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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I dutifully called a dealer about the "URGENT SAFETY RECALL REPAIRS" card they sent me for recall #18S32. I've read the threads about this recall, and understand the problem; but the dealer told me while any indicated repairs would be covered, it would cost me $149 and change to perform the diagnostic! Aren't they obliged to perform the diagnostic at no cost to me, if indeed it is an urgent safety issue with a vehicle Ford produced? This sounds ridiculous to me!

Has anyone else gotten this story line?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My question isn't about buying a car from a dealership. My question is this: Aren't recalls federally mandated? And if so, why should I have to pay a dealership to diagnose whether my vehicle is susceptible to the issue exposed in the federal mandate? Isn't it incumbent upon the dealership to provide that assessment, and remediate if necessary?
 

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There are two components to this recall.
1. Software upgrade
2. Fuel tank inspection

The work Ford does with this recall is a bit misleading. You’d think if you took your car in to get the recall addressed the manufacturer would apply a permanent fix - not the case with this.

Regarding #1
Ford will update the car’s software to throw a Check Engine Light (CEL) when the purge valve fails.

A failing purge valve can eventually cause the gas tank to begin caving in on itself - effectively causing it to lose volume and not able to store as much fuel as it should. Leading to recall part #2...

Regarding #2
Ford will inspect the gas tank to see if it is beginning to deform.

If the purge valve has failed or the gas tank is misshaped, Ford will expect you to pay for the labor to replace the valve and replace the tank.

If your purge valve hasn’t failed, there is no reason for your gas tank to have become misshaped.

I would go get the software upgrade — which should be free. Tell the dealer you don’t want a diagnosis and avoid the $140 diagnosis fee.

When your purge valve goes bad - because it eventually will, replace the valve yourself. It’s a simple replacement - akin to changing your own oil with Youtube videos demonstrating how to do it.

Because they are so chinsy, I consider the purge valve on these cars to be a regular maintenance item like motor oil, spark plugs etc... that needs to be changed on a regular interval.

I replace my purge valve every 20k miles and lean on the software upgrade to alert me if the “new” purge valve has failed prior to my 20k replacement interval.
 

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Like @beretta96 indicated, just get the PCM flash. The flash will allow the car to throw a code in the future, if there was a problem. The flash itself won't fix anything though.

The purge valves are garbage, and will continually fail at various points of their life. I was under my powertrain warranty still when I made them replace my purge valve, and it was still a hassle to get approved - mind you, I didnt have a code, but I had all the symptoms of imminent failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If the purge valve has failed or the gas tank is misshaped, Ford will expect you to pay for the labor to replace the valve and replace the tank.
One question about this: Would that be the $149 fee I was told I would have to pay? Or, would there be an additional fee for the labor, if the diagnosis is that the tank is misshapen?

My 2014 Focus has ~40K miles on it - I'm the second owner, I doubt the valve was ever replaced. I can imagine that if they install the software, the purge valve indicator will immediately come on.
 

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I can’t speak to what the $149 diagnosis fee consists of; however, I suspect it’s a flat fee for them to run a test on the purge valve and look at you gas tank from underneath the car.

I suspect it would take less than 30 minutes for a professional technician to do the diagnostic work.

It will take a technician 15 minutes or less to swap out the purge valve. It would take a novice, weekend mechanic ~30 minutes - including watching a couple videos on how to do it.

Have you noticed it taking less gas to fill the tank up lately? If not, your gas tank probably isn’t deformed.

If there isn’t reason to believe your tank is caving in on itself and holding less gas, I’d...
1. Get the updated software installed so it will throw a code when the purge valve goes bad. My dealer didn’t charge me to install the new software.
2. Swap out the purge valve yourself (it costs $50-$75).
3. Find something else to occupy your thoughts for the next 20k miles until it’s time to do preventative maintenance by swapping it out again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Have you noticed it taking less gas to fill the tank up lately? If not, your gas tank probably isn’t deformed.
I'm the second owner - and it has been my observation that it takes less to fill up the tank than the car the Focus replaced (a Corolla). While there hasn't been any symptoms of a problem - no hard starts, no stalling, and no running out of gas (because the gauge says I have fuel when I don't; I recognize it could also say I'm low, when I'm not) - I guessing there is some deformity. Is there any risk in replacing the purge valve, and leaving the tank be (and of course, getting the software updated)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Is there any risk in replacing the purge valve, and leaving the tank be (and of course, getting the software updated)?
Of course, if the gas tank is deformed, and Ford will replace it for free (along with the purge valve) - then $149 for a diagnosis might be a cheap way to get the work done. This Consumer Reports link referencing 18S32 suggests that Ford might do it for free, if in fact it's damaged. "The fix: Dealers will reprogram the vehicle’s software to prevent the emissions system from malfunctioning, and replace components if needed." Hmmm... It doesn't say free. Does anyone know?
 

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I’ve not read anything from you indicating the tank is deformed.

Just because it takes less gas to fill up a Focus than it does to fill up a completely different make and model car isn’t evidence.

Look in the owner’s manual (or even Google) to see what the fuel tank’s capacity is. Use that as your benchmark for estimating whether the amount needed to fill it up makes sense, not some other make and model car.
 

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X2 post #13, comparison to another car is how you develop logic that gets you a diagnosis paid for that shows nothing wrong.

