Ford Pickup Truck Recall Issued Due to Falling Gas Tanks and Fires

About 1.1 million Ford pickup trucks have been recalled due to defective gas tanks, which could fall off and burst into flames. 

The Ford pickup truck recall was announced on Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a year-long investigation into reports of Ford F-150s dragging sparking gas tanks behind them.

The NHTSA reports that the metal straps that hold the gas tank to the body can corrode and fail, which may allow the fuel line to separate from the gas tank, or could cause the gas tank to fall and rupture. In both cases, there is a risk of the vehicle catching fire.

Eight fires have been linked to the defective gas tank straps. In three of the cases, the entire truck burst into flames. There has been at least one injury related to the recalled Ford pickup truck gas tank straps.

The recall affects certain Ford F-150 pickup trucks from model years 1997 through 2004, certain Ford F-250 trucks from model years 1997 through 1999 with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 8,500 lbs., and 2002-2003 model year Lincoln Blackwood vehicles.

The NHTSA said the problem may be worse in states that use deicing chemicals on the roads, which can increase the rate of corrosion. The recalled vehicles were originally sold in, or are now registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.

The recall comes just months after another Ford F-150 recall was issued for 144,000 vehicles due to air bag problems. That recall led to a heated debate between Ford and the NHTSA, which suggested that the company should have recalled 1.3 million trucks.

The NHTSA reports that Ford will begin notifying affected owners in September. The current straps will be replaced with more corrosion-resistant straps. In the interim, owners can have dealers install a cable support under the current straps until replacement straps become available. Owners with questions can call the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center at 1-866-436-7332. The recall campaign number is 11S21.

Photo Courtesy of noelweathers via Flickr CC by 2.0

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  1. Leon Reply

    Recall campaign number 11S21 does not apply to vehicles sold or registered in Nebraska, because “Nebraska does not use deicing chemicals on the roads.” That is certainly news to all Nebraskans. Nebraska Department of Roads employees have confirmed to me that they use salt and liquid calcium chloride when the roads are icy or covered with packed snow, which could include the months from October to April. Whichever Ford employee made the decision to exclude Nebraska is obviously misinformed.

  2. Joey Reply

    It amazes me, I worte a letter to Ford about a year ago explaining how bad the corrosion on my well kept vehicle was and they brushed me off like I was making up a story and now this… good old Ford strikes again and by Ford I mean Found On Road Dead. Hopefully they will make good on their product.

  3. Mike Reply

    What are the chances that this recall wiill be expanded to include additional models.
    I just had my vehicle 1996 F-250 models in to service the exact problem.

  4. sandy Reply

    I own a 1998 Ford F150 truck and have one of my gas tanks straps that is broken. Why is Nebraska not listed as one of these states. We have a lot of salt on our roads in the winter, especially eastern Nebraska. I have been waiting since the end of April to get it fixed and I just keep getting a run around from the Ford Dealer here in Plattsmouth Nebraska, which by the way is now gone due to I don’t know what. I was told that it won’t fall off because there is a plate underneath the gas tank to prevent if from falling. Who do I believe? What can I do and where do I go to get it fixed before I have an accident with it falling off?

  5. Ray Reply

    i just replaced both straps because they were rotted, will ford reimburse me for my out of pocket expense, which i paid to my local repair shop.I have my reciept

  6. Randy Reply

    We found out about this problem when our full gas tank fell out onto the ground while traveling down a winding hill. Luckly, the speed was low and the road was wet due to some rain that fell earlier. The firemen said that is what kept the tank from sparking on the asphalt road and exploding. Several gallons of gas covered the berm of the road. It is now parked at a Ford dealership while someone figures out what to do with it. This truck has been garage kept for 8 of the last 10 years in W. PA.

