However Ford doesn't seem to want to do that even after 10+ years with this problem - I guess as you pointed out that means liability.
I'd love to be in on the meetings when the policy is addressed. Is it better to solve the problem quickly and take of the owners caught before the fix, or to let it run a 10 year cycle? My brother's brother in law was a Lincoln buyer like no other (probably has the Lincoln logo tattoo'd on his heinie) until his last Continental. This car blew both it's 3.8 Essex V6 engine AND it's AXOD transaxle in less than 60K miles. He switched to Audis and will never buy another Lincoln, and who can blame him? That Lincoln is trying to resurrect the Continental is a joke. They'd have to wait 30 years for the stench of that stink bomb to dissipate. The 3.8 was a known head gasket puker since the mid eighties, and Ford NEVER fixed it. The front drive transaxles fail mostly from bad seals causing pressure loss inside. Better seals and cooling would have made these pretty good transmissions.
Still though - Rear Diff's can get the fluid changed by sucking them out with a vacuum and re-filling. Why not do/say the same for the PTU and put that in the owners manual.
I tried on my wife's car, but even an extraordinarily thin flexible tube can only remove a tiny bit of fluid because the suction tube runs into gear obstruction only a short way down into the PTU case. Servicing the PTU requires removing it according to Ford. Otherwise, drawing out a small bit, adding new, running the car to mix it, and repeat enough to diluting it with new fluid is the only way to service it. My guess is that it would take at least 10 of these "services" to dilute the fluid enough to consider most of it replaced, and given how the fluid is constantly tortured by heat, this should be done every 25K miles at least. Anyone who intends to keep his Edge/Explorer/Flex/TaurusX should do this religiously.
If they had drain plugs, I would do this every oil change.
A friend once said "Companies are built by Engineers and Technical people, then run (into the ground) by Accountants, then shut down by Lawyers".
I have had a few battles with the accountants over this. That is one of the most true statements about business I've ever read.
I also added a heat shield extension to the one that is there - about 3" x 5" above the exhaust pipe. Hopefully that helps. I wonder if anyone has correlated PTU failures to location. The hotter the climate - the more failures?
It's my belief that it's a combination of low fluid volume and location in the chassis next to the catalytic converter that is cooking these things to death. The PTU is a simple gear box; there is no clutch or viscous coupling that would generate large amounts of heat. Since the flash point of the original fluid is about 375 degrees, the fact that the fluid is cooking into sludge means the temp of the PTU is hitting this mark if not exceeding it. It's hard to believe just the friction of gear mesh and bearing action would cause this much heat. That leaves environmental factors such as it's location so close to the catalytic converter. Mitigating the heat damage alone would quadruple or more the life of these boxes in my opinion.
Supposedly, export models (such as those to the Middle East) have liquid cooled PTUs. Adding liquid cooling to those built without it would cost more to Ford per unit than they probably made on the vehicle when they built it, so I wouldn't expect that kind of solution.
My solution would be to add a heat shield to all vehicles with this problem. With any luck, a simple shield could be designed that would not only shield the PTU from the cat, but also direct a bit of undercar air flow around the PTU aiding it's cooling. It's a lot of work now to retrofit almost 10 years worth of production but it would have been painless if they started adding them waaaaaaaaaaay back in 2008 at the latest. Second, drill and tap the original design with a drain plug. With a Ford engineered procedure and template, this also would be fairly easy to implement even in-chassis, at least a lot easier than the procedure to change the PTU seals!. A lot of work now, easy if they did it back in 2007.
I assume they did something to address the heat soak in the redesigned Edges (2014?), so maybe someone with a newer one can comment.
Edited by JohnCT, 05 August 2016 - 02:45 PM.