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Lawsuit Update - Final Edition

new 6/4/10

Enclosed is a letter from our law firm in Chicago. We have lost our appeal and the legal fight is now over. 

The decision is 20 pages, and I would recommend that anyone interested down load all of it and read it (study it) at least twice before offering their opinion.
SHO/06042010 Wright et al v FMC.zip  (11.5 MB)

A special thanks top Larry Eck who got the whole ball rolling back in 2002. With out whose diligent hard work and leadership  this would have never all gotten started.

I have my own opinion of FMC which has not changed.

Remember all those tens of thousands of calls we made to the Ford help line?

FMC says they never got the message, and successfully argued that because they out source the call center all those records are not subject to discovery, hence we can't prove that FMC got the calls.  There is a TREAD act but based on this case it does not seem to yet be either complied with or enforced.

There are those nay-sayers who can now with some justification say after nine years that: "We told you that Ford has the best lawyers in the world, give it up."  To which we can only agree that FMC does have the best lawyers in the world, but we have to respect our selves in the morning.  Win, lose or draw we needed our day in court for all those thousands of families who did have a very expensive premature cam failure.

The world moves on, FMC still makes cars and trucks every day.  Some of us have made peace with Dearborn, some of never will. While I loved the car, and treasure the company of the other owners, in time my SHO became less and less reliable and more and more expensive to keep on the road.  If I did not know how FMC and its dealerships treat people I might have a 2010 King Ranch 4x4 in my garage right now, instead I opted for a Tundra Platinum Crewmax 4x4. 

I don't think the 1201 documented cam failures did FMC any good, not that I know it did them much harm.   While the legal playing field may yet tilt in favor of FMC, I like to think that to some degree the internet is changing things, FMC can no longer tell 21,000 owners that their $15,000 engine failure is unique and "must be the result of abuse and neglect".

I still believe, knowing what we all know now, that ALL V8 SHOs have suffered or will suffer premature cam failure unless wrecked first or preventive actions are taken.  I believe that Ford knew, or should have known after a string of very early failures, and failed to take any substantive corrective actions or inform prospective or current owners.  I also understand that as the cars age, after a time nobody cares because it no longer matters.

What does matter, what we do have some control of is our future.  FMC is not the only maker and seller of vehicles.  I've made my feelings known, thank you for sharing the ride.  And thanks to all to contributed in hundreds of ways over the last ten years to the cause.  It was a noble fight.

At this point I no longer see the value of collecting and counting cam failures.  Page two of the cover letter, which is a service list disclosing the home address of all plaintiffs has intentionally been withheld.  You know who you are,  Thank you one and all.

 Thanks again,

Timothy Wright

We fought the good fight.

It looks like their lawyers understood Illinois consumer law a lot better than ours, reading the final documents.

Hi Tech

Sorry man I know you worked hard and spent lots of time on this matter. Very disheartening! You did the right thing by not buying from ford. Still going to search for cam fails tho :)


OK. Let me start off by saying I am only asking questions because of interest, not to rub salt in wounds or to start a fight. In the last 3 or 4 years I have determined that the US system of 'justice' is kinda fouled up and lawyers end up being the only ones who make any money.

The gist of it is:

1. Since 23 plaintiffs were not wronged in IL and/or not residents of IL, they are dismissed. 2. Since the lawyer didn't include a copy of Ford's warranty (why not) and there were no plaintiffs who had issues during the warranty, case dismissed.

One silly question, didn't we know when the suit was filed that all SHOs were built in Atlanta or is that something we found out later?

Thursday morning quarterbacking, why wasn't a plaintiff included that either had a pre 3/26 failure that Ford refused to fix or one that the Ford ESP wouldn't cover.

How much money do we think this cost 'our' lawyers and Ford? I assume 'our' lawyers were on a contingency basis so they lost in the end.

Paul Fisher

Dohh!!!! 3/36, not 3/26.

