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Patrick's Letter to Ford


Buford, I've sent the following text 3 times so far to the escalation page of Ask Kate and Ford has yet to give me a response. This cover letter was followed by 20 pages copied from the SHO web site detailing the engine problems. I'm basically stating that other (non-Ford) mechanical experts recommend that the problem be fixed to avoid catastrophic engine failure and potential injuries/deaths and then asking Ford what its mechanical experts recommend. Just thought I'd let you know, and also ask about the status of the class action suit. Thanks.

May 31, 2003


Subject: Ford Taurus SHO Engine Defect/Safety Problems

To Whom It May Concern:

I recently purchased a used 1999 Ford Taurus SHO. I have subsequently learned that the engine has a potential defect that could result in engine failure, which in turn could result in loss of breaks and power steering, which in turn could result in driver, passenger or pedestrian deaths. 

The problem is that the sprocket which turns the camshaft has been slipping. When this occurs, the valves freeze and then collide with the pistons, which continue to move. This causes valves and pistons to snap resulting in catastrophic engine failure and damage. The problem can occur as early as 40,000 miles and result in damage costing upwards of $20,000, not to mention injury and death. Failure estimates range as high as 10% having already failed and up to 60% that are going to fail prior to 100,000 miles, the point of the first tune-up Ford advertised, and 100% eventual failure after 100,000 miles. What do Ford's records show the failure rate to be?

Mechanical experts recommend the following fix for this problem: have the sprocket welded or pinned to the cam shaft.

Ford is aware of this problem. I would like Ford's mechanical expert's opinion in writing as to whether this fix should or should not be done. Please be specific in directly addressing the question as to whether this fix should or should not be done. I'm trying to do the right thing to avoid costly damage for one, but more importantly, potential serious injury and death. 

I often travel in the mountains of California. If I have a cam failure coming up to a sharp turn on a steep cliff, I would lose power steering and breaks, and possibly drive off the side of the mountain, resulting in serious injury or death to me and my passengers. California also has numerous pedestrian crossing sites for which the car must yield; if cam failure and power loss were to occur coming up to one of these, I could plow into a group of pedestrians, resulting in serious injuries or deaths to them. 

If Ford advises not to implement the recommended fix, and this problem occurs to me, potentially resulting in injury and death, I'd like to have something in writing documenting that I did my best to do the right thing to prevent this from happening.

Below this letter are various articles documenting this problem in more detail, generally found at the website http://www.shoregistry.com/. 

Thank you for your serious consideration of this safety issue, and thanks in advance for your prompt reply.

Patrick J. Harrity

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