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Ford Recall: The Problem is the Brake Fluid in the Switch - The Solution is a Fuse

October 15, 2009

Ford is performing the largest ever recall for a brake light switch on the side of the master cylinder. The recall will cover 9.6 million Ford vehicles made between 1992 and 2004, for a complete list visit the ford website. Fires have occurred in more than 550 cases.

Symptoms of a failure or pending failure of the switch include: speed control may become inoperable, the vehicle may not shift out of park, the rear brake lamps may not work, brake fluid may leak at the switch, the battery may drain or go dead, the ABS warning light may flash or a fuse in the system may open.

Ford's investigation found if brake fluid leaks through the speed control deactivation system into the speed control system electrical components, those components may corrode. Together with other conditions, this could lead to overheating, and possibly, a fire at the switch. This condition may occur either when the vehicle is parked or when it is being operated, even if the speed control is not in use. While a very small number of vehicles will be affected by this condition.

Ford will install a fused jumper harness between the speed control deactivation switch and the speed control mechanism. This jumper harness acts as a circuit breaker, eliminating the electrical current at the switch if the switch becomes shorted.

On some of the earlier built vehicles, the Speed Control Deactivation System was mounted to a junction block or brake proportioning valve located below the master cylinder on or near the frame rail. Some technician speculated why these switches did not fail was due to lower underhood temperatures, how the switch was mounted and the supplier of the switch was different.

For more information on the recall, visit
About the Author
Andrew Markel
Editor, Brake & Front End Magazine

Andrew Markel is an ASE Certified Technician and former service writer, and he brings this practical knowledge to the Brake & Front End team as editor.

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