Paul Fisher

It was a valiant effort from all of you on trying to get Ford to step up and I'm sad that they didn't, however if there is to be a positive note from any of this, it would be that all of the discovery and documentation of how to fix the problem and weld the cam has saved countless other V8 SHO engines from certain destruction, so to that end a big THANK YOU goes out to all of you!

Ken Mallinson

A lot of the ruling is a mystery to me,

1) of the hundreds of cam failures, when we were looking for plaintiffs, only these folks stepped forward at the time. We had to "play" with an all volunteer army so to speak.

2) Ford lied under oath, first said some cars were made in IL, then 5 years latter said: "opps, please dismiss the case because we lied". The court agreed. This could be an honest mistake on FMC part or more treachery. Given my experience with FMC since litigation started I am disinclined to believe the benign explanation.

3) I do think that to some degree we were out lawyered. For an example starting from day one we were not coached to the nth degree of what to say during depositions, not the same way FMC employees were. But only a few owners are out any money, in my case hotel and travel expenses. In contrast FMC spent millions on defense, to some degree lost the heart, loyalty and support of the Ford performance community which had been their most loyal and fanatical fans. After reading a 200 page motion to dismiss, (I don't remember which one) I take some consolation in the money FMC spent to defend, and the fact that consumers are not as stupid as judges and congressmen. We still have recourse, like Carter and many others we can take our future business where ever we want to.

4) FMC argued that we failed to provide any authorities' testimony that they are morally and legally obliged to tell owners of any serious mechanical defect in the cars they manufacture, and the court accepted the argument, twice. That would be a good question to ask a FMC mucky mucks at the Detroit convention.

5) To the best of my knowledge the warranty is in the owners' manual, and was included. What FMC demanded was a document from us that does not exist, and the court let them get away with it.

6) The "legal system" is neither.

7) I've played sports, and sometimes won, sometimes lost. Either way after most games there is a at least a begrudging respect for the other team. Nothing has happened during the last nine years of litigation has helped me develop any respect for FMC.

8) If the V8SHO was complex and expensive to repair, when the V6 EcoBoost SHO starts puking parts it will be more not less expensive to fix than the V8. I have no cause to suspect dealerships are more capable or more willing to work on the cars than they were 10 years ago. No do I have any confidence in FMC to take care of owners if/when major problems arise.

9) It has been explained to me that the big three are a UAW pension/benefits program that builds cars. And I'd only add to that understanding that they spend much more on lawyers than post sales satisfaction or product development QC.


While I don’t disagree with your basic premise, the one thing Ford did better for the EcoBOOST was put it in more vehicles. It seems that there will be far more that 24K copies of the motor.

Paul L Fisher

The time and energy put into this fight can never be replaced, but from this proud SHO owner it will never be forgotten and will always be appreciated. To ALL who put this in place, researched information, placed calls, kept track of numbers, filed countless paperwork, and basically tried to cut through the red-tape, I thank you!!

I would not still have my '99 or the three other SHO additions had it not been for the valuable information learned and shared on v-8 list/site. Because of the hardships placed on SHO owners by FMC they rose up and prevailed. Maybe not won against the big wigs who have the money to make sure the little people never win, but YOU fixed their problem and we continue to drive our SHO's with pride.

Thank you again to ALL of you,

you fought the good fight, finished the course, and you kept the faith!

SHOMoma '99 Black Cherry 157K Welded '05 NoCal (thank you again)

I completely disagree with ....... "That would be a good question to ask a FMC mucky mucks at the Detroit convention."

Ford has brought back the car that brought us all together as a group.... they are participating with the SHO Club again, they are interested in what we have to say (about the new SHO and future SHO's.... I have to think that if someone were trying to be an ass and bring attention to a 12-16 year old problem that just might put a rapid end to any future involvement with our group from FMC.

I understand that some people will never embrace the new SHO for what it is and accept that Ford might have actually gotten it right...... and you have every right to your opinion and personal desire to hold onto that hatred.

Personally I choose to accept the fact that there are things in life we truly have no control over, and it takes much less energy to just get over it than it does to maintain a pissed at the world attitude. Living with hatred does not make for a good life.

