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Ford Issues Super Duty Truck Recall for Faulty Gas Tank, Prepares to End Cruise Control Switch Recall

Apr 30, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of some of its Super Duty pickup trucks because of a faulty gas tank.  Ford says that defective mounting on the tanks need to be strengthened to prevent a gasoline leak in a head-on crash.  Meanwhile, Ford says a massive recall of vehicles with faulty cruise control switches is nearly complete, but at least one consumer website says the switches are still a danger.

The Ford Super Duty truck pickup recall covers 65,000 2008 F-250 and F-350 trucks, Ford said in a letter posted on the Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  Ford dealers will add a bracket to help secure the fuel tank, at no charge to motorists. Owners will be notified beginning in late May when the parts are  available.  Ford said the affected trucks are F-250 and F-350 4x4 models with a single set of rear wheels and a 156-inch wheel base.

Meanwhile, Ford is trying to declare an end to a much larger recall involving faulty cruise control switches.  Over the past ten years, Ford has issued six recalls of cars and trucks with control switches that can  develop a short circuit and spark a raging fire, usually when the car is parked and unattended. About 12 million Ford vehicles have been recalled since 1999, including 1993-2004 Ford F150 trucks, 1994-2002 F250 through F550 Super Duty trucks with gasoline engines, and 1998-2001 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs, all of which were among the best-selling vehicles in the nation during those years.  A complete list is available at

A variety of problems have plagued and delayed the Ford cruise control switch recalls.  In February, Ford recalled about 225,000 vehicles that had already been repaired because some wiring harnesses appeared to be defective.  A shortage of parts also delayed repairs of the defective switches.  

Ford is now preparing to send "final repair notices" to 3.5 million Ford vehicle owners next month. According to Consumer, the final repair notice is theoretically the last time the automaker will attempt to warn owners of the affected models.  The automaker says it will send multiple final notices to customers who do not take their vehicles in for the repair.

Ford reported to the NHTSA earlier this year that just more than 4 million of the recalled vehicles have been repaired to date. Ford also reported 834,000 of the recalled vehicles were not delivered, exported, stolen or scrapped.  That leaves more than 7 million Ford cars and trucks in the U.S. that could potentially catch fire - significantly more vehicles than the company plans to include in its final repair notices.

Meanwhile, Consumer says it continues to receive reports of Ford cruise control switch fires.  A Ford truck owner in Hitchcock, Texas saw his 2000 F-150 pick up erupt into flames April 1. “I was coming back from the grocery store and I stopped to grab my trash cans when I smelled something burning under the hood,” according to an email the owner wrote to the website. “All of the sudden flames started coming out from underneath the hood against the windshield before I could even shut the door,” he said.  The owner, whose truck was totaled, said he had had all recalls fixed by a Ford dealer.  

The faulty cruise control switch is also suspected as the cause of several house fires. At least three wrongful death suits have been filed as a result of Ford cruise control fires.

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