Ford Explorer Rear Subframe Problems Leads To Two Class Action Lawsuits

Ford Explorer Rear Subframe Problems Leads To Two Class Action Lawsuits

Two class action lawsuits have been filed against Ford alleging problems with the 2020 to the present Ford Explorer Rear Subframe, specifically the 2.3L and 3.0L ST SUV models.

According to the plaintiffs in both cases, Explorer subframes are unable to handle the higher horsepower and torque generated by the vehicles, primarily because Ford only installed a single rear axle horizontal mounting bolt. As a result, owners claim that under load the subframe bolt could fracture, leading to the rear differential dropping and the driveshaft disconnecting.

Additionally, plaintiffs allege that Ford intentionally used a weaker subframe assembly with only one rear axle horizontal mounting bolt due to COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain problems.

In fact, the lawsuit stats that Ford had at one point implemented a stronger four-bolt subframe in a small subset of its performance oriented 2020 Ford Explorer STs. But at some point, the automaker began installing rear subframes with only a single rear axle mounting bolt. This was allegedly due to COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain problems at the start of 2020. 

However, Ford did issue a recall back in April 2022. Additionally, Ford issued a customer satisfaction program 22N06 for free rear axle bolt replacements.

Ford also alerted dealerships through (SSM) 50471 that some 2020-2022 Explorer vehicles may show signs of a broken rear axle mounting bolt.

Despite the recall and customer satisfaction program, plaintiffs in the case argue that Ford’s failure to address the use of only one single rear axle horizontal mounting bolt instead of the recommended two puts drivers at a safety risk.

And as such, has resulted in owners taking legal action against the automaker.

Let’s take a closer look into the Ford Explorer rear subframe lawsuit, and what drivers can do if they find themselves dealing with these same problems.

Owners Allege Ford Knowingly Used a Weaker Subframe

The lawsuit alleges that using only one mounting bolt in the rear subframe can cause the bolt to fracture. Allegedly, this could result in the driveshaft to detach while driving, resulting in loss of steering, braking, and speed control.

While a recall was issued by Ford, plaintiffs argue that it did not solve the rear subframe issue for 2020-present Ford Explorer 2.3L and 3.0L vehicles.

Additionally, according to the plaintiffs, Ford redesigned the Explorer ST in 2020, using two rear axle horizontal mounting bolts to handle increased torque and horsepower.

Ford Explorer ST two bolt rear subframe
Ford Explorer ST two bolt rear subframe

Despite the redesign, the rear subframe assembly installed in 2020-2022 Explorer vehicles is allegedly the old version that Ford needed to redesign.

The lawsuit documents state that Ford used only one axle bolt instead of the necessary two. Plaintiffs argue that two bolts are required to prevent the rear differential from dropping. As such, the single rear mounting bolt fails to provide sufficient support.

The lawsuit continues to allege that Ford deliberately used a weaker rear subframe assembly with just one rear axle horizontal mounting bolt.

Ford Explorer ST single bolt rear subframe
Ford Explorer ST single bolt rear subframe

Plaintiffs argue that Ford knew in 2019 that the Explorers needed a subframe with four bolts, including two rear axle horizontal mounting bolts.

In fact, Ford used a four-bolt subframe in some 2020 Ford Explorer ST SUVs with higher torque and horsepower. But the lawsuit claims this wasn’t implemented in all vehicles, suggesting a “cover-up” of the subframe issues.

Owners Allege Safety Concerns With Single Bolt Rear Subframe

Concerns have been raised among Ford Explorer owners regarding the safety of the single bolt rear subframe.

Class members allege there is a potential safety issue associated with this design, as the single bolt may fracture when subjected to heavy loads, such as towing a boat or pulling substantial weight.

This fracture could lead to the rear subframe detaching from the vehicle’s chassis while in motion. As one can imagine, posing a significant risk to occupants and others on the road.

NHTSA Launches Investigation Into Rear Subframe Safety

The rear subframe issue has caught the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), prompting them to initiate an independent inquiry.

In response to the problem, Ford has taken action by issuing a recall that includes a software update. The update aims at triggering the parking brake automatically in the event of unintended vehicle movement.

Nevertheless, it seems that the software update allegedly does not remedy the axle bolt and subframe problems.

Ford Explorer Models Affected

The following Ford Explorer models are affected by this alleged defect:

Status of the Ford Explorer Rear Subframe Problems Class Action Litigation

Class Action Currently Active

This is an active class action lawsuit.

Coolidge, et al., v. Ford Motor Company case number 2:23-cv-11445, in United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division.

Caricofe, et al., v. Ford Motor Company case number 3:23-cv-01012, in United States District Court Southern District of California.

Ford Explorer Rear Subframe Problems FAQs

What is The Bolt Problem on The Ford Explorer?

On some models of the Explorer, Ford used a single bolt rear axle horizontal mounting bolt. The use of a single bolt may fracture under heavy load and cause the driveshaft to disconnect.

What is a Rear Axle Bolt Fracture?

When a rear axle bolt fractures, it causes the rear axle housing to shift. This leads to pronounced noise and excessive vibration. The breakage of the bolt may also result in the disconnection of the driveshaft, causing a loss of torque to the rear wheels.

What Did Ford Recall 22S27 Fix?

The Ford 22s27 recall programs the PCM to automatically set the parking brake whenever the Explorer is put in park. This update helps keep the vehicle from rocking back and forth, which could potentially shear the rear axle horizontal mounting bolt.

Questions About This Lawsuit? is not counsel or the settlement administrator in this class action lawsuit. Our goal is to inform owners of these vehicles of the recent lawsuit. This post will be updated when/if new suit information is released.

Please considering subscribing to this post for critical updates.

Are you driving a Ford Explorer made between 2020 and 2022 and having problems with rear subframe in your car? If so, add your voice to this post in the comments below.

Add your car complaint for review

Subscribe to this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *