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PTU discontinued by Ford


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#1 OFFLINE   JohnCT

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 11:23 AM

I ordered a AT4Z7251D for my wife's Edge from a buddy with connections.  He called me back to say that part was discontinued with no sub.  I emailed Tasca Ford and they told me the same thing.  I then asked if the G version I'd seen on line would sub and they said there was no sub. They suggested a salvage part.  Since the lifespan of these is between 30K and 80K miles (we got to 55K) that's out of the question.

 

Panicked, I found a listing for an new Ford part and ordered it.  I got an email from the company said the part was superceded by the G which they billed me extra for and shipped.

 

So this Ford dealer says the G replaces the D but Tasca Ford said no.  Is there any significant difference between the G and the D and is the G indeed an official sub?

 

John


Edited by JohnCT, 29 July 2016 - 11:58 AM.








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#2 OFFLINE   WWWPerfA_ZN0W

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 11:37 AM

Levittown lists the D part as still available

art # Description List Price Price   AT4Z-7251-D TRANSFER CASE

EDGE, MKX; TO 8/8/08

$822.06 $614.49  

When in doubt, talk to Benny at Levittown.  They sponsor this forum.



#3 OFFLINE   pedro2u

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 04:08 PM

FWIW - I just looked on my invoice where the dealer replaced the PTU under CPO warranty on 6/13/16 on my 2011 Limited.  Part number is AT4Z 7251 G  :shift:


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#4 OFFLINE   JohnCT

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Posted 30 July 2016 - 07:08 AM

FWIW - I just looked on my invoice where the dealer replaced the PTU under CPO warranty on 6/13/16 on my 2011 Limited.  Part number is AT4Z 7251 G  :shift:

The good news is that the G that's on the way should fit.  The bad news is that I could have gotten the G at dealer cost if the G was listed as a sub for the D.  Sheesh..  I hope at least the G comes with a drain port for my trouble.

 

Thanks for the info.

 

John


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#5 OFFLINE   WWWPerfA_ZN0W

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Posted 30 July 2016 - 07:20 PM

Post pics of the unit when you receive it :)



#6 OFFLINE   JohnCT

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 08:38 AM

Post pics of the unit when you receive it :)

 

 

 

No need to post pictures; it's the same crap in a different part number.  No drain plug.  Still screwing up my courage to drill and tap this POS box.

 

What I don't understand is why the part number progressed from the A through the D then stopped and was listed as discontinued.  The G suffix number according to the company I bought the box from said it will sub for the discontinued D, although other Ford dealers say there is no sub.

 

To say I am disappointed with Ford is a gross understatement.  I've been a Ford buyer for years but said a couple of years ago that this Edge was a probationary vehicle to me.  Mostly my Fords have been reliable except for the automatic transmissions. 7 out of the 9 Fords I've owned since my wife and I married in 1985 have needed transmission work before their time (less than 150K miles and 5 of them less than 100K  miles).  I've also had two 3.8V6s that blew head gaskets less than 90K miles.  Again, Ford knew about the aluminum head sealing on the cast iron 3.8 since the 80s and never corrected it, leaving us poor suckers to suffer.

 

My wife loves this Edge but I said going in that if I had a major systems failure in this car that would be it.  This isn't a transmission problem, but much like the automatics, Ford knew about the short life of this transfer case and did not fix the design, nor have they even provided a simple drain plug on any of the subsequent versions which would allow simple routine maintenance to keep it alive.  A simple bolt in heat shield would probably reduce the temperature (which is killing these boxs) enough to keep the seals from dying and the oil from cooking. Since I can't be assured of the new box lasting much more than 30K miles or so, I'm getting rid of it and moving on, and whatever we replace it with, it won't be a Ford.

 

Part of the problem is that I have admittedly enabled Ford to keep pulling this crap by continuing to buy their products.  If Ford had updated the box with a simple drain plug back in 2007 when the problem became known, I might have forgiven them.  But I've had enough.

 

Thanks for the help and advice guys.

 

John


Edited by JohnCT, 02 August 2016 - 10:39 AM.


#7 OFFLINE   IWRBB

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 07:52 AM

 

No need to post pictures; it's the same crap in a different part number.  No drain plug.  Still screwing up my courage to drill and tap this POS box.

 

Just do it.  It's not a big deal.  Center-punch a flat spot, work your way up through the bit sizes, tap it, plug it.  You can buy drain plug setups that'll work with a non-tapped hole as well.  They use rubber seals.

 

I was lucky enough to get our 2010 Edge in 2014, and by then the PTU was a known POS so I went with FWD.  

 

At some point they are going to have to start making them again- there's no way the junkyards can keep up with the failure rate of these things.

 

All the manufacturers have issues- if the PTU is your only real problem, and you know how to fix it- just fix it and move on.  Ford is not some big evil company that is out to produce vehicles that fail.  


Edited by IWRBB, 03 August 2016 - 07:54 AM.


#8 OFFLINE   JohnCT

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 08:52 AM

Just do it.  It's not a big deal.  Center-punch a flat spot, work your way up through the bit sizes, tap it, plug it. 

