Ford EDGE PDU / PTO / Transfer Case Issues, Flex, 500, MKX

To link direct to this page there is a short URL also;

This is a gathering of notes related to my issues with our Ford Edge, 2007.  Particularly the PTO (transfer case) issues. If any of you out there drive an all-wheel-drive Ford Edge, Flex, or 500 or Lincoln MKS be aware these have a time-bomb transfer case issue. When this fails (and it will) it will cost you $1600.00 more or less at a dealer. It’s due to a very poor design on the PTO unit, so that the fluid in the unit cannot be changed. So, it gets sludged up, blows oil out the vent, and fails.

Update 7/1/2016 (after moving to CA)

My post on FordEdgeForum today;

My latest debacle dealing with Ford on this issue. I moved, so I got rid of a lot of my garage stuff. I’m in a new city and new state. I have the Edge at the local Ford dealer to have the break booster replaced ($658.00) and asked to have the PTU fluid replaced. Many users on this forum have had Ford Dealers replace the PTO fluid. Well, this dealer says it’s impossible, and that the Ford authorized process for replacing the fluid is to PULL the PTO and replace the fluid, which costs $440.00.  I told him I know it’s possible since I’ve done it about a dozen times. I also have a guy on my blog that says per the FSM it says “According to the FSM, the factory recommends pumping out the transfer unit, refilling to the bottom of the fill plug, not lower, then manually turning the front wheels a minimum of 3 rotations. Once that’s done, drain, fill, and turn the wheels again. Repeat this process 3 times, then fill again to the bottom of the fill plug.”

It’s amazing and frustrating that every Ford Dealer seems to have their own story and there isn’t any consistent posture from Ford on this issue. This local dealer says their shop foreman is a Ford certified master mechanic and what he says is set in stone.

All I know, is I have a contract on my house at my old place and when it sells I’m getting a new vehicle or maybe two. I need to get rid of this Edge and the frustrations it brings me. I doubt my new vehicles will be Ford after this never-ending headache. @fordservice

Update 6/16/2016
Our Ford Edge now has 160,000 miles and still doing changes every 6 months. Having Ford do them now as we moved and I got rid of some of my oil change stuff.

NEW LINK on rebuilding the PTU VENT;

Update 5/26/2016
Our Ford Edge has over 150k now, and still just doing the flush. Did all brakes yesterday, new rotors.

Here is a great new post showing drilling the drain plug while on the car.

Update 1/11/2016; In the Ford Edge Forum ( where I am active on this thread someone mentioned a Ford bulletin related to foul smells reported by owners that are caused by PTU or PTU venting. And I quote

“SSM 45053 – 2007-2015 Various Vehicles Equipped With All Wheel Drive – Propane, Or Natural Gas Odor During Idle Or Low Speed Driving
Some 2013-2015 MKZ vehicles equipped with a 3.7L, 2007-2014 Edge, 2007-2015 MKX, 2011-2015 Explorer, 2009-2015 Flex, 2010-2015 MKT, 2008-2015 Taurus, 2008-2009Taurus X, 2009-2015 MKS, 2007-2012 Fusion/MKZ, and 2007-2011 Milan vehicles equipped with a PTU may exhibit a propane, or natural gas odor from the HVAC systemafter driving the vehicle for 20-45 minutes. This odor, if present, is most noticeable while idling or during low speed driving. Inspect the PTU for fluid leaks and repair any leaks per Workshop Manual Section 308-07B. If odor is still present after the leak repair and cleaning, replace the PTU and vent hose, if equipped. For vehicles with no leaks and odor present, replace the PTU along with thePTU vent hose, if equipped. Refer to Section 7 of the SLTS manual for the appropriate labor operations.”

So here are the links on that topic;

Update on my Ford as of 1/11/2016. I have now done the drain and refill process 7 times. It’s due right now, I’m doing it every 6 months now. My PTO oil dripping has totally stopped, and the bad smells are gone. I think I caught mine just in time to prevent total failure.

Update 6/29/2015;

I have chosen the “drain (suction), refill, repeat” option. I did this once, then again in a week, then again in a month, then again in a month, and now scheduled for every 6 months. It has stopped leaking and seems to be working normally. The fluid I’m suctioning out now is still dirty, but is at least liquid. I’m using AMSOIL gear lube which I think is the best; Say you came from this site and they’ll send you some free Amsoil stickers.  I’m heading on a trip from KC to Denver and back this weekend pulling a 5×8 trailer and I’m nervous but we’ll see how it goes.

Added some updated links below. Newer links at the TOP of the list;

PM the user “FordService” on this forum. Apparantly they are some sort of official Ford contact and they track this stuff.

Fill out out a complaint here; they will play email tag and offer you a “free oil change”.  But I feel it’s our duty to report it anyhow.

Post by WWWPerfA_ZN0W about how to make a “dip stick” out of a zip tie (post #122) to measure fluid level. He indicates the case is NOT supposed to be filled until it runs out of drain plug, like is traditional. I follow this process now.

Pictures of zip tie dipstick for checking transfer case fluid level. Lots of good photos by user evilkid500 showing dipstick, drain plug, locations, etc.

Post #137 by user coronan is a GREAT outline of how to drill a 3/8 NTP Drain plug in the case WHILE IN THE VEHICLE. How to do it properly, with photos and tool suggestions.

Good posts by user windaddiction who replaced his PTO at 175k miles (WOW) and asked for the old unit. Broke it down and posted some photos.

