By KEN THOMAS Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Ford Motor Co. said Friday it is recalling 3.6 million passenger cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans to address concerns about a cruise control switch that has led to previous recalls based on reports of fires.
Ford said the recall covered more than a dozen vehicle models built from 1992-2004.
The company said it was responding to concerns from owners about the safety of their cars and questions about the speed control deactivation switch in the vehicles that is powered at all times.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker previously had recalled nearly 6 million vehicles beginning in January 2005 because of engine fires linked to the cruise control systems in trucks, SUVs and vans.
"Customers remain concerned about the long-term durability of the speed control system and about the safety of their vehicles," said Ford spokesman Dan Jarvis.
He said the automaker had received "a few reports of fires" in Ford Crown Victoria passenger cars prior to the recall. He did not have a precise number.
The recall involves the following vehicles: 1998-2002 Ford Ranger, 1992-1997 Lincoln Town Car, 1992-1997 Ford Crown Victoria, 1992-1997 Mercury Grand Marquis, 1993-1998 Lincoln Mark VIII, 1993-1995 Taurus SHO, 1999-2001 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer.
Also covered are the 2001-2002 Ford Explorer Sport, 2001-2002 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, 1992-1993 E150-350 vans, 1997-2002 E150-350 vans, 1993 Ford F-Series pickups, 1993 Ford Bronco, 1994 Mercury Capri, 2003-2004 Ford F-150 Lightning, and 1995-2002 Ford F53 motor homes.
An additional 177,000 vehicles in Canada, Mexico and Europe are covered by the recall. Jarvis said there have been no deaths, injuries or accidents associated with the recall.
It was Ford's sixth recall, involving a total of more than 10.4 million vehicles, conducted since 1999 because of problems with the speed control system, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The nation's largest single recall involved 7.9 million Ford vehicles in 1996 to replace an ignition switch. Texas Instruments Inc. supplied the speed control switch in all of the vehicles covered under Friday's announcement, Ford said.
TI spokeswoman Chris Rongone said Friday evening in an e-mail response that the company sold its former Sensors and Controls business in April 2006.
It later became Sensata Technologies. She said neither TI, nor Sensata Technologies, has received any communication from Ford about the recall and nothing indicates the switch failed to meet Fords specifications.
Rongone said in August 2006 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded a two-year investigation and determined that the incidents were system-related and not caused by the deactivation switch.
Owners will begin receiving recall notices on Aug. 13. Jarvis said the parts for passenger cars would not be available until early October.
In the meantime, owners can take their vehicle to a dealer to have their cruise control deactivated until the parts arrive.
The parts are available for trucks, Jarvis said. Dealers will install a fused wiring harness into the speed control electrical system or replace the deactivation switch if its found to be leaking.
Owners with questions about the recall can contact Ford at (888) 222-2751. --- On the Net: Ford Motor Co.: http://www.ford.com/