 

I would tap it, but I'm not completely convinced the G is the correct sub for the D.  Three Ford dealers said no, and the one that said yes subbed the G for the D after I ordered it.  If I mess with this, I won't be able to return it.

 

All the manufacturers have issues- if the PTU is your only real problem, and you know how to fix it- just fix it and move on.  Ford is not some big evil company that is out to produce vehicles that fail.

 

 

I  understand that and agree with you.  I truly believe Ford is trying to build the best car they can.  As an engineer myself, I understand that unforseen circumstances affect a design that was thought to be both reliable and cost effective, but things do go wrong, and the policy in place that follows an unforseen problem is what bothers me.

 

Ford could have been the biggest car manufacturer in America and pushed the imports back by double digit percentage points, but it's the way management repeatedly fails to mitigate the damage from engineering mistakes that drives people away, and there are way too many examples of this for me to get into.

 

But sticking to the Edge/Explorer/Flex PTUs, the way to have handled this was easy and I believe more cost effective than doing nothing.  Back in 2007 when the PTUs were known to be short lived, they should have put an engineering team on this immediately.  Assuming that there was no more room to make the PTU case larger to hold more fluid, they should have at least came up with a heat shield to put between the PTU and the catalytic converter on the 2008s.  That alone would have likely saved about 3/4s of these.   Second, they should have added a drain plug that allowed routine servicing.  With both a heat shield in place and routine servicing of PTUs every 50K would eliminate at least 95% of PTU failures.  After these two implementations, they should have exteneded the PTU warranty to 100K miles for the early guinea pigs at least.

 

When my wife's Sable blew it's transmission (had two Sables; two for two in blown trannys), we replaced it with a Jeep Grand Cherokee after having dismissed the Explorer because I didn't trust it's transmission.  The Jeep has been handed down to our oldest son who now has 260K miles on it and it's running on it's original engine and transmission and running perfectly.  When we gave the Jeep to our son, we went back to Ford for the Edge as a car on probation.  I said when we bought it that if it had a major system failure (originally engine or transmission), that would be it forever with Ford unless Ford made good for the problem.  Well, I'm in for at least a thousand dollars right now with the transfer case, so the Edge failed the probation.  Too bad because my wife loves this car, and until this happened, we were looking at the Lincoln version next.

 

I'll install the PTU, send it out for detail, unload it, and that will be it for Fords for us.  The thought of having this POS spit it's transfer case in 30K more miles is more than I can bear (and these do die as early as 30K miles).  My brother just bought a new Grand Cherokee Overland and loves it.  That's probably our next vehicle.

 

John



#9 OFFLINE   WWWPerfA_ZN0W

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 09:12 AM

Well, hope you get a good price when you sell it, and have good luck with your next ride!



#10 OFFLINE   IWRBB

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 09:56 AM

The devil you know...



#11 OFFLINE   Brian K

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 03:09 PM

Ford doesn't seem to stand behind their design screw-ups nor do they admit there is a problem. My 07 Mustang has an issue with 2 piece spark plugs that break off in the head and they actually came up with a Broken Spark Plug Removal Tool to extract the broken parts. This problem is the same in 05,06,07 Triton 4.6 and 5.4 liter engines. Then they changed the design. A dealer quoted me up to $1000 to replace the plugs if they all broke and laughed. Thanks to forums I did it myself, took it really easy, and none broke. Fortunately Champion makes a 1 piece plug that doesn't break off. Then there is the aluminum hood corrosion issue which was due to steel filings or some contamination in an aluminum fold on the front lip of the hood which eventually causes galvanic corrosion - and of course because it is not perforation but kind of a surface cancer, they don't cover it under warranty. I think there is a problem brewing for all those "military grade aluminum F-150' owners. It seems they go out of their way to pi$$ off their customers. Seems 'Built Ford Tough' has gone by the wayside and the light bulb has burned out. Just my 2 cents...



#12 OFFLINE   akirby

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 03:30 PM

But they do extend warranties on some parts.  Focus trannys and TCMs e.g.  They just don't do it on everything.

 

What you're asking for is really a 100K mile bumper to bumper warranty where Ford covers everything under warranty - and that would add at least $1K to the vehicle cost.  You can buy a 100K/7 yr premium ESP on most vehicles for $1500 or less.



#13 OFFLINE   Brian K

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 09:31 AM

No not really. I understand parts breaking after the warranty period is over - wear, abuse or whatever and if it is not serviced as recommended, then the onus is on the owner to repair obviously. But when there is a known design issue that they refuse to acknowledge and correct, that is what is annoying. The PTU is very good example. They continue to use the same design of this device and refuse to service it (easily and inexpensively) when a simple drain and service interval would correct the 'flaw' as well as an improved heat shield to minimize the cooking of the oil. Yes it does last for most beyond warranty, but simply maintenance would make it last far longer (IMO) but of course that is not in Ford's and their dealers economic interest. Recently I changed the RDU oil and PTU oil. Similar designs - the RDU oil looked pristine after 90,000 miles (probably because of no heat source nearby) and the PTU was horrible. Which do you think needs a design mod?


