Flaming Fords

Flaming Fords

Posted on December 16 by Phil Edmonston
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"Imagine, sleeping soundly in your bedroom over the holidays 'where not a creature is stirring', as your Explorer catches fire in the garage below you," says Edmonston. "It has happened to dozens of fire victims who are part of a massive 16 million Ford voluntary recall to fix a defective cruise-control deactivation switch that can cause the vehicle to catch fire—even when the engine is shut off, the key is taken from the ignition, and the vehicle is parked in your garage. Over 559 spontaneous fires have been reported to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, warns the best-selling author of the Lemon-Aid 2010 New and Used Car guides. The $20 switch was used from 1992–2003 to shut off the cruise control when the brakes are applied. Known as a “brake pressure switch,” it connects to the brake master cylinder and cruise control. Electrical current passes through the switch continuously, causing it to overheat, and ignite the brake fluid even while the vehicle is parked. "Ford admits that its lawyers have settled hundreds of fire claims linked to the cruise-control switch out of court. Its own internal documents show that the same switch is used on 16 million cars, SUVs, trucks, minivans, and vans," adds Edmonston. Ford’s recall involves the installation of a fused wiring harness into the speed control electrical circuit, or the replacement of the deactivation system if it is found to be leaking. This is a quick free repair done by Ford dealers, and will be performed on vehicles built between 1992 and 2004. To find out whether your car is affected, contact any Ford dealer or go to ford.com: Trucks 1997-2002 Expedition 1998-2002 Navigator 2002-2003 Blackwood 1993-1996 Bronco 2000-2003 Excursion (built prior to 11/4/02) 1992-2003 Econoline E-150/250/350 1996-2003 Econoline E450 2002-2003 Econoline E550 1998-2002 Ranger 1998-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer 2001-2002 Explorer Sport (2 door) & Sport Trac 2003-2004 F-150 Lightning 1993-2003 F-Series (Under 8500 lb. GVW) 1993-2003 F-Series (over 8500 lb. GVW) 1994-2003 F-Series (over 8500 lb. GVW) 1995-2002 F-53 Motorhome Cars 1992-1998 Town Car 1992-1998 Crown Victoria 1992-1998 Grand Marquis 1993-1998 Mark VIII 1993-1995 Taurus SHO (auto. tranny) 1994 Capri ”Look let’s not mince words,” says Edmonston. “Ford is voluntarily recalling the above listed vehicles due to a factory screw-up. This defect could lead to overheating, and start a fire at the switch, anytime, even if the speed control is not in use or the vehicle is parked and shut down. Yet, some dealers are still waiting for the parts to make millions of cars, trucks, and SUVs safe. That’s unacceptable” For some owners, dealers will perform an interim repair to disable the Speed Control System until the time when the part necessary to complete the repair becomes available. Again, because the electrical circuit to the Speed Control Deactivation Switch is always ‘alive’, not using the Speed Control System will have no effect on the overheating switch. “And, if that’s not scary enough, Ford suggests that owners NOT park their affected vehicle in their garage until the entire repair has been completed,” adds the former NDP Member of Parliament and consumer advocate. “This year, Ford may be the real Christmas Grinch!”

Phil Edmonston

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Phil Edmonston photo

Phil Edmonston

Phil Edmonston, Canada’s toughest customer, is a former MP and a long-time consumer advocate. For over forty-five years, he has written more than 150 consumer guides in the bestselling Lemon-Aid series. About three decades ago Nissan and Honda sued Phil for five million dollars — and lost.