Inspections Suggested for 1998-2005
Ford E-350 and E-450 Front Ends
May 2005, MERGINET—Emergency service organizations using the Ford E-350 and E-450 model vehicles from the years 1998 through 2005 should inspect the front end right and left spring tower flange for cracking, according to a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) issued by Ford Motor Company on January 5, 2005.
TSB 05-1-1, sent to all Ford service departments and other agencies servicing such vehicles, notes that “Some higher-mileage E-350 and E-450 cutaway vans may exhibit cracks in the left or right spring tower flange.”
Ford Motor Co. is currently assessing the problem for any safety risk, and the Office of Defects Investigation at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is actively observing the status of Ford’s assessment. However, NHTSA has not initiated an official investigation since they have no reports of catastrophic failure, vehicle crashes or injuries potentially associated with this condition.
At this point, the E-350 and E-450 model vehicles should undergo inspection of the front right and left spring tower flanges, a NHTSA spokesperson suggested to Merginet. A visual inspection under the front wheel wells should identify any cracks (see photo). The TSB outlines repair procedures according to the size and location of any crack and the mileage and warranty status of the vehicle.
While it appears that such cracks develop over a longer duration of time, no hard data is available on just how quickly any cracks may grow. Vehicles displaying such spring tower cracks should undergo repair sooner rather than later to avoid any extension of a crack.
NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation, 400 7th Street, S.W., Washington, DC, 20590, encourages feedback from owners of Ford E-350 and E-450 vehicle models. Contact Robert Squire by phone at 202-493-0212, via e-mail or access the Web site for the Office of Defects Investigation.