Some of you who know me personally may have seen this already, but wanted to share something in order to maybe help some of you proactively.
On Jan 10th, I had just started a drive to get some coffee when I noticed a very odd behavior from my clutch pedal. It was getting stopped about halfway down the travel and would only go all the way down if I pushed the pedal inboard and down simultaneously. After I kind of limped home carefully, I inspected the pedal, and found that it would move laterally about 2.5-3″ and that there were obvious cracks at the pedal pivot. I ordered a replacement set of pedals. I replaced them just over a week later, which is a truly AWFUL job.
Here are my findings about the pedal after removing the old one:
1. Due to how drastically different the pedal feel, engagement smoothness became after the replacement, I can say that my original pedal had failed at some level more than 2 years ago. This was just the final catastrophic break. The cracked pivot/bad weld created a less consistent pedal that did not actually translate all the foot motion into clutch MC depression. It happened so slowly over time that I did not notice it progressively worsening, much like a frog in boiling water.
2. This is bad design engineering. The pivot only had 90 deg (of 360) welded on either side, and on mine, this was a clearly bad weld that had poor penetration into the base metal. What this shows is not just a bad weld, but a design incapable of being robust to manufacturing variability. A design that had the weld 360 deg around or even 180 deg around would likely have had enough margin by design to prevent this type of failure. Once the weld let go, it shifted more load to the other side, cracking the other weld.
3. Ford did this to save a few cents on a pedal. Anyone who’s spent time working at/with Ford knows how much of their cars are supplier-led design, with the responsible component engineers nodding like bobbing heads. This example represents a total failure of the dFMEA process that is used in automotive product development to ensure quality and safety. A few cents per car was saved on a part that is critical and required for operation of the vehicle. That is not an acceptable decision.
4. I’m definitely not the only one. In my local area, I’ve been able to find 3 other people with similar failures. The catastrophic failure occurred at 90k miles. The cold weld likely broke at something like 65k miles. It’s hard to know for sure. A friend of mine had his failure at 40k miles.