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#14 OFFLINE   akirby

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 10:01 AM

I don't understand why they haven't added a drain plug and fluid change intervals either.
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#15 OFFLINE   WWWPerfA_ZN0W

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 10:44 AM

Even the SHO did not get a drain plug until 2013MY, and then only on the Perf Pkg.  I am guessing because the Taurus PI was released in 2013 (yes, with the drain plug), they included it on the Perf Pkg SHO also.


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#16 OFFLINE   JohnCT

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 01:16 PM

I don't understand why they haven't added a drain plug and fluid change intervals either.

 

As an engineer who has been involved with cost decision making, I can think of a few reasons.  The primary reason is cost, but even that breaks down to sub categories.  

 

1) What exactly does it cost to physically modify the original design?  I'm not a mechanical engineer but I can't see performing one more machining process adding much to the cost.  A simple aluminum heat shield is an easy stamping that wouldn't cost much.  In any case, this is a number that can be figured out to the penny.

 

2) The potential cost of lawsuits that may arise if Ford does improve these.  How?  Simple; a redesign of this obviously faulty system becomes an admission that there's a problem with it.  This opens up all kinds of problems.  It's a delicate balance; deny there's anything wrong by leaving the original design intact and ticking off your customers or risking lawsuits by redesigning instead.  This cost cannot be accurately computed, particularly in this litigious society we live in.

 

3) Cost of no redesign compared to lost future sales.  I'm sure there are very accurate tables that will predict when a customer feels reamed to the point of permanently abandoning his loyalty to a company.  Perhaps Ford thinks it will be cheaper for them to lose some sales compared to the money it would take to correct the problem (ethics be damned).  In my case I stayed too long, but no one put a gun to my head and made me go back to Ford after I left the first time.

 

I have never been involved in a company's finances anywhere near the level of the Ford Motor Company, so I admit I may be completely wrong.  Still, if it's my call, I want an engineering team on top of such an obvious major system problem such as this AWD setup as soon as the problem becomes known.  It's an excellent performing system, but if it lasts 30 to 60K miles, something's wrong.  Identify the problem and get the fix in the system as soon as possible, and extend that particular part warranty for the poor suckers with the early models to 100K miles as a sign of good faith and to keep their loyalty.

 

As I posted earlier, I am one of the reasons this PTU design remains junk even after so many years.  How you ask?   I've been screwed over by Ford with two blown 3.8 Essex V6s and seven various Fords all with blown transmissions before 100K miles, yet I went back to Ford for this Edge even after I had bought a Grand Cherokee instead of an Explorer and had fabulous luck and no major problems with it.  If consumers would pay with their feet and walk into another brand, Ford would have to clean up these designs that are bad out of the chute and remain bad for 10 years lest they have no more suckers to buy the product.

 

I won't make that mistake again.  Once my wife's Edge is repaired, I'll detail it and put in on Craigslist before we get enough miles on it to blow the new PTU, probably in the spring.  It's a 2009 Limited in Pearl with Nav and is gorgeous. I'm sure some poor sap will buy it.

 

John


Edited by JohnCT, 04 August 2016 - 01:20 PM.

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#17 OFFLINE   Brian K

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 05:40 PM

++1 John and Akirby. As far as changing the design as the years go on, isn't that one reason why you should generally not buy the first of a new model year - so you give them a chance to get the bugs out. 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. 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. Then the onus shifts completely to the owner to maintain it. Seems like a "no brainer" to me. I guess the 'Design of the Vehicle' project gets closed so no new changes or charges can be accepted and of course Manufacturing doesn't want to accept re-design costs either so nothing is done.

 

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 see some truth in that life cycle everywhere I look. Of course then there are the bonuses that people get paid to keep costs down and profits up - in the short term anyway.

 

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? I'm in Canada with much colder winters than in the southern US. Cold weather keeps the bugs down lol. Maybe it also keeps the PTU bug from biting as much too.


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#18 OFFLINE   JohnCT

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:16 AM

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. 

 

 

John


Edited by JohnCT, 05 August 2016 - 02:45 PM.

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#19 OFFLINE   enigma-2

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 03:48 PM

One my last oil change they advised me that my ptu seal was leaking. When I talked to the service agent, he stated that it's the loss of fluid (presumably through the leaking seal) that would cause failure of the ptu. As the fluid got lost, the remaining fluid would turn gummy and not lubricate properly.
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#20 OFFLINE   Brian K

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:35 PM

Time to top it up. There is only 0.53 liters (a little over a cup) if it actually was full to begin with. It is easy to do. Just get some 75W140 fluid and a little hand pump that screws into the oil bottle with some plastic hose and refill it via the 1/2" fill plug on the passenger side. A 3/8" drive ratchet removes the plug. Could be when you fill with new fluid it will run a bit cooler and not leak - maybe. Worth a try so you don't have to buy a new PTU. PTU seals are changeable too but if you're not seeing any fluid on the ground or smelling it burning on the exhaust then not much is leaking.


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