The recall is due to the potential that the rear axle horizontal mounting bolt may fracture, causing the driveshaft to disconnect.
A disconnected driveshaft can result in a loss of drive power or a vehicle rollaway if the parking brake is not applied. Either of these scenarios can increase the risk of a crash.
The recall affects the following powertrains:
- 3.3L FHEV Police Interceptor Utility.
- 3.0L and 3.3L Gas Police Interceptor Utility.
- 2.3L RWD.
- 3.0L PHEV.
- 3.3L FHEV.
- 3.0L ST.
Dealers will replace the subframe bushing and rear axle bolt. They will also inspect the rear axle cover for damage near the bolt hole location and replace with a new cover if any damage is found. Repairs will be performed free of charge.
Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Nov. 6, 2023.
History of the Recall
The recall addressed the rear axle horizontal mounting bolt that may fracture and cause the driveshaft to disconnect.
The fracturing of the rear axle bolt can allow the rear axle housing to move out of position, resulting in severe noise, vibration, and/or a disconnected driveshaft. A functioning driveshaft and transmission parking pawl is necessary to hold the vehicle in park.
Ford’s remedy was to add a software update which automatically applies the electronic service parking brake to keep the vehicle from rolling away in the event of a driveshaft failure.
However, there is no safety remedy addressing the failed rear axle horizontal mounting bolt which is the basis of this safety issue and the cause of the impaired vehicle.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation has received two complaints alleging a loss of motive power and/or loss of transmission torque of the rear wheels in MY 2021 Ford Explorer vehicles due to failure of the rear axle bolts.
These vehicles were included in the cited recall and remedied prior to the reported incidents, pointing to the potential that the rear axle horizontal mounting bolt could have been the issue.