Yes it is a common issue and a technical service bulletin was issued for it, not a recall where ford would replace it for free:
BODY - LIFTGATE GLASS APPLIQUE DAMAGED/CRACKED - SERVICE PROCEDURE
TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN
Reference Number(s): 05-24-2, Date of Issue: December 12, 2005
Superceded Bulletin(s): 04-8-5, Date of Issue: May 3, 2004
NOTE: This article supersedes TSB 04-8-5 to update the vehicle model year coverage.
Some 2002-2005 Explorer/Mountaineer and 2003-2005 Aviator vehicles may exhibit a damaged/cracked plastic applique without liftgate glass damage.
Replace the applique as necessary. It is no longer necessary to replace the entire liftgate glass assembly to correct this condition. Refer to the following Service Procedure for details.
NOTE: READ THIS ENTIRE BULLETIN BEFORE BEGINNING THE REPAIR.
PAINTING THE NEW APPLIQUE
- Lightly scuff the applique panel with a Scotchbrite pad on both sides.
- Use compressed air and blow off the residue.
- Spray and wipe the applique with plastic parts cleaner.
- Mix and apply Ford approved basecoat material to the front side only of the applique. Allow appropriate flash time between coats.
NOTE: DO NOT GET ANY PAINT/OVER SPRAY ON BACKSIDE OF APPLIQUE.
- Mix and apply Ford approved clear coat to the applique. Use manufacturers recommended flash time and final bake time at 60°C (140°F) panel temperature.
REMOVING THE OLD APPLIQUE
- Note the locations of the existing emblems. Open liftglass and install a double layer of body tape in the opening area around the liftglass opening. This will protect the liftgate area from possible scratches when removing the applique (Fig 1 ).
Fig 1: Body Tape Application To Liftglass Opening Area
- Use a T-Handle windshield knife with a one (1) inch blade. DO NOT USE MECHANICAL WINDSHIELD KNIVES. Insert blade in the top left corner between the colored applique and black glass rubber. Pull knife downward (top to bottom). This will cut most of the left side urethane bead. Use a soft tip or dead blow hammer to hammer the sharpened spatula/putty knife to cut the remaining urethane holding the applique. Repeat on right side.
NOTE: DO NOT TRY TO CUT TOP EDGE.
- Insert the knife into one of the bottom corners between the colored applique and black rim. Pull the knife across the entire bottom edge. Use a spatula/putty knife to remove residual urethane. Do not try to cut the top edge. Completing Steps 2 and 3 have cut the majority of the urethane between the applique and black rim.
- Insert a spatula at the bottom corner of the applique and gently begin to pry up to allow you to firmly grip one end of the applique.
- Pull and peel the applique from one side to the other.
- Scrape or pull all of the old urethane so that it is slightly below the surface of the black rubber mask (razor blade, gasket scraper). Scuff remaining old urethane adhesive with 80-Grit sand paper around the perimeter.
- Clean window and back side of new applique with wax and grease remover.
- Allow to flash for two (2) minutes.
NOTE: DO NOT USE WINDSHIELD URETHANE.
- Install one (1) of the two (2) Motorcraft TA-9 Plastic Bonding Adhesive cartridges in the application gun Rotunda #501-040. Squeeze the out some material to level the plungers and install the nozzle.
NOTE: BEAD SIZE IS DEPENDENT UPON AMOUNT OF OLD URETHANE THAT IS REMOVED. TOP OF BEAD SHOULD EXTEND APPROXIMATELY 6.5 MM (0.25 INCH) BEYOND EDGE OF TROUGH. THIS REPAIR WILL REQUIRE ONE TO TWO (1-2) TUBES OF ADHESIVE. THE WORKABLE TIME OF THE ADHESIVE IS APPROXIMATELY TEN (10) MINUTES.
- Apply 6.5 mm (0.25 inch) bead of Motorcraft TA-9 adhesive to inner side of the trough the old urethane was injected in. This will keep squeeze out to a minimum when the applique is installed.
- Apply new painted applique and firmly press by hand over the entire adhesive area. Clean off squeeze out adhesive immediately with wax and grease remover.
- Verify applique to top rubber mask alignment quickly as you have eight to ten (8-10) minutes working time (Fig 2 ). Open lift glass. Using extremely light pressure apply two (2) small clamps on the top corner ends to hold it in place.
Fig 2: Rubber Mask Alignment
NOTE: EXCESSIVE CLAMP PRESSURE CAN CAUSE DEPRESSION IN THE APPLIQUE. BE SURE THAT THE APPLIQUE IS CENTERED, WITH AN EVEN GAP ON EACH SIDE.
- Apply tape, 2" wide X 6" in length every 4 inches vertically, starting on the bottom and then the top edge.
- Remove clamps on edge and replace with masking tape immediately after Step 8.
- Apply the 2" wide tape the full length horizontally of top and bottom, wrapping around backside.
- Allow a minimum of forty five (45) minutes at 21° C (70° F) dry time and remove tape.
- Install new emblems.
Part NumberPart Name
TA-9Motorcraft Plastic Bonding Adhesive (Two (2) Tubes Required)
4C5Z-78402A30-BAPTMApplique - Aviator
4C5Z-7842528-AAAEmblem - Lincoln
1L2Z-78402A30-CAPTMApplique - Explorer
1L2Z-7842528-AAEmblem - Ford
1L2Z-78402A30-DAPTMApplique - Mountaineer
1L2Z-7842528-EAEmblem - Mountaineer Name Plate Lettering
2L9Z-7842528-AAEmblem - Mercury
2L2Z-7842528-AAEmblem - Mercury Premier
1L2Z-7842528-PAEmblem - Mercury V8
1L2Z-7842528-RAEmblem - Mercury AWD
2L2Z-7842528-BAEmblem - Mercury Advance Trac
WARRANTY STATUS: Eligible Under Provisions Of New Vehicle Limited Warranty Coverage.
052402A2002-2005 Explorer and 2003-2005 Aviator: Replace Liftgate Glass Applique1.3 Hrs.
052402A2002-2005 Mountaineer: Replace Liftgate Glass Applique1.4 Hrs.
052402B2002-2005 Explorer/Mountaineer and 2003-2005 Aviator: Additional Time To Paint Applique. To Be Used With Operation A (Includes Time For P101 Basic Paint)1.2 Hrs.