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PTU Problems


asull85

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I thought it had gone 2011-15 sealed, 2016 fill plug added, 2017-2019 drain plug added. But I can't remember the source on that, so grain of salt and all that.
Mid-2016 Ford modified the PTU...again

Hmmm, when did Ford update the PTU?

I just had my dealer look at mine because of the trans issues and have him confirm the PTU was in good working order. He said mine didn't have the drainplug, just a fillplug. Mine is a June '16 build.

They checked my fluid and it's in good shape. He said it's supposed to be serviced at 90k miles.
Mine is a March/April '16 build. The PTU's were modified again around June '16 so yours probably has the updated PTU.

Both non and watercooled versions are crap?
Yes from the sounds of it. My city's police department had three of their five '16 Interceptors have their PTU's go bad. Theirs were built around the same time as mine, two of them were district cars and one was a detective car so not driven as hard. The PTU issues along with the Carbon Monoxide leaks caused them to switch to Tahoes. Now they use the Interceptors as detail/spare cars.
 


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Adrian Gitch

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I thought it had gone 2011-15 sealed, 2016 fill plug added, 2017-2019 drain plug added. But I can't remember the source on that, so grain of salt and all that.
I serviced my PTU at 85000 the other day because of all the good info on this forum. It's a '15. The gear oil surprisingly looked pretty good. This one just has the fill plug so I had to pump it out. The plug had a few shavings on it. I purchased this explorer with about 50000 miles. Kind of wondering if the PTU was replaced before I got it.
 




RhinoQuartz

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I serviced my PTU at 85000 the other day because of all the good info on this forum. It's a '15. The gear oil surprisingly looked pretty good. This one just has the fill plug so I had to pump it out. The plug had a few shavings on it. I purchased this explorer with about 50000 miles. Kind of wondering if the PTU was replaced before I got it.
Don't take what I wrote as gospel, I might be remembering wrong. At least for the first few years of this generation, Ford adamantly called it a "lifetime" fluid. However, the further along it got, the more they added ease of access to it. The timeline given above goes along with the visual changes they did to the Exp, and is my (possible) faulty memory to equate the two.

Remember that it wasn't guaranteed to fail, only that there was a higher chance. If yours wasn't driven in rough conditions and actually had the oil replaced, it would be fine. Also, just because there are a few members here who've had catastrophic experiences does not mean everyone will.

You can always check what yours should be like by looking at autonation white bear lake - parts section. Or the service manual, which you can get a PDF version for under $200 (or a 3 day online sub to Ford's service website).
 




KayGee

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The ptu updates have nothing to do with any facelifts/midcycle ehancements/minor model changes. I would assume the changes below apply to all explorer ptu's, but I haven't physically checked them to be sure the retail units were updated on the same timeline. Fill/drain plugs are a different story. I haven't seen a definitive chart/timeline identifying which ones have them and when they got them.

The power takeoff unit (PTU) has been a service concern on some PI Utilities. There may be an excessive oil smell when driving, the AWD may not work properly, or the PTU housing may be cracked, leaking or noisy. The cause of the PTU damage is the excessive torque loading of the idler gear, which causes the bearing to walk (move) into the housing.
In January 2014, a Full Face Thrust Washer, FFTW, was introduced. This new washer was designed to prevent the idler bearing from walking into the aluminum case. In October 2015, a second change was made, in this case a loose-fit idler bearing. In dynamometer tests, this bearing design change showed a twice life improvement over the FFTW design.
In June 2016, a third change was made. In this case, a new bearing design, one without drawn cups, was installed. This eliminated the walk mode of damage. Dyno testing shows a three to four times improvement over the FFTW design.


It seems that underfilling was common and my have continued into 2017 or even until today - only way to know for sure is to drain your fluid and see what comes out. They can hold about 18 ounces - underfilled units only had around 10-12 ounces in them.


I purchased this explorer with about 50000 miles. Kind of wondering if the PTU was replaced before I got it.
Stop wondering. If it was replaced prior to 50K, it probably was done under warranty and your dealer should be able to look that up and confirm. If it was customer pay for some reason, you would probably have to look at the part and see if it has any markings that might indicate it was replaced at some point.
 




Adrian Gitch

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Yeah definitely not going to look into it. I figure all I need to do is stay on top of it and pick a reasonable service interval for it.
 




RhinoQuartz

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The ptu updates have nothing to do with any facelifts/midcycle ehancements/minor model changes. I would assume the changes below apply to all explorer ptu's, but I haven't physically checked them to be sure the retail units were updated on the same timeline. Fill/drain plugs are a different story. I haven't seen a definitive chart/timeline identifying which ones have them and when they got them.

