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NHTSA - Part Two

new 8/20/04

Earlier today, I asked Paul Fisher about his access to AlldataDIY for a non-SHO issue (my dad's Buick Rendezvous needs at least one new wheel bearing at only 70K miles.) After Paul informed me that he had to pay for access to each vehicle model, he directed me to www.NHTSA.gov and told me that there were some 66 TSBs for the '02 Rendezvous. Upon closer examination, I found that about 6-7 owners (or their mechanics) had submitted formal complaints to the NHTSA regarding premature failure of the front wheel bearings.

I did a quick search under "1997 Ford Taurus SHO" for the cam failure issue and came up with only ONE complaint on record!!! There was ONE 1996 complaint for an "engine replacement" (gee, I wonder why) totaling $16K in costs. There were 3 complaints for 1998. All three were for--get this--CAM FAILURES. There was one complaint for 1999. Yep, you guessed it, it was for CAM SPROCKET FAILURE. This person went so far as to cite the www.v8sho.com website and say outright that Ford was denying the existence of a design flaw.

I can't help but think that perhaps we V8SHO owners should also take a "individual" approach to the cam failure issue, in addition to our unified stance in the class-action suit and the V8SHO.com community in general. If just 50% of our email list subscribers were to personally issue a complaint to the NHTSA, that would be over 100 documented claims that FORD is to blame for the cam failure problem. Out of ~20K SHOs, that's a pretty significant number.

I'm not sure what NHTSA's role is in "nudging" OEM's to issue TSBs or recalls, but I can't help but think that widespread visibility to the single most powerful government-run automotive sanctioning group in the country would be helpful to not only our lawsuit, but also the whole cam failure issue in general.

6 out of ~20K V8SHO owners have reported problems with the engine to the NHTSA. That's pathetic. We get more replies than that on O/T comments about Paul Nimz' pug!!

Since my cams did not fail, I won't be drafting a complaint to the NHTSA about my cams failing, but I would suggest that as many as possible of the 427+ cam failure victims we know of should speak up! This is one more way for our voices to be heard!

Please forward this message as you see fit.

Dan Carman '97 PG

Nice work. However several years ago when this first began, Tim had made direct contact with them. They weren't much interested as they didn't see it as a direct safety issue. Now if someone were to have been involved in a serious accident directly due to the cam failing and loss of all power assisted devices such as brakes, steering, then we would have their attention. There have been no such incidents reported to us.
It's a silly situation but that's how they view it. None the less, I will post your findings on the website. It is of interest. Tim, would you do the honors please?

I made about two dozen phone calls to NHTSA a few years back about this issue. It took that many phone calls (not 800#) to find someone working for NHTSA who knew what a camshaft is and what it does.

She was polite but not very helpful. She described her job as "working with car manufactures to effect recalls with minimal economic impact on the manufacture."  She said something along  the line "If everything you you say is true, most of them die in the driveway and hence are not a safety issue."

This was about the same time TKY was going to bat for us, when both fell through. It was painfully clear to me that NHTSA saw their job as protecting Ford from the consumer, not the other way around. Not long after that we filed out class action lawsuit, only because all other options seemed unproductive and we were facing a statute of limitations. If we did not file soon we would lose that option.

I think it is important, - vital - for those with cam issues to notify NHTSA, who will misfile and lose the information. It is not a solution but may be part of the solution in the end.


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