NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 1998 Ford Crown Victoria

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 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. SPARK PLUG EJECTION FROM CYLINDER HEAD NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05005

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: September 22, 2005
    • Date Closed: January 04, 2006
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Engine And Engine Cooling
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine
    Engine And Engine Cooling:Engine:Gasoline

    Summary: On September 6, 2005, ODI received a petition requesting that the Agency investigate allegations of engine spark plug ejection in certain model year 1997 through 2004 Ford vehicles with Triton V-8 and V-10 engines.ODI received a total of 474 non-duplicative complaints on the subject vehicles where the complainant, or the dealer repairing the vehicle, reported that a spark plug detached from the cylinder and/or ejected from the engine.as of December 8, 2005, ODI is not aware of any allegations where the alleged defect resulted in a loss of vehicle control, a crash, an injury, or a fatality in any of the 10,319,810 subject vehicles.in addition, ODI is aware of only two incidents where the vehicle stalled without restart.information contained in the ODI consumer complaints and obtained from 72 telephone interviews with complainants showed the following:(1) 99% of the complaints were on MY 1997 to 2002 subject vehicles.(2) most the complainants reported hearing a loud pop while driving or upon starting up the vehicle followed by a loud, repetitive clicking or popping sound.(3) many of the complainants reported that the popping sound was accompanied by some loss of vehicle power; however, in 99% of the incidents reported, the vehicle did not stall.in the very few incidents where the vehicle did stall, most vehicles could be restarted.(4) only a small percentage of the complainants cited that they smelled gas or a slight burning smell when the incident occurred.(5) in all but a very few incidents, vehicle damage was limited to the engine.in one incident, the complaint reported that the fuel rail was damaged and replaced after one of the spark plugs ejected from the engine; however, the complainant reported that the damage did not result in any type of fuel leak or fire.in another incident, the only incident where a fire was alleged, the complainant reported that no fluid leak was observed, but that a fire resulted after the spark plug had ejected from the engine and he had restarted the vehicle and driven to another location.none of the complainants reported any damage to the vehicle hood.(6) only two complainants reported that they observed what appeared to be some drops of fuel coming from the cylinder where the spark plug had failed or on the spark plug itself; however, each of these complainants reported that there was no smoke or flames as a result of his incident.as the petitioner noted, and ODI's analysis showed, it is possible for a spark plug to detach from the engine cylinder threads in the subject vehicles.however, ODI's analysis of 474 complaints describing such incidents found only a very few alleged any safety-related consequences.none of these showed any evidence of a serious safety consequence.given the large population and relatively long exposure time of the subject vehicles, the complaint analysis indicates that the risk to motor vehicle safety from the alleged defect is very low.in view of the foregoing, it is unlikely that NHTSA would issue an order for the notification and remedy of the alleged defect at the conclusion of the investigation requested in the petition.therefore, in view of the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's limited resources to best accomplish the Agency's safety mission, the petition is denied.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP05005 »

  2. POST REAR END COLLISION FIRES NHTSA Defect Investigation #SQ01014

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #SQ01014 »

  3. CNG TANK EXPLOSION NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA03001

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly

    Summary: In September 2002, a fuel cylinder in a natural gas powered vehicle (ngv) exploded during a fire.Ford and VRTC test engineers jointly examined the incident vehicle and reviewed testing to determine whether the performance of the pressure relief valve (PRD) was proper.the purpose of a PRD is to protect a compressed natural gas tank from overpressure by allowing the CNG to vent when the temperature reaches a specific point.the PRD was removed from the failed tank and subjected to a yield temperature determination test. It was concluded that a direct flame (from the interior of the vehicle) onto the cylinder (located behind the rear seat in the trunk)compromised the hoop strength of the natural gas cylinder, thus allowing the cylinder to fail prior to the PRD releasing at itsdesigned temperature.as a result of this testing and review of the involved vehicle, Ford has developed an insulator to insulate the natural gas fuel tank from a locally directed flame projecting from the interior of the vehicle.insulators will be installed behind the back seat on subject vehicles to prevent future failures of this type. Ford's action addresses the concerns of ODI.therefore, this investigation is closed.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA03001 »

  4. CNG TANK EXPLODING IN A FIRE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE02071

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: October 01, 2002
    • Date Closed: January 27, 2003
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage:Tank Assembly

    Summary: An explosion of a compressed natural gas (CNG) tank should not be able to occur, as the tank is fitted with a pressure relief device (PRD). This PRD should release the CNG in the tank, prior to the pressure reaching the tank burst pressure.the PRD did not release in the subject Wisconsin police cruiser explosion.NHTSA has recovered the PRD valve from the tank that exploded and testing will be necessary to establish why this tank safety valve did not release in the very high temperature fire that occurred in the police cruiser.there is only the single known event, but due to the catastropic force of such an explosion and the potential for injury and loss of life, this investigation is being upgraded.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE02071 »

  5. FRONT SEAT ANCHOR BOLT FAILURE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE98041

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: July 23, 1998
    • Date Closed: September 29, 1998
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Seats

    Summary: The driver's seat, of the subject split-seat configuration, is secured to the vehicle floor pan with four bolts.a single bolt is located at both the front and rear of each of the two seat tracks.these tracks are located on each side of the seat.if the outboard-forward bolt fails, the seat is retained by 3 remaining bolts.when retained by 3 bolts, the rearward movement of the left side of the seat back is limited to approximately 4 inches.this was determined by Ford testing and confirmed by ODI.this minimal movement should not cause a driver to experience difficulties controlling the vehicle.Ford has developed a kit to repair the seat bolt boss, consisting of a large, 3/16 inch thick washer, contoured to fit inside the floor pan seat bolt boss reinforcement.this fix was added to production vehicles in September, 1997.Ford is currently preparting a technical service bulletin, to be sent to both dealer and operators of police vehicles, announcing the availability of the kit for in-sevice repairs.a safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists.the Agency reserves the right to take further action on these models if warranted by the circumstances.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE98041 »

  6. REAR AXLE TRAILING ARM FRAME MOUNTING NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE00043

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: October 20, 2000
    • Date Closed: February 02, 2001
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Structure

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE00043 »

  7. FUEL-FED FIRES NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP02007

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: August 22, 2002
    • Date Closed: December 04, 2002
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control:Linkages

    Summary: The FARS data shows that the risk of fire from impact in all directions in the subject vehicles is the same as all other sedans.the subject vehicles are not over represented with respect to the risk of fire in real-world high-energy crashes.a further discussion of issues related to post crash fires in the subject vehicles is set out in the closing report for sq 01-014 and that report is in the docket for this petition.after reviewing the petition and its supporting materials, as well as information furnished by Ford and GM, and information within the Agency's possession from previous investigations and other related actions, NHTSA has concluded that futher investigation concerning post-crash fires in the subject vehicles is not likely to lead to a decision that the vehicles contain a safety defect.

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP02007 »

  8. BLOW BACK DURING REFUELING NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE99047

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: July 12, 1999
    • Date Closed: September 23, 1999
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control:Linkages

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE99047 »

  9. INERTIA FUEL SHUT OFF SWITCH NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE98057

    • Status:
      CLOSED
    • Date Opened: October 28, 1998
    • Date Closed: February 11, 1999
    • Recall: no recall issued

    Component(s): Vehicle Speed Control:Linkages

    Summary: There is no summary currently available

    NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE98057 »

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