  7. Jim Reply

    Since the purchase of my 2005 f150 I have trouble with my seat belt retractor.There is never enough return spring pressure to retract the belt more than two inches– leaving the remaindeer of the belt to catch in the door. On all occassions with thr dealer I was told that that is NORMAL..Unbelievable —I just can’t fathom that being normal, when on the passanger side it returns properly.Ford can you HELP.

  8. J D Reply

    We were lucky, we had just parked our ’97 F-150 at our mechanic’s shop because he said our brakes were bad and the undercarriage was really rusted. He called us at home and told us our tank was laying on the ground (we had just filled the tank across from the shop before we parked it). Sure enough I went back to the shop and the tank was sitting on the ground, the straps were rusted through. It’s been sitting at the shop for awhile cause we weren’t sure what to do. Now this recall explains the excessive rust and the failed tank straps. Didn’t think this was normal wear. We are in Wisconsin where they use salt to deice the roads also.

  9. patrick Reply

    i have 2004 ford f150 ex cab 4×4 it been a good truck but the frame has rust bad and the front leaf spring has rust off had to replace so now fuel tank straps.

  10. Wayne Reply

    I live in southern Maine and own a 2001 F-250 that shows significant rust on the gas tank straps. What did Ford do to correct this problem after the 1999 models that would supposedly make my truck safe?

  11. Warren Reply

    the front end of my gas tank on my 1999 ford pickup fell off while going down the road and leaked a full tank of gas all over the road and ditch. I was lucky it did not catch fire. Ford will not pay for the fuel but is paying for the tow truck and repairs.

  12. Elaine Reply

    I have a gas tank leak caused by the failing straps. Dealers I spoke to said this is a frequent problem that is not paid for by Ford. It cost me two days without a vehichle and $1000. I’ve never hesitated to purchase a Ford (this is my fifth one!) but I will think carefully before my next purchase.

  13. L Jarvis Reply

    Our Ford F150 was purchased back in 2004. Year is 2001. This vehical has been undercoated, however still has corrosion occured. Recently April of this year gas straps did give way while I was driving the vehical, lucky for me I was going slow out of a parkade and heard the scraping sound and stopped. To make a long story short the gas tank ended up with small pin hole (leaking gas fuel now). The vehical was taken into Ford but they refused to replace gas tank and said it will cost $700 to replace by them. Ford location is Chebucto Ford in Dartmouth, NS Canada. We will never buy Ford again. Bad service and not honorable at all, this is really their problem. Anyone try contacting CEO of Ford??

  14. Joseph Reply

    I have a 1996 F-150 XLT and the Front Gas Tank makes the truck hard to start and stalls but when I switch from the Front Tank to the Back Tank the truck starts right up and the stalling stops.

  15. Chris Reply

    2003 F150 Heritage, gas tank fell out while parked at the grocery store due to rusty straps, I tied the tank up with a couple of ratchet straps and brought it to my Ford dealer. Dealer tells me my truck had the straps replaced in 2007 under warranty for the same thing and that I will have to pay for any subsequent repairs since it has the “more corrosion resistant” straps already on it. While I’m at the dealer the passenger side rear leaf spring shackle mount gives way due to excessive rust, that’s not covered either. My truck was undercoated when new for a cost of $500 and it’s now completely rusted underneath, even though it’s been garaged since it was 2 years old and washed/waxed frequently. rocker panels are shot on both sides, parts of the floor have holes, rearmost cab support is rotted out and one of the body mounts has fallen out, all 4 door bottoms are swiss-cheese and the lower edge of the tailgate is completely rotted off. A local body shop quoted me a price of $6500 to fix all the rust issues. Nice….Never had a vehicle rust out so badly before, never buying another Ford as long as I live either.

  16. Randy Reply

    How do we get the recall to cover over car companies ? I drove a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 until last Sunday when the gas tank fell off as I was driving the insane speed of 25 mph. 2 fire trucks, a HAZMAT truck, several police cars,and 2 trucks from the Maryland department of the environment later, I was allowed to have the car towed away, and the main street in Towson was reopened after being closed down for 3 and a 1/2 hours. The firemen cut the tank off of the car because it was leaking gasoline. By cutting the lines etc. they basically rendered the car totalled. The people at the facility where I had the car towed could not believe the amount of rust and corrosion to the frame. They said there was nothing to attach the straps to. The cross (round) beams of the frame had huge gaping holes in it. I called GMC to tell them they had a problem, particularly in light of the Ford situation. They could have cared less. They said we’re not Ford. Maybe not – but suppose they bought the straps from the same supplier. Or got the frame parts from the same inferior metal company. We know the car was exposed to the same salt. How do I get the government after this uncaring company as well?

  17. Bradley Reply

    I have a 1999, F150, 4×4, 4.2L, V-6, 139 inch WB. I bought it from a private owner 2 years ago, my son-in-law worked with him and he gave me a very good deal. He didn’t keep the truck very clean and I was shock at the amount of rust under the entire truck. The truck only had 58,000 miles on it and he couldn’t even open the hood. I pulled the grill and got everything in working order. I asked my son-in-law if the guy had driven the truck on an ocean beach or something. But, the more I read the more I see this isn’t uncommon at all. In the fall of 2011 the front brakes needed replacing. I had just had 3 hip implant surgery in 13 months, but I didn’t think it would be a very difficult job. It was impossible to remove the front rotors they were rusted on so badly. I heated them with O/A torch until they were turning red and hit them from behind with an 8 pound hammer, they wouldn’t budge. I repeated this many times always spraying penetrating oil on the front and back of the hub, before and after, the result was always the same. It was getting into deep winter and I live in Illinois, 8 miles south of Wisconsin. Plus, my legs and hips were at there limit. One day it was about Zero outside when I decided to give it another try. I’m guessing that it must have been the combination of the temperature, the oil, the torch and the 8 pounder, but this time they broke loose and I got them off. I had some medical problems and wasn’t able to finish the job until mid-summer 2012, and I wanted to do some other work while I had it open. It needed a new battery so I bought the best one for the truck. I really loved the truck, but I kept cursing the guy I bought it from, mistakenly! I am 62 and I have had several Ford trucks and never had any real problems. I started driving the truck and it started easy, and ran very well. It was getting down on gas, so I put about 20 gallons in it. I had to drive it a few miles, and on the way home I stopped at a store about 3 miles from my house. I came back out and the truck popped a couple of times and that was it, I had to have it towed home.I checked everything; fuses, relays, spark, injectors. I took all the air and fuel parts off the engine, cleaned everything, yet found nothing wrong. It is very difficult for me to get on my creeper and back up, but I knew I had to go under the truck. I almost passed out when I saw only half of the rear fuel tank strap hanging there. The rear of the tank was hanging down 4 or 5 inches, and it was pushed tight to the driver side frame. I had gotten a recall notice, but had only had it off blocks a few days and had a chance to take it in. I could tell that the strap had just broken because the only part of the undercarriage totally free of rust was where the hinge end of the strap had been. I called the local dealer and told them that I believed when the tank dropped it did something to the fuel system. They really gave me a hard time about it, and told me that they didn’t even know if Ford would pay for the towing. They put new staps on the tank, but never lowered it. I was told that the mechanic looked above the tank and didn’t see a problem, and it would cost me $119.00 per hour to find the problem. I told the girl that I had to digest all this junk, and call my lawyer, or Ford. I have since learned from others dealerships, and independent machanics that it’s not unusual at all for the sender or something else in the fuel system to be damaged when the back of the tank drops. I’m looking for other people out there that hav had the same problem, or who may know of others who have. Thank You!

  18. chantal Reply


  19. Pat Reply

    On 9/19/12 bought a 2000 F150 4×4 for my 17 year old son. He was driving home from school on 9/20/12 when the fuel tank fell out of the truck. He ran over it with the left rear tire. It caused him to dart to the left (oncoming traffic) and hit a stack of railroad ties. This blew out the 2 right side tires and bent a rim, along with all the gas tank damage and lines, wires, and both airbags deployed without any contact with front bumper. Thankfully no serious injuries occurred. I hope Ford stands behind there work.