I know if it weren't for the cam issues and V8SHO.com, and the email lists that keep us all connected.... that probably 99.9% of us may have never crossed paths anywhere else in life, and for me, there is no lawsuit settlement anywhere that could replace the friends I have made here.

Rick Glass

My thoughts on this:

I think it would be a good (great?) question to ask a mucky-muck in private, one who you were good friends with, because then you might get an honest answer and that would shed some light into what is actually going on inside Ford. In other words, it'd be a good *answer* to have, but not necessarily a good question to ask.

The chances of getting an informative response from a question like that to a Ford exec in front of a group of people are virtually nil. You'll either get totally ignored by the exec, or inject bad blood into the whole event, or both. It would not be a good idea in reality, but in our imaginations, it is a pretty good question that I'd love to know the answer to.

Regards, Jon Heese

First I want to thank Tim and Uncle Lar and the others that got directly involved for trying to fight the good fight for V8 SHO owners.

As others have said, a lot of owners are better off because V8sho.com alerted them and the media and more, to the problem.

But the list has been MUCH more than just "all failed cams all the time".

It has been a gathering of enthusiasts and the vast majority of us still love the V8 SHO as a pretty darn good car, all you need to do is weld the cams! and now find parts if you need them.

But it is time to move on. There has been way too much division in the SHO Community over this issue, and from whatever bully pulpit I have, I have tried for more years and reasons than just the cam issue to keep the group together.

I would love my friends on both sides of this issue to please let it go now. IT's over and what could be done has been done. If some friendships can't be healed, at least don't keep picking at the wounds.

I have said basically the same thing to both sides and my wish is for everyone to move on.

Don Mallinson

When Tim first started this list as a spin-off of the v6 SHO mailing list it was a blast. I'd love to see it get back to that now. We have so much more knowledge about the car now than we did when it was new.

Hi Tech

It was very wrong for me to make that remark. Detroit is not my party. I am very sorry Don.

It terms of community, the case is now over, it is now a moot point. Kunbaya!

In terms of getting along with FMC, even God can't forgive someone when one has no regreat or remorse for a very serious harm.

When I worked for Dravo Basic Materials, I frequently had to explain to people that that the part of Dravo they got screwed by and are in court with is/was another part of Dravo. So I understand when this crew who made the V6 Eco Boost are not the same folks who made the V8, in theory. . .

But I also understand that I'll never, we will never, get exposure to the folks who made that error because FMC will never give us access. More important than the cams, because any one can make a mistake, are the tactics

used to defraud and abuse owners once this became a known issue. All that (denying for example that Don sent them failed cams) was a centrally coordinated policy, a top down decision of how to "play" the issue.

If FMC never makes another engineering mistake again, if their cars are the most reliable well built cars in all creation, I see that as only a small part of the over all issue of bad service and bad customer relations


Sort of like what Kasey Kahne said when he found himself in a Ford after the lawsuit they waged against him. Most of those guys are gone now and the new guys are terrific. Time to move on and whatever trust or distrust you have for Ford is in the eye of the beholder.

Ron F

I want to thank all of the community of SHOv8 folks who helped me many many times, warned me to weld my 99 SHO cams,(still alive after 148,000 )and generally are a great group. The fact that I chose a 06 CTS-V over a 2010 SHO for my fun car ( 99TR now winter ride) should be enough of a signal to the Ford loyalty folks, or the marketing types that we love our SHO's but are open minded about moving forward.

Jeff Williams

No, it wouldn't. Guaranteed that 99% of them aren't even familiar with it. And 99.9% won't care.

Over that time, they have been sued for thousands of things. It's a part of doing business.

Bad idea.

Ron Porter

And we’ve already covered everything “new” about the car since the V6 list. Over and over and over again.

We “usually” forgive noobs when they ask a question that was answered 10 years ago, but, other than that, there’s nothing new under the sun.

Now, there’s still new stuff going on in the V6 world. Turbo kit is coming soon. With the exit of Tokico and Koni for struts, someone is talking to Bilstein.

