Motorcraft refinements designed to help shops & suppliers
By Jim Wilder
Undercar Digest Editor
Motorcraft has long been the go-to parts solution for repairs on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. Repair shops rely on Motorcraft quality and OE fit to assure repairs go smoothly, result in high customer satisfaction, and minimize comebacks. Now Motorcraft is offering repair shops even more with expanded product coverage, simplified stocking and parts that are priced right.
By the fourth quarter of this year the Motorcraft parts line is consolidating and streamlining to meet the demands of shops and the dealers and distributors who supply them. Consolidating will allow for easier stocking at suppliers, and shops will have better access to quality Motorcraft parts at the right price point, according to Marc Liskey, North America brake product manager, brake friction, and Paul Brearey, North America electrical product manager, repair product planning.
Motorcraft is also adding additional part lines at competitive prices that meet or exceed quality levels of many premium-level aftermarket brands. These new lines are primarily designed for vehicles that are in the five- to 10-year-old range or older, where the shop and the consumer desire an alternative to the OE specification part. All parts will come with Motorcraft’s two-year/unlimited mileage warranty, they said.
“Motorcraft will be offering new brake pads and rotors to expand its existing line of high-quality brake products. In many instances the service provider will have options on which brake parts to order,” Liskey said.
“On a vehicle that is only a couple of years old, most shops prefer to order OE Design pads, which duplicate the original pads that came with the vehicle, he said. Because most of the vehicles using this type of pad are still in production, the pads are readily available.
“All Motorcraft brake parts are designed and tested to ensure that they provide superior performance and value for our customers,” he said. “We know that vehicle and customer needs change as their vehicles age and we are continuously working to provide the best parts for their Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicles. We conduct extensive testing on our brake products for performance, noise, dust, and durability to ensure that our products provide our customers with a superior ownership experience.
“As of July 1 we have had a significant price reduction in our OE Performance level line,” Liskey said. “As we speak, 51 part numbers are going down in price an average of 14%. We provide a superior product for all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury applications that are competitively priced versus the mid-level aftermarket products in the market. Our OE Design, OE Performance and Super Duty brakes are all on-vehicle tested to meet FMVSS and are offered at competitive prices.”
Motorcraft is adding a high-quality aftermarket spec line of friction for later life-cycle vehicles that are five-plus years old for customers that might be traditionally looking at the aftermarket and not coming back to the dealership for an OE product.
Liskey stressed that Motorcraft lines of friction and their rotor counterparts are of high quality, competitively priced, and available through normal channels of distribution.
Suppliers as well as shops are being made aware of the product enhancements through a new marketing campaign that uses the slogan “Right Part. Priced Right.”
“In the long term we are looking at consolidating certain applications depending on the age of the vehicle. This will keep inventories down for the suppliers.”
Liskey noted that all Motorcraft brake pads follow OE characteristics for shims, slots, chamfers and brake hardware. In addition all brake friction parts are tested to ensure they meet Motorcraft’s compressibility standards. Having the proper brake fiction compressibility, not too soft or too hard, is especially important when it comes to ABS performance and electronic stability control, he said.
“If the brake pad does not meet the compressibility standard, it is not going to provide the split-second reaction time the complete brake system was designed to expect. If the brake pad compressibility does not meet the standard that the brake system was designed to expect, the braking system will not perform at its optimal level. We validate all of our brake pads and make sure we don’t take them out of compliance for compressibility.”
Motorcraft brakes will continue to be packaged in their traditional brown craft boxes, he said. “We’re putting the money in the product – not in the box.”
Matching friction with rotors
Liskey said shops that try to skimp by matching off-brand rotors with quality friction are doing their business and their customers a disservice.
“With our validation we do system testing,” he said. “FMVSS is not a friction test or a rotor test; it is a system test. That’s what we hold ourselves to and that’s what the federal government holds us to when a Ford vehicle leaves the plant. The aftermarket doesn’t have this requirement. When we do on-vehicle testing, we use both our friction and our rotors. On the OE side we really go in-depth, and that’s why it’s the best product and it costs a bit more. We basically take all we have learned from the OE level and leverage that to create a better product for the aftermarket. It’s the same with our friction. If Ford adds a slot or a chamfer on the friction material to improve fade resistance or resonance, we add that attribute on Motorcraft.
“The easiest way to lower the cost of a rotor is to reduce the weight by using lower quality steel or reducing the thickness of the rotor,” he said. “We don’t do that on any of our rotors.”
There are additional reasons for buying the Motorcraft brand, Liskey said. “With Motorcraft, technicians know they won’t have a comeback concern. They know it is designed specifically for Ford, Lincoln, Mercury vehicles and approved by Ford engineers and that gives them peace of mind.”
Motorcraft also works to stay in contact with independent shops and distributors for market feedback on Motorcraft quality, support materials, rebates and industry trends.
As always, Motorcraft has a technical hotline that supports dealers, shops and distributors. In addition, the company offers special tools that help shops explain when a vehicle needs new brake friction.
Motorcraft rotors are produced using premium OE specified materials to provide optimized braking performance and durability. They are then machined to minimize thickness variation and lateral runout, and mill-balanced to provide long term balanced performance. In the fourth quarter, shops will be able to purchase new, fully coated Motorcraft rotors. These fully coated rotors provide an excellent long lasting appearance that enhances the open-wheel design that is prominent on most cars. The new line of fully coated rotors will be produced using materials and machining to provide high-level performance for late life cycle vehicle applications. As with all Motorcraft rotors the new coated rotors will be mill balances as well. The Motorcraft coated rotors will offer a premium product with competitive prices versus the best of the aftermarket.
