Ford document: Millions of vehicles have fire risk part - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


General Ford Ranger Discussion General discussion of the Ford Ranger that does not fit in any other sub-forum.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 06-16-2005
cheesehazard's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 120
Ford document: Millions of vehicles have fire risk part

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/06/16/for...les/index.html

KISSIMMEE, Florida (CNN) -- Early this year, Laura Hernandez nudged her husband, Nestor Oyola, as he slept in their Kissimmee home and asked him to put the Ford Expedition he had bought her the day before into the garage.

She did not want to risk leaving it on the street, where it might be vandalized.

"That was my dream, to have a Ford Expedition," she recalled to CNN about the $22,000 Eddie Bauer 2001 model SUV -- green with gold trim and leather seats.

Oyola moved the Expedition and they went to sleep.

After years of sharing a single car, the couple -- who moved five years ago to the United States from Puerto Rico -- were finally living the American dream: They owned two vehicles and their home.

At 5 the next morning, half an hour after her husband had driven his SUV to work, Hernandez was awakened by barking from Chakuil, their Chihuahua mix.

"He saved our lives," said Hernandez, who smelled smoke and roused her 15-year-old daughter, Rotsenmary.

They had time to grab only the dog and their pet birds before flames spread from the garage and engulfed the house.

Rotsenmary suffered a second-degree burn to her left leg; the charred remains of their 6-month-old cat -- Beethoven -- were found in a corner; the vehicle, the house and its contents were a total loss.

A fire investigator, hired by their auto insurance company, said the blaze was caused by a cruise-control deactivation switch in the SU

V -- a type of switch that Ford installed in millions of its vehicles from 1992 until 2003.

An Iowa family is suing Ford over the switch, claiming it was the likely cause of a fire in the family's 1996 F-150 parked in an attached garage that spread to their house. A 74-year-old woman died in the fire and the house was destroyed. Ford, however, says the fire did not originate in the F-150. (Full story)

Several fire investigators hired by major insurance companies and auto engineers consulted by CNN say the switch is causing some Ford vehicles to ignite.
Expanded investigation

The $20.57 switch shuts off the cruise control when the driver firmly steps on the brakes. The switch is located under the hood of the vehicle and is attached to the brake master cylinder on one end and wired to the cruise control on the other.

On most of its models, Ford designed the switch to be powered -- or "hot" -- at all times, even when the vehicle is off and the key is removed from the ignition.

Inside the switch, a thin film barrier separates brake fluid from the switch's electrical components. Investigators say fires can occur when the film cracks and brake fluid from the master cylinder seeps into the electrical side of the switch.

Ford has already recalled more than 1 million vehicles in two separate recalls to replace the switch.

The first recall was in May 1999, affecting 279,000 Crown Victorias, Grand Marquises and Town Cars for model years 1992 and 1993. The second, issued in January 2005, affected 792,000 vehicles, including model year 2001 F-Series SuperCrews and 2000 Expeditions, Navigators and F-150 pickups.

But a Ford document obtained by CNN shows the same or similar switch was installed in a total of 16 million vehicles, far beyond what was recalled. Those vehicles include:

# Mark VII/VIII from 1994-1998

# Taurus/Sable and Taurus SHO 2.3 L 1993-1995

# Econoline 1992-2003

# F-Series 1993-2003

# Windstar 1994-2003

# Explorer without IVD 1995-2003

# Explorer Sport/Sport Trac 2002-2003

# Expedition 1997-2003

# Ranger 1995-2003

In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an expanded investigation into more than 3.7 million of the vehicles.

NHTSA says it has received 559 complaints of spontaneous fires, 253 of them in unrecalled models, and its latest investigation includes the 1995 model years of the F-150, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles.

Ford says it has initiated its own investigation and is cooperating with the NHTSA probe.

"We have identified specific populations of vehicles in which the speed-control deactivation switches have had increasing rates of failures and fires," said Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley in a written response to questions submitted by CNN.

"When we have seen the fire reports increasing, we have recalled those vehicles and replaced those switches. Ford has used the basic switch design in a large number of vehicles and the risk of fire related to the switch is much different in those certain populations that we have recalled."

She added, "It is important to understand that all speed control systems are not identical in Ford vehicles. ... In those populations with an increasing fire report rate, we stopped using the switch through the recall process. ... The switch has performed well in many models for many years."