The power takeoff unit (PTU) has been a service concern on some PI Utilities. There may be an excessive oil smell when driving, the AWD may not work properly, or the PTU housing may be cracked, leaking or noisy. The cause of the PTU damage is the excessive torque loading of the idler gear, which causes the bearing to walk (move) into the housing.
In January 2014, a Full Face Thrust Washer, FFTW, was introduced. This new washer was designed to prevent the idler bearing from walking into the aluminum case. In October 2015, a second change was made, in this case a loose-fit idler bearing. In dynamometer tests, this bearing design change showed a twice life improvement over the FFTW design.
In June 2016, a third change was made. In this case, a new bearing design, one without drawn cups, was installed. This eliminated the walk mode of damage. Dyno testing shows a three to four times improvement over the FFTW design.


It seems that underfilling was common and my have continued into 2017 or even until today - only way to know for sure is to drain your fluid and see what comes out. They can hold about 18 ounces - underfilled units only had around 10-12 ounces in them.


Stop wondering. If it was replaced prior to 50K, it probably was done under warranty and your dealer should be able to look that up and confirm. If it was customer pay for some reason, you would probably have to look at the part and see if it has any markings that might indicate it was replaced at some point.
Thank you for the clarifying info, this sounds like what I read.

I know the facelifts are separate from internals, I had just forgotten the timeline of PTU design changes and thought it matched up with the facelifts.

Where did you find this information? A simple Google search, TSBs or something else?
 




bigtexan99

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For people that have had the PTU replaced since June 2016, have there been repeat failures or is the new part 'bulletproof'?
 




613GT500

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For people that have had the PTU replaced since June 2016, have there been repeat failures or is the new part 'bulletproof'?
Too early to tell.
When I had the EX, it failed under 30K miles and just shy of 3yrs from delivery.
 




ExPlat

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For people that have had the PTU replaced since June 2016, have there been repeat failures or is the new part 'bulletproof'?
My 2016 had less than 30k miles when the PTU failed and was over 3.5 years from delivery. It now has 32k miles and the new PTU still works - hooray! :thumbsup:
 




RhinoQuartz

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For people that have had the PTU replaced since June 2016, have there been repeat failures or is the new part 'bulletproof'?
Something to bear in mind is that June 16 is when 17MY started to built:

06/05/2016 - 2016MY Job Last Date
06/06/2016 - 2017MY Job #1 Date

Per this post over in the BO forum - 2017 Explorer Production Info

So, PTUs for 17MY will be different from 16MY, as asull85 mentioned above.

I'm actually having mine drained and refilled tomorrow; bought mine used, and have no idea what service was done on it, selling dealer (who ordered it for 1st owner) didn't provide me with anything and since winter has been pretty rough I figured I might as well.
 




613GT500

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Something to bear in mind is that June 16 is when 17MY started to built:

06/05/2016 - 2016MY Job Last Date
06/06/2016 - 2017MY Job #1 Date

Per this post over in the BO forum - 2017 Explorer Production Info

So, PTUs for 17MY will be different from 16MY, as asull85 mentioned above.

I'm actually having mine drained and refilled tomorrow; bought mine used, and have no idea what service was done on it, selling dealer (who ordered it for 1st owner) didn't provide me with anything and since winter has been pretty rough I figured I might as well.
But the PIUs would have come from the factory with the watercooled PTUs.
The watercooled version shouldn't be failing prematurely.
 




RhinoQuartz

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But the PIUs would have come from the factory with the watercooled PTUs.
The watercooled version shouldn't be failing prematurely.
But watercooling wouldn't stop bearings walking in and destroying the PTU.
 




613GT500

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KayGee

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Something to bear in mind is that June 16 is when 17MY started to built:

06/05/2016 - 2016MY Job Last Date
06/06/2016 - 2017MY Job #1 Date

Per this post over in the BO forum - 2017 Explorer Production Info

So, PTUs for 17MY will be different from 16MY, as asull85 mentioned above.

I'm actually having mine drained and refilled tomorrow; bought mine used, and have no idea what service was done on it, selling dealer (who ordered it for 1st owner) didn't provide me with anything and since winter has been pretty rough I figured I might as well.
I'm not sure I've seen it stated definitively if the dates are vehicle production dates or PTU production dates. If the PTU itself was updated in June 2016, it is possible it could take weeks/months for that part to hit the vehicle production line depending on various factors.


But watercooling wouldn't stop bearings walking in and destroying the PTU.
A lot of people seem to be overlooking this. Heat can be mitigated to an extent by monitoring temps and altering fluid change intervals. Design/manufacturing issues that lead to catastrophic failures are going to require more than an alteration of fluid change intervals to mitigate.
 




metroplex

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Have there been any 2017-up Explorer/PIU's with PTU failures using the June 2016 revised PTU idler bearing design?
 




