Letter: “Ford Kills”
Ford TFI Ignition Recall – Tip Of The Iceberg? You’ll recall our article last year on the Ford TFI Ignition legal maneuvering. The syndrome: A Ford truck (certain year, make and model) inexplicably stalls on the highway.
Later, if there IS a later, it may seem fine. If there is no consequential accident, we’re talking about an allegedly defective ignition part. Ford is NOT voluntarily recalling vehicles for an “out of warranty” part that may be 17 years old and cost $99.
If there IS a consequential accident, it’s legally hard to prove liability even if the part is tested and found to have failed. A California judge finally secured a recall against 1.7 million vehicles last year, but this is scant consolation for people in other states, or for those left behind when the accident causes fatalities.
When a single-engine aircraft develops an unusual pattern of, say, excessive carburetor icing in low altitude climbouts when outside air temperature is nearly equal to the dewpoint, we don’t have to wait around while pilots die and courts wrangle the fine points of carburetor heating. Fortunately, a highly competent FAA can step in when such public-safety issues become known.
It’s too bad the motoring public doesn’t have a counterpart agency for motor vehicles. Department Of Transportation, or CalTrans? Proactive insurance companies? Come on, you must be joking.
People are still being killed by consequential accidents when these thin-film ignition devices fail. Mechanics will tell you these semiconductor devices are mounted too close to the exhaust manifold, where thermal tolerances may be exceeded. Ford denies any wrongdoing or liability. The vehicles are far past the 1- or 3-year warranty and may be on the second or third owner. Ford is still stonewalling.
We received a letter from Angel Brown of Washington, whose husband was killed in March 2001 while driving a Ford Ranger. Ford basically told Mrs. Brown that the Ranger wasn’t on the recall list, so … (My 1984 Bronco wasn’t on the 1985-1995 recall list, either.) The Ranger isn’t even included in the California recall. In giving us permission to post her letter, Angel Brown writes:
|I would be pleased if you post my letter and include my e-mail address for responses. People need to know that our whole family truly believes that my husband would not have gone off the Hwy and rolled, if the truck had of been running right. I believe that he was trying to get the truck started again. We have had several near accidents in the past due to these Fords stalling for no reason. My husband was a good mechanic and careful driver.
Please read the 5/19/2001 Letter From Angel Brown. If you have information you believe may be helpful to her, we have Angel Brown’s permission to include her email address in this posting, and we hope you’ll write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do remember that she just lost her husband in March 2001.
We extend our sympathies and condolences to Angel Brown and her family.
May 20, 2001