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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 1994 Ford Econoline

The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 1994 Ford Econoline, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRES NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA05005

    Component(s): Electrical System
    Electrical System:Wiring:Front Underhood
    Vehicle Speed Control:Cruise Control

    Summary: EA05-005 is closed with Ford's actions in recalls 05V-017, 05V-388, and 06V-286, recalling approximately 6.7 million vehicles equipped with Texas instruments speed control deactivation switches (scds).the brake systems in these recalled vehicles generate a vacuum that can potentially cause the scds to fail and, in certain switch installation orientations, catch fire.Ford is also including the entire population of 1998 Explorer.Ford has informed ODI that testing to determine the cause of failures in the 1998 Explorer will continue after this investigation is closed.ODI believes that the vehicles exhibiting the factors causing scds failure described in this report correlate well with the observed failure rates on these vehicles by model and model year.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist in the non-recalled vehicles manufactured with scds that are not included in Ford's recalls.ODI will continue to monitor the non-recalled population for incidence of engine compartment fires.the Agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.see attached closing report for details.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA05005 »

  2. TRNS OIL COOLER LINE FAILS NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE94087

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: November 18, 1994
    • Date Closed: March 31, 1995
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Power Train

    Summary: Ford has acknowledged a serious problem with the accessory drive belt system (serpentine belt) in the subject vehicles.several service bulletins have been issued to address concerns related to belt tracking or wear.Ford maintains that the subject condition does not present an unreasonable risk to highway safety, arguing that the low incidence of failures alleging safety consequences (I.e., fires, fluid leaks, and/or accidents) is strong evidence in support of this claim.Ford has indicated receipt of 4,445 field reports and 46891 warranty claims concerning the subject condition. Ford maintains that the low number of reported hose ruptures and/or fires, relative to total belt failures, shows that the problem is a "durability concern" that presents very little risk to motor vehicle safety.Ford intends to address the problemin a service bulletin scheduled for publication the week of March 13, 1995.ODI has received several claims alleging that incidents of belt failure are causing collateral damage to adjacent fluid systems (e.g., power steering hose, coolant hose, and automatic transmission oil cooler hose).release of these fluids within the engine compartment may result in a vehicle fire, if exposed to a sufficiently hot surface area.the autoignition temperature for transmission oil may be as low as 300 C (570 F), while power steering fluid and engine coolant are generally harder to ignite (closer to 500 degree C (900 degreef)).damage to battery cable insulation has also been alleged as a consequence of serpentine belt failure.ODI has received four reports alleging failure of adjacent fluid system hoses from contact with a broken serpentine belt.one report involved an Econoline rv cutaway chassis with a 7.3L V-8 navistar engine, used in the Transport of disabled children.an engine compartment fire destroyed the vehicle in November 1994.the fire is alleged to have been caused when the serpentine belt broke at highway speed and ruptured a transmission coller line. The report alleges finding belt fragments and traces of transmission fluid up the road from the fire scene, near where the driver had heard a "pop" just prior to the fire.the driver reportedly sustained minor burn injuries while evacuating passengers.owner reports also allege some loss of vehicle control occurs with the belt failures, due to the loss of power assist capability to the braking and steering systems.the serpentine belt drives the power steering pump and the vacuum pump for the brake booster in the subject vehicles.as stated in Ford bulletin 93-23-27: Some diesel powered vehicles are experiencing drive belt tracking concerns.this is caused by front end accessory drive (fead) misalignment, which may result in the belt coming off the accessory drive pulleys.if this occurs, several warning lights will illuminate and the vehicle will lose alternator and A/C function and water pump circulation.in addition, steering efforts will increase and, after one or a few brake applications, brake efforts wil progressively increase. There are three ODI complaints and five Ford complaints, not included in the failure report summary of this resume, alleging that the reductionin vehicle control associated with acessory drive belt failure resulted in an accident.this investigation is being upgraded to further analyze the potential safety consequences of serpentine belt failure in the subject vehicles.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE94087 »

  3. SEPARATION OF STEERING GEAR FROM FRAME NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE96024

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: March 27, 1996
    • Date Closed: July 18, 1996
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Steering:Gear Box (Other Than Rack And Pinion)

    Summary: The bolts which secure the steering gear to vehicle structure may fail, allowing the steering gear to separate from the vehicle frame and cause inaccurate steering and/or loss of steering control.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE96024 »

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