Look at bottom of fuel tank, if caved in more than one inch out of flat the tank is deforming. Then tell the dealership the same thing and that doesn't cost $150. Problem being until dealership knows from the diagnosis the tank is going bad they are free to charge to check for it as many will insist on free checks that then show no problem yet.

You can always try to deal with them to say I'll pay for the diagnosis and if it shows the problem is there you don't bill me for it. If not I'll pay it. You simply can't expect to load the dealer up with non-paying work with no guarantee even of warranty money from Ford corporate if the diagnosis shows no problem yet and it may very well do that. Why they worked it out the way they did. They expect to be paid for anything up to the dead proof of defective product and the diagnosis is a pre-reveal action.

Go for the software flash like said, that will firm the issue up some.

If I had one and the valves went bad that fast at that price I'd be grafting a non-OEM valve in there somehow, not rocket science and many valves will not give trouble like that. It may even be a mounting location thing based on height and fuel level in a full tank and easy to fix but Ford will not go there as they have to stick to OEM fixes. For sure I would not be filling the tank up all the way, that seems to push the problem off a cliff. For example, I had one of the early cars that changed the reliable EGR pressure sensor location to one that failed the parts in as often as 30K miles, I mounted mine higher after two fails in a couple months and the problem disappeared now for many years using same sensor. They had lowered the sensor to begin with just to save on rubber hose. Then it began to show a bunch of fails and even better, more repeat paying work. They will be loathe to fix things like that, the company viewpoint is not what it was in the '60s where you fix a problem to not ever show again. Now they fix it to have you come back again to fix again and double or triple the money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Look in the owner’s manual (or even Google) to see what the fuel tank’s capacity is. Use that as your benchmark for estimating whether the amount needed to fill it up makes sense, not some other make and model car.
Sorry for not stating my observation clearly. The capacity of a 2007 Toyota Corolla is 13.2 gallons. The capacity of a 2014 Ford Focus is 12.4 gallons. Less than a gallon difference; but my sense (and my wife's too) is that the gas tank is much smaller, based mostly on the cost of filling up. I'll add that we've gotten to the point where the low fuel indicator has come on, but I've not paid attention to the volume of gas it takes to fill it - and perhaps, I shouldn't be filling it now to assess (nor letting it get too low). Depending on where any tank deformation takes place, I could see that some folks might run out of gas before the low fuel indicator comes on, or the gauge ends up getting pegged at full before it actually is full. (Ours does tend to park at full for many miles before it starts to drop.) The latter might be something we can live with - although, I sure would like to know. Without shelling out $150 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Look at bottom of fuel tank, if caved in more than one inch out of flat the tank is deforming. Then tell the dealership the same thing and that doesn't cost $150. Problem being until dealership knows from the diagnosis the tank is going bad they are free to charge to check for it as many will insist on free checks that then show no problem yet.
Do you know that with recall #18S32, the deformation always occurs at the bottom? Could it sometimes occur on the top?

You can always try to deal with them to say I'll pay for the diagnosis and if it shows the problem is there you don't bill me for it. If not I'll pay it. You simply can't expect to load the dealer up with non-paying work with no guarantee even of warranty money from Ford corporate if the diagnosis shows no problem yet and it may very well do that. Why they worked it out the way they did. They expect to be paid for anything up to the dead proof of defective product and the diagnosis is a pre-reveal action.
Are you saying that if the diagnosis does show a problem with tank deformation, that Ford will pay to replace it? I asked that question, but I don't think it was definitively answered.
 

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No to the last question but some dealers may cut a deal if you start it up. One would have to be nice, if you go in there to force them to do something they are not going to play well at all.

The check bottom of tank point came from the Ford instruction to techs. Of course the tank can always deform in a manner unlike most do. You'd have to talk to God about that one. Things off roadway are always striking bottom of the tanks and may be the larger impetus for the bottoms giving way first. Dragging them over ice and snow too? On the early cars the fuel pumps simply snapped into tank bottoms and then people were having fuel supply issues when the pumps came loose after something hitting tank bottom. Enough that the next design to replace it did not fasten to bottom of tank at all. Anecdotal but you see where it's headed.
 

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I dutifully called a dealer about the "URGENT SAFETY RECALL REPAIRS" card they sent me for recall #18S32. I've read the threads about this recall, and understand the problem; but the dealer told me while any indicated repairs would be covered, it would cost me $149 and change to perform the diagnostic! Aren't they obliged to perform the diagnostic at no cost to me, if indeed it is an urgent safety issue with a vehicle Ford produced? This sounds ridiculous to me!

Has anyone else gotten this story line?
I did go into the dealer for this and they performed diagnostic for free. The technician said he would perform some kind of test and if it passed I was good to go, if it failed they would make the necessary repairs no cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Are you saying that if the diagnosis does show a problem with tank deformation, that Ford will pay to replace it?
No to the last question but some dealers may cut a deal if you start it up. One would have to be nice, if you go in there to force them to do something they are not going to play well at all.
I did go into the dealer for this and they performed diagnostic for free. The technician said he would perform some kind of test and if it passed I was good to go, if it failed they would make the necessary repairs no cost.
Thanks - I got confirmation of that too, from the VHTSA website (NHTSA Campaign Number: 18V735000). They do the diagnostic, and if there's deformation they replace the tank and the purge valve at no cost. I had first balked at the diagnostic fee, but when I subsequently called back to make arrangements, they made no mention of it. So I'll make a lot of noise if they try to charge me.
 
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