In another statement to CNN, Kinley said "we have been asked why we have not expanded the recall. The last thing we want to do is make an important safety decision on incorrect or incomplete information."

Kinley also said, "We have not determined at this time that there is a defect with the switch, but for reasons we still do not understand the switch is failing ... and we are trying to understand why."
Ford no longer uses switch

But, in a recall notice to owners of 2000 F-150s, Expeditions, Navigators and 2001 F-150 SuperCrews, the company seemed less equivocal about the switch. The "switch may overheat, smoke or burn which could result in an underhood fire," it said. "This condition may occur either when the vehicle is parked or when it is being operated, even if the speed control is not in use."

The company stopped using the switch altogether as of the 2004 year model, and is now using a new design.

Meanwhile, the Oyola-Hernandez family has hired a lawyer to reach a financial settlement with Ford but have not filed a lawsuit against the company.

The company says it has not yet investigated their auto insurance claim, but notes that the insurance industry reports about 100,000 noncollision fires per year involving nearly all makes and models sold.

"Simply because we have allegations of fire doesn't mean they are necessarily linked to the speed-control deactivation switch," Kinley said.

The charred remains of their house were recently demolished. But, the family has not been able to rebuild.

After the fire, they moved in with Hernandez's mother, who lives nearby. Since then, after reinstating their home insurance, they have moved into a rented house. Their insurance company sent them $120,000 but rebuilding their home is estimated to cost $185,000. They are hoping Ford will reimburse them for the difference.

They are, once again, a one-car family. This one also is a Ford -- a 1997 Explorer -- and it, too, contains the suspect switch, which has not been recalled. The family parks it on the street instead of the garage.

CNN Investigative Producer Pia Malbran contributed to this story
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-17-2005
Shalafi49's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Altamonte Springs FL
Posts: 2,070
Geez that's sad..Anyone know if we take our trucks to the dealer will they do anything to remove the switch? Probably not if there wasn't a recall order....
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-17-2005
FireRanger's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: CT
Posts: 0
I thought the switch on my '03 was on the brake pedal along with the brake light switch.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-17-2005
Shalafi49's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Altamonte Springs FL
Posts: 2,070
It's in front of the master cylinder I believe
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-17-2005
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wesley Chapel, FL
Posts: 1,072
It's a tall red pressure switch attached to the front of the master cylinder. I even have the stupid thing on my NON CRUISE equipped 01.


Ford's answer is a lame video filled with double talk
http://www.ford.com/en/innovation/sa...iseControl.htm

Basically, their response is something I remember from the movie "Fight Club"
"We will do the math, and determine if it's cheaper for Ford to pay off lawsuits from burn victims or do a recall. In the meantime, please continue to buy Ford"