Ron Porter

The original quote was: "FMC argued that we failed to provide any authorities' testimony that they are morally and legally obliged to tell owners of any serious mechanical defect in the cars they manufacture, and the court accepted the argument, twice. That would be a good question to ask a FMC mucky mucks at the Detroit convention."

I'm saying I'd like to hear the honest, no-BS thoughts of a Ford exec on that topic. Do they really feel like they have no obligation to inform owners of a serious mechanical defect? Or is it a "In a perfect world..." kind of lament that they just can't take care of every last customer when it hurts the bottom line to do so.

And again, I'm not saying you'd EVER get that honest of an answer out of them, I'd really just like to read their mind. It's not a practical thing, just a "I wish" kind of thing.

If you're saying that deep down they really couldn't give two sh*ts about any of it, then that is an answer, and that's exactly what I'm saying would be enlightening to hear somehow.

Regards, Jon Heese

Don't do revisionist history....

We didn't start recognizing this until after the car was out of production for two years. Sure, maybe a few failed early on, but I'll bet about every system on the car (or any car) has failures early on, and probably some of the Duratecs, 4.6 & 5.4 engines had the same issue.

As was said, about none of the current execs were around back then. And a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then.

And since you weren't around back then, I'll repeat my statements from back then for the last time. We would never know if Ford was going to correct it, as once the lawsuit was filed, they would stop any efforts. For all we know, they had a solution ready, but once the lawsuit comes along, that ends it.

It's now a dead issue. I don't hold it against Ford. The Gen 3 was a big loser for them, and everybody wants to get that crap behind them. There have been other mess-ups as bad over the years, and Ford and other mfrs haven't acted as folks would like.

It's dead. Get over it and move on.

Ron P

You're missing my point by a country mile.

I don't care about the cams, so there's nothing to "get over" for me. I didn't make any claim about who knew about the issue when, no revisionist history here.

It's irrelevant to my point who at Ford was responsible for the decision to ignore the cam issue, I just want to know how the current Ford execs think, since it would be interesting for someone considering buying a Ford product in the near future.

This all started with a quote from Tim. If you want to tell him he's doing revisionist history, that's fine with me, but it's irrelevant to my question.

Regards, Jon Heese

I've been letting this just roll around in my noggin since learning of it. First, Ron, I disagree. I feel the same way now as I did the day I walked into the offices of ECL with a training aid. A spinner. I had no expectations from the day I first spent in the attorney's offices for 4 hours helping them to understand the fundamentals of what I (we) thought was wrong and why. They agreed to take the case on in a contingency fashion with no Non Contingent Suit fee being assessed. They believed as much as I (we) did that the case had merits. They also pointed out that when you kick the big dog he bares his teeth. However they had tangled with Toyota and won as well as VW so this was not their first dance with a major player in the automobile world. Doing nothing was not an option to me. Doing something, anything, that would shed some light on the issue was the only avenue that made sense to me. The short, glib, answer I used to give when asked why did you do it is simple. Because I can. Now I will be quite specific. That generation of Ford executives that were privy to the mere possibility of the failures happening needed to be held accountable for their grievously poor decision making. There were stories of unbelievable hardships that were forced on people that had no clue. They got bullied by ford's mid level executives who handed out the marching orders to their 3rd party phone bank customer mis-service thugs. While going through boxes of documents, I found a report, which has been mentioned before, of a GIII being ferried around the dealers lot with less than 3 clicks on the odo puking a cam. You think they challenged the dealers use of oil? The customer services reports that Tim and poured over for a whole day were replete with honest people being bullshitted by Ford's Vendor. The vendor was merely following the script written by Ford. At the end of the day, I have no regrets over anything I did to bring this to where it is now. We out lawyered them on many issues, and they outlawyered us on the Head Shot! That's the way it goes.

