by Bob Beranek
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I’d like to thank John McGee and my friends at Binswanger Glass for sending me a notice of recall from Ford Motor Co. about the 2014 Transit Cargo Van, assembled in Spain. The interesting thing about this vehicle is that the panel our industry is asked to help fix is not made of glass, but of polycarbonate.

According to safety recall 14S26 issued by Ford on December 10, 2014:

“Some of the affected vehicles, which are equipped with sliding door plastic panels, may have improper bond strength between the plastic panels and the paint primer. Plastic panels with improper bond strength may result in noise, water leak, or separation of the plastic panels from the vehicle while driving, potentially increasing the risk of an accident or injury.”

Obviously, there has been a problem with plastic to metal bonding ever since urethane was introduced as an automotive adhesive. Urethane does not adhere aggressively to plastic unless extraordinary products or procedures are introduced to the process of bonding. This recall proves that fact once again.

Many of the new cargo vehicles like the Transit or Sprinter start as a blank slate, easily adapted to a customer’s particular needs. You want a people mover? Remove the panels, put in glass, insulate and panel the walls, put in multiple seating units and add environment systems like A/C and heating. Need a mobile shop? Keep the panels in place, add an energy source, build in tool boxes and supply drawers and you’re all set. I have seen Sprinter dealers who adapted Dodge Sprinters into Mercedes and Peterbilt Sprinters simply by changing the grills and hoods. These vehicles are designed to be adaptable. It is no wonder that Ford designed a vehicle that has removable panels for ease of customization.

The service action on this recall states the following:

 “Before demonstrating or delivering any of the vehicles involved in this recall, dealers are to remove and reinstall the sliding door plastic panel(s) using proper materials and procedures. This service must be performed on all affected vehicles at no charge to the vehicle owner.

Here is the interesting part.

NOTE: This repair may be sublet to a professional glass repair facility in accordance with the Warranty & Policy Manual.

Thank you, Ford, for steering some work our way. We will gladly take up the responsibility and get it done right. So, for the sake of quality control and ease of repair, I have included the Ford instructions for repair. I am researching additional information on this recall and will include the findings in future posts, but I felt that this recall announcement must be made known as soon as possible so the safety issues can be addressed.

I am unsure at this time who serves as the OE adhesive supplier is for this vehicle, considering it is assembled in Spain, or if the instructions allow for other adhesive products to be used. In the meantime, to protect from liability and to make sure compatibility issues are met, I suggest that when this repair is contracted, obtain the OE adhesive kit from the dealer or manufacturer and follow the instructions exactly the way they are written.

Certain 2014 Model- Year Transit Connect Cargo Van Vehicle:

Sliding Door Plastic Panels

Overview

The removal and installation procedure for the sliding door plastic panels is similar to fixed glass (windshield) replacement. This repair is being performed to resolve potential improper bond strength that may exist between the sliding door plastic panels and the paint primer. The following procedure must be performed on both right and left side panels, if equipped. Use only the approved primer and adhesive materials listed in Attachment II of the bulletin.

Service Procedure

  1. Remove the plastic panel. Please follow Workshop Manual (WSM) procedures in Section 501-11,

General Procedures – Fixed Glass. (See Figure 1)

Note: The plastic panel is removed in the same manner as fixed glass.

This is the sliding door plastic panel.

Figure 1: This is the sliding door plastic panel (1466B).

  1. Remove the remaining urethane from both the sliding door pinch weld and the sliding door plastic panel using a suitable knife by hand.

Note: As instructed in the WSM, be sure to leave a 1mm to 2mm (0.04 in to 0.08 in) urethane base on the sliding door pinch weld.

Note: If the paint layer was damaged on the body pinch weld surface, be sure to restore protection as specified in the WSM procedure in Section 501-11.

Note: To provide proper adhesion, all paint and old urethane must be removed from the urethane bead path on the plastic panel prior to applying new black primer and new urethane adhesive.

  1. Remove remaining urethane from sliding door plastic panel using a wire-cup air-powered rotary tool.

Remove both urethane and paint along the adhesive path only to a maximum width of 20mm (0.78 in) and a maximum of 0.2mm (0.007 in) depression into the original surface of the plastic panel. Use care not to remove paint or damage the panel in the area visible when reinstalled. (See Figure 2)

Another look at the sliding door plastic panel. (1466B)

Figure 2: Another look at the sliding door plastic panel. (1466C)

  1. Clean and remove dust from grinding using a clean dry cloth. Apply black primer to the bead path on the sliding door plastic panel and allow to cure according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
A final look at the sliding door plastic panel. (1466A)

Figure 3: A final look at the sliding door plastic panel. (1466A)

 

  1. Install the plastic panel using the approved adhesive specified in the parts section of Attachment II of the bulletin. Please follow WSM procedures in Section 501-11, General Procedures – Fixed Glass