What the PTO looks like after the oil dries up and turns into sludge, right before failure; PTO Photos

The new part, being sold on eBAY by the hundreds, by Ford Dealers;

The authoritative forum thread on this issue; read the whole thing, especially NATRIX posts;

Great forum post on the Ford Flex forum;

Ford Edge (Flex) axle shaft problem / replacement with custom tools (this is a related problem and in the same area, with good photos)




Post on review sites regarding last visit to Thoroughbred;

As a dealer, Thoroughbred is OK. While in there recently on an outbreak of issues with my Ford Edge, they were polite, on time, etc. However, when proposing $2,800.00 of repairs on a vehicle with a trade in value of $6,000.00 – $7,000.00 there didn’t seem to be much creativity or empathy.

As a manufacturer, I am really disappointed with Ford, and this will likely be my last one after being a Ford supporter for years. I have spent $1,800.00 in maintenance on this vehicle in the last 12 months on replacing the engine fan TWICE and the engine fan wiring harness. Now, another $2,800 for the PTO/PDU/transfer case and power steering rack? That’s $5,000.00 in maintenance in the last 12 months. No thank you, I’ll probably trade this in on a Lexus and #lastFORDever.

Dealer gets three stars, Ford gets zero stars. I have had a case open with Ford corporate, nothing material has been done. To read about the Ford Edge, Flex, 500, and Lincoln MKX. I have collected links here

I got this survey link and filled them all out, except YP which doesn’t seem to allow users to post reviews;





13 thoughts on “Ford EDGE PDU / PTO / Transfer Case Issues, Flex, 500, MKX

  1. Thank you for this.
    I’ve been trying to get Ford to fix my PTO after initially complaining 18 months ago and they refuse to acknowledge that my Flex might have been misdiagnosed and never correctly diagnosed since they “couldn’t replicate” the reason for my visit to the service department when I brought my car in for repair. I’ve also filed a complaint with the NHTSA.

  2. On Sunday my wife’s 2009 Ford Flex transfer case Exploded while I was driving, the Car currently has 83000 miles on it and gave no warning. the Explosion cause the transmission case to crack as well as part of the motor block to crack. Not to mention that a family of 4 was almost in a serious wreck. I have contacted the local dealer and Ford, but have yet to get a response. What tree do I need to bark up to get Ford to fix this.

  3. I have the FSM on CD (or is it a DVD?) for my MKX. I like to have the right info, even if the dealer does the work. According to the FSM, the factory recommends pumping out the transfer unit, refilling to the bottom of the fill plug, not lower, then manually turning the front wheels a minimum of 3 rotations. Once that’s done, drain, fill, and turn the wheels again. Repeat this process 3 times, then fill again to the bottom of the fill plug.

  4. Simply put, this unit is designed to fail after 100k. I received a TON of mail from my local Ford Dealer around 75,000 km to come back to the dealership, and trade in my 2011 Ford Fusion Sport, for top dollar. There was a reason why all the marketing — Ford absolutely knows that my car’s transmission would die after 100,000 km. At 105,000 km I had the pleasure of spending $2,800 on a new transfer case and STILL have another $1,600+ to replace a (not yet failed) rumbling-like-a-muscle-car drive shaft. Even IF I spent a small fortune on Ford’s extended warranty at the time of purchasing my car, given the time and the km’s involved, I would not be able to claim the repair. $5,000 worth of repairs on a well maintained $38,000 vehicle after 5-years.

    “It’s easy to get into a Ford.” The hard part is the transmission falling out of it after 100,000 km. Don’t think that if you’re driving ANY Ford vehicle with this defective transfer case that this won’t happen to you — it will, and your wallet needs to be prepared for the shock. Either dump your vehicle prior to 100k or be prepared to shell out big bucks for repairs.

    Think I’m anxious to get into another Ford in this lifetime? NEVER EVER AGAIN.

    • Greg, I have the exact same car (2011 Ford Fusion Sport) with about 80k miles on it. Out of curiosity, what were you symptoms for the failed transfer case? I was driving at about 35mph when suddenly I got a loud thump and horrible metal-on-metal grinding noises that seem to be speed dependent, but not rpm dependent. Doesn’t make the noise when car is idling or moving in reverse. Currently have it in the shop, but I suspect the transfer case. Not too many of these models out there, so curious what symptoms of your failure were?

      • Is that car AWD? Yes it is I just went and looked it up. The transfer case issue would only affect all wheel drive vehicles. A FWD vehicle doesn’t have a transfer case. So, since this is a AWD car, it likely is the same issue as Greg is mentioning. I would be curious what the shop finds, can you post again when you get their report?

        • Definitely will do. I want to like this car so much – has a great engine and is fun to drive – but there are just too many bad design flaws leading to $$$ maintenance.

        • Sure enough, power transfer unit blew up. It failed earlier than most (most fail around 100k miles), probably due to the fact that I live in Colorado and drive it up I70 into the mountains regularly. Had to replace it and a U joint (because it seized up trying to get the stupid thing out). Eded up being about $2800 for a new PTU (& labor) plus extra $$ for the U joint and driveshaft. Never buying another Found On Road Dead (FORD) again.

  5. My dad owns a 2011 Lincoln MKS and the transfer case was replaced before he bought it, not sure when it was replace, he bought it with around 42000 miles on it. The car now has 84000 miles on it and the transfer case is leaking. There is also some grinding noise and some thumping. I almost positive the transfer case, second one, is going out. Why hasn’t Ford address this issue? Who can I contact? We live paycheck to paycheck and we don’t have the funds to fix this.

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