CAS Consumer Advisory


Ford Tells Dealers But Not Consumers Free Repair of Fuel Tank Hazards on 1999-2001 Models

CAS Petitions CA, CT, VA and WI Attorneys General under Secret Warranty Law &
Advises Consumers to Take Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, Town Car In for Repairs

The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) advises owners of the 1999-2001 Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Town Car to take their car in for free repairs under Ford Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) 01-21-14 to reduce the risk of rear impact crash fires in these vehicles which has caused at least 30 burn deaths in 70 fatal fire crashes. Although the TSB covers all 1992-2001 models, Ford will only pay for free repairs during the 3 year/36,000 miles express warranty.

Since Ford never sent owners the TSB or notified them that they were entitled to free repairs, this constitutes a classic secret warranty where Ford tells dealers but not consumers about the free repair policy. CAS has petitioned the Attorneys General in California, Connecticut, Virginia and Wisconsin to force Ford to comply with the Secret Warranty Laws in those states and make the free fix available for all vehicles within warranty on October 22, 2001 when the TSB was issued.

The root cause of the Ford crash fires is a poorly located gas tank in the crush zone of a rear impact where it can be punctured by any number of objects between the bumper and rear axle. Ford has identified two such puncture mechanisms – (1) an attaching hex nut bolt for the park brake cable and (2) a sharp tab on the rear stabilizer bar U-bracket and told dealers how to eliminate these puncture hazards in Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) 01-21-14 on October 22, 2001. Every 1992-2001 Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car should have these repairs made to reduce the risk of fire crashes in rear impacts. However, 1992-1998 owners will have to pay for the repair and hold onto the receipts until NHTSA forces a recall or a class action obtains reimbursement.


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