I'm looking through my service CD to see if you can just disconnect the darn thing, but I'll probably need Bob and John's input on this one.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-17-2005
V8 Level II's Avatar
RF Veteran
iTrader: (4)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,831
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTank
I'm looking through my service CD to see if you can just disconnect the darn thing, but I'll probably need Bob and John's input on this one.
The irony is that the Deactivation Switch is a redundant safety device intended to cancel the speed control in the unlikely event that the Brake Pedal Position switch fails to do so. It is also an input to the ABS module and one might assume that it has a similar function there. I am not going to say it's OK to unplug a safety device although I've heard that many dealers are doing just that. Kind of a "lesser of two evils" decision.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-17-2005
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wesley Chapel, FL
Posts: 1,072
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwenzing
The irony is that the Deactivation Switch is a redundant safety device intended to cancel the speed control in the unlikely event that the Brake Pedal Position switch fails to do so. It is also an input to the ABS module and one might assume that it has a similar function there. I am not going to say it's OK to unplug a safety device although I've heard that many dealers are doing just that. Kind of a "lesser of two evils" decision.
Thanks for the input Bob. I really hate those "darned if you do, burned if you don't" decisions. What's your personal opinion on this? Are you leaving yours connected for now?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-17-2005
Shalafi49's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Altamonte Springs FL
Posts: 2,070
I want to disengage mine
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-17-2005
mx98ranger's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: GA
Posts: 1,493
well... my truck is parked outside, but maybe now ill park it on the opposite side of the street until they decide to make a recall
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-17-2005
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: East Helena, Montana
Posts: 166
The first post in this thread has an article saying that the 03 Rangers are included in the years that have a switch problem. I've read at least 3 or 4 news articles that said that the 03 Rangers were NOT included in the years that had a switch problem. What gives?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-17-2005
Shalafi49's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Altamonte Springs FL
Posts: 2,070
What gives is people write the stories and people make mistakes. Or a bit of CYA.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-17-2005
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wesley Chapel, FL
Posts: 1,072
Some stories document the vehicles included in the recall, and some document the vehicles with the switch. From what I've seen, many Fords since 1995 have that switch. BUT Ford doesn't want a 50 million vehicle recall, so they are saying only "certain" vehicles are effected. It's a big CYA, Bryan has that right.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-17-2005
Roach2004's Avatar
RF Veteran
iTrader: (3)
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 8,320
My truck can burn I will just get a brand new one.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-17-2005
V8 Level II's Avatar
RF Veteran
iTrader: (4)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,831
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTank
Thanks for the input Bob. I really hate those "darned if you do, burned if you don't" decisions. What's your personal opinion on this? Are you leaving yours connected for now?
My 2003 has the newer Deactivation Switch and the revised wiring that turns the power off to the DS when the ignition is off, so I'm not scared .... much ....
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-17-2005
V8 Level II's Avatar
RF Veteran
iTrader: (4)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,831
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmacmaster
The first post in this thread has an article saying that the 03 Rangers are included in the years that have a switch problem. I've read at least 3 or 4 news articles that said that the 03 Rangers were NOT included in the years that had a switch problem. What gives?
The 2003+ Ranger Wiring Manuals show a switch that does not have power to it with the key off. Owners of late 2002's have also confirmed that theirs were revised in the same way as the 2003's BUT most 2002's have the earlier "hot all the time" to the switch.

In addition, the 2003's and late 2002's supposedly have a different and hopefully better switch made by a different vendor. The suspect switches were produced by Texas Instruments.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-17-2005
Wowak's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Merritt Island, FL
Posts: 2,223
CNN's "investigation" is either misinformed, mislead, or choosing to ignore reality.

The design of the switch is not the primary flaw (although it is flawed) and not, in my opinion, the primary cause of the fires. The primary problem is that some of these switches are wired to constant battery power, meaning they can overheat when vehicle motion isn't pumping cooling air through the engine bay. Even if your truck has that model of switch, if it isn't wired to CONSTANT battery power, then it is not a likely candidate for failure. To the best of my knowledge, in Rangers and all the other vehicles that CNN is listing as having the switch (*cough*for no other reason than to produce ratings*cough*,) the switch is wired either to accesory power, so its only powered up with the key or motor on, or its wired to a "battery saver" circuit (like your dome-lights, they will shut off after a pre-determined amount of time.)


Its the constant power, combined with heat fatigue and a potential design flaw, that is causing the fires. If the switches are unpowered, even if they are of a faulty design, the barrier will fail while there is no power to the switch to ignite the brake fluid, and the fluid will leak out, causing other mechanical trouble, but not igniting when power is applied.

The only cases where I think its a valid concern would be vehicles that are left idling for long periods of time (on the order of hours) like police and emergency vehicles.

The simple fact is that driving your truck provides the cooling that prevents the switch from failing, or even suffering fatigue. I'd be willing to bet that the flaw with the switch is that the circuitry generates some amount of heat, beyond that generated by the engine bay or the brake fluid, that over time, when powered 24/7, causes fatigue in the switch. I'd bet that cars that aren't constant wired will never experience a problem.


edit: if Bob is right (and I have no reason to doubt him,) and the older trucks have constant power, I wouldn't wait for a recall that may or may not happen, I'd re-wire the switch to operate off a suitable (amperage wise) circuit that is either acc. powered or on battery saver.

One other side note: I work with Ford service writers all day every day. They're there to help you, but they didn't design or build your truck, and no matter how much you yell at them, they can't replace your switch free of charge until Ford releases a recall, and even then they sometimes don't recieve the authorization for a week or two after the recall hits the media, and even then its sometimes a few more weeks until enough parts are available to do the recall on everyones' cars! Long story short: don't call your dealership and yell at someone over this. Its not their fault, and they want to help you. If you are courteous to them, they will do everything in their power to help you, if they have anything within their power that CAN help you. Today I've seen two service writers who look like they're ready to have nervous breakdowns from idiots calling and yelling at them about this CNN report. Its not fair, its not right, and its not their fault.

