2019 Ford Escape.

Several Ford shifter cable bushing recalls have led to a class action lawsuit that alleges nearly 3 million vehicles are at risk of rolling away.

The Ford shifter cable bushing lawsuit was filed by New York plaintiff Sergio Diaz and Illinois plaintiff Retha Connors.

The plaintiffs do not claim their vehicles had any problems with the shifter cable bushings.

But both owners assert recall repairs offered by Ford will not fix their vehicles.

According to the class action, Ford issued multiple shifter cable bushing recalls because the bushings can degrade and detach, allowing a vehicle to roll away. It's also possible a driver won't know which gear the transmission is in by looking at the gear shifter indicator.

“A degraded shifter cable bushing that detaches from the transmission may allow the transmission to be in a gear state different than the gear shift position selected by the driver," Ford said.

Additionally, the “condition could allow the driver to move the shift lever to Park and remove the ignition key, while the transmission may not be in Park, with no warning message or audible chime.”

The Ford class action lawsuit includes these vehicles which were included in the shifter cable bushing recalls.

  • 2013-2019 Ford Escape
  • 2013-2016 Ford Fusion
  • 2013-2018 Ford C-Max
  • 2013-2021 Ford Transit Connect
  • 2015-2018 Ford Edge

Ford was allegedly aware of the Hilex Hytrel 4556 bushing problems long before telling the public about the defects.

Ford Shifter Cable Bushing Recalls

The first Ford shifter cable bushing recall was announced in July 2018 for more than 504,000 vehicles equipped with 6F35 six-speed automatic transmissions. The shifter bushing recall included the 2013-2014 Ford Escape and 2013-2016 Ford Fusion.

According to Ford, the supplier applied a lubricant to the bushing that attaches the shifter cable to the 6F35 transmission, but over time the bushing could degrade.

Ford said improved replacement bushings would be installed.

Another Ford shifter cable bushing recall was announced in May 2019 for more than 259,182 model year 2013-2016 Ford Fusions equipped with 2.5-liter engines. Replacement shifter bushings were allegedly “of a different grade of material with heat stabilizer.”

Ford dealers were also told to insert a protective cap over the shift cable bushing to “protect against contaminants.”

Then in March 2021, Ford issued a technical service bulletin (TSB 21-2033) to dealerships, informing them “[s]ome 2013-2016 Fusion, 2013-2018 C-MAX, 2013-2019 Escape, 2014-2021 Transit Connect, and 2015-2018 Edge vehicles may indicate an incorrect shifter lever position.”

“This may be due to the bushing at the transmission end of the shifter lever cable resulting in a mismatch of cluster and selected gear position. To correct the condition, follow the Service Procedure steps to replace the bushing and install the protective cap over the selector at the transmission end of the selector lever cable," Ford said.

Ford told dealerships to replace the bushing and install a cap if the shifter didn't move the transmission to the proper shifter position, if there was a damaged or missing shifter bushing, or if there was a mismatch of the cluster and selected gear position.

A few months later Ford issued another recall for more than 192,000 Transit Connect vans. Ford dealerships were told to replace the shifter bushings and install protective caps on the 2013-2021 vans.

Another Ford shifter cable bushing was announced in April 2022 for more than 96,000 model year 2015 Escapes equipped with 2-liter engines and 6F35 transmissions.

Ford said it was still trying to figure out why the bushings were falling apart, but engineers believed heat and humidity were potentially contributing to the problem.

“Remedy shift bushings are manufactured from a different grade material with a heat stabilizer. Additionally, a cap will be installed over the shift bushing for protection against contaminants," the lawsuit said.

And finally, another Ford shifter cable bushing recall was issued in June 2022 for more than 2.9 million of these vehicles:

  • 2013-2019 Ford Escape
  • 2013-2018 Ford C-Max
  • 2013-2016 Ford Fusion
  • 2013-2021 Ford Transit Connect
  • 2015-2018 Ford Edge

Ford told the government that engineers still had not found a root cause of the bushing problems, but “heat and humidity have the potential to contribute to the hydrological breakdown of the bushing material.”

From April 29, 2015, through March 31, 2022, Ford knew of 1,630 warranty reports and 233 complaints related to the shifter cable bushings. In addition, Ford said it was aware of at least six property damage reports and four reports alleging injuries.

Each Ford bushing recall had the automaker asking owners to use the parking brakes to prevent rollaways, but the class action lawsuit contends Ford should provide loaner vehicles to customers because the vehicles are unsafe to drive.

The plaintiffs also say Ford hasn't offered to reimburse vehicle owners for rental vehicles while waiting for repairs that will fix the vehicles.

The Ford shifter cable bushing class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: Diaz, et al., v. Ford Motor Company.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Miller Law Firm and Fegan Scott LLC.

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