  20. Wayne Reply

    Too bad that GMC can’t be dragged into the same recall.. considering the tank just fell off my ’98 Sierra and I’m learning it’s a very common problem!

  21. eric Reply

    I have a tank that is leaking when filled more than halfway. I went to ford web page and put my vin in they say there is no recall on my truck.
    But I feel this is still a very serious and dangerous situation do I have any recourse to get them to fix this?

  22. Corey Reply

    Hey there everyone,

    I don’t know if any of you have had problems with this but Ford is messing me around big time. I started a petition here is the link…share_petition

    as well I have talked to class action lawyers and am awaiting a response back from them.

    As we all know the gas tank straps on 97-04 F-150 (few other models and years were affected by this as well) were recalled due to them rusting out and gas tanks were falling out. I took my 98 F-150 in to have this done and the gentlemen in the service dept at Lange and Fetter Ford (Trenton, Ontario) brought me into the garage and showed me my gas tank had rusted so bad underneath the gas tank strap that if he were to take them off it was going to rip a hole in my tank. I asked if they were going to replace my tank as well and he said no ford will not replace it I would have to eat the cost of the repair for that. I told him that the defective strap is the reason my tank is now toast why wont they fix it. He proceeded to tell me that the only way ford will replace it is if I drive around till my tank drop to the ground, as far as i’m concerned this is absurd. The amount of damage that could cause let alone the environmental damage it would cause if the gas were to pour out onto the road or into peoples water supplies is way beyond the amount of the repair. Ford needs to bite the bullet on this an stop sticking it to there consumers.

    These gas tank straps have already been blamed for 3 fires, one of which the consumer received second and third degree burns. People have been hurt because of fords defective gas tank straps and no one else should be, but from what Lange and Fetter Ford is telling me many more people will get hurt (drive around till my tank drops to the ground).

    I love my ford but will not let FORD take advantage of me or others on this

    Please help support this fight and sign the petition, I will keep you all updated on the status of the class action

    Thank you for your support in this fight


  23. Marco Reply

    I just bought my first F150 98′ not even a month ago. My Gas Tank fell and caused the fuel preasure senser to break. And punctured the gas tank. Gas leaked right next to my house almost burning down my house. Ford company refuses to repair my damages. Webb Ford of Highland Indiana, Service Department general manager named Vince says that its ” Its Not His Problem”. He claims that they are only subjected to replace the straps after he had my truck picked up from my house and calls back with an estimated cost of $500 in repair. I tell him. I simply cannot pay it at this time. He then leaves me a message on my phone to call a 800 sex line and file a cuddle report. I simply kindly asked to return my vehicle. He refused. He says that they will not cover the tow cost. I then went with ropes to pull my truck home. He says well how much do u have. I replied only $20. He says give it to me and took it for a tow fee. No receipt. They towed it back to me and the new straps are in the back bed. I now have to repair the tank, fuel pressure senser, straps and fuel hoses alone myself. I want to know if someone can please HELP me. Costumer servise also refuses to help. They lost my call three times and I’m realy starting to think that its a conspiracy. I have the voice mail to proove the embaresment sex number joke. Ford Company is taking advantage of the American people. Please Help

  24. Cary Reply

    My 99 F150 tank fell out while driving and my family could have been killed; however, Ford says…not our problem. I do not have $600 to pay for a new tank caused by their error! They just do not care.

  25. kelly Reply

    I have a 2002 f250 that is about to do the same and my nepehews ford escape fell off all ready and it is an 06

  26. Marc Reply

    I just bought a 1997 F150 and noticed that the cross brace that hold the rear of the gas tank is so rotted is is about to fall off will ford replace the cross member or can you even get a replacement part for this

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