Brake Fluid Leak Sparks Ford Recall


Risk of fire from a speed control deactivation switch leaking hydraulic fluid led Ford to recall 4.5 million model year 1992 to 2003 vehicles, beginning on or about Oct. 26.

A Texas Instruments switch in the vehicles may leak internally and then overheat, smoke or burn, Ford told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a letter dated Oct. 9.

The models recalled include Econoline, Excursion, Explorer, F Super Duty, F53, Ranger, Windstar and Mountaineers over various ranges of model years. Ford noted a specific safety-related defect determination for the Windstar vehicles, and said it included other models to avoid any future concerns related to a potential fire risk from the switch.

An increase in the number of leaking switches has been observed on Windstar vehicles, along with a small number of reports of switch fires, Ford said in its defect information report. A small number of reports of brake fluid migration from a leaking switch to the anti-lock brake system module on 1999-2003 Windstar vehicles have also been received. In a small subset of these reports, the presence of brake fluid in the ABS connector resulted in a melted connector or a localized fire at the ABS module.

The company noted that the other vehicle models use the switch differently – as a redundant speed control device, on non-speed control equipped vehicles, as an ABS signal input or simply for parts commonality. All of these vehicles have been in service for many years and most continue to have no fire allegations, Ford noted.

Dealers will install a fused wiring harness to eliminate the potential risk of fire, Ford said. On 1999-2003 Windstar vehicles with a leaking switch, the repair will also involve an inspection and repair, if necessary, of the anti-lock brake system module connector. Repairs will be completed at no charge to owners, the company stated.

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