KayGee

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Have there been any 2017-up Explorer/PIU's with PTU failures using the June 2016 revised PTU idler bearing design?
Considering those models are only now coming up on 3 years in service, I think it would be safe to assume that the average mileage on retail models will likely be <30-40K and is not really high enough to draw much of a conclusion from (even assuming there are still some outliers that fail early due to defect or fluid underfill). There may be some retail models with higher mileage (maybe 50-80K miles or more), but who knows if the owners are active online or not or even care (possibly some company vehicles?). As far as PIUs, you'd probably have to befriend a municipal fleet manager or someone at a service facility that sees a lot of them and see if they are willing to share any info. Municipal PIUs are most likely to have the highest percentage of vehicles in the 75-100K range after 3 years in service.

It may be a few more years before you have enough 17+ vehicles with enough miles on them that the owners have taken the time to randomly muse about them on the interwebz before you can even hope to speculate on longevity. Now that most have drain and fill plugs and regular maintenance is easier than it used to be, who knows how that will play into things also if a higher percentage of folks are now regularly changing the fluid vs never checking it and just leaving it in for 5+ years.
 




metroplex

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Considering those models are only now coming up on 3 years in service, I think it would be safe to assume that the average mileage on retail models will likely be <30-40K and is not really high enough to draw much of a conclusion from (even assuming there are still some outliers that fail early due to defect or fluid underfill). There may be some retail models with higher mileage (maybe 50-80K miles or more), but who knows if the owners are active online or not or even care (possibly some company vehicles?). As far as PIUs, you'd probably have to befriend a municipal fleet manager or someone at a service facility that sees a lot of them and see if they are willing to share any info. Municipal PIUs are most likely to have the highest percentage of vehicles in the 75-100K range after 3 years in service.

It may be a few more years before you have enough 17+ vehicles with enough miles on them that the owners have taken the time to randomly muse about them on the interwebz before you can even hope to speculate on longevity. Now that most have drain and fill plugs and regular maintenance is easier than it used to be, who knows how that will play into things also if a higher percentage of folks are now regularly changing the fluid vs never checking it and just leaving it in for 5+ years.
My 2018 Explorer XLT 3.5L N/A with AWD doesn't have a drain plug or a cooler. It's only got a fill plug that is well blocked by the EPAS module, so it isn't any easier to maintain than my 2014 Taurus SHO (non-PP so it only had a fill plug as well).
 




99SportX

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Anyone ever have a PTU explode? I bought a 16 limited, CPO with 32k miles back in December. It’s at 33k now. Today I was cruising at 60 and felt a few light lurches, almost as if the engine was misfiring. I turned off cruise and coasted for a little bit and it was still doing the same. I pressed the gas again to maintain speed and, was looking for the next exit and then a little later, BANG! and an instant smoke cloud out the back. I was able to get off the freeway right away and stopped. When I looked under the vehicle the whole underside was covered in gear oil and the exhaust was rolling smoke. I looked closer and it looked like a casing had cracked but I couldn’t see real well. It’s at the dealer for an assessment and I’m still waiting to hear but before looking at it they said it should be covered under warranty.

I have barely put any miles on this thing. I have a little buyers remorse, I tell ya. I got a ride home and hopped into my 99 mountaineer. A vehicle that has never let us down in the 20 years of its life. I bought this newer vehicle as something to feel comfortable taking on longer road trips. I am not so sure after today! How the dealer handles this situation will determine my feelings about modern fords.
 




blwnsmoke

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Yes, there have been some that blew apart internally and leaked out.
 


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KKRISKAL

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Anyone ever have a PTU explode? I bought a 16 limited, CPO with 32k miles back in December. It’s at 33k now. Today I was cruising at 60 and felt a few light lurches, almost as if the engine was misfiring. I turned off cruise and coasted for a little bit and it was still doing the same. I pressed the gas again to maintain speed and, was looking for the next exit and then a little later, BANG! and an instant smoke cloud out the back. I was able to get off the freeway right away and stopped. When I looked under the vehicle the whole underside was covered in gear oil and the exhaust was rolling smoke. I looked closer and it looked like a casing had cracked but I couldn’t see real well. It’s at the dealer for an assessment and I’m still waiting to hear but before looking at it they said it should be covered under warranty.

I have barely put any miles on this thing. I have a little buyers remorse, I tell ya. I got a ride home and hopped into my 99 mountaineer. A vehicle that has never let us down in the 20 years of its life. I bought this newer vehicle as something to feel comfortable taking on longer road trips. I am not so sure after today! How the dealer handles this situation will determine my feelings about modern fords.

Wow, this is scary stuff considering the fact that I take my Explorer on real long road trips
 




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