Now, where I do agree with Ron, especially after meeting many of the new SHO's design/engineering/marketing team is that they have no clue about the GIII. Yeah we had one scour the website but to this individual they were merely reading ancient history that had no bearing on the new platform. However they did become aware of how they pissed off a segment of their buyers and more importantly they pissed off fairly knowledgeable buyers. Thus far that mistake has not happened. I doubt that it will. I like the new platform. I don't like that when I get mine I will have to stand on a damn stool to clean the roof. And I will get one just as I always do-as they come off program. Why should take the depreciation hit??

I'm glad I did what I did, have no regrets, and frankly I'm glad it has reached it's logical conclusion.

Of course other than that, I have no opinion!

Larry Eck

This is the part that distinguishes the gen3 cam issue from other normal product liability issues. People buy a product and have some expectation that it will function for a period of time without problems, and if they keep it and use it beyond that time then they will have some degree of normal maintenance and wear and tear expenses, and there is some risk that they will have more significant repair issues. But the amount and cost of cam failures IMO go way beyond normal expectations of normal customers.

Considering how much some people were hurt by this, yes I agree that something had to be done. If the company leadership won't step up and do what they need to do, then someone has to do it, and if the last resort is for the customers to do it then the customers have to do it.

> Now I will be quite specific. That generation of Ford executives that were privy to the mere possibility of the failures happening needed   to be held accountable for their grievously poor decision making.  There were stories of unbelievable hardships that were forced on people that had no clue. They got bullied by ford's mid level executives who  handed out the marching orders to their 3rd party phone bank customer mis-service thugs.


Last Word

I will no longer be collecting cam failure reports and posting them, the final count came to 1201. The earliest reports are thin, underreporting since Ebay, AutoTrader and Craig's list did not yet exist.  So for the first few years we may have missed 99 out of each100 cam failures.  Later, as a function of the development of the internet our reporting became more comprehensive.  As a group we never thought we would report 500, then 1000 then 1200 cam failures.  As a group I think we would agree that any Gen 3 SHO not welded will in normal use experience cam failures, effectively totaling the car.

I think we have established that all the cams are defective and prone to premature failure.  Ford in discovery documents admitted as much by investigating repair methods.

Before the lawsuit at least a half dozen SHO owners spoke with Ford zone reps and engineers about the cam failures.   Ford's official way, per the owner's manual, is to call the "1-800" Ford help line.  We coordinated a call in campaign from V8SHO and with out exaggeration 1,000's of calls were made.  In one of Ford's early motions to dismiss Ford argued that the plaintiffs never notified FMC prior to filling suit.  Ford denied receiving any defective camshafts that we over- nighted, at our own cost, and argued that since the call center is out-sourced the very calls to Ford, in the method ordained by FMC are not subject to discovery.

TKY told me that V8SHO calls to the Ford help line filled a dozens of large boxes, and because of TKY Ford held two weeks of meeting of executive VPs to consider corrective measures and a possible recall.   Those dozens of boxes of owners phone calls never made it to discovery.  And I witnessed the Ford engineer in charge of the vehicle platform, under oath, testify that in two weeks of meetings nothing was said that he recalled and no documents relating to those meetings ever were used or ever existed.

I never expected anything out of lawsuit for my self, but I feel an immense responsibility to those who ended up with a payment book for a SHO with no engine.   Many owners ended up in bankruptcy or divorced over this problem.   Many owners suffered terribly, I was only inconvenienced and my financial loss is minimal.

Even if Ford had stepped up to the plate and done the right thing before we filed suit,  in 14 years of Ford ownership I'd have to estimate that 95% of experiences with Ford service were very negative.  It is true in my opinion, that to get honest and  competent service I had to find good mechanics outside of the Ford organization.   I am told Ford dealerships have a very difficult time retaining the better mechanics and in my experience that is very true. 

Ford got the cased dismissed on procedural grounds, with out the merits of the case ever even being considered.  What is true today, that was not true for most of FMC history, is that FMC can  no longer tell 21,000 owners that: "It must be owner abuse and neglect since this is the only failure of this type."  We don't take credit for this development, it is a function of the growth of owners groups on the internet.  While that might not be a victory, or even an accomplishment, it is a step in the right direction.

Thanks for sharing the road,


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