Last edited by Wowak; 06-17-2005 at 12:36 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-17-2005
V8 Level II's Avatar
RF Veteran
iTrader: (4)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,831
Here is the problem as I understand it.

It is not a question of the Deactivation Switch overheating as a direct result of the lack of airflow, although this may be a contributing factor. The root cause is the leaking seals within the Deactivation Switch that allow brake fluid to enter the part of the switch with the electrical contacts. The conductive brake fluid provides an unintended current path to ground, increasing the amperage through the switch and overheating it and the leaked brake fluid within the electrical part of the switch. Brake fluid is fairly safe compared to other fluids in a vehicle BUT it is still flammable. Apparently, this is where the fires start.

So, there appear to be two contributors to the failures on the affected vehicles:
(1) B+ available to the Deactivation Switch at all times through a 7.5A fuse shared with the Brake Pedal Position switch;
(2) A leaking switch seal that allows a path to ground through the brake fluid and allows the brake fluid to become the combustible element that could start a fire.

The 2003+ wiring method (also apparently used on very late 2002MY trucks) eliminates problem (1) by reassigning the DS to its own dedicated 2A fuse that is hot only when the ignition is on.

Resourcing the DS from a different vendor will hopefully eliminate the other piece of the equation.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-17-2005
cheesehazard's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: New Orleans, LA
Posts: 120
I am just glad I waited to buy my truck. It only had one problem so far and that was the transmission fluid they filled it with was recalled.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-17-2005
Shalafi49's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Altamonte Springs FL
Posts: 2,070
Ok so....can my truck be rewired? For instance, if I were to drive to a friends house in Satellite Beach. A very nice, helpful, knowledgeable, friendly, awesome friend. Could my switch be rewired? I'd certainly assist in stocking this friends bar with $## of liquor.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-17-2005
Wowak's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Merritt Island, FL
Posts: 2,223
Well, I know in theory what to do, but honestly I've never seen the switch in question, and without technical diagrams I don't know that I could find a suitable circuit to connect it to.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-17-2005
V8 Level II's Avatar
RF Veteran
iTrader: (4)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,831
For the 2001~2002(early), the Deactivation Switch and the Brake Pedal Position switch are both powered thru dash fuse 9 (7.5A hot at all times)

For the 2002(late)~2003, the Brake Pedal Position switch alone is powered thru dash fuse 9 (7.5A hot at all times). Ford added a dedicated fuse for the Deactivation Switch (2A hot in RUN only). It is in the previously unused dash fuse position #6.

2004-on continue to use separate fuses for these switches. The fuses are located in the Smart Junction Box (PS kick panel).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is possible to add a non-standard fuse to the 2003-back dash fuse panel but it is not real easy. I added one for my remote CD changer by disassembling the fuse panel and adding a junkyard terminal/pigtail to an unused position in the dash panel.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-17-2005
Shalafi49's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Altamonte Springs FL
Posts: 2,070
Poop
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-17-2005
V8 Level II's Avatar
RF Veteran
iTrader: (4)
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,831
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalafi49
Poop
I don't have any wiring books for 98~2000, so I don't know how your 98 is wired. I do, however have a 97 book. Interestingly, the 97 Deactivation Switch is hot in RUN only ...
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-17-2005
00RANGER00's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Wellington, FL
Posts: 594
I dont have the switch.......i guess im one of the lucky few who dont. But this does bother me. My family have a Range Rover and to my knowledge ford owns them too......i would be worried about all ford vehicles not jsut ford BRAND. Who knows maybe im wrong......
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-18-2005
Wowak's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Merritt Island, FL
Posts: 2,223
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00RANGER00
i would be worried about all ford vehicles not jsut ford BRAND.

If your vehicle isn't on the list of cars using that switch released by CNN, then you DEFINITELY have no reason to worry.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Coilover Conversion Document, complete info compilation SteelDirigible Suspension Tech 15 03-06-2013 11:04 PM
Ford Recalls 4.5 Million Vehicles Because of Fire Hazard 97ranger xlt General Ford Ranger Discussion 19 10-15-2009 02:51 PM
April Photoshoot (56K at own risk) GrafixGuy Snapshots 14 04-22-2008 06:36 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:32 AM.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.