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NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2001 Lincoln Town Car

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 2001 Lincoln Town Car, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA03014

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: August 22, 2003
    • Date Closed: August 12, 2004
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags:Side/Window

    Summary: This investigation identified a total of 182 reports alleging inadvertent or non-crash deployment of the side air bags.the data examined during the investigation suggest that the side air bag crash sensing system's algorithm may recognize certain non-crash incidents as deployable events.ODI has not, however, identified any failed component that relates to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles.also, ODI has not identified any trend in the manufacture dates of complaint vehicles that may indicate a component or vehicle-manufacturing problem.a safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time.further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency will take further action if warranted by the circumstances.see attached summary report.


    NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE03011

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: March 14, 2003
    • Date Closed: August 22, 2003
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Air Bags:Side/Window

    Summary: ODI has identified 173 complaints alleging inadvertent or non-crash deployment of side air bags on model year (MY) 1999-2003 Lincoln Town cars.most of the complaints allege that one of the side air bags deployed while driving without any impact.analysis showed that MY 2001 through early MY 2003 Town cars have much higher complaint and warranty claim rates (138 complaints and 120 warranty claims) than the remaining vehicles (35 complaints and 32 warranty claims).Ford changed its supplier of the side crash sensors for the MY 2001 Town cars.Ford states that the algorithm in the MY 2001 Town cars is different from the previous model year's design, and that it is designed to provide improved occupant protection in moderate speed side pole December 2002 (I.e., early MY 2003 vehicle production), the crash sensors were moved from the floor of vehicle to near the base of B-pillars in order to reduce the incidents of inadvertent side air bag deployments.this preliminary evaluation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis (EA03-014) for MY 2001-2003 Town cars built before December 2002.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP05005

    • Status:
    • 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Defect Investigation #SQ01014

    Component(s): Fuel System, Gasoline:Storage

    Summary: There is no summary currently available


    NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA05004

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: February 17, 2005
    • Date Closed: July 06, 2005
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Seat Belts
    Seat Belts:Front:Buckle Assembly

    Summary: During the initial recall campaign in 2001, the subject vehicles were inspected by Ford dealerships using a test tool that would detect a defective front seat outboard seat belt buckle assembly.approximately one million vehicles passed the inspection test for one or both front buckles.subsequent to the recall service action, ODI received 15 consumer reports alleging that a "passed inspection" buckle subsequently failed to latch or inadvertently unlatched during addition, Ford has identified 543 owner and field reports alleging buckle failure subsequent to passing the inspection test.Ford tested and examined over 100 warranty-returned buckles and found that 44% of the buckles had no problem or a condition not related to the recall inspection (non-latch related buckle damage or foreign contamination).warranty claims were highest during the 18-month period after the start of the recall (July 2001) and have been declining during the past 24 months.over the past 12 months, Ford has received approximately 12 warranty claims per month out of a vehicle population of about one million.complaints counts are also decreasing.during the past seven months, ODI has received only two complaints. A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of Agency resources does not appear to be warranted.accordingly, this investigation is closed.the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.the Agency reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.


    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ04011

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: October 22, 2004
    • Date Closed: February 17, 2005
    • Recall: No recall issued

    Component(s): Seat Belts:Front:Buckle Assembly

    Summary: Under recall campaign (01V227), Ford recalled approximately 1.3 million vehicles to inspect and if necessary replace the front driver and/or passenger seat belt buckle.approximately 1.1 million owners responded by taking their vehicles to a dealer for inspection of the buckle using a specialized buckle test tool.Ford reported that 829,927 vehicles had both buckles pass the tool test and another 167,336 vehicles had one buckle pass.ODI and Ford received complaints alleging seat belt buckle failure shortly after passing the original recall inspection service.complainants alleged that the buckle failed by either not latching or false-latching (partial engagement of the latch to the latch plate).a false-latched buckle may release with minor movement or impact against the buckle housing including inadvertent release while the vehicle is in motion.ODI is upgrading this recall query to an engineering analysis (EA05-004) to further analyze the field performance of those vehicles that Ford dealers passed (one or both buckles) using Ford's inspection test (997,263 vehicles).

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