there had been 100 deaths worldwide due to rollovers, so someone had to be held accountable. Ford-Firestone was on the brink of implosion as the tire company recalled 6.5MM tires while pointing the finger and saying that the heat, low tire pressure and the Ford Explorer’s weight were all the causes of those accidents. Of course, Ford Motor Company struck back, sticking to their opinion — they said those Firestone tires sucked.

Like All Battles, It Ended ‘Amicably’

Of course, executives for Ford-Firestone collectively battled each other in court, trying to come up with some consensus on who was at fault, but in the end, it just turned out that Ford-Firestone was no more back in 2002. Parting ways, it just seemed the right decision given the millions of dollars paid out for lawsuits. The issue just no longer mattered!

What’s funny is this — neither company to this day has admitted full responsibility for the rollover issue.

Everything You Need to Know About the Ford Pinto

Economy and simplicity became the name of the begin around the ’70s, what with the rise of imports pulverizing the automotive industry and forcing the American-made market to make some kind of move. So Ford came out with the Ford Pinto in 1971. Big mistake (at least in the long run).

Honestly, the Ford Pinto Wasn’t a Bad Car at All!

It seemed like everyone wanted a Ford Pinto back then! Apparently a car named after a bean was kind of cute. In its first year of sale, Ford made a pretty penny on the bean with 328,275 vehicles sold. There was just one slight problem: Ford know there was a problem with the Pinto but neglected to tell anyone about it.Ford Pinto-1

Here was the problem with the Ford Pinto: it had a fuel filler neck that could easily break away and poke a nasty hole or two in the fuel tank. This naturally would only occur during a rear-end collision, though, but in that day and age when crashes were common, this didn’t say much for the Ford Pinto as a reliable vehicle. As a result, as the fuel filler neck would puncture the tank, this would then spray fuel into the passenger compartment and cause a nasty fire. You’d think Ford would’ve been wise enough to do something about that before launching the Ford Pinto into sale….

Here’s Ford’s reasoning for not addressing the issue they knew would occur even before Ford Pintos would even go into production — it was just too expensive to fix! We call that quite the auto scandal possibly even rivaling that of the most recent Volkswagen-gate going on. But it’s all relative. The fact was a fuel system upgrade would’ve added $11 to the cost of each car. Not a lot at first glance, but when you’re producing thousands of vehicles for sale, well….

Still, a shield to protect the tank from rupturing would’ve easily cost Ford only a measly dollar, but what the heck do we know? We’re just Profile Reviews. We call it like we see it.

So Did Ford End up Coughing Up the Money to Remedy the Situation?

Yes, and no. You can see Ford slapping his own forehead with this one, as a memo back in 1973 found its way to the media basically spelling out the estimate for how many deaths to expect annually due to the defect in the fuel filler neck, and it wasn’t pretty — it basically said it would be cheaper for the company to just ‘ignore’ the problem versus fixing it, and by 1978, they felt the public sting and outrage as Ford went ahead and recalled 1.5MM of those Ford Pintos, along with the Mercury Bobcat, just to make those modifications to the fuel system.

How bad was the outcry that forced Ford to succumb? Well, when facing 900 drivers dying as a result of the fuel system flaw and millions of dollars in coming civil suits, it turned out that the memo was wrong. Ford spent way more money than what it would’ve cost just to make those changes. You live and you learn.