Drivers of the most popular truck on the planet are discovering a tiny fuse can cause big trouble.
It costs only pennies – and the fuse itself is actually smaller than a penny.
But when the little fuse fries, it shuts down some big Ford trucks.
Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Jim Strickland found out Ford told its dealership technicians about the issue, but not the owners.
The fuse problem happened to Johnny Bobo as he prepared for his 60-mile commute home from his job in midtown Atlanta.
"(I) turned the key over and the engine just spun and spun and spun but it wouldn't crank," Johnny Bobo told Jim Strickland.
The fix at the dealership took only 30 minutes. You'd think he'd be happy. Nope.
"I was a little aggravated because here I spent the money to have my vehicle towed and everything for a 25-cent part," Bobo said.
It was aggravation by the truckload.
"Six months later, it did it again," Bobo said.
He now carries a box of spare fuses in his glove compartment.
"I believe it's happened about three times," Calder Guthrie told Strickland.
Guthrie's truck is a powerful and tricked-out F-150 Raptor.
"As much as I've put it through, off-roading, towing trailers, daily driving, you know, every storm I've been through, no issues. Other than that fuse 27 issue," Guthrie said.
Fuse 27 can be found in the engine bay fuse box. It plugs into a 20-amp circuit that powers the F-150 fuel pump and fuel injectors.
Strickland poured through federal safety files and found 70 complaints.
He also found plenty more in F-150 online owners forums, including one driver who shelled out $350 for the tiny fuse fix.
It involves more than just the tiny fuse, because the slot can burn up, too.
"If this fuse looks like this, so does the terminal inside the box. So sticking another fuse in is a temporary repair," said independent Ford technician Doug Lewis.
Lewis has worked on Fords for 35 years and runs Ford Performance Specialists in Mableton.
He says Ford began using a standard sized fuse box in several models and then wired it to the needs of each car.
In 2009 to 2014 F-150s, that meant downsizing the fuel pump circuitry to include the tiny 20-amp mini fuse.
"If you ever have to ask yourself why a company does something and the answer isn't blatantly obvious, then it's money. Why'd they do that? It's cheaper," Lewis told Strickland.
Ford sent technicians a technical service bulletin on repairing the problem. It involves rewiring the fuse 27 slot so a larger 20-amp fuse will fit.
Guthrie says he installed it himself for $15.
For those not so DIY-savvy, Lewis says he'll charge his usual rate of $95 an hour.
The affected trucks are out of warranty.
Ford sent a response after Strickland asked why there is no recall:
"Ford looks at a variety of factors when evaluating vehicle concerns. In this case, a safety risk was not identified. When the data indicates a safety recall is needed, we move quickly on behalf of our customers."
Bobo is not satisfied.
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