Motorcraft brake calipers are being consolidated, Liskey said, based on requests from suppliers and shops, Motorcraft is introducing reman friction-ready calipers including the brackets and hardware. With the introduction of the reman friction-ready calipers, Motorcraft will be phasing out its reman housing only and loaded caliper lines. The friction-ready calipers are ready to install out of the box; just add Motorcraft brake pads.
On reman calipers, Motorcraft provides 100% piston replacement as well as all new seals, hardware and boots, and uses only Ford caliper core not offered on most aftermarket reman calipers.
Motorcraft is also launching a new line of coated calipers to prevent corrosion and enhance the appearance of open-wheel vehicles, and they will “come in any color as long as it’s black,” Liskey said, taking a quote form Henry Ford on the color availability of the Model T.
Brake lines
The OE brake lines and hoses were added to the Motorcraft brake product line in December 2015 to complete Motorcraft’s full-line brake offering.
Hub bearings
Also new in the fourth quarter are Motorcraft hub bearings.
Hub bearings are not a common service item at dealerships since the OE units that came with the vehicle have a life expectancy of seven to 10 years. The New Motorcraft hubs are specifically designed for late life cycle Ford, Lincoln and Mercury applications. The hubs are engineered for easy installation and are ready to install out of the box. ABS sensor-ring and sensor wires are included to help ensure accurate ABS controller signals.
Motorcraft hubs are the only hubs recommended and backed by Ford Motor Company.
Motorcraft will start with 39 part numbers, Liskey said, primarily for light-truck applications for models that are five years and older and additional hubs will be added to the product line in the next six to 12 months.
Starters & alternators
Product Manager Paul Brearey doesn’t consider rotating electrical to be a maintenance item, because for the most part they either work or they don’t.
For years Motorcraft has offered new OE alternators and they have been very popular “with people who put a ton of miles on their vehicles,” he said. “They include Super Duty diesels that rack up 300,000 to 400,000 miles. The owner says, ‘I’m going to put another 150,000 miles on this. I am willing to spend the money to get the original equipment, top-of-the-line part.’ We also find that true for those who own Town Cars, Grand Marquis and Crown Vics, especially those used for limo service, taxi or police service. But the average person who needs an alternator for an 11-year old vehicle may question whether it makes sense to spend that type of money on something that will last 150,000 when the car is only going to go another 50,000 miles or so? And it’s the same thing with a starter that has an average life span of about 13 years.”
We originally launched the reman starter and alternator line, which sells very well, and is about 80% of our business. But the market is changing. While reman is very popular, there is handling and hassle with cores. You have to store it, and there is an attrition rate.
New aftermarket starter and alternator sales have grown to about 20% of the business and are expected to reach 30% by 2020. He believes it will eventually take over the reman market so shops and suppliers don’t have to hassle with the cores.
By the fourth quarter, Brearey said, Motorcraft will offer a new quality rotating electrical line for eight- to 15-year-old vehicles at a price point that makes sense. “We are doing our due diligence from a quality perspective,” he said. “It does not meet OE specs but it doesn’t make sense to put a 150,000-200,000-mile part on a 10- or 12-year-old vehicle. The part has to perform. It has to put out the amperage, has to crank the vehicle over, it has to do everything that a new one does and we’ve made sure that it will – and we recommend it for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.”
“Every single part is new, including the voltage regular brushes, casing, everything,” he said. “It’s going to be good value as well as a quality product. We are pricing this equal to the competition with no premium at all. In some cases we will be undercutting our competitors without sacrificing quality. We will be doing the same thing with starters.
“I think this is going to be fantastic for the brand. It’s indicative of our new direction. Everyone here at Ford agreed on the new approach to better serve the industry.
Oxygen sensors
Brearey also announced the introduction and current availability of new a universal oxygen sensor. The one part number replaces 24 OE part numbers.
The peak years of oxygen-sensor replacement are on model years from 1990 to 2010, he said. The new design eliminates inventory stocking for suppliers and shops. Basically we use one design with slightly different lengths and slightly different key connectors.
“The sensor is basically OE and covers almost every vehicle in the 20-year range,” he said. “We are taking on a more service- and shop-minded mentality. They don’t have the time to wait a day for the part. It’s a critical part and it’s guaranteed to work like the OE.”
1. Motorcraft Brakes Product Manager Marc Liskey examines a new Motorcraft E-coated caliper.
2. Motorcraft Electrical Product Manager Paul Brearey displays the company’s new starters and alternators.
3a, 3b. Technicians can explain brake-friction wear more easily to consumers with educational tools provided by Motorcraft.
4. Brody Morris, Complete Automotive, Springfield, Mo., installs a Motorcraft rotor on a late-model Ford Fusion.
5a 5b. Motorcraft brake pads come with OE-style slots and chamfers for optimum performance.
6. All Motorcraft brake pads undergo compressibility testing to assure against high-fade characteristics.
7. These Motorcraft hub bearings come complete with ABS wiring where required. The initial offering provides coverage for light-duty trucks.
8. Motorcraft now offers brake lines.
9. A single universal oxygen-sensor part number replaces 24 OE numbers.